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I still prefer a computer hooked up to my TV

Discussion in 'Google TV General Discussion' started by HamDog, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. HamDog

    HamDog Member

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    Maybe I'm getting old, but I just don't get the whole hype of TV's with built in Internet capabilities or even separate set-top boxes with limited Internet access.

    There are many set-top boxes currently available on the market, including Apple TV, Tivo, Vudu, etc.). What I don't like is that they are proprietary and you can only access and buy shows from limited vendors. None allow you to fully access the Internet like a regular computer, where you can play Flash, Java, etc.

    For example, Apple TV charges you for shows that you can get for free. You can watch South Park, John Stewart, shows on CBS, FOX, etc. all for free! With a full computer, you can also get lots more, such as Pandora radio, Slacker, etc. Movies can be watches through Amazon, Netflix, and other sites.

    Why limit yourself with set-top boxes? And worse, why have something built into your TV that will most likely become obsolete with better software/hardware within a year or less? Isn't a TV supposed to last you 5-10 years?

    Ok, I understand that many folks just don't want to deal with hooking up a computer to a TV. It's a pain to use a keyboard to navigate and good mice that work from a distance aren't that convenient. Also, reading an article or navigating a browser from 10-20 feet away is difficult on most 50" TV's that support 1080p (1920x1080) resolution. And on the Internet, not everything is nicely organized as a set-top box.

    But even with those limitations, I still much prefer a dedicated home theater PC. Microsoft did a fine job with it's media center although it can be much improved. The worst part of it is the organization of programs on the web. I really believe this is one territory that is new and Microsoft can redeem itself by vastly improving Media Center and taking a lead in this new arena. Are you listening Microsoft? You have feel behind in innovation from riding your Windows cash cow. Can we say Zune? How about coming up with a mobile phone operating system way too late in the game? The new arena is integration of TV and Internet. And I believe if Microsoft can wake up and really start working on it's Media Center, it can redeem itself as a technology leader. With a revamped Media Center, they can take market share as the only device that gives you the experience of set-top box convenience with full computer functionality and true full Internet browsing experience in one laptop box. One that you can take with you on the road! This is my dream, but I honestly don't think Steve Balmer is up to it.

    I think Google will be doomed if they keep the functionalities of Google TV reserved for set-top boxes or directly built in the TV hardware. To be fully versatile and make a big hit, I think you also need to be able to work it off a computer as well.

    Currently, I have a dedicated home theater PC and love it. I don't plan on giving it up anytime soon for any set-top box. And if I plan on buying a new big screen TV, I would stay away from anything that has Internet built into it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
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  2. JohnDroid

    JohnDroid Administrator Staff Member

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    HamDog, I agree with you completely. Consumers (for the most part) want unfettered access. I think the Apps capabilities of Google TV and Google's pretty open policy (with regards to Android) mean that Google TV will be an open experience with hacking capabilities.

    If something doesn't exist yet, someone should be able to add it. It won't necessarily be available right away, but a year down the road I think we'll have everything we need.
     
  3. HamDog

    HamDog Member

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    JohnDroid, I am an avid Android fan. I have the original Motorola Droid and it's rooted. As much as I love the Android platform, it will never replace my laptop. I also use the Google Chrome browser and love it's third party plug-ins. I think someday we may see the Android app store be available to Chrome users - interesting integration (I know I'm getting way ahead of myself here).

    Unfortunately, I don't think any amount of hacking to Google TV will make it comparable to a full computer and browsing experience of even a simple laptop hooked up to a TV. At least not anytime soon (by soon I mean the next 1-4 years). I think there is a large market to be had if Google would only incorporate it's Google TV to be run on a regular PC as well. As I added to my original post above, Microsoft may also have a good shot if they step up and revamp their Media Center.

    Either way, we have lots of new exciting things to look forward to in the near future.
     
  4. JohnDroid

    JohnDroid Administrator Staff Member

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    I'd like to see both. A google TV App for the PC/Mac/Linux as well as a system that works good from a limited remote on your couch. Best of both worlds.
     
  5. alphawave7

    alphawave7 Moderator Staff Member

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    HD..if you had a set top box (I have Roku N1000 from the first day of release) you'd see the benefits firsthand. I don't run an HTPC anymore, don't have to..no harddrives spinning/fans whirring..in fact my Roku box is a few watts at most, and totally silent, yet responsive with well-written/debugged software, great 720P picture (original was only 720, they have 1080 now) and the price was $99 OTD, far cheaper to buy and operate than an HTPC. I have quite a selection of stuff to watch and listen (most of those you mentioned above) and offerings are upgraded constantly. I don't care if I have to replace my Roku box to upgrade its features later..I already got MORE than my $99 worth years ago. I suspect this GoogleTV will be even better, thanks to the open architecture (Roku is/was slow to release its architecture to devs). I doubt you'd regret getting one, and I bet you'd shelve or repurpose your HTPC after owning one. :)
     
  6. HamDog

    HamDog Member

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    Alpha, I'm not that familiar with Roku, but just visited their website for a quick view. The problem with these set-top boxes is that they have contracts with specific providers. They're not nearly as free as having access to the full web.

    For example, can you go to Comedy Central or other web pages to view "The Daily Show", "South Park", "The Colbert Report" for free? How about Fox.com, NBC.com, etc. to view their shows for free? It's my understanding that you can't (I could be wrong since I did a quick view of their system).

    As I've mentioned, a HTPC does have it's pains. But it's non-restricted access. It seems like I can do everything Roku can do with my HTPC plus a lot more. I can go to the Wall Street Journal and view their interactive charts since HTPC is like a computer. I don't think any other set-top box offers such things.

    Please feel free to correct me as I'm not that familiar with Roku. But a cursory review shows it's just like other proprietary set-top boxes.
     
  7. alphawave7

    alphawave7 Moderator Staff Member

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    No 'broadcast' teevee, no. I wouldn't watch it regardless, but I see your point. HULU PLUS is on the box for a $10/month fee, but I haven't paid for tv in over a decade, and frankly I would feel ripped off 'subscribing' to commercial television..I would want premium content, like Netflix and Amazon VOD/streaming have. There are a few podcaster channels as well, so I get the Revision3/TWIT video stuff, as well as any other RSS-type feeds I want streamed (manually configged). THAT'S why I find GTV so compelling, though...it can expand capability even faster than Roku, owing to the dev community. If it was a proficient 'surfer' on the net, for instance..I can see doing away with this lappie I'm typing on right now! :) If I can surf my fora, read my news, watch my proggies/special events, and more on my TV, and it's fairly intuitive to do so, it will be an easy transition for me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010

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