Why I've Given Up Hope For Apple, Google, Microsoft To Deliver Better TV

Discussion in 'Google TV General Discussion' started by Wisdom, May 30, 2013.

  1. Wisdom

    Wisdom New Member

    Aug 3, 2012
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    [h=1]Why I've Given Up Hope for Apple, Google, Microsoft to Deliver Better TV[/h]By Minyanville, May 29, 2013, 09:30:00 AM EDT

    Vote up[​IMG]

    Last week, all eyes turned to Redmond asMicrosoft(MSFT) unveiled its upcoming eighth-generation console, the Xbox One. Although full game demos were conspicuously missing, Microsoft paid a great deal[​IMG] of attention to one of the features that has made the Xbox 360 such a hit with users: its media center capabilities.

    The Xbox One touts live TV features like a voice search for programs, a Web browser than can snap to the side while watching broadcast television, and the ability to automatically update your fantasy football league any time a member of[​IMG] your team scores a touchdown. In fact, speaking of voice search, Microsoft has basically injectedGoogle(GOOG) Now commands into the Xbox One's means of interactivity. While it might not be as in-depth and interpretive of "fuzzy language," being able to say "Xbox, watch TV" and have it switch to a live broadcast ofBreaking Badis pretty cool.

    The only problem with this "ultimate all-in-one entertainment system," as Microsoft called it: We've heard that before, and we've been let down. Time and time again.

    Sure, there's always a chance that the Xbox One will revolutionize the way we watch TV and lead the way in developing an all-too-important standard in which all other media centers can follow, but there've been seemingly hundreds of these types of devices since WebTV came on the scene, and their success is measured in how well they can streamNetflix(NFLX).

    Take, for example, theApple(AAPL) TV.

    I bought a first-generation Apple TV years ago in the hopes that it could deliver the on-demand, fully interactive television that I dreamed about when I was a TV junkie youth. The idea of scrolling through unlimited programs with a remote and having a program or film play automatically whenever I wanted was such a fantastical vision.

    And in terms of a high-quality, non-stuttering program or film, it still is.

    Admittedly, the Apple TV has always been dubbed a "hobby" by Cupertino, and man, did it show. The underpowered, overpriced device could barely deliver 720p entertainment and crashed so often that I wondered if that "hobby" was like someone saying their pastime was wind-surfing when they've only gone twice.

    The Apple TV was sold already stunted: Its USB port in the back couldn't be used without jailbreaking the device. In other words, you actually had tohackthe Apple TV so it could function like a normal media player and access local files. I purchased the device on the condition that I could hack it -- which a number of sites said was a breeze -- and use it in that matter.

    Well, hack or not, the first-generation Apple TV was a terrible, glitchy product. One of the worst I ever bought.

    But then I bought the Boxee Box, which redefined the meaning of "worst."

    Touted as an open source device that, again, would be the ultimate all-in-one set-top box, the Boxee Box was introduced with the very popular Boxee software built in. It had two USB ports which you didn't have to hack in order to use, 1040p video capabilities, hundreds of streaming apps, a Web browser withAdobe(ADBE) Flash support, and a remote with a QWERTY keyboard on the back.

    The thing was, most -- if not all -- of those features were continually broken throughout the lifespan of this device.

    The Boxee Box never worked right for most users. A quick search through its support forums, its Facebook page, or @Boxee mentions on Twitter show a legion of dissatisfied users who, like me, tried in vain to get an uncommunicative company to address -- let alone fix -- the problems we've continued to have with this bug-ridden device. (A device that Boxee has since unceremoniously abandoned, leaving its most loyal users in the lurch before debuting a new and equally buggy set-top box. How's that for customer appreciation?)

    Users were forced to keep outdated firmware loaded on their machines -- because every infrequent update from Boxee would break something else -- and find their own workarounds to get things running for more than a day. (A flashback to the "if you want it to work, you have to hack it" days of Apple TV.)

    Between constant crashes, a severe memory leak, broken Flash support, an unusable Web browser, non-working apps, and an underpowered processor that could barely even start a 1040p stream let alone play it in its entirety, the Boxee Box is by far the biggest regretful purchase I've ever made.

    And that's coming from someone who owned a Droid Bionic.

    But the Apple TV and Boxee Box aren't the only disappointing entries into the media center[​IMG] arena. Google TV has all but been considered a flop since it was introduced in 2010. Yet again, touted as the vehicle that will redefine the way we watch television, Google TV hit one snag after another -- a poor UI, questionable manufacturing partners, uncooperative studios, low developer support -- before it seemed to be a shambling corpse still fighting for relevance. A future upgrade to Jelly Bean may inject some life into it, but its fate looks to be already sealed.

    That isn't to say it's all the fault of the manufacturer. The aforementioned "uncooperative studios" play a major role in denying the public a TV-watching revolution. TheNBCs(CMCSA), theABCs(DIS), theFoxes(NWS), and theCBSs(CBS) all prefer the staid and antiquated broadcast model and, like the publishing industry, will eventually go down with the ship as the average user begins to prefer a cut cord to a $100+ monthly bill.

    After all, you've seen the way they've run Hulu into the ground.

    However, even in 2013 when Netflix and Wi-Fi abound (mostly), these studios and cable companies are still kicking around due to their massive control and power over the media. Despite an abundance of streaming and often free entertainment options, they still hold all the cards when it comes to passive television watching for the average viewer.

    And, most importantly, they are absolutely essential for the success of any of these media centers. Want live TV interactivity? You better have a cable subscription and a licensed cable box -- the kind with the extra monthly charge to operate. If not, well, they'll see you in court -- a costly hiccup that the over-the-air television outfitAereoknows all too well. (We still have to wait and see if its court win does anything for its success and adoption.)

    So, what are we left with? Like I said before, glorified Netflix streamers. Even now, to get most of the options we all want and have them work consistently, well, your best option is building your own home theater PC, slapping a copy of XBMC on it, and sitting back with a Bluetooth keyboard remote.

    In other words, another hack.

    See also:

    Forget Apple TV or iWatch: Apple's Next Trump Card Is Mobile Payments

    Google Looks Ahead to Its Next Billion Customers

    Xbox One and PS4: New Consoles Are Nice, but New Gamers Would Be Even Better

    Read more: Why I've Given Up Hope for Apple, Google, Microsoft to Deliver Better TV
  2. MowTin

    MowTin New Member

    Jan 21, 2012
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    You're essentially saying that you give up because you've been disappointed in the past. But the XBox One is promising because it has something that Apple TV, Boxee and Google TV never had--power! The problem with Apple TV, Boxee and Google TV boxes like Logitech Revue is they lack processing power. They struggle to just stream HD content. The Xbox One will have plenty of processing power. That means it won't crash because it ran out of memory. It's easier to write programs for a machine with plenty of memory. The Xbox One will have 8GB of memory.

    The bottom line is you need a strong processor to handle streaming and apps very well. Only the PS4 and X1 have any chance of delivering that to us at a reasonable price.
  3. drhill

    drhill Member

    Nov 1, 2011
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    The gen 1 hardware (Revue and Sony GT1) had hardware capable of displaying two 1080p stream simultaneously in every codec that blu rays players support and more. They had enough power. The problems were price, attention from Google, and content providers keeping content from the devices.

    Other then games the apps would have plenty of power to work with. Google never gave us NDK support so most real developers stayed away.

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