I am suddenly watching more TV or rather, video (TV shows, movies, Internet videos, etc.) over the Internet . I broke down and bought a Roku box the other day. If you’re not familiar with the Roku, it’s one of several set top boxes that hook up to your TV, download or stream video from various sources and play them on your big screen. Some of the the other best known devices are Boxee and Apple TV (not the rumored Apple televisions set, but a box that hooks to your existing TV that Steve Jobs called a “hobby”).
I bought the Roku because it’s the cheapest of the three and seems to have the most services available. I thought about getting an Apple TV because I am such an Apple fanboy and use ITunes quite a bit and the Apple TV has a built in integration with ITunes.
But the number of free sources on the Roku service won out. And if I subscribe to Netflix and HBOGO, I could have all the entertainment I could possible want. My goal is not necessarily to cut the chord on my cable service. But I wouldn’t mind cutting back to just basic cable. I’d need to have the service anyway if I wanted to get HBOGO.
I think all these devices are stop gap technologies that will soon be supplanted with something like the integrated television box (the rumored Apple TV, maybe), essentially a TV with a computer in it that connects directly to your ITunes and ICloud and has Siri in it so all you have to do is say “TV, show me cats playing pianos and any unwatched episodes of Boardwalk Empire” and it wills show you a custom menu with a list of YouTube videos and unwatched episodes of Broadway Empire. And you will speak to it again, “Show me episode 16 of Broadway Empire” and it will start streaming that show. NO MORE REMOTES!
And eventually it will start to speak to you when you walk in the room and say in a soothing voice, “You have 3 unwatched episodes of Glee, Dave. Would you like to watch them now, Dave?” Even though my name is Bob and maybe that will be creepy.
But beyond that, Siri or something like it will be embedded in your house and appliances and we will be talking to the walls and the walls will talk to us as they learn our preferences and that really will be the moment we will all live in a technical cocoon, wrapped in silk threads of fiber.
It depends on what you want to watch. There’s no simple answer. You could do any number of things all on your computer. You could sign up for Hulo Pllus, or Netflix or Amazon Prime. Or a combination of them, all of which you can watch on your computer.
You can get a lot of stuff from some network sites like http://www.cbs.com/video/
NBC is confusing and PBS is spotty in terms of shows. But still there’s a lot of crap to watch for free without buying any hardware. I really don’t know if something like the Roku will work with your computer. But since it’s really an Internet streaming device along with pre-set feeds and some storage, probably so.
We don’t have a TV, so we’ve always watched the Daily Show and Colbert on our computers. I’m wondering which of the new devices would work best for computer TV watching. Would it make any difference whether we watch on a TV monitor or a computer? Perhaps we don’t need to purchase anything to watch TV.