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September 20th, 2009

The Muddy Waters of Convergence

Right now, it’s kind of an awkward time to buy some technology. Lots and lots is changing, and the hardware isn’t quite there yet. Let me share with you my dilemma.

Earlier this year, The Wife and I decided to chuck DirecTV altogether and just use an antenna, Hulu, and Netflix for our entertainment options. All of this has worked out pretty well but there are a few missing gaps. One: no easy TV guide, so no simple way to tell what is on when… it’s a lot of management. Two: trotting out a computer, hooking it up to the TV, going to Hulu/Netflix, and playing is all just a bit of a pain in the rear.

I started toying with the idea of getting a Wii last week (mostly set aside at this point) which naturally parlayed into the Xbox and PS3… both of which do some entertainment things. The Xbox offers Netflix streaming and the PS3 offers Blu-Ray. So both of those sound a little more appealing than the Wii, but neither box does both… and Hulu is blocked on the PS3, of course.

It’d be a bonus to be able to play our music library via the TV without a computer, too, but a fair chunk of it is in protected AAC (I know, I know) and thus it can only work with… an Apple product. But the Apple TV, even at a temptingly low price of $149 refurbished, definitely can’t do all of this stuff… and Netflix doesn’t work on it.

You see where I’m going with this, right? In order to do everything I’d like to be able to do, via the TV, it’d still take multiple boxes. This seems silly. I know I could buy a Mac mini and hook that up, but then it’s just a computer hooked up to the TV without a nice, seamless interface.

I think everything is getting there, and more and more it seems like these things will just be a part of our TVs, but for now everything seems very murky.

Posted in Technology

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