Saturday, October 9, 2010

Is this the future of TV?

I have a very basic cable TV subscription.  I pay $15 a month for about 13 channels.  So what do I get for $15 a month?  The major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN), PBS (KBYU and KUED), BYUTV, and a few others that make me go "Huh?".  And I've been fairly disappointed in the content.  I turn it on and think, "This stuff just sucks."  I've even contemplated dropping my cable TV subscription altogether.

In the past I've looked at a Roku player.  If you're not familiar with Roku, go and visit their site.  Their latest line of players is very compelling.  I've looked at a few other media players and Roku appears to have some fairly descent media content alternatives and is the cheapest media player out there.  For $100, you can stream HD content.  A hundred bucks is fairly cheap.

I was going to dive in head first and get a Roku when I decided to email a friend and co-worker of mine and see what he uses.  BIG MISTAKE.  (Note to self:  Geeks shouldn't email other geeks to find out what they use for high tech stuff because it will only wreck your plans.)  He told me about Google TV.  Currently the Logitech Revue is the only stand-alone Google TV appliance that will be available soon on the market.  Best I can tell, the Revue runs an Intel CPU, and I assume it is probably an Intel Atom based device.  For those of you who are not in the know, the Intel Atom CPU is the brains of most NetBook PCs, the small cutesy little $300 laptops with minuscule little screens.  (I've been tempted to get a netbook, but for a few hundred more bucks, you can get a real laptop, not some neutered, half-pint PC.)  So I think this Revue is a netbook minus the screen.  But the bad thing about the Revue is that it is $300.  Dang.  And it isn't available yet, but will be soon.

So the cheap person that I've become (out of necessity) tells me to get the Roku and to quit fretting about this.  But the inner geek in me says that the Revue will be so much more versatile (it actually has a web browser with Adobe Flash support, along with most/all the features that the Roku has).  My biggest concern is this:  Do I really want a wide open web browser (or PC) attached to my 46" TV screen???  And do I really want to spend $300 for the device?  That's my heartburn of the day.

I've asked some friends and looked at opinions about the Google TV appliance.  Some of my tech friends discount the idea.  Tech opinions (from other geeks, mind you) speak highly of the device.  My gut instinct tells me that this will be a big thing, similar in nature to the iPhone.  An industry game changer.  Never in my life have I pre-ordered a device.  This is the only thing I might consider pre-ordering.  But procrastination in the tech world generally is a good thing, and the procrastinator in me may wait until the Revue is actually released and setup at a Best Buy so I can go and look at it before committing my hard earned money to the stupid thing.  Like I said, it may be a hot item and I won't get to see it until next year.  Oh well, so be it.

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