It seems as if I have been wanting, and waiting for good solutions to home media for many years now and the suppliers are still failing to deliver. Some progress has been made...
There seems to be a rift growing in the technology sector these days. One the one hand the news sources are saying that Silicon Valley is on a roll and is back to its former glory. Innovation is rampant and rents are on the rise, congestion is growing on the streets and that somehow these are good signs. I see things a little differently. The PC has stagnated, smart phone are being commoditized, capacity shortages don’t seem to have a big impact on prices and I don’t see too much on the horizon that makes me drool. Sure there are things that I want, but they don’t appear to be progressing much. Do, I want an iWatch, or a fingerprint reader in my smartphone? Do I really care about USB3 or DDR4? Not really.
What I really want are for the things I have to work properly – in an integrated manner. Take TV, for example. I cut the cord several years back. There was so much rubbish being pushed down our throats that it wasn’t worth paying the price and nobody would offer me the kind of subscription plan that I wanted. I do not watch sports for example and do not want to pay for the high costs of those channels being acquired. There is no reason why I should subsidize others. Unfortunately the channels I do want to watch cannot be accessed without paying for lots of other things and for some reason those channels have not yet decided to stream on the Internet. They put up little clips that I can access but a lot of the time accessing those clips takes longer than the clip length. Sure, I do have a small antenna on one of the TVs just so that I can watch the local news if I feel like being depressed.
Mostly, I watch movies that I get from Netflix but there are a few things that I miss from broadcast TV that I wish I could watch as they air rather than waiting for the DVDs to be released. What about streaming – well, there is a product I would buy if they worked properly. I do have a Samsung smart TV that does most of what I want, so that is the closest to what I want. It can use the antenna, it can use online streaming services and it can access content from my computers and NAS storage. Thank you Samsung for doing all three. Now before the blood rushes to their heads, some of their other capabilities such as voice commands and gesturing are a joke.
As for my other TVs, I do not wish to replace with smart TVs, I want to be add capabilities to them – and some of them say they can but cannot. For instance, I have a Sony Blu-ray player connected to my home theater system. It supports DNLA – supposedly. However, in practice it doesn’t work properly. It can see all of the servers and it works for accessing photos, but not for music or for video. The Sony manual say that not all DNLA servers work correctly and this may limit its operation. Well, I have tried several DNLA servers and it works with none of them and they do not supply one that does work with their limited compatibility. So basically, they advertise something they cannot or will not support. My guess is that it somehow only works with Sony supplied PC etc.
Let’s move onto the set-top boxes. None of them properly support both streamed content and local content. Can it really be that difficult? I have tried several of these devices and found none that works in the ways I believe it should. In addition – and this includes the Samsung smart TV as well, the interfaces on them are terrible. They are set up to work with a touch screen. Samsung does provide such a thing (in addition to the main remote) but its operation is poor. Why can’t I use my iPad? Presumably because it is not made by Samsung. It seems as if individual remote controls should be a thing of the past at this stage, and that could be a way for providers to reduce costs and to avoid wastage.
Maybe it is just a matter of needing more standards in this area, or maybe it is about vendors stopping to leverage one product from another and let them all play together nicely. Maybe it is continued infighting between equipment providers and content providers. Maybe it is just that I am being unreasonable! I am willing to buy – just give me products that I wish to pay money for without being locked in.Brian Bailey
– keeping you covered
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