Category: TV

Kevin Rose is Wrong Again – iTV will not Kill Cable Television

Kevin Rose (Digg.com Founder) recently published a post on his blog where he “broke” the news of the next itteration of the Apple TV device as iTV.

He went on to gush about how incredible his majesty at Apple has made it. The new iTV is supposed to be the biggest game changer in the living room since the invention of the color television. He also says that it will spell the sudden “Death of Cable TV”.

Oh Reaaaaaly?

  1. First, let’s start with Kevin Rose’s credibility regarding Apple commentary and predictions.
  2. Does anybody else see him as an overly biased Apple fanboy/appologist?
  3. Wow, he got Copy and Paste and iPod Nano right. Only every single writer in the world was begging for this. I’m shocked that Apple decided to address their biggest feature omission. There is a leaked Apple product published every hour. Somebody is bound to get one right.

Will iTV OWN the Living Room?

First of all, there have been a handful of half-baked products fumbling around in this space for a while now. None of them have exactly distinguished themselves. I think that it will be the best attempt yet at a living room media center. That being said, Apple’s ridiculous Nazis Lawyers will probably cripple it into being not that awesome. That being said, I hope that it is cool enough to force Microsoft and Sony to kick their consoles into high gear.

Is iTV or Anyting Else Poised to KILL Cable TV?

Don’t be so fast to cut your cable bill. Who do you think you’re going to get your broadband from? That’s right, the Cable and Phone company. Maybe you will be able to do that, but your broadband bill will go up to $100/month. They own the TV and Internet, do you think that they are going to give up their cash cow and let you have it’s replacement for nothing? I live in the New York Metropolitan area and the three broadband options avaiable are FIOS, Cablevision (Optimum Online) and Comcast. Each of their standalone broadband products START at $50 per month. Then throw in the cost of an iTV ($99), iTunes downloads, Hulu Pro, Netflix, Amazon On-Demand, and other services and where are you? Right up around the price of Cable. Plus, you have to buy, configure, search for, and download this half-assed new TV replacement on your own. Yeah, my parents and their friends should all be super psyched to do all of that.

More likely, you will probably see them finally start to offer A La Carte channel purchasing.

Broadband Providers do not have the bandwidth to simultaneously stream American Idol to every house on your block in High Definition. Despite all of the articles that you read on these tech blogs, broadband companies will not have the necessary bandwidth for a while either. (Think 5 years or so.)

Ask yourself this: “Has a YouTube video stuttered or paused on my this week?” Exactly, and they’re the BEST at streaming video. And a lot of it is not in HD.

Other Factors

Despite everybody’s complaining, Cable, Sattelite, and Fiber TV actually works. You turn on the TV and pick from tons of channels of video that instantly and flawelessly flow into your house. If you turn on 5 TVs in your house, they still all work fine. Try that over broadband.

The devil you know. Everybody I know already has their TV solution in place. Most people don’t dump something that they know for something that they don’t know. Especially if the thing they already have pretty much works. Think about it: are your parents going to ditch cable for a media pc, Apple TV, Google TV, or Roku player? No, mine neither.

What Could Prove Me Wrong?

The one thing that could make this more feasible is if other providers get into the residential broadband delivery game.

Cell Phone Companies – Verizon and AT&T keep beefing up their 3G networks, but I’m thinking that they need to be more like 11G. Sprint could also be a player with their much ballyhooed and troubled WiMax rollout. Tmobile – nevermind.

Sattelite Providers – If these clowns ever figure out how to use their base of installed hardware to transmit realistic broadband signals up and down, they might be players.

Dark Horse Candidates

Teir 1 Internet Service Providers – There area a handful of companies that actually carry all of the internet traffic over long distances. Think of them as the Interstate Highways that deliver traffic between the neighborhoods that your ISP (Level 2 or lower) serves.

Here are the major players: AT&T, Cogent, Level3, NTT, Qwest, Savvis, SBC, Sprint, Verizon, and XO

Some of these player “could” trow up some sort of wireless towers on heavily populated network “end points” and deliver broadband to large groups of people. This is possible, but somewhat unlikely.

I would love to hear what you think

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Connecting your Computer to your Living Room

Overview: Learn how to stream Music, Photos, and Video from any computer to your TV using your video game console.

This is the second article in a three part series on Sharing Files Between Any Devices in your Home.

Consoles, Not Just for Gaming Any More

Seeing your vacation photos or your favorite podcast on a 50 inch screen is way more enjoyable than being holed up in your computer room. How about having your favority playlist pumping through your surround sound system at your next party?

There are numerous ways to accomplish this; some complicated and some simple. If you have a Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, or a Nintendo Wii, you already have the easiest way of getting your media from your computers to your living room. Let’s take a look at how to make it happen.

Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 is a great option for bringing your computer media into your living room.

Xbox 360 to Windows

Right out of the box you can get media from your Windows computer to your Xbox. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Turn on your Xbox 360
  2. Install Windows Media Player 11 on your PC
  3. Turn Sharing on in your Library (Library> Media Sharing> Share My Media> OK)
  4. Select your Xbox from the list of sources.
  5. Go to your Xbox and go to Media> Media Type (Photos, Music, or Video)> Computer> Browse for file

Here is an excellent tutorial from Cnet on using an Xbox 360 to access the media on your Windows computer. Bonus – they also show you how to pull media from your Microsoft Zune to your Xbox (assuming you’re one of the five guys who bought one).

Xbox 360 to Mac

Just because Xbox is a Microsoft product doesn’t mean that you can’t use it with your Mac. You can use Nullriver’s Connect360 software ($20)to do the same thing as Windows machines. Connect360 automatically indexes your iTunes and iPhoto libraries and shares them to your Xbox 360. You can then use the Xbox 360 Dashboard to browse and play your media, organized in the exact same way that it is on your Mac.

Here are two excellent tutorials on using an Xbox 360 to access the media on your Mac.

Mac to Xbox 360 with Connect 360

Xbox 360 and Mac (This one covers a bunch of other cool things between a Mac and Xbox 360)

Cheapskate tip: If you want to save $20, try some of these free alternatives to NullRiver’s Connect360.

Xbox 360 to Linux

You can even do the unthinkable; connect a Microsoft product to a Linux computer. (Somewhere a Linux snob just felt a stabbing pain in his side.)

Here are two excellent tutorials on using an Xbox 360 to access the media on your Linux computer. (One from the command line, the other using WINE.) Enjoy!

How To Share Media Between Xbox 360 and Linux

How to Connect XBox 360 to a Linux PC

Extra Credit – Install XBox Media Center on your Console

Your Xbox does some cool stuff right out of the box, but when you add the Xbox Media Center (XBMC) application it gets really interesting. Here is the description straight from the XBMC.org website:

XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media.
While XBMC functions very well as a standard media player application for your computer, it has been designed to be the perfect companion for your HTPC. Currently XBMC can be used to play almost all popular audio and video formats around. It was designed for network playback, so you can stream your multimedia from anywhere in the house or directly from the internet using practically any protocol available. It will even scan all of your media and automatically create a personalized library complete with box covers, descriptions, and fanart. There are playlist and slideshow functions, a weather forecast feature and many audio visualizations. Once installed, your computer will become a fully functional multimedia jukebox.

You can find the installation instructions in the very thorough XBMC online manual.

NOTE: Setting this up can be pretty tricky, so if you’re looking for something a bit less complicated stick with the instructions for your operating system above.

Sony PS3

Sony PS3 is the Cadillac of consoles; BluRay player, stunning graphics sexy piano black finish, you know you want some. Of course it can do more than just play games and DVDs. You can connect it to a computer running all three operating systems too. In fact, DigitalTrends.com has a very thorough set of instructions that walk you through the entire process(es) of using your PS3 to connect to a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.

Sony PS3 to Windows

The PS3 can act as a DNLA (standard for sharing media between devices) Player that will display media content from a computer set up as a DNLA Server. Windows Media Player 11 will act as your PC’s DNLA Server.

Right out of the box you can get media from your Windows computer to your PS3. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Turn on your PS3
  2. Install Windows Media Player 11 on your PC
  3. Turn Sharing on in your Library (Library> Media Sharing> Share My Media> OK)
  4. Select your PS3 from the list of sources.
  5. Go to your PS3 and click the Search for Media Servers icon with the X button.
  6. You will see your shared media which you can navigate through with your PS3 controller.

Here is an excellent tutorial that will show you how to set up streaming from your PC to your PS3.

Sony PS3 to Mac

You can set up Nullriver’s MediaLink software ($20) to stream from your Mac to your PS3 by installing it on your Mac and going to the System Preferences panel.

mediaLine icon

Click the MediaLink icon to see the configuration options.

MediaLink Configuration options

Set up your sharing/streaming options here and close the window.

Go to your PS3 and click the Search for Media Servers icon with the X button.

You will see your shared media which you can navigate through with your PS3 controller.

Cheapskate tip: If you want to save $20, try some of these free alternatives to NullRiver’s MediaLink.

Sony PS3 to Linux

Once again, you can do pretty much anything on a Linux machine. If you’re willing to get your hands dirty at the command prompt, that is.

Here is a tutorial that shows you how to configure streaming from Linux to the PS3.

Nintendo Wii

While Wii is definitely the most fun video game console, it is also the weakest multi-media device in the roundup. There are, however a few clunky hacks that will allow you to get media from your computers to you TV using a Wii. Still, if your only console is a Wii, then try some of these tricks. If none of them float your boat, head on over to Wii Media Center to see the new tricks that they are constantly devising.


Nintendo Wii to Windows

Lifehacker.com has a set of instructions that will show you how to use internet media sharing software Orb to stream media to your Wii over the internet (not your home network). It’s not the most elegant thing, but watch the video below to see how it works.


Since this really just uses the browser, it would also work fine on an Xbox or PS3.

Nintendo Wii to Mac

Riverfold has the Wii Transfer application available for free that will allow you to stream media to your Wii using the Internet Channel (browser) too.

Nintendo Wii to Linux

MaximumPC has a good tutorial that will help you set up your Linux machine to stream to your Wii.

Extra Credit Connect a Computer to your TV

Sure, you can use your video game consoles to stream media from your computers to your TV, but why not cut out the middle man? You can buy a tiny, silent computer and place it in your media cabinet. Then, hook up Boxee (Windows, Mac, and Linux), Plex (Mac only), or MythTV (Linux only) and grab some popcorn.

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