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GoogleTV, AppleTV, Tivo: Listen up

Tivo, you had it right. You were in the right place with a near perfect device. You were missing a DVD player and the Internet, but that’s about it. Honestly, you had me sold.

Apple, you’re making progress. You’ve got some of the Internet, all of my music and you almost negate the need for a DVD player. Let me back up a tic, none of you need a Blu-Ray player. The format may have won but I don’t have racks of Blu-Ray disks on my shelf, I’ve got DVDs.

Google, Sling, DLink (ha!), you’re not there either. None of you are, none of you will be until you get all these things right. Ready? Here we go.

The perfect device for my TV will do all of the following:

  • Replace my cable or satellite box
  • Play my DVDs and maybe my Blu-Ray disks
  • Have a web browser and support all web formats (yeah, even Flash Mr. Jobs)
  • Have a smart device (phone, tablet) as the remote
  • Sync with my music and movies on my computer
  • Have all DVR functionality
  • Allow me to copy my shows onto my computer or smart device (and maybe even let me pull the content remotely like Sling)

The only things I have to buy other than this perfect device is a TV, a 5.1 (7.1.. 12.1 whatever) tuner and some speakers. This thing will also act as a dumb output device. I should be able to pull up some content on my iPad and fling it, ala Tony Stark, onto my TV. This would allow me to browse TV listings and movies on my iPad which is faster than using a stinkin’ IR remote. Am I asking for too much? No, not from a hardware and software perspective.

It’s the business side that gets tricky. Cable and satellite companies don’t want to give up the control of that set-top bottom (honestly, who’s got a box on top of their TV anymore) device. Their aim is to keep your eyes glued on the content they’re getting paid for. Any infiltration into that scheme is strategically blocked.

So you’ve got your work cut out for you. Maybe some of you will make the right partnerships to create this solution for some of the market. That’d be awesome, but which horse do you hitch your cart to?


  1. Here’s the thing (as I comment on my own post). Google’s making a lot of noise about their TV product right now. The market for these devices is not very mature, yet. And there’s no telling, really, if they’re going to be a big hit. So it’s entirely possible that this is just something the Goog is using to try to distract Steve & Company.

  2. Andrew Royer says:

    My solution is the Mac Mini with a few apps. It has an HDMI output and a DVD player. Then use Boxee for a slick interface with your TV to grab the shows and media from your computer. Then you can pirate shows and movies to replace your DVR or use a service like netflix if you want to obey copyright laws. Alternatively, you can use Hulu Desktop for a lot of the shows. Still would need something to watch live news and sports events and that may be achieved by using a sling media player for the Mac.

    For the remote stuff setup a VNC with your Mac Mini and your iPad to fling content onto your TV haha or watch it remotely on the iPad using iTeleport and your VNC. The iPad VNC controller would also be a really robust remote controller for your TV. This is my ideal solution not sure if it meets your needs.

    The one issue with all of this is with when 3D TVs and content hit mainstream then I believe I will need a set bottom box in order to get the 3D content but that is still being worked out.

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