I was thinking that the recent downturn in the economy, along with my wife and my decision to cut out unnecessary expenses, provided me with a great opportunity to cut our cable service and explore online TV.
I have for a long while now used computers as the backbone of my home media network but never for TV. So the day has arrived for me to completely buy in. To do this I have chosen a unique piece of hardware to be connected to my TV in the AlienWare Area 51-M15x. This is one of my favorite pieces of hardware and I know it will succeed in this task.
My first observance was that not all the networks have all the shows I like available to stream online. Things like American Idol, The Big Bang Theory, a host of cooking shows I like etc are not to be found online. A host of shows on Disney my girls like are also not available. When I looked at iTunes and possibly subscribing to shows I found the cost to be too hard to swallow and a lack of up to date availability of some of the same shows.
The next problem I have encountered is not so much a problem then a frustration. There is no good software online that exists that blends all the online streaming shows I like into one nice guide and user-interface. Joost does some but not all, a new company Boxee TV does some but not all. Both get close and are useful but I am yet to find something that brings it all together in one elegant guide and UI.
So what I have resorted to doing to make the process as quick and painless as possible is to bookmark direct links to my favorite show pages in my browser. So in this case a wireless mouse is my remote.
So far it has not been to bad. I actually have found myself watching more shows then just the ones I like to see whether I like them or not.
I have also greatly enjoyed the Netflix streaming direct to my PC.
All which leads me to my next discovery. A company I heard about at CES called Allio TV which has built into the TV a fully function PC. I am getting one of these for our Lab in order to give it the full hands on treatment but I have high expectations.
I will continue to post feedback on this adventure. There is a lot to be done but I do feel that many of the experiences show a ton of potential more capable computing devices show up in the digital living room.