Apple TV, Tivo and Vudu

With the announcement of the revamped Apple TV I have been thinking about the future of entertainment in the Williams family room. Currently we have a Tivo Series 2, a cable company supplied Motorola HD PVR, a DVD player, and a mac mini hooked into my overweight 34" Sony HD Trinitron.

The Mac mini is home to our family videos, iTunes purchase, and 26GB of family photos. I purchased one movie ( Happy Feet ) just to try our the Amazon Unbox feature on the Tivo but was disappointed that I am now able to separate adult content from G content with the TiVo Kids Zone feature.

The cable provided Motorola HD PVR? What a piece of crap that thing is! The user interface is not intuitive and has an annoying delay. Aarrgh!!! Cable, please force Motorola to license technology from TiVo or Apple. PLEASE!!!

I have been torn between what I see are the three major choices to bring me to entertain happiness; namely the Vudu, Apple TV and Tivo with Amazon Unbox.

With TiVo HD I can record standard def or HD broadcast content, buy or rent movies though the partnership with Amazon Unbox, stream content from another PC or Mac in the home, or view sideshows from photobucket or Google's Picasa Web Albums. Amazon Unbox on Tivo is not HD though.

With VuduI have instant access to 1080P HD quality content but lose the recording or music features and will have no access to existing content.

However the other options mentioned also do no allow me to move my purchased or other content around my devices ( PC, Mac and iPods ) at will. With Apple TV I get everything the TiVo has to offer except for broadcast recording.

Will Apple upgrade Front Row and iTunes on OS X so that I can bring similar capabilities to a mac mini? Can I have my cake and eat it too if I price out a Core 2 Duo mac mini with an Elgato device? Those are the questions keeping me from making any purchases at this time.

I think I am going to cry.

I think I am going to cry. What is going on? All of a sudden ( or maybe not ) openness appears to be hip. Open Source, OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial and DataPortability. Now Comcast has announced support for an initiative to make the cable platform open. The OpenCable Applications Platform.

...developers only have to write one version of an application, and it will work on almost every cable system in the United States as well as in other countries.

This is something I have been recently advocating for some time ..... Tears of joy.

Comcast also has worked with Panasonic to develop a “plug and play,” interactive-digital-cable-ready TV set, with tru2way technology inside. Consumers simply bring the set home from the store and plug it in to begin receiving all available interactive cable services – no set-top box is needed because it’s built into the TV. Customers also will only need one remote to be able to watch their favorite programs with Comcast’s HD and On Demand services.

LCD Lust

I know it is irrational. But..after seeing the new line of Bravia LCD HD televisions from Sony I have a powerful urge to replace my 2 year old Sony HDTV. I know I just bought my TV but these Bravia are sweet. Sigh! Maybe if money was no object I would. The 46 inch Bravia XBR is just perfect for my family room.Sony BraviaWhile I’m at it I might as well admit my lust for the new Blu-Ray high definition DVD players from Sony. The BDP-S1 is a beautiful looking machine. I had the opportunity to watch 30 minutes of SpiderMan 2 on Blu-Ray at the Sony Store in Menlo Park (NJ) and I was quite simply blown away. Wow!