A startling and confusing array of Internet TV devices have been launched over the recent months, all competing to be your gadget of choice for getting internet content onto your TV. Even more confusing to most folks is why they would want such a device since none of them gives us access to the full web we see on our computers. I was in the middle of drafting another diatribe on the topic when I came across this series of posts from Tim Higgins over at Smallnetbuilder.com: http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/multimedia-voip/multimedia-voip-howto/31346-diary-of-my-switch-to-internet-tv-part-10-internet-tv-boxes-bah-humbug
That link is to his most recent post where he comes to the same conclusion I have: Its all a big waste unless deals are cut with the content companies. He comes to another conclusion that the best device for watching internet content on your TV is still the computer. Apparently, content license owners are coming to the same conclusion and exerting more control over what they make available online. Just tonight, my wife and I sat down to watch back episodes of a show a good friend turned us onto - The Big Bang Theory - and we've become hooked on. Its not on Hulu, Netflix, CBS (who broadcasts it), and though it shows up in Amazon's VOD service, you get this annoying message:
It's a not so subtle reminder of who, exactly, is in charge of what we watch, when. Like it or not, our options are to wait for the license owners to come around or work around them and be labelled a "pirate." As nifty as the Internet TV devices are, technologically, I don't want to be in tonight's situation of searching all over, site by site, only to be thwarted by someone else's "licensing agreements." And, as Tim Higgins points out, even the best of the available devices still have their bugs to be worked out.