If you are old enough you remember the transition from Antenna to Cable and Dish and now to Streaming services. If you wanted to watch a movie you went to the movie theater and watched what was playing or maybe there was a Movie on a Major Network a couple times a week. We then had the opportunity to record what we watched with VCR Tapes and then CDs, DVDs and the Blueray Disks.
If you haven’t been watching all of that is about to change as distribution now turns to Streaming Content. Probably the first streaming provider that you tried was YouTube and most of its content has always been free. Lately more services like YouTube have been popping up but the most recent streaming services are providing professional content and often that also means paid content.
Consider this the transition from antenna to vcr took 25 years and it took another 30 years to transition to CDs and another 10 to DVDs and Blueray. This final transition has been in the works since the late 1990’s but studios didn’t really get involved until the introduction of Hulu back in 2007 and Netflix streaming in 2008. So it is getting close to that 10 year mark where a transition will begin.
Just this month Time Warner Cable and Comcast announced they will be replacing their set top boxes that depend on video signals and they will replace it with IP based Networked boxes and also support boxes like the Roku. Trials have already started. Distribution is limited to the cable company’s own network as of now you can’t buy TV service over IP from another company… with the exception of services like Sling.tv that is a Dish Network company which distributes IP Based Television to anyone.
Right now only about 10% of Netflix customers use their DVD by mail service. It still accounts for a large portion of their revenues but anyone with broadband has seemed to moved to streaming over waiting.
What Technology should you embrace for Streaming Television
This is a difficult thing to decide what technology will eventually be the best for streaming content to your television. Personally I like to stay away from proprietary devices that lock you into their selection of services so while the Roku and Smart TVs with technology from Apple and Amazon are nice to use for many people they just don’t provide the freedom to add services that an Android TV Box Does.
Eventually when Cable Companies finalize their selection those devices will be seeing the largest volume of manufacturing. They will also push standards that other devices must match if they expect to be compatible.
Right now Roku is working with cable companies but this is not to say their devices will be adopted. Roku is also a Linux Box and Android Boxes are Linux running Android on top.
Most likely if Roku technology is used it will be licensed and a third device will be manufactured by some unknown company that adds licensing and copyright technology that the studios require.
So for now if you are making a purchase make it based on your current needs. For me that is an Android Box because it works just like a Phone and it allows me to install any apps I want whether they be for streaming TV or Weather or even a copy of Office Applications that I can type up a document and print or email. I can also play movies and shows from my hard drive or stream them from any service available on Android. It seems like a good choice for me right now.
However if you have children or older persons in your home a Roku should be easier to navigate and like Android it does have support for devices like a SiliconDust Antenna Tuner for watching Live TV over antenna.
There are a number of choices out there and larger manufacturers like Apple probably won’t be going away. However Microsoft is not a player in this so what you will see from them is still up in the air. For now Microsoft is divesting from TV Services by removing Microsoft Media Center and support for TV Tuners and DVD players from Windows 10.
These advancements are always in the making. Sometimes companies play catch up and lose the ability to capture the market even if they have a better product. Windows Phones are like this .. I can’t say if they are actually better than Android or Apple Phones but the delay in release meant they lost their place in the technology and probably never will get it back at the level they dominate the desktop.