Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten Ten Ten

I seem to remember saying something about checking to see if I were still alive if I forgot about 10/10/10.  In order to avoid needless checks of my pulse, here it is.  I remembered.

The idea of ridding myself of the TiVo HD is still on the table.  At games night on Friday, Emil suggested that I look at Blu-Ray players that have Internet capabilities.  I did, but was not terribly happy with the outcome.  It seems that all these devices are not really autonomous devices accessing specific services, but rather they connect to a consolidator (for lack of a better term) that translates from the menu-driven interface on the device to the service that you wish to view (like Netflix or YouTube), and they all have varying levels of support for different services.  Roku, while supporting a very large number of services, pretty much does the same thing (see below for some unpleasant surprises with that).  Therefore, if one of these services goes away, then so does the ability to use your Internet-ready capabilities with this device.  It also means you are at the mercy of the provider as to what is presented and how it is presented.

That brings me to my next comment:  Ads.  I was looking at Roku's terms-of-service and apparently they slipped in a phrase saying that they reserve the right to insert ads into the service at any time, and they also reserve the right to remove or add features as they please.  This disturbs me.  If the content provider chooses to place ads into their content, then while I may not like it I have to accept that this is their way of gaining revenue.  However, there is no reason (technically, anyway) why a consolidator needs to do this.  The reason why the company that makes the Roku provides ways to access content is so that they can sell their box.  If the box can't get any content, then they wouldn't sell the hardware.  I'm not sure why this concept seems so foreign to people.  Now I know that Roku doesn't have ads on it right now, but then why do they have this in their terms-of-service?  Stop it now.  Stop it everybody.  Once you charge me for a piece of equipment, that should be your revenue stream.  If you feel that your product requires an ongoing service, then please bill me a reasonable amount for that service (I will not buy your product if that cost is unreasonable).  Don't play these dumb games with people.  Let's not even talk about the fact that they're collecting statistical information about people's viewing habits and selling that too.

This whole thing has me tired from thinking too much.  I am trying to resolve a home entertainment plan that addresses my sense of ethics without preventing me from viewing potentially useful and/or entertaining content.  My gut feeling tells me that the Roku is really the right way to go even with their disturbing terms-of-service clauses.

Aside from thinking about this and performing a 4-hour middle-of-the-night upgrade at work (that went very successfully, as far as I can tell) I have been trying to rest this weekend.  In a couple of weeks I'll be in a Prius headed for New York.  Wow.

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