Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
mbratch
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The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:13 am

Just thought I'd start a thread that lets everyone prognosticate regarding where video streaming boxes are really headed. I started thinking about this more recently due to recent discussions regarding Youtube restrictions, network websites not wishing to share most video with streaming boxes, the sneaky things Boxee Box does (I heard, for example, it might try to masquerade as a 'real PC' when fetching video streams... not validated)...

But this all left me wondering if the industry will eventually get behind streaming boxes in some way (as they are finally just beginning to do with electronic song distribution through iTunes, etc), or whether boxes, like Roku, will be suffocated and die on the vine in favor of some other mechanism. Or will only some major players be allowed to play, and some other smaller ones be strangled off. (e.g., I see more DTVs from Panasonic, et al, with built-in streaming video access).

Just musing... What do you think?
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BobRoberts
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:23 am

Like all new technology, ROKU (as well as the other streaming boxes) will go the way of the Commodore, Betamax, 8 track etc. I suspect within the next three years, due to apps being included on new TVs, devices like this will be nothing more than paperweights. Enjoy it while it lasts.
 
mbratch
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:52 am

lol... I had certainly considered that scenario. Good thing the Rokus are cheap. :)
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robertm
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:54 am

I think it is quite likely that cable and satellite will embrace streaming as they eventually did DVRs and we will see streaming options right from our DVR equipment. Dish Network is already embracing Google TV.
 
Desert Dingo
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:29 am

As reply by BobRoberts noted...The 'tech movement' is getting fast paced.

'Evolution-Revolution' has never stopped. Now it is a matter of 'who merges with who' and at what cost. The movie studios will never stop wanting huge dollars for product. The consumer always foots the bill. Hopefully the 'tech world' has shown others what is happening, so many of the 'fat cats' in industry will maybe have to 'play nice' with the other kids. Or at least fairly.

Roku has maintained a good product at a excellent price point, (so it really has been a good investment). I feel that other STB folks have their units way too high, (way too many problems) and limited lifespan because of 'evolution' pace.

The era of products lasting our grandparents 30 years before replacing, has long left the building!
 
DeftOne
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:30 am

robertm wrote:
I think it is quite likely that cable and satellite will embrace streaming as they eventually did DVRs and we will see streaming options right from our DVR equipment. Dish Network is already embracing Google TV.

And DirecTV has their DirecTV Cinema which lets you download over 6000 titles for no additional charge. It may not be streaming in the sense we're used to with the Roku or similar STB's, but I believe you can start watching before the download is complete, so it's somewhat similar. I can definitely see cable and satellite companies baking streaming into their boxes more and more in the near future.
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ddevonb
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:47 am

BobRoberts wrote:
Like all new technology, ROKU (as well as the other streaming boxes) will go the way of the Commodore, Betamax, 8 track etc. I suspect within the next three years, due to apps being included on new TVs, devices like this will be nothing more than paperweights. Enjoy it while it lasts.



One of the reasons why Roku will be around much longer than you predict was their decision to allow anyone to develop programming for it. That's why there is well over 150 channels currently for Roku while there are relatively few for the other streaming boxes and TVs with streaming.

Unless the TV manufacturers come together and establish a standard that they all use which includes open development, Roku will continue to grow.

Many millions of people have already invested in an HDTV that does not have streaming. Very few of those will replace their TVs simply to get streaming. Right now TV's with streaming may be attractive for those who are buying a new HDTV, but that is a relatively small % of the market compared those who already own HDTV set. When current HDTV owners are look to replace their sets they may consider those that stream... but most people keep their TVs for a long time until they malfunction.
 
robertm
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:47 am

DeftOne wrote:
robertm wrote:
I think it is quite likely that cable and satellite will embrace streaming as they eventually did DVRs and we will see streaming options right from our DVR equipment. Dish Network is already embracing Google TV.

And DirecTV has their DirecTV Cinema which lets you download over 6000 titles for no additional charge. It may not be streaming in the sense we're used to with the Roku or similar STB's, but I believe you can start watching before the download is complete, so it's somewhat similar. I can definitely see cable and satellite companies baking streaming into their boxes more and more in the near future.



Comcast doesn't even require that you record some of your shows on the DVR anymore. You can watch many of them on-demand.

Dish has not caught up with DirectTV but they are certainly getting into the streaming market themselves with movies and TV programming. I hooked up the wireless USB adaptor to see what they had, it wasn't great, but it is a start. They are the first to fully integrate with Google TV which enables search of your DVR and internet streaming options.

If mainstream USA views streaming as a companion product to give us a bigger selection than we find in normal programming, it stands to reason that cable and satellite will want to fill that need. I wouldn't even be shocked to eventually see one of them deliver Netflix content for a monthly fee.
 
robertm
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:53 am

ddevonb wrote:
BobRoberts wrote:
Like all new technology, ROKU (as well as the other streaming boxes) will go the way of the Commodore, Betamax, 8 track etc. I suspect within the next three years, due to apps being included on new TVs, devices like this will be nothing more than paperweights. Enjoy it while it lasts.



One of the reasons why Roku will be around much longer than you predict was their decision to allow anyone to develop programming for it. That's why there is well over 150 channels currently for Roku while there are relatively few for the other streaming boxes and TVs with streaming.

Unless the TV manufacturers come together and establish a standard that they all use which includes open development, Roku will continue to grow.

Many millions of people have already invested in an HDTV that does not have streaming. Very few of those will replace their TVs simply to get streaming. Right now TV's with streaming may be attractive for those who are buying a new HDTV, but that is a relatively small % of the market compared those who already own HDTV set. When current HDTV owners are look to replace their sets they may consider those that stream... but most people keep their TVs for a long time until they malfunction.



I agree with part of what you said. I doubt many people are going to switch up TVs to go with streaming TVs. I doubt I will buy another TV for a good 6-7 years since I have recently upgraded mine.

The part that seems to be floundering is the channel store. It is starting to come to light that most people seldom leave Netflix. There are developers here that have stated that hardly anyone has ever even clicked on the information about their channel inside the store.
 
stratcat96
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:11 pm

robertm wrote:
I think it is quite likely that cable and satellite will embrace streaming as they eventually did DVRs and we will see streaming options right from our DVR equipment. Dish Network is already embracing Google TV.


and they'll all jack up their prices even more because of it. Cost is a huge driving factor for markets seeking out alternatives to cable and satellite, that's why streaming is as popular as it is in the first place.
 
airwalker82
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:19 pm

Roku offers many channels and the opportunity for many more that streaming TV's, Blu-Rays, etc. do not offer. The selection is very limited on these and many other streaming devices. I think Roku has made the right decision to keep things open source, although I think that's becoming somewhat "policed."
The biggest step forward Roku can take is to update their UI. It will then be even more appealing and marketable to the general public. I think internet connected TV's are here to stay, but I agree with others that there are a lot of folks out there, such as myself, that won't be buying a new TV with those capabilities for a while and even if I did, I would still be using the old TV somewhere and have my Roku hooked up to it.
 
robertm
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:41 pm

stratcat96 wrote:
robertm wrote:
I think it is quite likely that cable and satellite will embrace streaming as they eventually did DVRs and we will see streaming options right from our DVR equipment. Dish Network is already embracing Google TV.


and they'll all jack up their prices even more because of it. Cost is a huge driving factor for markets seeking out alternatives to cable and satellite, that's why streaming is as popular as it is in the first place.



We don't really know that though, do we? Is it popular because people are seeking alternatives or because people are looking for complimentary services? It was definitely the latter for me. In a recent interview even Wood said that streaming only accounted for a third of normal TV viewing time for the average roku owner.
 
mbratch
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:54 pm

stratcat96 wrote:
robertm wrote:
I think it is quite likely that cable and satellite will embrace streaming as they eventually did DVRs and we will see streaming options right from our DVR equipment. Dish Network is already embracing Google TV.


and they'll all jack up their prices even more because of it. Cost is a huge driving factor for markets seeking out alternatives to cable and satellite, that's why streaming is as popular as it is in the first place.

What makes streaming (Roku in particular) attractive to me is choice: I can choose when I want to watch something, and I can choose which things I want to pay for. I get neither of these with cable. So for me, it's not a matter of getting licensed content for free, but only paying fairly for the content that I care about (i.e., I hate paying for a huge bundle of channels of which I watch only 3).
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tobarefeet
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:17 pm

robertm wrote:
ddevonb wrote:
BobRoberts wrote:
The part that seems to be floundering is the channel store. It is starting to come to light that most people seldom leave Netflix. There are developers here that have stated that hardly anyone has ever even clicked on the information about their channel inside the store.



I don't see these boxes lasting more than a couple more years, 4-5 tops. TV manufacturers are now and will in future work with online providers to bring the experience in a meaningful way. Once Uncle Bob in Peoria can watch Youtube in HD on his HDTV like he can The History Channel, Roku/Boxee is virtually dead. The twist in this is quality. If the typical stream doesn't improve a lot for HDTV, and I mean a lot, then streaming in general will die (via tv or boxes) except for the Netflix's - for the Uncle Bob's in Peoria.
As far as the channel store.... I mean no disrespect ahead... but really, how many podcast channels do we need? There are a ton of channels showing the exact same thing with minor variations. How many old B-movie/tv channels do we need? How many Indian channels do we need? My point in this is that I know there are people watching all of them, and there are some people that love those channels and I think that is great. I'm grateful to the channel developers. But of the 150 channels, the vast majority overlap many other channels. It is what it is.
As I've mentioned in the past -- and yes, I know that the developers can only work with what they are provided, but 90 percent of the channels don't look good on HDTV. That is the simple truth.
Until the quality of the typical channel like Livestation (not picking on them) is akin to quality of Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, and even Koldcast, then it's going to stay as a sub-culture.
 
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gonzotek
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Re: The future of streaming players

Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:49 pm

tobarefeet wrote:
I don't see these boxes lasting more than a couple more years, 4-5 tops. TV manufacturers are now and will in future work with online providers to bring the experience in a meaningful way. Once Uncle Bob in Peoria can watch Youtube in HD on his HDTV like he can The History Channel, Roku/Boxee is virtually dead. The twist in this is quality. If the typical stream doesn't improve a lot for HDTV, and I mean a lot, then streaming in general will die (via tv or boxes) except for the Netflix's - for the Uncle Bob's in Peoria.
Unless they choose a universal standard, the tv manufacturers will have to work with each online provider individually to get that provider's content. Without standards (e.g. like what NTSC, ATSC, QAM do for video distribution, and http does for web distribution), each content provider has to rebuild their interface for each tv manufacturer, and if an awesome new provider comes along after your tv stops getting firmware updates (which in many cases is immediately after you purchase it) how will you access them? Buy a new tv? The Roku sdk could be an answer to the problem: what if tv manufacturers could choose to license the Roku software stack and channel developers could then count on their code working in any "Roku-powered" device?
As far as the channel store.... I mean no disrespect ahead... but really, how many podcast channels do we need? There are a ton of channels showing the exact same thing with minor variations. How many old B-movie/tv channels do we need? How many Indian channels do we need? My point in this is that I know there are people watching all of them, and there are some people that love those channels and I think that is great. I'm grateful to the channel developers. But of the 150 channels, the vast majority overlap many other channels. It is what it is.
As I've mentioned in the past -- and yes, I know that the developers can only work with what they are provided, but 90 percent of the channels don't look good on HDTV. That is the simple truth.
Until the quality of the typical channel like Livestation (not picking on them) is akin to quality of Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, and even Koldcast, then it's going to stay as a sub-culture.
I'll quote one of my favorite authors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgeon's_Law
I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud.

Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. are crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.

How many useless cable/sat channels are packaged along with the ones you might actually want to watch? Even better, how many websites exist that you'll never even have a chance to visit, let alone decide aren't worth your time?
Remoku.tv - A free web app for Roku Remote Control!
Want to control your Roku from nearly any phone, computer or tablet? Get started at http://help.remoku.tv
by Apps4TV - Applications for television and beyond: http://www.apps4tv.com

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