Sunday, February 27, 2011

Connecting the Television to Internet Content

We have two TVs in the house with two different setups. Although we're disconnecting the cable TV, we still have broadband internet.

The primary television is in the Game Room. There is:
  • a 46" flat-screen LCD TV
  • a dvd player
  • a Wii
  • a Lenovo Q700 computer with a wired internet connection
The computer is connected by HDMI and runs Win7 with the usual stuff, plus Playon.

The second TV is in an entertainment center at one end of our dining room. The whole setup consists of:
  • A 27" flat screen LCD TV
  • a dvd player
  • a vcr
  • a basic Roku box with wireless connection to the internet 
  • an antenna, which I almost forgot to mention because I just added it yesterday.
The Roku is a device from Netflix that allows streaming to the TV. Mine is connected to the TV by HDMI but there are other connections available. I have access not only to Netflix Instant but also Amazon VOD, YouTube and a host of other channels to bring content from the internet to the TV.

Playon is software that allows me to stream internet video to supported devices. That is, it goes out on the internet to get my show, converts it to a format my device can display and transports it wirelessly to my device. It doesn't have to run on a computer connected to the TV; that just happens to be the way I have it set up. Through PlayOn, I stream Hulu, prime time programs, my own video files and a stack of other channels. Mostly I stream to the Roku but I have at least five other devices that are compatible.

The antenna provides about ten amazingly clear local HD channels and two that are not so good. Ten channels is not so much but tells me there are only 13 in my area, what can you do? I still need to put an antenna on the Game TV.

All this access and all these channels, how is this going to limit how much TV the kids watch? Well, honestly it's not really an issue of how much they watch. They play outdoors plenty. They have good grades, they have lessons on two instruments each and the lifetime sports to play. If it's miserable outside and their chores are done, don't hate me but I don't care if they veg out in front of the TV for a day. In fact, I'm fully supportive of weekend Star Trek Marathons (if only they would share my enthusiasm.)

What matters to me is that 1) they choose what they watch and 2) the advertisers don't get more influence than I do. I suspect that if they have to think about what to watch, sometimes they'll just do something else. Time will tell. I will let you know.

1 comment:

  1. Worked that way here. We did a 6 month cable hiatus w/NO TV-cancelled Comcast. Full tuneout.

    I kept the 'social room/hub central' at Shaping Youth HQ about a mile away IF we wanted to watch something as a large screen 'event'...Kinda fun; like goin to the movies, popcorn and the works.

    Oddly enough, even tho she had 'access' to TV via small screen of mobile or tablet computer, she didn't use it, only used SM/text.

    Successfully jolted her out of the 'veg out in front of nothin' habit (which was MUCH more than a rainy day at one point in time, now it's a shoulder shrug, and back to being in a 'decompression' random day/mega-marathon once in a blue moon context)

    Shutting off the cable those months shifted her priority; changed the channel of influence, and despite all the guff back then, NOW she readily admits it was a 'time sink' and she's glad we did it as it altered her 'default' system. Next experiment? The phone. ;-)