Face it – no matter how much we all complain about the lack of quality programming on television, that magical box in the middle of the room still has the power to make hours disappear.
Much has been written on those that are attempting to “cut the cord” with their cable or satellite provider and acquire their TV fix through the Internet. This cutting is indeed happening, but it isn’t affecting the cable or satellite provider as badly as the corner video rental store.
If there is a starting point to having quality content streamed onto your television set it would be inside of your video game console. The Xbox and/or PS3 already have a prime location in your living room connected to your home theatre.
They where always built as movie machines with native capabilities to play DVD and Blu-Ray disks. That function is evolving with apps from companies such as Netflix that open up more possibilities. Some parts of Canada have the option of using their Xbox with their cable company to get all of their television channels.
While the video game consoles are capable of amazing picture and sound, the overall experience does feel rather clunky. To watch anything you need to power up the device, run the the app, then then use a gaming controller with unhelpfully labelled buttons such as A, B or X, O to run the video. This can be confusing for people that are not used to the process.
Luckily, you can connect other devices to that big screen that are far easier to use. Streaming media devices such as Apple TV and Roku are designed to be fast and easy.
These devices are capable of playing streaming movies, plus playing music and displaying pictures.
Apple TV is certainly the big leader in this category thanks to its aggressive price and ease of use. New upgrades to Apple TV have made significant improvements with connecting it to other devices in your home.
A personal favourite is the Sling Box. This nifty little device works best when connected to your home cable and network. It has a built in tuner that allows you to view your cable channels on almost any device through the Internet. The box is fast and easy to use plus the familiarity of your home cable lineup makes the learning curve surprisingly short.
Not to miss out is watching TV and movies on your tablets, laptops, computers and smartphones. You are more options here than with any other device. Subscription services such as Netflix provide tons of on-demand programs. There is a ton of emerging programs coming online all the time from traditional broadcasters, distributors and brand new creators that are pushing the limits.
We are watching more TV all the time. For example, a recent study shows that Netflix subscribers are not “cutting the cord” as many think, they are actually watching more overall TV.
Perhaps now that summer has arrived in Canada, this should be the time to watch a little less TV and spend a little more time outdoors. But not to worry, all of these products will be waiting for your return in the winter.
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