Thursday, October 2, 2008

How Many Boxes Can Fit On The End Of Your TV?

Dateline - The year is just a couple years in the future. Quick, check your connections; how many "boxes" are connected to your TV? In the past it was the cable box, a DVD player and perhaps still a VCR. And some TVs were just connected directly to the cable or even an antennae. But let's assume it is post 2/17/09 and most every TV is connected to either a cable box or digital converter box. In addition, their may be a Wii or PS3 or Xbox or all three. Their is still a DVR or even a Blu Ray, unless your happy with your "game" box playing your HD DVDs. And perhaps you have a Roku, Vudu, a Tivo, or some other box to connect to your internet downloads. And worse still, all those different remotes are lined up on your coffee table. Now which one turns the TV on and how do I switch from one device to another. It can make your head spin. The good news, Tivo is becoming available on your Direct TV and Comcast box, Roku attaches to the web and some of the new game consoles play your DVDs. Now if we can only simplify it even more.

Vudu Making A Splash

A number of articles on the new HD format now available through an internet connected device, Vudo, David Pogue of the NYT seems pretty impressed with the quality of the picture. "Vudu calls the service “HDX,” with video encoded at variable bit-rate in MPEG-4 H.264 in 1080p at 24 frames per second—the highest HD format currently defined." And while the download isn't instantaneous, iit iis certainly faster than the day or two wait that occurs to receive your DVDs in the mail from Netflix. We certainly have become a society that lacks patience.

One interesting discussion that Pogue makes is the 24 hour window that limits how long your rental lasts for. With Netflix, hold on to your DVD for as long as you like; although, their download policy is also one day. VOD has this same one day rule. Vudu offers the second day at only a dollar more. Still, Pogue has an ingenious thought, "The 24-hour window is absurd from the get-go — why should downloadable movies offer any less viewing time than a DVD rented from Blockbuster? It should be a three-day or seven-day window, period." Cable companies should consider this move as a competitive benefit.