Digital media soup

Posted by Jeff Edsell on Jan 11, 2010 in Uncategorized |

So I’ve been trying to participate in this grand new push-button world of tomorrow by figuring out the best way to deal with digital media in my home. I do have an HDTV, so I can view digital media, but I’m trying to get a handle on corralling all of the sources in a way that’s convenient for couch viewing.

Here’s how things stand:

I have digital cable and a DVR though AT&T U-verse. I was a hardcore Tivo user since Tivo first came out, and I still feel it’s the absolute best DVR experience. But you can’t use a Tivo with U-verse, because U-verse is IPTV (that is, all of the television signals come in over my internet connection). In order to stick with Tivo, I would have had to buy an all-new HD Tivo, and stayed with the more expensive Comcast cable. U-Verse has some neat features of its own, like the ability to view DVR content from any cable box in the house, and the ability to record up to 4 shows at once. But Tivo has Netflix streaming, the ability to buy Amazon videos, and the ability to move shows to and from my computer over the network.

So I’m trying to compensate for the lack of accessibility of online content. I have an AppleTV, and while I like it, I don’t love it. It can show any video I’ve added to iTunes — but my iMac has to be awake with iTunes running for it to see everything. Hacks allow it to run XBMC and Boxee, but the processor is rather underpowered for those applications, making it a mixed bag. Also, Netflix streaming isn’t a part of Boxee for AppleTV, and likely won’t be. The AppleTV is essentially a Mac running an older version of the Mac OS.

If your eyes have glazed over by now, believe me, I get it. I really want some sort of all-in-one solution, or failing that, perhaps two discrete, simple solutions which target specific media.

My latest solution is to use two long cables to run digital audio and video directly from the iMac to the TV. It’s not a perfect solution by any stretch, but it does have the advantage of bringing just about any digital media to my TV. So my DVR can handle recording and playback of broadcast/cable shows, and the iMac can show everything else.

We’ll see how that works.

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