Want Internet TV in your living room? You have some options, but nothing perfect just yet.
Open distribution of video has already had a profound impact on the entertainment industry, but we’ve yet to see widespread adoption of devices that span the last mile, sending video content distributed over IP directly to the TV. The latest announcement from Nintendo is much too little way too late.
As Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee notes, Wii, with its “gesture driven remote,” could be the device of choice for many users, but not without more content. Nintendo has opted for a walled-garden offering of family-friendly content that’s unlikely to spur major interest.
Similarly, Microsoft developed exclusive content for XBox 360, but users can also connect to Hulu, Netflix and other TV-over-IP providers with an add-on software package called PlayOn, which also works on Playstation 3, HP MediaSmart TV and a device called PopCorn Hour.
Apple has its own library of walled-garden licensed content, but risk-takers can also access Hulu, Netflixs and other internet video providers with an uncertified Boxee plugin for Apple TV.
Roku has developed a set-top player with Netflix, and I’ve heard rumblings that they are anxious to engage Hulu too, but so far, it’s offerings are too limited for me.
There’s also TiVo Cast which engages an already large base of subscribers with a similarly limited selection of internet content.
Do you use a set-top device? If so, which one, and what do you think?
Will set top boxes and the software packages built to access web TV become vertically integrated, or will we see competition among both hardware and software providers? Why have device manufacturers been so reluctant to embrace unfettered access to internet video?