A friend of mine has an Apple TV and…

One of the problems with iTunes, and video formats, and DLNA is that there’s not much in the way of cross platform compatibility.

Since this household is a mixed platform house. That means that we have multiple video formats, all of which play just fine on their respective computers.

The problem is that if you want to play a video that you’ve purchased on iTunes you can’t play that video directly on your 55″ DLNA enabled flat screen TV unless you have an appliance (Either Software or Hardware). Or you can root around behind your big ass tv that’s hanging so neatly on the wall and connect your computer to it then hope that you can get decent audio out of your computer to an amp or something.

I’ve done it. It’s a serious pain in the ass.

The other alternative is to reprocess all of your video files into whatever format IS playable from your DLNA enabled player. Time consuming, prone to error, and often you end up with degraded audio and video.

Here was my situation.

I have video stored on a main drive that acts as a media server. The video is shown as available to all the DLNA devices. In this case, the Xbox, the TV, and surprisingly the DVR satellite box. What’s annoying is that not all of the video will actually play on any single one of the devices. And NONE of them will play any of the video that I purchased from Apple.

So I’m playing around with my computer at a friends place and notice that he has an AppleTV thingy. Sure enough, if I can play the video in iTunes… I can direct it at the AppleTV and bang… I have video and audio. The really cool thing is that Once the link is made between my computer and the AppleTV, I can navigate the whole library from the AppleTV, I don’t have to mess with the computer other than to make sure it’s on and running iTunes.

LESS THAN 24 Hours after leaving my friends house…

I have an AppleTV connected to the TV in the bedroom. I’ll probably end up with another AppleTV in the living room connected to the big ass TV too.

As I’ve explored the AppleTV i’m impressed… I can access anything on Netflix, I can access not only my purchased Apple video on my computer, but I can also access those videos from the cloud.

AppleTV also has various networks pay per view offerings available. Which has lead to a discussion about the merits of keeping the Satellite service.

It breaks down like this.

I watch, exactly one sitcom.

Two or three adventure / drama programs from the networks

and BBC America

I’ll tune into The Simpsons but most of the other shows on Fox Sundays are… well Crap!

I watch the news, and SciFi channel. The news is always annoying, talking heads breathlessly decrying the latest atrocity or providing second by second commentary on the latest high speed car chase. (High speed?!?! Most of these morons never get above 100!)

I’ll watch the National Geographic channels, the history channel, and several of the learning type channels.

I’ll watch comedy central for SouthPark, or Futurama

I pay for Stars just so that I can watch Spartacus

I pay for HBO just so that I can watch True Blood.

So the question I find myself asking is this…

Am I getting value for the price I’m paying?

Survey SAYS!  Not really. At over 100.00 a month, it’s not really worth it to me.

Of the 300+ channels available to me I don’t watch most of them. I couldn’t care less about BET, or ION, or the Spanish language channels.

I’ve long thought that as a PAYING CONSUMER… I should be able to pick and choose those channels that I wanted. I shouldn’t have to buy a package or packages just to get the one or two channels from each package that I actually watch never tuning to ANY of the ones that I don’t.

I’m considering doing what my buddy and so many other people I know have done… I’m thinking that pulling the plug on my satellite box might be reasonable.

I was raised on TV I’m a child of the ’60s. I’ve never known a life without broadcast TV. I find myself wondering if taking complete control of what I watch and when I watch it isn’t a better option.

If I re-allocate the 1200 a year from satellite to Netflix, Hulu, BluRay, or iTunes purchases… That’s a lot of entertainment that I can suddenly afford to see, on my terms without commercials.

Of course I’ll miss the local news broadcasts… But I can get most news on the internet… Who knows I might just start reading the newspaper again….

Oh and to my friend who is the cause of all this, laughing his butt off in his office…


Remember I’m the one who usually causes the chaos… Be careful or I’ll remind you of a certain LaserDisk purchase…