Diary Of My Switch To Internet TV – Part 6 – It’s The Content, Stupid

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Tim Higgins

Not much has happened on my send-DirecTV-to-the-dumper quest since my last post in May (!). Except that the old Hughes standard-def Tivo-based DirecTV DVR that Ms. SmallNetBuilder has been using in her downstairs ultra-lounge finally died.

The hard drives had been sounding increasingly noisy of late and I had warned my lovely spouse that her downstairs DirecTV days were numbered. So I wasn’t surprised when she appeared in my office doorway earlier this week with the news that it finally died.

Of course I tried giving the old girl (the DVR, not my sweetie) a few whacks in case the problem was just a stuck hard drive. But it turned out that the power supply had given up the ghost (yes, I checked the soldered-on-board fuse).

Ms. SNB has taken to using Netflix’ Watch Instantly via our Roku HD box, which is still, by far the best platform I’ve used for accessing Netflix WI. But since the Roku is embedded in our main upstairs AV center, I pulled out a WD TV Live Plus and set it up in her downstairs lair for her viewing enjoyment.

So far, though, she ain’t likin’ it much, mainly because she’s still mourning the loss of all her favorite shows stuck on the dead DVR’s drives. Instead, I caught her the other day using our iPad to watch a show via HuluPlus.

I think her choice was more a reflection of the content available via HuluPlus vs. any dislike for the WD TV Live Plus, since she chose watching on the iPad’s smaller screen vs. her larger LCD set. Which brings me to the main point of this post.

Platforms and Content

There have been way too many articles, posts or whatever you want to call things people write these days about the battle for our hearts, minds and, eventually, wallets that is really starting to heat up.

The marketers are out in force, stoking the fanboy flames, all trying to dangle shiny new boxes and apps in front of us to convince us that their box / app / doohickey will give us the most wonderful entertainment experience, all courtesy of the Internet.

I haven’t been at the get-your-content-from-the-Internet game that long. But my gut (and business experience) tell me that all the bull-puckey that is being slung is making many of us focus on the wrong thing.

The tech wizards can eventually get the bits assembled correctly and make it all nice and pretty and even fun to use. But without the cooperation of the folks who create and own the stuff we want to watch, all those boxes and apps won’t be used much after people find out all the stuff they can’t still legally get.

The movie and TV industry will be damned if they’re going to let what happened to the music industry happen to them. And, so far, they’ve succeeded surprisingly well. Sure, there are those who get (mostly) whatever they want to watch from the torrents. But their numbers are small compared to the folks who are tied to the cable and satellite providers and faithfully pay their monthly pound of flesh.

I remain hopeful that I’ll be able to get the entertainment part of my monthly budget trimmed to a more reasonable level sometime soon. I certainly don’t expect it to drop to zero because quality content takes money to produce and the producers certainly should get paid.

But this isn’t a tech-based problem and the solution won’t be either. All we can hope for is that someone out there who doesn’t work for the studios is a damn good negotiator, has a big ol’ pile of money, or both. And some dirty pictures of the right person won’t hurt, either.

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