Media companies have a tendency to fight progress to protect their obsolete revenue models. There are plenty of examples of this. Think back to Replay TV getting in legal trouble for it’s commercial skip technology or the cloud antenna sharing scheme of Aereo. These are a far cry from the much shadier subjects like Lars Ulrich’s fight against Napster where copyright infringement was a much less black and white matter.
Personally I think the decision against Aereo is wrong. I live in an area that is granted broadcast monopoly rights to certain locally owned networks. The geography where I live puts a 200′ ridge between me and the broadcast towers meaning even though I am “serviced” by that network, I have no hopes of ever receiving a signal from those towers. Nonetheless, they have the legal power to block me from alternate sources. In the past, before DirecTV carried all of the local network channels on their satellites, they had East and West coast feeds. However, they legally could not provide them to you without a waiver from your local stations. I bet you’re really surprised that my local stations declined to issue such a waiver.
In my past, I have embraced TiVo, ReplayTV, and Windows Media Center. After my first DVR, I was hooked. I didn’t stop there though. The storage in those DVRs were often extremely expensive. What would be a $50 price difference off the shelf if you were buying a hard drive turned into $200 in purchase price of the device. So, I got into the hobby of hacking those DVRs for myself, my friends, and my family. Using guides I found online, I’d double or quadruple the storage on these devices while keeping the factory software. The only cost was that of the replacement drive. I also got tired of the monthly subscription which had me switch to Media Center for a while before Microsoft Killed that product
Moving On To Streaming
I grew tired of enormous bills for Comcast for bundles I mostly didn’t enjoy (seriously, when are we going to be able to pick channels a la carte). I dropped pay TV (and by that decision local TV) for a year or so and relied on movies from Netflix and Amazon Prime. I even tried Hulu, but really, I didn’t want the commercials and my wife occasionally wanted to watch something on live TV (Superbowl anyone?).
Plex is an amazing service. I run my own server at home. It hosts my home movies, movie collection, saved TV shows, music collection, and digital photo library. It’s the defacto home media management service. There are Plex clients for iOS, Android, Xbox, Chromecast, Playstation, you name it. Properly configured, Plex will download metadata for your media to help make browsing it easier. It will transcode your files as needed so they will play as any device. It can even stream your live TV to you over the internet (along with any of your saved media). It’s a great service and I’ll dive into it more in a future post.
If you’re going to consume Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Plex, YouTube, etc., you need a streaming media player. I’m going to write more on these later but my main media streaming devices are a Roku box, Nvidia Shield TV, Xbox One, Chromecast, and various mobile devices.
So that’s an introduction to my media world. What questions do you have? What solutions have you found? Light up the comments section below!
Image Credits: Jason Eppink