Here’s where we have some speed bumps. We’ve talked about the detachment. We’ve talked about conventional free television. Now we get into the part that makes this move more exciting these days. IPTV.
Now, IPTV as we know it today translates into your Hulu, CBS.com, Podcasts, iTunes downloads, Black20.com, Youtube, and so on… But the method for how you accomplish this will depend on a few things. That would be the hardware available to you, and your technical expertise.
The first method I broached was getting some computers resurrected from my own stash of hardware. At first, I had some success with an Athalon XP 1800. I realized I had the parts to get a Pentium 4 running, and proceeded to upgrade.
For reference, this is what I’m running:
Pentium 4 ~ 2.4 Ghz
512 MB RAM
Windows XP Professional SP3
In both cases, I formatted and loaded XP from scratch. Loading the newest Internet Explorer and little else.
Performance is key. If you’re sitting there and the framerate drops, or the resolution is worse than standard definition, you may have some issues enjoying your programs. When watching some shows from CWTV.com (Smallville, Reaper) there was no problem. But the videos didn’t run full wide screen, and a small player was installed into Internet Explorer. DailyMotion worked for the wrestling videos I catch up on. TNA Wrestling’s feed from SpikeTV’s site ran well enough. But Hulu. The big seller for this method, had issues. It was watchable, but Dennis Leary is sort of jerky as he bitches about the trials of a fireman. Finally, Hulu just released the new desktop player, with specs that outweighed what I had available as far as a spare computer.
So I decided to revisit an old friend in PlayOn from TheMediaMall
. This is an option to works out a little better for the rest. This method works by installing on your PC and works as a sort of bypass for content to your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Having my Xbox 360 on an HDMI cable and using my more powerful dual core laptop’s background processes makes this a bit more promising. I’ve sat here working away at my web work, blog writing, and general surfing as the same machine processed and passed off Hulu and Revision 3 content for the last four days as we caught up on our shows and explored some new content, such as Scam School
, and the old Buffy the Vampire Slayer
season 1. (Don’t judge.) The new plugin system that’s been implemented is what makes this even more intriguing. Revision 3 is the first official add on, but the message board leaves the door open to much more. I’ve added HGTV
and Food Network
(for Missy), GameTrailers
and Adult Swim
. It’s $40, and it requires that you already have this hardware, but if you’re a big enough of a technology buff that you frequent blogs like this, you’re probably a likely candidate for this. The shear volume of content is worth the one time access price. On top of what I use, you can access Amazon’s On Demand service, Netflix without an Xbox Gold account, (and on PS3), CBS, and ESPN content. I’m currently making sure all the bugs are worked out in the 14 day free trial, but that purchase is as good as made.
Is this the end all source of what you can do? Of course not. The most interesting thing is watching how these companies put themselves out there to see what sticks with consumers to deliver content to you. Keep an eye for what’s best for you.