The future of television

I’m pretty darned happy with my new Roku, which enables me to watch Al Jazeera on my teevee instead of being glued to the computer.

Roku boxes are small and inexpensive, starting at $59. (I’ve seen them on Craigslist for $30. You can also get an Apple TV box, or watch Netflix through your kid’s PlayStation.) They have a lot of content, and they’re adding more all the time. I thought I’d be using their Netflix streaming instead of the Comcast premium channels, but I spend most of my time watching their free content – including Al Jazeera.

All you need to make this work is broadband. You install it on your teevee, register it online (so it can maintain your channel selections) and watch. Now I also get to watch YouTube on my teevee, which is a lot more freakin’ awesome than you might think.

Imagine having a huge library of BBC documentaries at your disposal — free. Live NASA stream. Just about any radio station that offers streaming. NPR podcasts. Food channels. The Onion Network. Original comedy like My Damn Channel. Japanese anime. Astro Boy. Those really old black and white cartoons, which I love. NHL and MLB (so far, no NFL.) Lots and lots of news!

Because Roku runs on an open source platform, developers are constantly adding new private channels (also free. And yes, they do have pay-for-porn.)

And those network shows you love? You can get them all, including the ABC and Fox shows that Comcast doesn’t offer through on-demand, for $8 a month through HuluPlus. (Or you can simply run an HDMI cable from your computer to your teevee, which is free.)

Tired of hotel TVs that only carry three channels? You can take it with you when you travel, too.

Anyway, for anyone looking to get out of the corporate media cable prison, here’s a glimmer of light.

11 thoughts on “The future of television

  1. we have had a roku for since last summer, and I cannot imagine ever going back to tv. I haven’t watched “new network TV” since last year. Comcast shut us off because we never bought the digital cable convertor box, even though our tv is cable ready and the internet cable was giving us the non-subscriber’s package.

    and the hulu channel on the roku sucks balls: you pay for hulu, which is fair, but hulu makes you watch ads, which is not.

  2. I love my roku.

    I’d add CDN 2 to the list of recommendations.

    Been watching the David Blight reconstruction lectures from Yale, and making a list of the other lecture series I want to see.

    (and Doc Martin from the netflix queue)

  3. If you don’t have cable, how do you get broadband at any kind of reasonable rate? I’ve been thinking about that. And I also went with cable phone, so there’s that….

    What is available? DSL sucked.

  4. Comcast runs the cable to my house, so I don’t know how to get around that. But I’d love to tell them where to put their cable TV. I’ll start researching.

  5. Also, Susie, can you have TV on more than one TV at a time? or in bedroom when, say, PC in at opposite side of house?

  6. If you wanted to watch on two different TVs, you’d need two boxes. And you’d need a wireless router to get the signal in another room, since it would be too far away to run an ethernet cable. Remember, though, if you have wireless signals, you can bring the box into the bedroom and use it there.

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