Thursday, April 12, 2012

What's on Your TV?

They say the truth will set you free, but sometimes, not telling the truth can make you lots of money. - Christopher Elliott

When we got a house in late 2010 we weren't expecting have any kind of television other than the really old tube that Mrs.Chaos had, but as part of my family's dumping of extra stuff on us, I inherited my brother's ancient 50" plasma high definition television. It's a gorgeous Pioneer, but I call it ancient because it doesn't have any HDMI connections on it - just a combination of component and composite inputs.
We're true cord cutters - with no cable, satellite or even Netflix or Hulu+. Originally all we had hooked up was a Nintendo Wii and a first generation Apple TV. The AppleTV took a lot of curation to get it working as I was constantly re-encoding things to the proper format and adding them onto iTunes on the server. I did it - but boy am I lazy.
Not longer after, to my surprise, our mortgage company gave us a Bluray player and Google sent me a Logitech Revue. Both were HDMI, so I had the Bluray passthrough the GoogleTV's HDMI-passthru ports and then I bought a nice little HDMI-to-component. I ended up replacing my first generation AppleTV with the GoogleTV because GoogleTV let me stream off my computer using a DLNA server (MediaLink from Nullriver) in all sorts of formats without re-encoding or adding it into some content management system - I sure like having a nice cleanly formatted directory structure that's defined using a context free grammar. I had high hopes that the GoogleTV web browser would let me watch and other stuff. Unfortunately we cannot watch any of the TV websites. They are all blocked by the networks for somewhat confusing reasons.
When GoogleTV finally got around to upgrading from the bizarre original OS to using Honeycomb and including the Google Play store things got better! I was able to download a player (GTVBox) which allowed me to load straight of my SMB shares - and that includes loading off my Drobo which hangs as an AirDisk. Additionally GTVBox lets me do AirPlay video - so I can play videos off my iPhone, iPad, etc. I sure wish I could do screen mirroring!
So what does the future hold for me? I don't know! When Mountain Lion comes out this summer and I'm able to screen share directly from my Desktop Mac it seems like I'll finally replace the GoogleTV with an AppleTV. Unless some wiley GoogleTV developer creates an app that supports AirMirroring. Get on it guys!