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August 30, 2015

Why you probably don't watch downloaded video on your TV

by Brad Linder, posted Oct 5th 2007 5:30PM
Linksys media center extendersMicrosoft, Linksys, Niveus, D-Link, and HP recently announced the next generation of media extenders for Windows Media Center users. But here's the thing. If you've got a Mac, these things are useless and you'll probably need an AppleTV or similar device to watch downloaded movies and TV shows on your TV screen. And if you've got Windows XP (the non-media center version), you might prefer a different kind of box altogether for your streaming needs.

And that, in a nutshell is why you probably don't watch streaming or downloaded videos on your TV. It's just too complicated. If your computer is next to your PC, you probably need to buy a new video card that will let you run a cable from your PC to TV. And if you're like most people your PC is in a completely different room and you'll need to get a $300+ box which plugs into your TV so that you can stream video over your home network.

But as Techdirt's Tim Lee points out, shelling out the money for additional hadware is only the tip of the iceberg. You also need to find the right hardware for your operating system and software. If you download your movies from iTunes, Amazon, MovieLink, or Vongo, you'll need to make sure you have the right hardware to support your online video store of choice. And if you use multiple services, good luck. Oh yeah, and good luck trying watching Joost, VeohTV, Vuze, or Babelgum using a media extender.

While we don't expect everyone to start using the same video codecs anytime soon, it's interesting to note that Amazon, Apple, and other online music stores are starting to offer DRM-free music. Maybe one day we'll see the same thing happen with online video and as long as your hardware can support a wide selection of codecs, you'll have no problems playing any video on it.

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Chris Messer

I am no tech wizard, just buy a $69 Best Buy xvid capable DVD player, use rewritables....done deal. I have never had a video that doesn't work. Cheaper and easier than any of the forementioned setups.

October 09 2007 at 7:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brad Linder

I never tried to say that you couldn't watch any video you'd like in your living room today. My point is that doing so is beyond the means of most consumers. Until it's as easy as buying a cheap product that just works with no modification necessary, only the geekiest of geeks will be using media extenders of any sort. And that is why "you," meaning most of the people reading TV Squad probably don't have watch downloaded video on their TV sets today.

October 07 2007 at 8:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Apparently you've never heard of Xbox Media Center.

And that, in a nutshell, is why you have no idea what you're talking about. But hey, thanks for playing!

October 07 2007 at 4:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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