It has now been over a month living cable-free and I am loving it. Not only am I saving money and watching far less “bad” TV – I define “bad” TV as that stuff you watch when you are just idly flipping through the channels – but I have gotten to really experience Boxee.
While there are now all sorts of ways to watch TV on your computer, I find Boxee continues to be the most comprehensive. Now, with the addition of the ABC web-content it is just that much better.
I think my favorite part is that I can navigate it almost entirely via my little Apple remote while sitting back in bed.
Even if you are still paying for cable, go download Boxee and get a pretty good taste of the future. My guess is that you will quickly begin to wonder just why you are still paying for cable.
Sure, it’s easy to pick on Microsoft, what with Apple making all those clever “I’m a Mac” ads (not to mention all those clever products). Still, it is hard to cut them much slack when you see something as monumentally lame as this long-form ad for their new DIY song-making software, Songsmith:
The saddest part is that the software is at least marginally cool. It certainly doesn’t replace authentic songwriting but it could be fun in a RockBand / Guitar Hero sort of way.
It’s hard to decide what is most surprising – that some company would actually pitch this as a way to sell Songsmith or that Microsoft execs allowed the video to be distributed once they saw the final results.
I love this story via BoingBoing‘s resident awesome guy Cory Doctrow about a publisher who locked up their ebooks with DRM, limiting how their customers could interact with the book they thought they had bought.
Unfortunately, the company that handeld the DRM has gone out of business and taken the license keys with them. This has led to the following F*ck-You from the publisher to their customers:
However, as noted above, other formats are delivered through third party aggregators. We do not have legal control of those third party servers. If those third party servers “go dark” for one reason or another, we have no way to continue delivering those files.
Yup, once again proving why any company who uses DRM cares less about their customers than they do about over-protecting their market-share.
In their latest attempt to hold onto their self-proclaimed crumbling empire, the major movie studios are forcing(?) NetFlix and iTunes to remove films from “watch-now” libraries when those same films reach their network TV release window.
This is absurd on so many levels, not the least of which is best put by CNet:
“Normally, release windows don’t affect retailers or video-rental services after they’ve begun selling or renting films. Warner Bros. doesn’t go into Best Buy and pull DVDs off the shelf when Comcast airs Casablanca. The corner Mom and Pop video store doesn’t surrender copies of Gladiator to Universal Studios when the film appears on ABC. But Internet stores are being treated differently. What this means for iTunes and Netflix customers is that movies will pop in and out of the services.” (via)
Not only does this not make sense, but there is no way that having the films available online is going to stop someone dumb enough to watch the edited, commericialed movie on netw0rk TV when they can just rent it – or easily find it on a BitTorrent site.
At the end of the day, this is the major studios once again doing everything in their power to make it a pain in the ass the watch the movies they make.
And they wonder why the pirates do so well. Here’s a hint: they meet the needs of their customers.
Since the powers the be at Boxee were kind enough to let me into the alpha test their cool new software I thought I’d share a few brief thoughts.
I am in the process of ending my relationship with my cable company (Time Warner Cable of NY/NJ) because it is so damn expensive and I am finding more and more of what I want to watch if available online even without the sort of “piracy” big media fears.
My first step was to replace my ancient 19″ not-flat, not-even-square, TV with an inexpensive 19″ flatscreen LCD monitor ($99 at Staples on sale). I am also getting myself the eyeTV device from El Gato.
So, last night, I hooked up my monitor to my MacBook Pro, fired up Boxee and within minutes was watching Sunday’s episode of American Dad (underrated show, I think). Not only that, but I was able to control the entire Boxee menu system with my tiny Apple remote!
The amount of content already available on Boxee was impressive and there is certainly more to come. Combined with my HD-over-the-air antenna, the ABC player and a few choice grey-law pirate sites there is almost nothing left I won’t be able to watch.
So, I spent a total of $200 to save a total of $90/month!
God, I really hope the rumor of a ZunePhone is true – I need new material for my one-man-show entitled OMG MSFT = FAIL. Zune Zune Zune
“WHAT DO YOU get if you take an Iphone, remove the clean UI, user friendliness, nice industrial design, battery life, cachet, functional OS, and in general everything else that makes it worthwhile? The new Microsoft phone, powered by Nvidia.” (via)
Oh, Microsoft, I do so love to hate you. Yet, I still use MSWord. I’m such a hypocrite. Sigh.
I have been an Apple/Mac user since I upgraded from my Atari 800 back in the ’80’s, I love the interface, the design and even the vague sense of superiority over my Windows brethren.
However, every now and then (and it feels like it is more and more often) Apple does something that is really a screw you to their faithful customers.
The lastest example is their incorporation of bullshit copyright “protection” built into the latest MacBooks:
“Buying an Apple computer? Get ready to throw away your monitor, over and over again. New Apple hardware is shipping with “HDCP” anti-copying technology that prevents showing some video on “non-compliant” monitors. Best part: the list of “compliant” monitors will change over time: the monitor you buy today can be “revoked” tomorrow and stop working.” (via BoingBoing)
Sweet, eh? The worst part of this is that it is a completely bogus protection since there is nothing in copyright law that makes it illegal for me to watch a movie I bought on a screen other than my built-in monitor. It’s just insane.
And it’s evil.