This post could’ve been titled “Media Center’s Internet TV – What a Joke” or “The Future of Video is Streaming?”.
Last night, since nothing was on TV I decided to try out Internet TV within Media Center since I’d never messed with it before. I manually installed Adobe Flash Player (I don’t understand why I have to keep going to the sites to install things; Media Center acts like it can do it within it but ends up failing…same thing happened when I had to install Silverlight for Netflix).
It shows stuff like The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, but then you find out it’s just clips. I think someone on here once pointed out the same thing; who wants to watch 1.5 ~ 3 minute clips of shows? So on to “Full Episodes” I go. My choices are MacGyver, the original Star Trek, CSI Miami and CSI: NY and a few others. Nothing really interests me, but I choose MacGyver ’cause I never watched that before, and I just want to see how well it streams. At first I get a message saying, “This video is taking too long to load, please try again later.” I’m thinking things are a bust already. Then it starts playing. Plays for a few seconds, pause, skip, play, pause, skip…every few seconds. So I don’t know if the problem is my slow connection, or because Flash is not hardware accelerated, or maybe the quality of the stream is too high for my connection. I rarely have this problem with Netflix (to my surprise). But I will say that the video quality looked a little better than Netflix. In fact, it looked as good as some of the non-HD digital channels that I receive OTA.
This could be a good thing if done right, but right now I don’t feel that it’s being handled correctly. Come on Microsoft, I’m sure you can partner up with more providers for more and better shows. I’ll forgive the skipping and stuttering; I’m sure that’s on my end. The other problem that I see is like what we talked about just recently with the HD streams from Netflix…even if we get something decent, it probably won’t be on the PC. All this talk about Media Center being in living rooms and being the center of entertainment is just crap. I wanted to have an all-in-one device when I started the whole HTPC thing. But as things move forward it seems like I’m going to have to have more and more devices in the family room.