For a long while now we haven’t watched any broadcast TV. This isn’t something we’re proud of or smug about, we just haven’t. In fact the only time we turn on the cable box is when we go out and want to provide the birds with some background blather. It’s an unusual house.
There are many reasons for this, and I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say that we are still telly addicts, but we just watch stuff we have either downloaded or have access to on demand. Up until last weekend we had a little PC under the TV: it was small, cuboid, and allowed us to play any of the terabytes of content I have backed-up to our fileserver. This was great although it was expensive to run and the “silent” fans were anything but.
The combined power of alcohol, desire and the simplicity of paying for shit on the Internet caused me to order a new piece of kit that had been recommended to me by a friend. It is now my favourite thing in the whole world: Roku.
When it arrived I thought there was some sort of mistake; the box was far too small. The Roku box is a tiny little thing that allows us to watch TV unavailable on any other outlet. We can watch any of Netflix’s live material, which includes a Comcast-smashingly huge array of excellent material. For example, since installing this lovely magic box, I’ve been able to watch League of Gentlemen, a bunch of Tom Baker Dr Who, The Third Man, Willy Wonka, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy TV Series, THX 1138, Blade Runner etc etc.
There are also a load of “channels” to which you can subscribe that provide a seemingly infinite amount of content ranging from original, interesting material to TheUsualOldShit(tm). For example I’m currently listening to Pandora, which is pumping out a bunch of music it thinks (correctly for the most part) I would like.
But the best bit is that this is a relatively “open platform”; not only does it run Linux, but it has a very lightweight, free, cross-platform, development environment that allows anyone to create their own channels. The upshot of this is that I can now play my own video/music collection on it, over the network.
The idea of having original content, created by anyone, excites me. People can even charge for it if they wish and some, including Amazon, already do.
If you have a Netflix account then cancel your cable and GET ONE!