What is the ultimate media center... I'm intrigued by the lack of cohesion of the entertainment devices in our living rooms, and I am sure the complexity is so that shops can sell more appliances.
- Most freeview boxes are dumbed down, and any PVR (Personal Video Recorder) function is limited, requires a thumbdrive, and a large navigational sequence to find your content, plus decode the filenames which might just have a TV channel number with a timestamp.
- TV's now include EPG (Electronic program guides) and smart apps like smart phones. They allow you to play content off a USB drive, or to pause live TV onto the same device. But they don't offer PVR recording or if they do, they don't offer "series link" and only have 1 tuner, so can only record/watch 1 channel at a time.
- PVR's like Tivo and MySky and MagicTV, give you the series linking capabilities, but tend to use proprietory file formats, so that you can't easily access that content from other devices in your home.
- MySky costs the earth. Tivo is now hard to come by from anywhere that might offer a warranty or trust in the purchasing process.
- Igloo, Sky's new answer to freeview, i had hoped might be a contender. But alas, they did not include the PVR and Series linking features. Perhaps a purposeful decision to keep people on mySKY.
- Content on demand is the way of the future for many, but it doesn't offer high definition (HD) that I enjoy on my 54inch TV. I want to watch the nightly news in HD, but I want to watch it when i have finished cooking dinner. So I really need that terrestrial signal with PVR and series linking, so that i can watch the news when i want, plus record other great series on these channels.
- AppleTV doesn't have a tuner, not sure what happened to Google TV, and MS media center has been promoted for years, but what happened to it. Why does no one sell off the shelf MS option?
My hope for the future
What i really want is a TV (or setup box) with the following top level menu:
- Watch live TV ( from multiple sources, terrestrial, satalite, internet, pay tv, all via a standardised EPG)
- Watch TV/Movies on demand (with a standardised content search system)
- Setup series linking of TV programs from the EPG, preferablly with Tivos cool feature to automatically delete the news recordings after 48 hours.
- Watch prerecorded PVR content (with clearly named programs, with option to keep episodes from a series together like in Tivo)
- Watch other video content, home movies etc (via directory structure)
- Access this device, with full menu and content streaming, on any tablet or phone in the house.
- Setup series linking from afar via smart phone/web.
Is it too much to ask? All of the technology has been around for years, but no one has packaged it together.
If you have any tips or suggestions on the ultimate media center, please do reply.
I am awaiting a custom XBMC build as we speak.