Which OS will you let onto your TV first?

Both Windows Media Centre and Apple TV have been on the market now for years and both have their loyal supporters.  For people who use Apple’s iTunes software, especially to download and play TV shows and movies, the ability to be able to play those on your TV via a small set-top-box is very compelling.

Windows Media Centre users have had a much rougher time of it.  I myself have used Windows Media Centre as my only way to get TV and video onto my living room television since 2003.  Back then it was an incredibly painful experience and, fortunately now, is almost completely pain free.  I say almost because Windows 7 is still not the embedded operating system that allows for pain-free set-top-boxes running it.

Oh yes it is!  Only recently Microsoft announced an embedded version of the OS that includes Media Centre and, while there are no set-top-box (I’m gonna get sick of saying that soon) devices yet announced by manufacturers, we can be sure that some are on the way.

But today Google have thrown their hat into the ring with a new STB (let’s just call it that!) by Sony that will run their new Smart TV service.  This will allow people to search, because it’s Google and search is what they’re all about, for both live channels and web content including YouTube for interesting videos.

The box will also allow people to download applications which is interesting, because several TV manufacturers have already expressed interest in having widget-enabled TVs in their product lines.

Despite the popularity of Apple TV and Media Centre, Google’s offering probably stands the best chance of coming built into new television sets, because of it’s platform-agnostic offering, and the fact that you can simply plug your TV into your broadband connection and use it independently to browse the web on its own.

So which will you allow into your living room first, if at all?  I’ve set out my stall and I’m kind of stuck with it now, but even so I’m looking forward to having a proper STB running Windows 7 Embedded.

Apple will need to raise their game to compete against both offerings and finally I believe Google is coming up with a new, first generation product that genuinely stands head and shoulders above the competition.

This is going to be an interesting fight for your front room.

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4 Responses to Which OS will you let onto your TV first?

  1. JoeMomma May 20, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    Buy a WD Live! Player and stream your media to your tv using Windows 7 media pushing technology!!!

  2. Mohammed May 21, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    For me I see WMC useless, because you need to be an US resident to take a full advantage from this. I honestly, need WMC or WMP to be featured as itunes, which you can buy and download TV shows, or Movies and so on. I’m a Microsoft loyal customer, and I don’t want to download anything from Apple (itunes, Quicktime), because i notice they slowdown my system. I would admit that itunes is the best and most trustful online movie shop over the Internet I’ve ever experienced. For example, they were the only online shop who offered downloadable Prison Break as a full season. We need Microsoft to do simply like that for the whole world not only for the US.

  3. Adrian Moss May 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    For quite some time I was an avid AppleTV user, hardcore no less. All of our audio and video delights were catered for through Apple / an iMac and AppleTV. But then came a crunch.. I wanted to have that same experience in the bedroom and the kitchen.

    For a while, we moved the AppleTV to the bedroom and the iMac to the kitchen, but this left the living room without content. This is not a good idea when you have a small child to entertain!

    Then a bomb-shell, no live TV in the bedroom. Wireless wouldn’t work, TV extenders failed, it is as though that room is painted with lead. Sure we could run cables through the house, but how messy is that! Sadly, the AppleTV would not provide live TV either.

    Fortunately we acquired an Xbox and found that we could put our DVDs into WMC on 7 (7MC as it’s commonly called,) with great ease and pump them out to the TV in the living room via the Xbox. But this left us with a problem – there was no way of having the Apple content feed through because of ridiculous DRM mechanisms and it became messy having to keep iTunes and Media Center updated to match on non-DRM.

    Then we installed a couple of TV tuners to the PC; 7MC really came to life. Now we could record our favourite shows that we missed without having to buy them on iTunes! But alas, there was no way to keep the two systems in sync without causing myself more work and my family more stress.

    We purchased a couple of DMA 2100 Media Center Extender’s from eBay for under $50, awesome – this solved the bedroom and the kitchen. We solved the no-wireless and no-tv in the bedroom by using a couple of Ethernet over Electricity boxes.

    We now have a completely 7MC based system that feeds through to all three rooms via extenders, has only one place that I need to manage our content, TV can be watched and recorded in any room. Child entertained, wife happy, my only wish now is that I could have un-DRM’d all that content we purchased or at least got my $1000+ back!

    As for the iMac and AppleTV… they have a new home with another guy from eBay.

  4. Jannie Kirsten May 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    You’re forgetting about Mythbuntu… I would use that…WMC on Windows 7 is awesome though…I’m using it on my 17″ notebook for movies in bed.

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