Saturday, January 11, 2014
TO ROKU OR NOT TO ROKU, OR SOMETHING ABOUT THE ROKU THAT DOESN'T SOUND CLICHE AND STUPID!
For Christmas, I got as a present recently, a Roku. What's a Roku? What's a roku with you? (I know that was lame, sorry.) Anyway, I'm sure most of you know what it is, basically, it's a device that, while there's channels in of itself that I'm adding as well, basically it's a device that allows for cable and mainly internet programs to go through your wi-fi, and help you be able to stream things from the internet, onto your television. My mom, thought it would be a good way to gets cable, onto top of the cable we have, which, frankly isn't much more than ten or five or six bad channels plus HBO and STARZ. It was a nice thought, and I have used it quite often, especially when there's nothing on TV, but for most of the time, while I occasionally scour movie channels for something or another, having ESPN is nice, I got to watch UNLV is a bowl game for the first time this century. But, mostly as far as I can, I basically have just switched from watching the things I used to watch in my room, on the computer, I now watch on the TV in the living room, outside of youtube, and the occasional thing on Netflix, was mostly the latest updates on "Storage Wars" and "Pawn Stars", when they get put up on their networks respected websites, and I'm catching up on "Project Runway All-Stars. I have Netflix, but for some reason, I have to get Hulu Plus to get hulu, and frankly I can't afford that. I mean, technically I have about 60 channels, adding more everyday, and I know hundreds, and maybe thousands more are available if I really scoured and searched, and I do, but frankly, mostly what I see with this new device is more confirmation to me that streaming is not the dominant format that people tend to think it is.
I know I've ranted on this a few times before, many times about how I'm one of the few people who don't believe that streaming will last, and is the future, and don't believe that Blockbuster's failures in particularly have much to do with the availability of streaming as it does, the inability of them to adapt, and yada, I'll post links below on some of my other thoughts I've had on this over the years....
However, just to change it up, I want to point out, a few advantages to the roku. For one thing, it's much easier to find things on it than the internet, and I'm sure other similar items do the same things, they already single out the numerous things that we might not be able to get to on internet, plus, one of my complaints about streaming is solved, as, all the places you can stream are basically a clip away, and I no longer have to search through all of them, to possibly find the thing or show or film I'm looking for, if it's available. Not everything my cable company provides on Roku, for instance, I only am now getting access to HBO GO, and you better believe that there'll be many "The Newsroom" marathons happening as soon as I can figure it out.
The problem is that, it isn't that much different than simply streaming on the internet, and the real issue is that, I still have to pay to get the majority of the premium material. (On top of having to pay for the wi-fi to begin with.) For instance, I'm not sure why I need to buy Hulu Plus in order to use Hulu on Roku. I don't pay for it on the internet, 'cause usually I only have to watch Hulu usually for newer stuff, and frankly, unless you're binging through shows and/or the Criterion Collection, there's no real need to get Hulu Plus in my observation, but I would like to catch that "The Michael J. Fox Show" I missed this week. There's a button for Amazon and MGo on my remote, and they're available, but they're the worst kind, they're pay-by-view, and hypothetically, if I were to say, be able to afford, to spend $1.99 for every episode of Pawn Stars, I guess I could do it. Or $5.99 or more for new releases. Basically, they're the video stores of the streaming world, you pay as you go, as oppose to Netflix, which is the reason I keep it, where I get the low rate, I get all the DVDs I need, usually, a bigger and better supply of product available, etc.
Sometimes I can find and search for things on the Roku that aren't widely available on Netflix, like really old TV programs. I was watching something called "The Celebrity Game" earlier, which was basically a really bad, really early version of what would become "Hollywood Squares" and "Match Game" type game shows, that was actually partially intriguing, but mostly to me, and for the documentation that it is. I mean, it is, essentially cable, or the internet, I get dozens of channels, add more everybody, and use about, 5 maybe on a regular basis, and it's still pretty much a basic system. A nice add-on to your everyday television, or your everyday cable for that matter.
Basically, the improved searching aspect of an item like this, is the real appeal, and I'll be honest, I got it as a gift, it's $50 or so for the average person, and that's per TV. It's a nice little box, with the traditional tri-colored wires, just like hooking up most anything else, like a video game or a DVD player. I still contend that we'll never ever, get a single website or even a multitude of website that will stream every single thing possible to stream at one place, so I don't believe streaming is gonna end anytime soon, nor do I think blu-rays are going anywhere, but it is an improvement, if you can put it to it's full good use, like anything else really.
So, $50 David, is it worth it? I don't know quite frankly. I wish, like everything else, everything available on it, would be free, so I wouldn't have to pay money for premium content, but film is a business and that's the real why streaming will never get everything together in one spot. But, if you have the money, go ahead, although I think if you had the money for everything, than you probably have the money for things like premium cable and satellite and afford to get all the packages already, etc. etc. Honestly, I can't quite tell if it's the latest and greatest, and is the future of television, or is simply, already passed it's prime, and I'm just getting to it now, way too late, kind like how I finally got around to trying that Sega Genesis back in '06. Sorry folks, I can tell you to Roku or not to Roku, ("To Roku or not to Roku", oh dear God, what fresh Gene Shalit in hell am I writing! Ugh, well, I'm mixing drinks after this one.) Anyway, study up, decide for yourselves and your own personal viewing habits if it works for you, and you can afford it. I don't think it's essential for me, at this point, but, it's a good extra viewing option when necessary.