Since I’ve been house bound for a few weeks, it has given me a chance to watch more video than normal. I have used the new generation Apple TV, Boxee Box with the new Boxee Live, as well as PlayStation 3 with the new Amazon Prime streaming service in addition to recorded DVDs from The Great Courses.

I’ll have to admit for my style of use as a more technically literate viewer, I really like what the Boxee Box does. Adding Boxee Live TV has made the Boxee Box more useful and allows viewing more video from more sources. I like the features of sharing watched video, for example YouTube, on Facebook and Twitter. The remote control is still a great design. The biggest feature of all is no recurring cost for streaming video. Setting up Boxee Live was so trivial that the 3 page instruction book with big pictures and big print was almost too much.

The new generation of Apple TV is just as disappointing as the first. Streaming video from the iPad or iPhone can be useful, but not particularly helpful. The small remote control is functional, but seems to be very directional. Streaming video from my own network worked fine. Apple is in the business of selling you content, and there is a wide variety to choose from…just be prepared to pay for content that is available from other sources for less money or for free. The instruction manual for setup was far better than typical Apple documentation. It was needed since there were so many things that had to be changed for the product to work properly.

We have used the PlayStation 3 to watch Blu-Ray and DVD media since release. We have the TV remote control. We have streamed NetFlix, Hulu and other sources on this device. The reason for the attention this week was to incorporate the new Amazon streaming. Setup was a three step process, and on our PlayStation it didn’t go smoothly with the sign-on authentication causing a black screen. After restarting the PlayStation, everything progressed easily. The steps were: 1) Download the Amazon software 2) Enter an authentication code in your Amazon Prime account, 3) Wait for the PlayStation to confirm, which was almost instantaneous. The video selection included at no additional charge for Amazon Prime was quite good, and the navigation was well thought out. Purchased content was reasonably priced. However, there was enough good content, it will be a while before we are compelled to purchase many items.

Each experience is different, but I’ll have to give highest marks to PlayStation 3, followed by Boxee Box, with the new generation Apple TV being a distant and poor value third.

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About rpjohnston

Randy is a nationally recognized technology consultant and speaker.

2 responses »

  1. Bob Townsend says:

    I think of the Apple TV as more of a portal for all my other iDevices and my Mac rather than as a source of Internet content. It is great for getting your music, pictures and video off either your Apple devices or iCloud. You can also use the mirroring feature that is built into the most recent iPhone and iPad and soon the Mac OS Mountain Lion to mirror anything on those devices to your TV. I would also note that the remote they give you is awful and should only be used if you don’t have an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Otherwise download the free app. It is a vast improvement, particularly if you need to enter text. I only keep mine around in case I have a connectivity issue with my Apple TV.

  2. Catherine Smith says:

    We love our Roku for streaming Netflix and other channels. We just added an annual subscription to Acorn TV for some great British shows that don’t seem to be on Netflix anymore.

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