Posts on: television
Nov 29, 2013
@ 6:27 pm
Parks & Rec started it. Orphan Black fueled it. This seals it.
Tatiana Maslany: newest celebrity crush.
Nov 14, 2013
@ 4:32 pm
FINALLY. What took so long? - Paul
Alan Thicke’s (Paul F. Tompkins) Theme Song for Parks and Rec
So glad this show is back tonight.
Nov 8, 2013
@ 7:16 pm
Speaking of Microsoft, the PR train has clearly started rolling leading up to the Xbox One launch later this month. The first narrative being set up is that this will finally be the one box to rule the living room (beyond gaming). Except, as Nilay Patel notes:
It’s a clever idea, but it’s also fundamentally a hack: your cable box doesn’t know anything about the Xbox One, so you’ll still see your cable interface everywhere even as you use the fancy new One Guide — during my visit Comcast’s UI popped up with every channel change. And the Xbox doesn’t have any way of directly controlling the cable box, so it has to simulate the IR commands of a remote control by cannon-blasting them out of the Kinect — in other words, you can change the channel and adjust the volume, but little else. “One of the things we can’t do is record shows,” says Smith. If you want to use your DVR, it’s back to the cable remote. If you want to watch On Demand, it’s the same thing. The Xbox One might sit on top of your cable box, but it’s nowhere close to replacing it.
That sounds like a janky experience at best, and an awful one at worst. Ugh.
I’m not saying there’s a better solution out there right now given that you still clearly have to deal with the cable companies and their piece of shit boxes. But perhaps this is a not insignificant part of the reason why we have yet to see some sort of next generation Apple TV device — there’s no way Apple would release something that works as described above.
This begs the question why Microsoft didn’t put a cablecard slot into the Xbox One, and outfit their new hardware with some DVR functionality.
Once upon a time, they wrote software for the awful cable box, so it should not have been much of a stretch to do it again, but better. Package that DVR service with an Xbox Live account and you’re really onto something.
The real catch, of course, is that cable TV is a dying bird, and hitching yourself to that wagon is not the wisest idea. But if Microsoft is making that bet (and I doubt they are, if they are pushing this hobbled TV interface), then it probably won’t be feasible until the next product cycle anyway. If then.