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A Set Top Box for the Masses

It seems as if everyone is trying to create "the box" that will stream content from the internet to your television. Blockbuster recently got into the act, announcing they'd have such a doo-dad just in time for the holidays. Then there are existing boxes such as the Apple TV, the Roku (from Netflix), the Xbox360 (yes, it will stream video), and one of the first DVRs still around, TiVo. All these gizmos let you get up from your swivel chair, plop down in front of The Tube (or is it The Screen now?) and watch web content from the place everyone is most comfortable: the couch.

This little revolution is going to be great for the consumer. Who wouldn't want to watch the latest movie trailers in HD on their home theater? Or TV shows on demand? How about original web shows? Or music? Or Pictures? The internet is simply another delivery device for content that (I think) will eclipse traditional methods of over-the-air, cable, and satellite. If Google gets its way and we have wireless access across the entire United States, this won't just be a theory anymore.

For this to truly work, however, there will have to be some kind of universal hook up that even the dumbest person can do (blinking VCR clock, anyone?). One reason DVRs have taken a long time to catch on (opposed to say, DVD players) is that the learning curve was just too high. I think it will come down to a universal hardware standard that will one day be included in all new HDTVs. A simple ethernet port will connect your one-eyed monster to the web and you will be done.

And a world of content will be at your fingertips. From your couch.


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