One Box to rule them all?

Those that know me, know that I like technology and as such my home is crammed full of tech that I am evaluating or playing with. For a long while now I have migrated my video to NAS or streaming it live from the Internet and I have pretty much every major streaming box available. Up until this evening I had a Roku, an Apple TV3 and an Amazon TV fire. Reason? Well, I have iPads and iPhones as does my wife, and we use AirPlay on the Apple TV to share photos and videos. The Apple TV can also play Netflix. It can’t however access my NAS. The Amazon TV fire can access Netflix, Amazon Prime and with Kodi installed, my NAS as well. The Roku was used to access a video streaming site that I use often as well for which there is no native App on the other platforms, but has a native channel on the Roku. This led to my wife being frustrated over the amount of inputs into the TV and which one was used for what. I must admit, the cabling and box swapping kind of got me a little annoyed too.

What solved my issues (for the most part) was an app called AirPin on the Amazon TV (android App) which allowed AirPlay, including video to be sent across to the Fire TV. In addition, a Video add-on in Kodi allowed me to access the browser based video streaming site as well. This has allowed me to get rid of everything bar the Fire TV. The only downside is that sometimes playing Video over AirPlay to the FireTV causes the audio to go out of sync, which is mildly annoying, but for the amount of time we actually use that feature, I can live with it for now.

One interesting point of note that came out of the multiple device scenario I had was the reinforcement of the Application taking priority over the device situation. What I mean by this is that I believe we are moving into the time where the hardware we use will become less important, the GUI and the application will be King. My kids are 2 and 5, the 5 year old isn’t fazed by the different operating systems on these devices. He is happy to navigate the menus of whatever platform (including a PS3 not earlier mentioned) and find Netflix. Once Netflix loads, because of the GUI design and similarity across platforms, he is able to use whatever underlying OS/platform with no issues whatsoever. The fact is, he doesn’t care about the platform, it’s the content that is important.

This I believe is the way forward and why I believe Apple will at some point struggle to keep hold of market share they enjoy without developing for other platforms. As an example, whilst I am an avid Apple user, I do not use the Apple platforms for storage, music or video. I test and own many devices including android and Windows phone OS, I hate the fact that if I use Apple services I’m either tied to a poor equivalent, or non availability. I use Spotify for music, Netflix and Amazon for Video and Onedrive for storage, even backing my IOS device pictures up there to allow me full access from any device. Whilst Apple makes great software (and hardware) there is no denying for me that the software is the preference for me.

Further to this point, if software that Apple made was available on the PC, then it wouldn’t really matter what the device was. I happily use a surface Pro 3 for work, but always default back to the Mac when creating either graphics, movies or music because I prefer the workflow and feel of the Apple designed apps. There is no denying that the Apple Eco-system works well together, and allows pretty seamless roaming between devices, oh and it’s easy to use. I’m sure also that plenty of people are happy to consume all from the Apple buffet. But at the moment for me I’ll continue to use Apple/Windows/Android devices with media consumption from a multiple platform provider.

Until next time..

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