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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

New Tech - Episode One

Its been a new tech kind of time.

Over the last few weeks I have acquired some new technology, to either enhance viewing pleasure or become more productive...

  • I started with an Amazon Fire TV
  • Followed by an htc ONE m8
  • Closely followed by a Chromecast
  • Finally, an Acer C720 Chromebook

So, I thought to myself, let's not keep it all to myself.  I decided to dig in, explain my reasoning, and even write a short review on each of the devices.

Let's start with the Amazon Fire TV.

As an Amazon Prime member, and since I had been watching their Prime service since day one, it made logical sense to buy the box (and save plugging my laptop into the TV each time I wanted to watch something).

There's been heavy debate about Amazon v Netflix; but since I have already invested in Prime, I wasn't going to pay another monthly fee.  Also; the offering by Amazon has improved greatly, with some top shows and films.

Without wishing to repeat all previous reviews, I'll just say this is a well made, high spec box, with a Bluetooth remote (so the box can be out of sight) and rather clever voice controlled search (which, currently, only searches Amazon content).
The interface is pretty user friendly; although there is room for improvement (it's not always easy to see where you are in the navigation).

It's important to bear in mind that these boxes are not the money-spinner for Amazon; they sell them at cost.  The business model is to get you hooked into the Amazon ecosystem and to spend your money there!!

What about content?  Is there anything to spend your money on?

Amazon have invested heavily in their Studios venture, with some wonderful new shows; and using their audience to decide on the future of these shows, via their Amazon Pilots. This means, as a viewer I see some great new content, and can provide feedback which contributes to decisions.

A couple of examples are Bosch (police drama based on the books by Michael Connelly), and Transparent (a unique comedy/drama by Jill Soloway).
The beauty of this kind of TV is that they can decide to release whole series in one go; like Alpha House, or weekly, such as what they did with Extant.  Another two great shows from Amazon Studios.

This may sound like an advert for Amazon; and let's face it, what they do, they do well (except the phone; that was a mistake in my view).  Whilst there may be the Amazon bashers out there; there's no denying their proposition.

Some of you may be wondering why I haven't mentioned Apple?  Well, I do own an Apple TV; but haven't used it in months.  I don't use iTunes any more, or purchase Apple content, and there's nothing to just 'watch' - unless you fixate on YouTube, Vevo etc.  It certainly isn't my "go to" service.  And I totally disagree with the "lock in" to the Apple ecosystem!

So; that concludes my first new piece of tech, bought recently.  Do you have any thoughts about which streaming media service you use?

Next is my move to Android... 
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