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May-09-2013 22:14printcomments


Unlike the early days of TV, now you can watch what you want, when you want,

Roku is an internet TV streaming interface

(RODESSA, LA) - Remember waiting for that day and time when your favorite show was coming on? People said things like "Can't wait till Thursday night at 7:30 on channel 5." I remember getting sent home from a friend's house because the Dick Van Dyke show was about to come on (I was five).

It wasn't until 1956 that the Ampex VRX-1000 Mark IV video tape machine (same approximate size and weight of a Buick) was used to tape and then delay a New York news broadcast so that people in California wouldn't have to watch the evening news at 2:00 in the afternoon. Today we can Tivo, DVR, DVD, Roku, dish, download, phone, bit-torrent and stream.

My wife and I don't have a TV antennae, cable or satellite. We only have a Roku; an internet TV streaming interface. It's a small box that lets you access TV channels off of the internet. It's not the only device of its kind, but it's the most successful. Several big companies have tried to make such a device with varied success. Some build the functionality into their new TV models too. You can even make your own using an old computer and some free downloadable Boxee software. The state-of-the-art may still be in flux, but so what, these interface modules are cheap. For about a $100 or less, and your internet connection, you can get 700 published channels, and maybe a thousand unpublished ones too, many for free. With all the free stuff and our two paid subscriptions, Netflix and The Blaze, my wife and I have more than we can watch. In the game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, it looks like Roku has won.

Don't like what you see? You can start your own TV channel. Cupcake and I were headed to New Orleans for the first time about a month ago. Someone down there started the New Orleans Restaurant TV channel and it helped make our few days there efficient and fun.

Now you can watch what you want, when you want and the device doesn't even weigh as much as a Buick, or even a Buick's ashtray.

I'm an actor, writer and filmmaker. I do weekly movie reviews of old movies and Vox Box where I look at the history of film and how it touches our culture, or anything else that catches my fancy.

Please visit my blog and follow me on twitter @SpikeHarville



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