Though I didn’t plan it, we ended up with sort of an “audio/visual” Christmas. I got AirPlay-capable Pioneer receivers for my family and my brother. I also gave several Roku boxes as gifts: the entry level model was $45 (Amazon free shipping), and fits in the palm of my hand.
The Roku boxes and Pioneer receivers have iOS remote control apps which work reasonably well. AirPlay also works (audio only), and the receivers have on-screen UIs (and can be configured from a PC or iPad). It’s definitely an improvement from our previous HDMI input tangle, but it’s all still a little clunky.
It’s very clear what TV’s end game is: screens (of all sizes) will be HTML5-powered Web browsers with very good video support. We’ll watch The Daily Show or a “local” TV station by navigating to a Web page. ”Set top boxes” (e.g. Roku, Boxee, and proprietary cable boxes) will cease to exist as distinct devices. Some hardware ecosystems (e.g. iOS) will support locally installed apps, but as bandwidths improve, that will be needed less and less.
But what’s taking so long?! I wrote about this back in 2009.
I hope Apple fixes this.