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Are CE Pros Ready for Streaming Media?

Integrators used to view streaming media as an inevitable evil. Today, they're seeing the business potential of Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Pandora and more.


Integrators such as Zobo.tv are starting to view streaming content as an opportunity, not a threat.
Julie Jacobson · August 11, 2010

Remember this editorial I wrote last year? In the piece, titled “Be the Content Pro,” I suggested integrators qualify their customers not by the products they desire but by the content they enjoy.

If a family is passionate about professional baseball, for example, sell and install a system that gets them easy access to games, stats and fantasy leagues. If they’re nuts about the Food Network, build a solution that streams their cooking shows when and where they want it.

After that 2009 editorial, maybe one or two dealers responded with positive comments. The rest thought my content checklist was dumb and, besides, “My customers don’t care about Netflix.”

A lot has changed in one year. In preparation for our content-related Webinar in July of this year, we asked our CE Pro Facebook friends if they cared about Netflix, Hulu and Google TV now.

Wow! They’re all over it.

Check out their comments below, and please let us know (in the comment section below) what you’re doing in the area of digital content.

Integrators Weigh in on Streaming Content

Fire the cable company
Streaming content does matter and my customers do care and want it. We have many clients that rave about the streaming content available after our installations. Most of the Blu-ray players that we are now installing are being used more as a streaming device than as a disc player.

I can’t wait to see how GoogleTV evolves. I would like nothing more than to take the message to my market, “Do you want to fire your cable company? Let me show you how” with some sort of streaming content solution/installation as the product behind the offering.

Chris Cunningham
Partner Security, Partner Technology
Bogart, Ga.

No need to re-purchase content
I care because I absolutely feel it is the future of the way our clients will receive their content in the next 3-5 years. Google TV looks to be the first to get it right, but aside from YouTube, it seems to be lacking a source of real on-demand content, like Netflix or Amazon.

As broadband speeds increase, so will the availability of high-quality (Vudu-like) content. No more buying a new disc player, just upgrade your Internet connection, download a new codec into your box and you’re ready to go.

And maybe you’ll have to buy a new $300-$400 box every few years, but so what if you won’t have to re-buy your content, and that will be huge!

Jason Brown
Ask The Advisors, Inc.
West Palm Beach, Fla.

Do try this at home
I love the streaming content as do some of my clients. Netflix streaming is the most popular along with Pandora through the Blu-rays. I have recently set up my Apple TV to stream Hulu as well as my backed up DVD from my hard drive by installing and using Boxee and XBMC applications. You give up HD in some instances but depending on what I am watching I can live with that.

Todd Bartlett
Cinevidia Home Entertainment Solutions
Los Angeles

New multiroom audio opportunities
One of the biggest changes that I see coming in our industry is the display as a source (instead of a destination). Everything we have done to this point has been based around component integration and control and the TV being the end of the signal path.

Now, every TV in the house with a network connection will become the source material. Whether it’s Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Vudu, etc, pulling surround sound out of the TV to a decoder/amplifier or multi-channel amplifier will be very interesting to start designing for.

P.S. Personally, I think this is why Sonos is strategically going to be one of the only multi-room audio systems ready for this. With the local source input, you can come out of the TV and send that audio to any zone in the system.

Ryan Arp
Enhanced Living Systems
Cleveland, Tenn.

Digital Content Webinar
Streaming Profits: How to Make Money on Digital Content is now available for download. http://www.cepro.com/webinars

DVDs going, going ...
We currently sell several products that include streaming video services, including Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Unbox and more. These are a great thing to add to your customers’ “sources” and they help you sell more equipment and products, if the customer is educated properly.

We think of it as just another source (or sources). Aggregating all of this online information is the final step (well, for this phase of things), which many companies are doing now.

I see DVDs and any hard copy format of audio/video even books (note Amazon has surpassed hard-copy sales with digital) as going the way of ... well, the 8-track. GONE!

Streaming is great. I use it at home. We love it. We have Netflix on my laptop, our home PC and our Wii, which I can load up with movies for my kids and save TONS of money per month on rentals and running around.

Hulu is cool for tons of things and even YouTube has a place on your TV.

They have to fix the whole HD thing with streaming, but otherwise, I have no complaints about my streamed movies.

Dan Fulmer
Fultech Solutions
Jacksonville, Fla.

What’s with the poor quality?
While it is true there is a dwindling of physical media being purchased out there, and as our consumer base gets younger we HAVE to provide means to view streaming content.

I use ReQuest for my server-based systems. They have a brilliant solution in providing streaming content such as Netflix and YouTube throughout a system distribution in the home via two means, one with a disc drive and one without.

For smaller systems an entry level piece is the Roku offering. I’ve been streaming Netflix for quite some time now with acceptable results.

To the consumer it is obvious what brings what level of imagery and auditory performance so they can choose when they want say a Blu-ray source or a stream from YouTube.

If this is the “convergence” we’ve been hearing about for two decades, I want to know why many of these sources and content streams are a HUGE step backwards in both auditory and visual quality. And, why can’t we get an iTunes download with the same quality as that sourced from the CD itself? We all have enough storage space nowadays so the compression-to-save-space argument is moot. We don’t need to be subjected to poor quality because we’re trying to save space and maximize storage space in a device, do we?

David Garfinkle
Creative Home Systems llc.
Springfield, N.J.


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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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