Too many remote controls

Wherein our editor resigns himself to needing too many HDMI inputs to cover his streaming bases

I don't want that much, really. Just to be able to stream All The Things to my living room receiver. Google content. Amazon content. Netflix. YouTube. Satellite radio, perhaps.

I'm not cutting the cable cord. Life without quick and proper DVR access is not something I want to consider, given the current capacity for patience (or lack thereof) displayed by my 3-year-old daughter. (Don't have kids? You don't get to judge.)

And, unfortunately, I still need something to play DVDs. Again, mostly those (ridiculously cute, lovable, wouldn't trade them for anything) darn kids.

There's still no one platform to stream them all. Each comes close but ultimately is missing one key ingredient.

Xbox One is near perfect. Expensive, but it ticks most of the boxes for me, save for Google Play Music. That's a deal-breaker. I'm not a big gamer, but it's nice to have the option. And the kids (them again!) love them some occasional Kinect action.

Amazon Fire TV is darned close, too. Only, no DVD/Blu-Ray. Or Google Play Music. And as much as I love the idea of some cheap, secondary gaming, I'm not buying apps again just to play them on an Amazon box. At a fifth of the price of an Xbox One, however — plus the savings of not needing an Xbox Live Gold Whatever — it's really hard to pass this up.

I still love Chromecast. It's ridiculously easy to use, especially with Android devices. My 7-year-old figured it out her own with an iPad for Netflix and YouTube. And at $35, you can't not buy one. But ... no Amazon.

I really should have an Apple TV here. The wife and I both use Macs, she's also on iOS. It's a great device, and the price isn't bad, also at $99. But, no Google Play stuff.

It's maddening. And I've resigned myself to the fact that there will be quite a bit of redundancy in my living room. Consider my current setup:

  • LG plasma TV. It's a dumb TV. Three HDMI inputs, of which I only need one. And that's it. I need it to display things, and that's all it does. And it does so pretty well.
  • Onkyo receiver. Six HDMI inputs.
  • Scientific Atlanta cable box. Probably the dumbest (in the connected sense of the word) device I have in the living room?
  • Chromecast.
  • Sony Blu-Ray player. It also does Amazon and Netflix and Hulu Plus and Pandora and YouTube and a host of other things I don't have time to use.
  • Amazon Fire TV. I'm still on the fence for whether I leave this in the living room, or move it to the bedroom. Better for gaming to have it connected to the good sound system, but lousy for redundancy.

That's three devices — each of which mirrors at least some of the functionality of the others — needed to cover all my bases. Each works different, and to varying degrees of success. Each means my wife and kids has to learn a new device. (And, at some point, I imagine my own brain will shout "Uncle!" as well.)

And now we have the prospect of Android TV, as seen in a scoop by Sean Hollister of The Verge. We've heard whispers of the same, leading us to the discussion a day earlier on our podcast.

Something is coming. Something that I'll buy one, of course, grudgingly giving up yet another HDMI port in my receiver. And I'll like it.

A few other thoughts on the week that was ...

  • So ... Galaxy S5 this week, eh? I'm ready to spend a little quality time with it.
  • I'm a little less excited for the Gear 2. Accessories that only work with one manufacturer are pretty much a nonstarter for me, at least in real life. (Work life is another matter.)
  • Gear Fit should be interesting, though. I'm convinved that fitness trackers either need to be in a bracelet form, or just built into your phone. Now where'd my Fitbit One go?
  • The Google Play edition HTC One M8 just doesn't do it for me. Almost like it's trying to be something it's not.
  • Nest did the right thing
  • So did the White House, when it found out Big Papi's selfie with President Obama was a staged Samsung photo-op.
  • On the other hand, Samsung did the right thing, too, from its point of view. Anyone think it particularly cares about upsetting governmental PR protocol?

That's enough for this week. Go enjoy your Sunday.