Chapter 9

Connected TVs

Blending Online Content with Television Content

Ezra Englebardt lives with his girlfriend Wendy in the West End of Boston, Massachusetts. Although he works as an Account Planner at a cutting edge digital marketing agency, Ezra—at age 31—considers himself to be an early adopter of technology gadgets.

While reading Wired magazine about seven years ago, Ezra was struck by an article that featured a device from a company named Roku that could be connected to one’s television to display photos and play MPEG videos. He had already been hard-wiring his laptop computer directly to his television set to watch online videos since 2003, and used this same setup in 2005 when he started buying TV shows from iTunes.

Thinking about upgrading his jury-rigged Internet-to-TV set-up, Ezra tried out the original Apple TV device in 2007 but was underwhelmed with its performance. Then, in the fall of 2010, a handful of Internet-connected TV devices started gaining a lot more attention—perhaps due in part to Apple’s complete redesign and relaunch of its Apple TV product.

One of the connected TV devices (as they became known) garnering its share of the spotlight was a familiar name to Ezra. Roku had just announced a new lineup of devices with its high-end model; at $99, it boasted full 1080p HD video streaming. A hint to his girlfriend’s parents led to him unwrapping the top-of-the-line Roku XDIS beneath the Christmas tree in December of 2010.

Ezra and Wendy’s Roku device is connected ...

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