Taming the content , managing the beast



Content is changing that we have known for some time!

The Streaming revolution that started with Sonos and others in audio has come firmly into custom installations with the advent of video streaming content services from Apple TV in custom Installations, Amazon, Netflix and Sky.

Users are all aware of this content and want it to be integrated into their systems which poses a problem for integration designers and installers.

Custom integrators have fought to tame the beast with control of screens from all the manufacturers for many years with the design focus and product development almost entirely ignoring the needs of the custom installation market. The new streaming products on the market have the same issue in that their principle design intention is for single box per household plug and play.  One of the skills of the custom integrator is to take the time to manage these locked down devices as best possible to enable a custom install quality experience using content from  the mass television market.

Firmware and Gui Changes

It’s common to use the on-screen gui to select content on these units as many don’t allow any sort of  3rd party 2 way control API. The nature of these boxes is that Gui’s change regularly and new services come and go. The Now TV box has had so many updates that trying to keep on top of programming shortcuts for system users is nearly impossible except by sticking to the core services. A change in the services list can display as a fault to the user when a control function they previously used is no longer there.

Remote Access

Remote access is bare minimum on these boxes which means that other than pinging a host to see if the NIC is alive we cant do much more that we would ultimately like to given an net connected device. Even the admin settings of these boxed generally need to be setup using the GUI and remote control meaning boots on the ground are essential.

Duplication of content

Clients see duplication of content on different platforms as different streaming services are available on different devices as app’s. This leads to customer confusion as they don’t know which they should be using which can cause confusion. You might say that they can use whichever they like which is true but each app runs it’s own instance and hence the users recent search history or paused content does not update across instances.

All this said these are just challenges for the goog custom install professionals to step up to. The wide selection of content now available at good quality to feed the systems is a great step forward from DVD’s and ripped content  media servers.