Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tech trial

The Met is offering a free trial of their computer-based Met Player system this weekend, beginning at 5PM ET tomorrow. Anyone who owns a home theater PC or doesn't mind watching or hearing entire operas at a desk should definitely look into it -- despite the spotty catalog (where's the Strauss!?), having a significant chunk of the Met broadcast archive available on demand is a treat.

However, the universe of HTPC owners and desk-listeners is pretty limited and is likely to remain so even among A/V enthusiasts. Given the proliferation of TV-connected devices (and TVs) able to stream internet video content -- every HD Tivo and pretty much every new Blu-Ray player offers Netflix on-demand streaming or some equivalent -- the Met should be doing everything in its power to adapt Met Player to these channels.

Meanwhile the Met continues to be behind in Blu-Ray releases, with last season's moviecasts still only available on the outdated DVD format. Given Blu-Ray's marked video and audio superiority and how well Blu-Ray players sold over the recession-limited holidays, there's no good reason for the house to let its HD content lie fallow so long. (A DVD is worse quality than a DVR recording off of PBS HD, making it a waste of money.)


  1. as far as I know, some HTPCs let you connect the unit right up to the TV. So it functions as just one more TV connectable device.

    Haven't tried it though, as I haven't got a large TV.


  2. They all do, actually. But there are serious tech compromises at this point (wonky HDMI audio, CableCard support *only* on pre-built models, etc.), and the many issues that come up make HTPC use for serious DIY-ers only. On the other hand, anybody can use a Tivo or Profile 2.0 Blu-Ray player, even if the latter might need firmware updates now and then...


Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.