Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.
presents a short quiz to determine your content-delivery personality.
It's most important that my on-demand entertainment:
a) is easy and accessible
b) is not blocked
c) is available at the optimum bitrate
d) offers a new navigation paradigm
e) advances the species
The place I usually find entertainment is:
a) the cloud
b) my PC
c) the NAS connected to my TV
d) the long tail of the Web
I navigate entertainment using:
a) a simple traditional remote control
b) my laptop's trackpad
c) an on-screen folder hierarchy
d) my cell phone's touch screen and QWERTY keyboard
e) a keen sense of smell
My favorite thing to consume while watching movies is:
b) processor cycles
c) hard drive capacity
d) cable industry hegemony
e) fruits and leaves
I am identified with the following group:
a) the mainstream
b) resourceful purists
d) the bleeding edge
The thing that most interferes with my broadband enjoyment is:
a) downstream bandwidth
b) wireless HD bandwidth
c) the number of seed nodes
d) Hulu content blocking
If you answered mostly A
, you are a streamer
. You take your entertainment on demand from the cloud, mostly looking for an inexpensive way to get your Netflix on. Perhaps you bought an early Blu-ray player and you're interested in ditching the discs for Netflix's new streaming-only service. You're probably in the market for a Roku XD, Syabas Popbox or AppleTV.
If you mostly answered B
, you are a beamer
. Why bother to have a lot of boxes around the TV when you always have your trusty laptop to enjoy a broad array of on-demand video? Products that speak to you include the Wi-Fi-based Netgear Push2TV, UWB-based Imation Wireless USB Link and Veebeam, and the WHDI-based HP Wireless TV Connect.
If you mostly answered C
, you are a dreamer
. You want the ultimate box that can do most anything, and you're not afraid of moving around a few files to get it. Your gear must adhere to an endless list of supported codecs. While others may be content to enjoy what streams from the cloud, you're ready to start your own torrents. Products that try to take on the best of all worlds for you include the WDTV Live, Seagate GoFlex TV, CiragoTV Platinum, and especially the place-shifting, timeshifting Monsoon Vulkano.
If you mostly answered D
, you are a schemer
. You're really less concerned about what a box can do for you today, but you're getting in on the next generation of software platforms that want to find a home inside your television and maybe even looking to go beyond to videoconferencing. You might also seek that nirvana of integrating broadband and cable television through a standard such as AllVid, currently on track to appear in the year two thousand and neverteen. You're looking for products like the Logitech Revue and the D-Link Boxee Box.
If you mostly answered E
, you are a lemur
. Sorry to say, but the consumer electronics industry doesn't cater to you much, but enjoy those shadows.
Ross Rubin is executive director of industry analysis for consumer technology at market research and analysis firm The NPD Group. Views expressed in Switched On are his own.