I’ve said quite a few times in the past that I enjoy using my media centre, in fact, I did a whole series of articles on the topic earlier in the year. The only problem with media centres in general, however, is the fact that you need a separate box to your TV, which of course joins your Sky HD / Virgin set top box, sound system, and other goodies hidden away under your TV set.
Fortunately, it appears that LG and Plex may have come to one hell of a solution to our little problem, in signing an agreement that will bundle Plex with future LG televisions, no box required.
The deal was announced at IFA last week, with Hojun Nam, Director of LCD TV R&D at LG saying that “after considering many alternative solutions, LG Electronics chose to utilize Plex’s media server platform technology as a part of its next generation NetCast™ enabled home entertainment products because of the breadth of available applications and content and the ease of developing new services. Plex’s capabilities offer our customers’ additional methods of displaying their content on LG’s next generation TVs and that is exciting to us.”
Plex will still be facing competition from other media centre offerings out there, though. Only last week, Apple announced their brand new refresh of the Apple TV which is focused on allowing customers to rent content online, saving them from having to store any content on the box itself. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is yet to be seen, but Apple will be hoping that their new model is a hit with consumers across the world.
Cayce Ullman, CEO and co-founder, Plex commented “Plex was developed to provide a simple solution for navigating an increasingly complex digital media landscape. As our access to a greater variety of high-quality content continues to grow and we create more of our own content, it is clear that we need a new way to enjoy and provide a consistent experience across the expanding universe of disparate content sources. Plex enables LG to more easily offer a wide variety of content sources to consumers using the NetCast™ services.”
The Apple TV isn’t the only competition that LG and Plex will face over the next few months, though. The Boxee Box is also becoming available to consumers before the end of the year, and Boxee revealed that their media centre solution will be available for $199, $100 more than the new Apple TV. However, it will have the ability to play back 1080p content, and store files locally, too, meaning that customers won’t need to rent movies and shows to watch them.
There is no doubt that the media centre world is becoming more and more exciting. Hopefully, Plex’s deal with LG is the start of something big, and manufacturers of other internet enabled TVs will begin to follow suit if LG’s model proves to be successful. I for one would be incredibly excited for a Sony Bravia HDTV to come with functionality similar to this.
Do you think that media centres will become more and more popular in the next few years, or do people just not want to have to worry about having an extra device in their living room? Will the inclusion of such media centre software in TVs encourage the popularity of media centres? Let us know in the comments!