8 posts / 0 new
Last post
mk666's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 6 days ago
Joined: 26/08/2007 - 13:43
Posts: 18
Why TV manufacturers can't sort out their software ?

I bought my latest LG Smart TV in December.
I love the looks, picture quality, 3D, convenience of the magic remote etc...
Even the menus don't look too bad.

But what about the software .... !?!

Apart from the internet streaming apps like BBC iPlayer, the main purpose of a smart TV should be to integrate the media around the house.
To put simply, I want to be able to see my photos on the TV, coming from a NAS, e.g. via DNLA. And films (Having SONOS for a long time, music is not that important, especially considering proliferance of the various AirPlay devices)

Why is it so difficult to iron out the niggles, and get to a solution that really works ? Various freeware media streaming software packages (e.g. XBMC, Boxee) have lot more features, so why do we have to be stuck with such inferior software ?

As a software developer myself, I honestly can't think why the issues listed below should take them more than a couple of months of hard work (perhaps with the exclusion of the photo app integration, but even that is not a rocket science...)

Examples:

Smart Share:

- subtitle settings (e.g. size and position) are not remebered and I have to set them every single time I watch anything

- no favourites allowing quick access to a folder in the media library

- audio track selection does not work

- Smart Share should be accessible with 1 click of the remote, ideally jumping to a predefined place / favourite (compare to current keypress combination of Home, Smart Share, and then navigate to a folder)

- what are the aggregated Video, Photo and Music options ? Does anyone with even remotely extensive collection of photos or films want to see them all at once in one scrollable view ? I know I don;t hence I end up using the media server option, which forces me to navigate through a number of useless levels first (Video / By Folder / ... ) ...

Media Link:

- there does not seem to be a direct engagement anymore with the Plex guys, hence this feature seems to work less and less, i.e. my current Plex server is not even visible by MediaLink

Photo sharing:

- whether over Smart Share or something else, how about some slideshow options (look at AppleTV for insipiration, LG)

- perhaps support some most common picture management apps, like iPhoto, Aperture etc. ?

- quick access to the picture sets, i.e. favourites again ?

- again, photos should be accessible with one click from the remote

- now how about Flickr integration?

I haven't looked at Samsung, so I don;t know what the situation is there, but I'm thinking ...  if the TV manufacturers don;t sort this stuff out, lot of people like me will turn instead to companies like Apple (eagerly awaiting their rumoured integrated TV solution).

I noticed that there is now some kind of media cooperation betwen WhatHifi and LG (How to Live?), so perhaps they will take in some feedback from the magazine...

Just my 2p

Matt

 

cheeseboy's picture
Offline
Last seen: 16 hours 40 min ago
Joined: 17/07/2012 - 10:50
Posts: 1024
RE: Why TV manufacturers can't sort out their software ?

the more they put in the tv, the more there is to go wrong.  To be honest I think the whole concept of a smart tv is flawed.  There's also a absolute raft of licensing issues with all of the applications that you are talking about, and then there's the issues of keeping things up to date, and how long you keep things up to date for.

Personally I'd much prefer TV's to be just that and leave all the other stuff to external boxes as the last thing I want is to turn on the TV and have it not work because of some software, or have to wait half an hour to do something whilst it updates.

 

just my 2p's worth.

bigboss's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 25/03/2009 - 21:40
Posts: 12743
RE: Why TV manufacturers can't sort out their software ?

mk666 wrote:

I bought my latest LG Smart TV in December.
I love the looks, picture quality, 3D, convenience of the magic remote etc...
Even the menus don't look too bad.

But what about the software .... !?!

Apart from the internet streaming apps like BBC iPlayer, the main purpose of a smart TV should be to integrate the media around the house.
To put simply, I want to be able to see my photos on the TV, coming from a NAS, e.g. via DNLA. And films (Having SONOS for a long time, music is not that important, especially considering proliferance of the various AirPlay devices)

Why is it so difficult to iron out the niggles, and get to a solution that really works ? Various freeware media streaming software packages (e.g. XBMC, Boxee) have lot more features, so why do we have to be stuck with such inferior software ?

As a software developer myself, I honestly can't think why the issues listed below should take them more than a couple of months of hard work (perhaps with the exclusion of the photo app integration, but even that is not a rocket science...)

Examples:

Smart Share:

- subtitle settings (e.g. size and position) are not remebered and I have to set them every single time I watch anything

- no favourites allowing quick access to a folder in the media library

- audio track selection does not work

- Smart Share should be accessible with 1 click of the remote, ideally jumping to a predefined place / favourite (compare to current keypress combination of Home, Smart Share, and then navigate to a folder)

- what are the aggregated Video, Photo and Music options ? Does anyone with even remotely extensive collection of photos or films want to see them all at once in one scrollable view ? I know I don;t hence I end up using the media server option, which forces me to navigate through a number of useless levels first (Video / By Folder / ... ) ...

Media Link:

- there does not seem to be a direct engagement anymore with the Plex guys, hence this feature seems to work less and less, i.e. my current Plex server is not even visible by MediaLink

Photo sharing:

- whether over Smart Share or something else, how about some slideshow options (look at AppleTV for insipiration, LG)

- perhaps support some most common picture management apps, like iPhoto, Aperture etc. ?

- quick access to the picture sets, i.e. favourites again ?

- again, photos should be accessible with one click from the remote

- now how about Flickr integration?

I haven't looked at Samsung, so I don;t know what the situation is there, but I'm thinking ...  if the TV manufacturers don;t sort this stuff out, lot of people like me will turn instead to companies like Apple (eagerly awaiting their rumoured integrated TV solution).

I noticed that there is now some kind of media cooperation betwen WhatHifi and LG (How to Live?), so perhaps they will take in some feedback from the magazine...

Just my 2p

Matt

 

You should apply for a job at LG's software division, & put exactly this in your CV. Wink

Amadeus1756's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 04/01/2011 - 10:47
Posts: 257
RE: Why TV manufacturers can't sort out their software ?

Some things may well be out of control of the developers.  If for example there isn't much/any NVRAM, even I couldn't fix that in software. Smile

The thing is, I doubt the TV manufacturers consider the software as their core product.  I don't know if you've worked for both a software developer and a company who just uses software, but the outlook is very different.  If you work on your own projects at home, I'm sure you've found yourself working 18 hours a day to get something "just right" - XBMC developers can (and probably do) do that, developers at TV companies can't (unless they do it in their own time).

I read something recently (presumably on a forum but can't remember which one, and of course, it may have been complete rubbish) where someone was complaining about recent changes in Plex which made it very difficult to work with - seemingly trying to block others from integrating as it was perceived as their cash cow.  As I said, it could well have been rubbish, I wouldn't want to cast dispertions on the excellent work the guys have done, even tho I personally prefer XBMC).  If the TV companies won't invest in solid development for their smart TV, they're not likely to invest time in integrating with something well if it's not straight forward.  I have been burned in the past with working with open source software where the API changed massively in a point release - it was really a major release.  If I was spending many dollars integrating with something, I'd be reluctant to invest heavily if the foundations I was building on were going to change almost on a whim.

TVs have always been treated like white goods - they just work, but with the advent of smart TVs, that's changing.  Various companies are trying to turn computers into white goods but there is some way to go yet IMO.

 

Paul.'s picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 20 hours ago
Joined: 26/11/2010 - 21:44
Posts: 2959
RE: Why TV manufacturers can't sort out their software ?

It's a shame about Plex on LG as its excelent on Samsung.  A recent update ment that I can browse my Apeture library as a channel (although I haven't used it much as I prefer mirroring to ATV).  It's now not far off the desktop client.  As I understand it the TV apps were home brew projects seperate from the main Plex group, maybe the LG guy has less time spare in the day than the Samsung guy?

mk666's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 6 days ago
Joined: 26/08/2007 - 13:43
Posts: 18
RE: Why TV manufacturers can't sort out their software ?

Funny enough, I am sure that you have spotted the news today - Samsung buying Boxee ...

I wonder what that will mean for their software, but it seems LG will need to catch up.

Other than that, I appreciate all the comments - every one very relevant.

Perhaps I sounded a bit bitter, but it's just a frustration of having this fantastic bit of kit, and still having to alternate between my PS3, WD TV Live and LG Smart TV functionality, just to get the best out of it.

I quite envy my dad, for whom I bought an Apple TV box, jail broke it and installed XBMC... The functionality he gets out of it is kind of what I am looking for - open plugin API, great photo and video integration.

Agreed, perhaps TV manufacturers should focus on best image quality, and some kind of a media set top box will solve my problems. But then, how many of these boxes have got Magic Remote ? Wink

 

MajorFubar's picture
Offline
Last seen: 13 hours 16 min ago
Joined: 03/03/2010 - 00:01
Posts: 3442
RE: Why TV manufacturers can't sort out their software ?

Thing is everyone's going to have a different list of must-have features, and there remains a problem of conflicting and incompatible standards and codecs, which often need to be licenced. When I first read the thread title, what I thought you were complaining about is not extra features but firmware which is bugged to the point of being unusable or at least to the point of being damn annoying, and you sit there thinking "not being funny but who the hell tested this software and ticked a box on a job-sheet which said it worked".

Amadeus1756's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 04/01/2011 - 10:47
Posts: 257
RE: Why TV manufacturers can't sort out their software ?

 

mk666, I do completely understand your frustrations.  I bought myself a Mac Mini onto which I've installed XBMC - I use this for films, tv episodes, and sometimes photos, I use Sonos for sound streaming, just because I felt that I couldn't rely on one manufacturer providing functionality in all the areas I wanted to the level I expected.  It meant I could buy the TV with the picture that I found most pleasing.

I suppose it's my interpretation of SOLID outside of OO design! Smile

Log in or register to post comments