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When Free is too Expensive

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 11:25 AM on April 19, 2011

I have been thinking lately about which is more important convenience or cost and when do these two things cross. I can almost guarantee you that if there is a paid version of something a free version is not far behind or someone has hacked it. The question is when does the amount of time and frustration you put into something becomes so great that it is better to pay for it. This can be different for different people. For people who don’t like to tinker like my husband the threshold is very low, For people who like to tinker the threshold maybe very high. If you put me on that line graph I would probably end up about 3/4 up the line toward the high end. However I do have my breaking point, which I reached yesterday.

I did a previous post on the Roku’s inability to stream media that is on the home network. In the comment section ArtStadium recommended an application called Roksbox, which is designed to allow you to stream your home media through the Roku. I was delighted to see that it was possible and went to the Roksbox Web site to set it up. My delight pretty quickly turned to frustration, when I started to go through the numerous steps to set it up. Around step 3 I gave up, when the cost in term’s of time and frustration crossed my breaking point. There was also the nagging thought in the back of my head that even if I got it too work Roku could block it at anytime through an update. I have no doubt that Roksbox works and for someone who is into hacking or tinkering it is a perfect option, it is just not for me. This is just one example where the cost of  a free app or method was too expensive at least for me. Do you have a high or low threshold in setting up a free application or method.