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Viiv 1.5 May End Traditional Media PCs 263

Posted by Zonk
from the don't-trust-things-with-two-i's dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNET.com.au makes an interesting case for why the next revision of Viiv will kill off living room PCs as we know them. Instead, we'll be streaming content to digital media adapters from a PC in our home office. From the article: 'The existence of digital media adapters will totally remove the need to have a media centre PC taking up space in your living room, unless you're one of the few users that finds it practical to do anything other than passively soak up multimedia content whilst relaxing on the couch.'"
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Viiv 1.5 May End Traditional Media PCs

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  • advert (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KiloByte (825081) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @09:56AM (#15010092)
    From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    "Viiv is a platform marketing initiative from Intel "...
    (bolding mine)

    Nothing else needs to be added...
    • Re:advert (Score:4, Interesting)

      by porkThreeWays (895269) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:19AM (#15010267)
      It may take off, but I doubt it will be revolutionary. I think there's an Airport capable of this, and it really hasn't been that huge either. The article doesn't understand the media PC _at all_. They assume you're putting a full fledged ugly grey cased PC next to your TV. I don't know a single person who's actually ever done that. More likely you've got a Mini itx box with a big laptop hard drive and maybe a TV-in card (if you want a DVR). Have you seen the Mini itx cases out there? They look better than most of the components I have next to my stereo.

      For about 350-400 bucks you can have a box that:
      Can watch and burn dual layer DVD's
      Can listen to and burn CD's and internet radio (and basically any other audio content)
      Load full of emulators and Gametap and play games on
      Browse the web
      And a low power always on media file server that people coming over to your house can grab media from

      Like I said, I'm sure there's a market for people who just want to play MP3's over their stereo. But there are already much better solutions that can do more that aren't tied so closely with DRM.
      • I too have an ugly ass gray box next to my entertainment center. Well, actually, it is behind the entertainment center as all I need to access is the power button. Noise is not a problem as the entertainment center itself and the carpet make it not much louder then ambient.

        They problem with a streaming applicance is compatibility. There is NO way a single device is going to meet many peoples needs without being a bitch to a specific software vendor and doing everything one way. Here are some examples.
        • Re:advert (Score:3, Informative)

          by cowbutt (21077)
          There is NO way a single device is going to meet many peoples needs without being a bitch to a specific software vendor and doing everything one way.

          ...and this is yet another reason I built a Linux box running MythTV.

          So far, it has a 300G disc, DVD+/-R/RW/RAM, 2xDVB-T cards, 1xAnalogue NICAM PAL TV/FM Radio/Composite/SVideo card, DVD-Rom, RGB SCART output at full PAL resolution and 5.1 sound output (discrete, or via co-ax). It also has an infrared remote control and full-size keyboard/mousepad. Via mpl

    • From the Sales Floor (Score:2, Informative)

      by mfh (56)
      I sell HP Media systems. Most computer users that come in have no idea that something like a Linksys Media Extender [tmcnet.com] even exists, and the price shocks some of them (and others the idea of moving the plasma *anywhere* in their living room is a delightful one).

      I love to do PK (product knowledge) and in my search for info about Viiv... I didn't find anything that would make it stand out above and beyond any other HP Media system.

      To summarize -- cool things can now happen in your living room. Users that come in
      • Viiv is just Intel's attempt to become the defacto HTPC by throwing Millions of dollars into marketing. Meanwhile as you pointed out there is absolutely nothing unique about it. But that won't stop Intel from flooding every magazine and website with Viiv marketing spam.
    • I'd like to believe that, but the story sort of advocates having less Intel hardware around. Also CNET does not really have a reputation for being any sort of Intel mouthpiece.
    • Re:advert (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Espectr0 (577637)
      Sure, a dumb marketing campaign, just as like some little campaign called "Centrino" that we know that flopped.

      Oh wait...
    • One of the links [theinquirer.net] from that Wikipedia article is very enlightening. Basically, Viiv is yet another attempt to end-run DRM around an unsuspecting public, and it's a pile of shit to boot.
  • Media linux (Score:2, Funny)

    by raffe (28595) *
    Does linux support the viiv spec?
    Will I be able to run a cutom built "media linux"?

    I like xbmc so I am thinking of doing something like that with linux....ohh, it must exist already...no?
  • by alexhs (877055) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @09:58AM (#15010113) Homepage Journal
    FTFA : "Such multi-tasking makes dual-core processors a necessity"

    Hahaha ! What about requiring a good scheduler ? Multitasking has nothing to do with multi cores...

    Marketing push or simply cluelessness ?
    • If you've got more work scheduled than a single core can keep up with, then you DO NEED a second core. Or a faster CPU that can keep up with the workload. Also keep in mind that if you're playing back video and audio, those need to be done in real-time, or they will stutter. A second CPU core allows the main decoding task to be handled by one CPU, and other tasks can be run on the 2nd, preventing them from interfering with the primary task.
    • A good scheduler can't increase throughput. If you're compressing 3 video streams at the same time, a dual 2 Ghz should always outperform a single 3 Ghz machine. And while the article seems to be mostly an add for Intel, I don't think the predictions are far from the mark. In the comming years, we will start to see the rise of the home server. It's far more economical to have a central server and cheap terminals scattered about the house than it is to have a unit in every room capable of recording, proc
  • Don't be stupid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)
    You're going to end up with a DVR device that can record video, play DVDs, play VHS tapes, and play music CDs. You're not going to download torrents of movies from the web and then play them back from your PC.

    You're going to be like everyone else and rent or buy DVDs and live with the warnings and advertisements in them. Viiv isn't going to change anything.
  • by the_skywise (189793) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @09:58AM (#15010116)
    The whole home theater industry has been moving in that direction for quite some time. You have a home media storage "furnace" that serves up video and then a small client box for your TV.

    You see that already with the XBox hacks, XBox 360 and Windows Media Center, and networked DVD players

    Now VIIV may help that along but the technology has already been in existence (and in use) for years.

    Well... except for maybe the DRM controls that VIIV will provide...
    • You have a home media storage "furnace" that serves up video and then a small client box for your TV.

      You see that already with the XBox hacks, XBox 360 and Windows Media Center, and networked DVD players


      ... and MythTV [mythtv.org], which has worked that way since it's inception several years ago.

    • Now VIIV may help that along but the technology has already been in existence (and in use) for years.

      Well... except for maybe the DRM controls that VIIV will provide...


      These are exactly my thoughts. Any COTS out-of-the-box solution is going to be too restrictive. After having the freedom of using my own setup to do what I want, I doubt I could be happy with some DRM-ridden device.
  • by MLopat (848735) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:02AM (#15010145) Homepage
    Just like the Media Center PC's from Microsoft, that have gained "less than favourable traction" since their release, Intel's brand of Viv marketing to bring digital content to the living room is lacking the user friendly features that the average consumer is looking for.

    The idea of building a server to house your media collection is fascinating to the nerds out there, but for the average movie fanatic, the thought of mixing the right hardware and software on a file server that resides else where in the house is not appealing. Further, like any other home computer, this server will require maintenance. The last thing most consumers want when they come home after sitting in front of their office computer for 10 hours is to have to retreat to the home office, patch their server, download their favorite shows, etc. etc. just so they can finally veg out.

    • I gave up on Windows Media Center because of stability issues, as well as usability (what do you mean, the only way to sort my mp3s is either alphabetically or with ID3 tags!?! Sort them by directory! That's why I put them in genre/artist/album/ directory structure and named them artist-album-##-songtitle!!) It was a neat idea, but just poorly executed. Myth TV does some things better and a lot of things worse.

      Then, I got tivo, and I saw the light. No joke; if you don't have tivo, it will change your l
    • Yeah, all of those people out there using iTunes music streaming are constantly complaining about the difficulty in getting it set up.

      Simply put, it can be done well enough (using technologies such as ZeroConf) that it really requires almost no effort on the part of the end-user.

      It makes a lot of sense to me. I am a Mac user, and I have an iMac with about 500 gigabytes of storage attached in my bedroom. I keep thinking about picking up a cheap Mac mini for my living room. Everyone keeps talking about throwi
    • That is the problem. It shouldn't need maintence (unless your hardware fails). It is not (or should not be) open to an insecure network, the requisites don't change often, and it should have standard software. Why maintence? (answer: because of DRM)

      • Why mainte[na]nce? (answer: because of DRM)

        Huh?

        How does the notorious fragility and flakiness of Windows PCs have anything to do with DRM? They were that way when DRM was still a twinkle in the *AA's eye. If you had completely DRM-free media streaming from a Windows server you'd still have the same issues.

        The general point is on target, though... non-geeks don't want to futz around with a computer just to watch a show. A living-room streaming device will ONLY work when you just hit a button on the rem

        • Microsoft could very well downgrade Windows until it done nothing unsecure. And fix the settings to not let them 'fade away' with time.

          But with DRM, all that is futile. You'll need to be coneected on the internet every time, you'll need to let new programs run on your box, and you'll need complex routines to check if the user didn't change anything on the computer (and probably more).

    • by crovira (10242) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @11:41AM (#15010885) Homepage
      but it took Apple to create the iTMS and the iPod to turn it into a mass media darling and sell 42,000,000 of the things (and counting, by the second!)

      And its success is just an indication of how uncoupled the office really is from the home.

      The reason Microsoft can't make inroads into the home is that they're too intimately tied to the office. (And the 'innovations' that they're they're trying to bring to the office OS are being firewalled from that office as a waste of time. Multi media features aren't WANTED in the office. My client went to Win2K only after NT 4.x was EOL'ed, killed off by MS. And they've got tens of thousands of PCs.)

      Sorry Mr. Gates but they're not even interested in XP or Vista until they're forced into it.

      Look for Apple to make BIG inroads in the 5-to-9 world and for Microsoft to stay stuck in the 9-to-5 world.

  • by DuncanE (35734) * on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:02AM (#15010147) Homepage
    I dont want a "Media Centre PC". I dont want to have a PC with GB's of movies and TV shows. I want to be someone else to sort, manage them and back them up. I don't want a set top box that connects to my PC so I can watch this massive collection.

    I want video on demand. I want my local video store or cable company or telco to manage all the GB's of TV shows and movies. But when I want to watch a movie, be it the latest flick staring Angelina Jolie, some old movie a friend recommended or a movie I've watch 50 times, I just want to select it from a list, pay my 50c (or maybe 4.95 for a new release?) and watch it (pause it, rewind it and maybe see some "making of" style doco).
    • This is the only commment that gets it. With apologies to Sun, the network will be the computer -- or in this case the communications company's network will be your media hub -- not the home office PC.

      Wish I had my mod points today.
    • That's fine if all you want to watch is the crap that the mainstream publishers/studios pay to have put on the network.

      But if you want niche programming or the truly inspired stuff that never took off (Fox's "Action" anyone?) or underground video, then you can't depend on a commercial service to provide it.

      South Park and Tripping the Rift would never have become mainstream if it weren't for viral memetics, and that doesn't happen on services managed by payola-whores like Time-Warner, Adelphia or Charter

  • Cheapest way (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ginger Unicorn (952287) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:03AM (#15010155)
    I have a soft modded xbox that has samba access to the Ubuntu pc in my bedroom, plus NAT access to the net. Trivial, and all it cost was a 2nd hand xbox.
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:04AM (#15010161) Journal
    The computer industry seems to have this idea that we want to combine all our gadgetry into a single box. There's always bee this assumption. The fact is, people prefer separate dedicated equipment.

    Just because somethign can be used for several purposes doesn't mean people want it to. They have a dedicated TV for a games console, and generally don't even use a DVD player as a CD player. If a device has a single dedicated purpose, it becomes a lot easier to use, and usualy does the job its designed to do a lot better.
    • by shotgunefx (239460) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:25AM (#15010314) Journal
      Good point. I think I used my DVD player once to play a CD (my stereo was apart).

      Maybe at some point convergence works, but right now you get things that are so-so at a lot of things and excellent at none. Cell phones are a good example.

      I don't want or need a shitty camera built in. What's the point? The quality sucks, bad resolution, bad picture quality, maybe an LED for a shitty flash. I rather carry my small digital camera instead. Having one company as your gate keeper is perilous too. Take the cell phone example. I got a LG PM-325 from Sprint. I used the camera twice before realizing unless I paid X dollars a month for "Picture Mail", there was absolutely no way to retrieve them from the phone.

      The future downside is that if they every do make the ultimate device that does everything, you're fscked if it get's stolen. There goes your media, your pictures and probably tons of other stuff that you wouldn't want other people to have access to. Carrying your life in your pocket might be convienent, but also dangerous.
      • I just checked Sprint's website and 5 out of the 14 phones shown don't include a camera. I'm not sure how Sprint does it, but I don't pay Cingular a monthly fee to get pictures off my phone, just got a USB cable to hook it up to my PC -- unlimited free pictures. Sounds like you should have done some more research before spending money on a cameraphone when you apparently prefer just a regular cellphone.

        Now there definitely are advantages in having specialized devices. When I know I'll want good-quality p
        • No, it wasn't a matter of research, I researched it quite well. I got the phone for it's bluetooth connectivity and the ability to subtrovert the unlimited "vision" plan.

          The fact that it had a camera was incidental, but one day I had it on me and took a couple pictures and to my chagrin, couldn't get them. It was aggrevating and very deceptive as it was no way stated the camera was useless without it "Picture Mail". I don't know if it applies to all phones, but the phone I bought, I bought it knowing it wa
    • Bingo.

      A few years ago I remember someone telling me about a Sears Roebuck catalog he'd seen from the early 1900's. One of the more expensive items was an electric motor which came with a variety of specialized tools and adapters. The idea was you would take a drill, saw, whatever, plug it into this motor to draw power (mechanical power, I mean; probably incredibly dangerous, to judge by similar setups on modern farm equipment, but presumably it worked), do the job, unhook the tool, and then fit the next w
    • Not everyone has the room for all those gadgets. The PS2 was brilliant in the fact I was able to ditch my DVD player, and that it stands up on its end. When it goes out (or when I get the money) I'll replace it with a Mac Mini.
    • Well, if I already have a computer, and am able to use it, it will be easy for me to use the same computer as a TV, right? I mean, of course a TV microwave would have a weird interface, but we're talking about going from computers where we are used to having multiple simple interfaces (think browser, mp3 player).

      I, for one, would appreciate if my laptop could do so much more than it currently does, including TV and radio.

    • The computer industry seems to have this idea that we want to combine all our gadgetry into a single box.

      Hrm? I thought that single box was something we called a "computer" and I already have one.

      You know... That thing I can do excel spreadsheets on, surf the web, play Half-Life, write an email, download a movie, play my Mp3s, edit a photograph, or rather do anything that I can think of the top of my head.

      Sure, I could have bought a game console, dvd player, and maybe hand write my excel sheets on a peice o
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:13AM (#15010228)
    Doesn't Apple's Airport Express [apple.com] do this already for audio, with video capability soon to be released?
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:18AM (#15010259) Homepage
    Most media center PCs were too expensive to be mass market items anyway. What they should have done instead is come up with a very low end PC that costs $200-$300 that focuses everything it has on serving up high quality content instead. BeOS would have been great for that. They could then sell add ons like home NAS devices that would have been automatically detected and added so that you could just keep expanding your home media collection painless by buying a new device and plugging it in.

    Today, most families don't have the money to spend on another $1500-$2500 PC that is basically a TiVO and DVD player with a few little wizbang features thrown in. The dollar has been shot in the head thanks to Clinton (yay for the most corrupt SEC in decades!) and Bush (deficit spending out his ass), many good jobs have left the country and so quite simply, the media PC was about as useful and affordable for many families as a $60,000 luxury car for its size and role among electronics.
    • Oh, man, you just slammed both Clinton and Bush in one post. I'm surprised this little thread hasn't collapsed into a singularity from the weight of all of the flames.
    • What they should have done instead is come up with a very low end PC that costs $200-$300 that focuses everything it has on serving up high quality content instead.

      You mean like an Xbox with media center installed on it?
    • Today, most families don't have the money to spend on another $1500-$2500 PC...

      Have you looked at PC prices lately? You can buy a PC that would be more than capable of acting as a media PC for $300.
  • I already do that. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Griffinart (957548)
    The household PC is in the kitchen for general use with an XBox 360 in the living room streaming live TV and recorded media to the TV over my wireless network. Win MCE 2005 and Extenders have allowed this for a while now without Viiv.
  • Handy Tech (Score:2, Informative)

    by Nerdfest (867930)
    I can see the benefit of this sort of setup to a degree. I run something similar, with streaming media devices in various rooms, all streaming from a centralized machines. It is quite nice to have your entire media library available from any location.

    A friend of mine discovered a cheap, low tech solution for pushing audio as well, using playlists and a small FM transmitter. Basically, you run your own custom radio station. No remote control, but available throughout the house and yard, and no streaming de
  • Mac Mini (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:28AM (#15010334) Homepage
    We basically need a VCR/DVD player sized component that can do everything. A Mac Mini would be a good start, small, quiet, and has enough power to do most PVR like features. It could be made twice as wide (lets hope not too much higher) and probably be able to do everything we need for the living room.
  • unless you're one of the few users that finds it practical to do anything other than passively soak up multimedia content whilst relaxing on the couch.

    Ever since I got a bright, hi-rez projector (Dell 5100MP [dell.com] 1440x1050), my couch is where I do everything except programming. It is great for email, web-browsing, IM, video-phone, games and yes, even the occasional TV show or DVD.

    I highly recommend using an 8 foot wide screen with a wireless keyboard - it is amazingly comfortable to sit back in the laz-e-boy an
  • Intel is just trying to make themselves appear the only way to work with media, you know...marketing. Basically they're riding on coattails here. Viiv isn't ANY different than an AMD system similarly equipt. It's only "certified" to be able to do what they say it will. AMD could do the same thing, but they don't try forcing vendors to buy into their CRAP.

    Oh, and no, I don't like Intel. I've been lied to enough by that company over the years.
  • Between the lines (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wonkavader (605434) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:33AM (#15010387)
    I'm thinking this product means two things.
      1. License fees to Intel, so no Linux support.
      2. DRM.

  • by u16084 (832406) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:34AM (#15010388)
    I dont know about going to extremes saying it will REPLACE traditional PCs...

    I get my work frustrations out with gaming. During the last 14 days, I came to the conclusion that gaming on the PC is "for more expandable then any console" but The maintenance involved is just not worth it. It SHOULD just work(tm?) I deal with machines problems at work, nothing fancy just your usual monkey help desk. So in theory, You just reformatted your pc, reinstalled windows, and started the painful restoration. (blockers) virus,spam,firewalls,blah blah blah. Once that is completed, you begin to reinstall your game lineups. And if you're a gamer, you got 10+ titles . Within a week you begin to feel a "sluggish" response. You click on the Yellow Shield in your task bar, and get the latest critical updates. Couple days later, your game begins to stutter. Even tho You/I took ALL the precautions, Not running IE,using (virus/spam) scanners etc etc... Within 2 months your Gaming RIG is now crawling. Drink a 12 pack, and back Step 1. Am I wrong in saying IF YOU ARE a daily, heavy windows users (downloading, running various apps, gaming) Your WINDOWS machine has about a 1 year lifespan before some thing critical begins to happen. Whats my point? I packed up my PC and got a console. It just works. Now, for the conclusion, since im sure you're already sick of reading this, and are preparing to mod me down, What if i had a so called MEDIA PC. TONS AND TONS of crap, movies, music etc etc. DO you actually think that user is going to backup 250-500 megs of shit? Do you really think that windows based machine will run smoothly? When will the next life saving critical patch come out and screach your system to a hault? For a media PC to work, it has to have uptime reliability. One of my web severs has been up for over 2 years. No, it doesnt run windows. This whole Microsoft Media PC is just a marketing ploy. Sure it works out of the box... but for how long?
  • I'm amazed that an otherwise erstwhile publication could get so sucked in. There are numerous other form factors and ideas for 'media centers'. No one has offered the model that will have a high-uptake by the public so far, and many have (and are) trying to capture the public's fancy. The early success of Tivo was an inspiration, but the Tivo model has numerous problems, well-documented in this very forum.

    Integral electronics, set-top boxes, media center PCs, WiFi-controlled media centers, home IDFs, and ot
  • This is the client/server versus desktop argument. Is it better to have a central server that can be easily maintained, or a distributed system. As we have seen, a distributed system can be cheaper because the reliability of the compenent can be orders of magnitude less reliable than a server, and reliability often increase price non linearly.

    In addition, we do not always have sufficient runs of network cables. This means that we may be talking about a wireless solution, which will be fine for audio, b

  • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:43AM (#15010459) Journal
    The current concept of HTPC can't last. The average home has multiple TVs and even more viewers...a decentralized entertainment system makes no sense at all.

    I envision (using existing methods and technology) a "server" with massive amounts of storage and six or so TV decoders. It will handle all the requests for media, from live TV to DVDs (in a carousel? since they don't want us copying them) to recorded TV to music and stream those out to what amounts to a thin client connected to the TV.

    Microsoft is starting to do this with the XBOX 360 and its connectivity with MCE, but the problem there is that the 360 doesn't really extend the functions; as I understand it, it only has limited playback abilities. Imagine if the 360 could connect to MCE, select a channel, and display it...or schedule a show to be recorded by the server while you continue gaming.

    We're just scratching the surface of how networking is going to affect the way we distribute and view television and movies.
    • Imagine if the 360 could connect to MCE, select a channel, and display it...or schedule a show to be recorded by the server while you continue gaming

      The 360 already does that.
    • The only limitation is locally installed codecs which is fairly easily to get around using live transcoding from your MCE server.

      Infact the functionality of the 360 is only limited as it is because previes extenders were horribly under powered and thus developers artificially limited functionality.

      360 is great as a MCEX. I regularly play HDTV over mine and its pretty flawless and smooth. I typically do 6-8mpbs hd s treams or 3-4 mbps dvd rips WMV no problem.
    • The current concept of HTPC can't last. The average home has multiple TVs and even more viewers...a decentralized entertainment system makes no sense at all. I envision (using existing methods and technology) a "server" with massive amounts of storage and six or so TV decoders. It will handle all the requests for media, from live TV to DVDs (in a carousel? since they don't want us copying them) to recorded TV to music and stream those out to what amounts to a thin client connected to the TV.

      Hmm, sounds

      • Hmm, sounds like MythTV. However in MythTV, you simply rip your DVDs and CDs to storage rather than having them in a carousel. My backend only has 4 tuners and 1TB of storage, but 6 tuners and "massive storage" is certainly feasible.

        I picked the number six because that's typically the largest number of available slots. And 1 TB is pretty massive :p And I mentioned the carousel just because you're not going to be able to market a product that rips DVDs without the studios crying foul. Just trying to appease
  • by tweek (18111)
    Here's the thing people. Most users already have computers in the home office somewhere. To tell them they have to buy a $500 or $1000 dollar media center pc that is louder than any of the other components and larger to boot kills most purchases.

    I've had been debating a media center pc for over a year. Finally I heard about the devices based around the SigmaTel media chipset. I bought a Pinnacle Showcenter 1000 for about $100. IT handles all the movie files I have (excluding the DRM ones which I don't have
  • The Dbox Rocks! (Score:3, Informative)

    by ami-in-hamburg (917802) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @11:05AM (#15010629)
    I'm doing this already I guess.

    The DboxII will connect to your PC (Suse 10 in my case), show your pics, play your movies via VLC, record with commercial skipping, play your mp3 files, check your email, receive news feeds, check the weather......blah blah blah

    Oh yeah, it also receives Cable or Sat TV too!
  • Couch Surfing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Len (89493) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @11:12AM (#15010668)
    The existence of digital media adapters will totally remove the need to have a media centre PC taking up space in your living room, unless you're one of the few users that finds it practical to do anything other than passively soak up multimedia content whilst relaxing on the couch.
    Since I got my media PC, I find that I can't watch TV or movies without periodically consulting IMDB and Google. Not sure if that's a good thing or not, but it's a habit now.
  • look, if not for the complete and total lack of ability to easily creat a digital library on a basement media server which handles your tivo-esque timeshifting, storage of dvd movies and cd quality audio, channel tuning, etc., we'd all be doing it.

    The cable companies won't let a decent PC card cable tuner onto the market which can handle all the channels to which you subscribe. The music people work to prevent reasonable in-home music storage and access for the desperate fear that *GASP* you could share music across a network. The dvd people work to prevent any reasonable disk based storage and access of quality video.

    What's really needed is a different paradigm altogether. Ideally, a pass through set top box on one tv in each room, which uses IP to connect to a base unit in the basement or media closet. The base unit is a PC. The set top box provides user friendly tv based menus to the device. The device itself controlls one or more cable company tuners -- the cheapest ones they have that will give you your content descrambled. For additional concurrent non-scrambled channels, regular PC tuner cards could be used. The device would be responsible for which tuner is being used by which tv or whatever.

    The total number of tuners would then reflect the number of LIVE concurrently different channels of content you could capture or watch. Once captured, the limit is bandwidth in the house. If two tv's were looking at the same content, it would require only a single tuner. Suppose you mostly watch network TV but also like HBO. You now would need one cable company tuner which you'd use for capturing the HBO content, while you could have several tuner cards (or external USB versions of same) to capture unscrampbled video. Each tuner could supply one or many tv set tops within your house provided they were on the same live channel. Content could be captured to disk just as it is with most dvr's now, so that each set top box could still have pause/rewind/fast forward capability independant of each other.

    Additional menus on the set top box could easily stream back to the main box from a dvd player or whatever, effectively making the act of watching a dvd tantamount to capturing that content and adding it to your library. You could get fancy and automatically record new feature movies as your subscribed channels show them, and add them to your home library. The same could easily be done with a sat. radio subscription assuming your can read the track data while capturing the audio.

    Hell, we can already be our own phone company with Asterisk. Its time to think about being our own media companies.
  • Am I the only person who read "vim" not "viiv"?
  • by bobwoodard (92257) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @12:52PM (#15011365)
    Yeah right, they just want us to stream directly from the Studios. Why have all that pesky content laying around when we can just license everything and let the Studios keep it in-house?
  • Sure, my HTPC is used for media, but it's also used to run emulated games. With two wireless gamepads (logitech knockoffs of the PS2 pad), whenever my buddies come over, it becomes the center of attention, above any other activity planned for the night. Oh, I forgot, we're not supposed to interact socially, just vegitate and absorb what the content providers feed us.
  • This sort of thing is already available in many forms. For Mac users its in the form of the EyeHome unit from elgato. http://www.elgato.com/ [elgato.com]
    The EyeHome unit accesses media content from any Mac in your home network and displays it on your TV. It requires a small server (OK, maybe not so small - its a modded version of Tomcat) to be installed on the Macs you want to access. The EyeHome unit can then access all the media in your music and movies folders etc. I've been using this for a while and its a good

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