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Television Media

The Napsterization of TV 376

Lefty writes "This article in today's Boston Globe talks about the napsterization of TV shows and how the PC as a media server is going to make it happen. Burning TV shows to CD/DVD, e-mailing your friends TV shows, streaming TV over the Internet -- all things the dedicated set-top boxes can't do... The article talks about Snapstream, a PVR competitor to Moxi and ReplayTV, that runs on the PC and has media server capabilities. from the article: "Already you can find a great deal of pirated video material online. If SnapStream gets installed on millions of PCs, there'll be plenty more. And the TV moguls will find themselves knee deep in the digital acid bath.""
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The Napsterization of TV

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    If any one company tries to do this, or uses a centralized server, it'll get shutdown 5,000,000 times faster than Napster.

    You can't just "avoid" copyrights.

    Jesus, this isn't an article, its an idea that will get annihilated in court!!
  • It seems people forget the folks at home who (for whatever reason, fear of computers, lack of interest, etc.) won't want this and won't want to change. Sure, for the tech savvy, as well as the folks that have the time to do it, this is a viable option. However, there are a LOT of people out there that are perfectly content with the way things are. What is going to happen to these people? My guess, nothing, because this won't be as large (in the near future anyway) as everyone seems to think. Let the rebuttals begin...
    • Just like internet appliances. It'll take the household by storm! People will have one of these in each room of their house, cause they are so cheap!!

      Slashdot has an article that's a vaporware salespitch.

      Why do I like my TiVo? Cause of two things, I type the SHOW NAME (not the time or channel), and it records the show. And I use the "thumbs up/down" system long enough that my "TiVo suggestions" are full of shows I enjoy. Both of those aren't on this new system.
      Plus, I don't want to hookup my TV to my computer. I don't want to watch TV on my computer, I want to watch it on my large screen TV while lounging on my couch!
    • However, there are a LOT of people out there that are perfectly content with the way things are. What is going to happen to these people?
      Well, they just going to have to register into the government's Unemployed Mammoth Hunters welfare plan. That's all.
  • No Guide (Score:4, Flamebait)

    by nexex ( 256614 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @02:53PM (#2951360) Homepage
    The problem I have with snapstream and the other PC based PVR software is there in not guide comperable to what is available to tivo, replay, etc...All you get is a grid of times without show name or length. If you live in UK, there is digiguide integration, but I dont live in UK :)...it is rumored that there will be us version this year sometime though
    • i have agree. i have an ati aiw 128, and it has some sort of guide program (windows). it lets you set recording of shows and everything. the problem is that it's still cumbersome and very buggy. i think the pc recording software need the simplicity of a tivo interface. i want to be able to say "record this show every day at 6:30, save it in VCD 2.0 format, and please cut the commercials out. oh and by the way, when there's enough to burn to disk, send me an email please."
    • SnapStream 2.0 includes a tie-in to the guide at titantv.com [titantv.com], which includes links you can click to automatically set recording times/lengths.
      It's out, I use it. The site also claims to provide dynamic links for Win-TV PVR, WinDVR, and PowerVCR II, although I've never tested them with it.
  • I plan on rackmounting half a dozen DirecTivo's. That, and my 200 gig fibre channel array, and I'll be the most popular guy in the warez channels.
    Nah, I don't really pirate stuff, but digital archives of my favorite shows really would kick ass.
  • by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:00PM (#2951418) Journal
    Seriously, I see in ads all the time, Windows XP lets you e-mail movies to family, my Quickcam software does likewise, but does anyone actually -DO- this?

    My stepfather tried to e-mail me a (not too large) PDF the other day, and it was bounced because it was too large. @Home (what was @Home) also had a transfer limit. I expect most ISPs do. Who on earth actually e-mails 350-meg files?

    • The answer to your question is "no one". My college mail server caps attachments at around two megabytes or so that last time I checked.

      I'd venture to guess that the primary means of file transfer for movies and music these days among general (l)users is through instant messaging software like AOL Instant Messenger.

      In fact, they now have a standard feature that allows you to 'directly connect' to a friend and drag & drop media files into the chat window, simultaneously sending it to them.

      Instant messaging will not be going away ever^H^H^H^H for a very long time.
    • by KelsoLundeen ( 454249 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:28PM (#2951605)

      Here's a true story:

      It's Christmas, so I decide to buy myself a Christmas gift -- since I buy the best gifts for myself. They usually involve a lot of money and computer equipment.

      Okay, so this Christmas -- couple months ago -- I take the plunge and buy a miniDV camera. I also realize I need editing software. So I get Vegas Video. And what the heck: sound on DV cameras sucks, so I buy myself a couple microphones (a stereo mic, a shotgun mic, and -- because I can -- an XLR mic with a little XLR box that sits between my miniDV cam and the mic.)

      Okay, so I've got my whole setup ready to go. I decide I'm gonna shoot some documentaries of my friends, my family, and my dog, Brewster. I spend a couple weeks shooting funny shit -- little movies, a couple of documentaries, and a 15 minute long video of family photographs set to Benny Goodman music. Sorta like what Woody Allen does at the beginning of his movies.

      Anyway, the photographs were family photos -- old ones, black and white and color, and the finished video -- complete with zooms into and pans across the old photographs -- was very cool. Like Ken Burns. That sort of thing.

      I get the bright idea: hey, I oughta *show* this to someone. So I do. I mail the video to my parents. Now, okay, it's pretty small -- around 5 megs or so -- but I forget my parents are still on a modem. So I get this angry call from my dad: "What the hell did you send us! The modem's been nonstop for an hour!"

      A photograph video, I told him.

      "Cripes, I couldn't figure out what it was! I thought it was a virus! I had to restart it five times before I finally gave up."

      It dawned on me that, heck, I coulda just put the video on a web page. But I didn't think of that. I just took the edited video and emailed it off to the folks.

      Okay, so three days later. I get another call. It's the old man: "Hey we finally downloaded the video! Fantastic! I mailed it off to your aunt!"

      Um, I said. I could just put a web page up and she could download the video.

      "Too late!" says the old man. "Make more! We love those videos!"

      Couple more days pass, and I get this angry call from my aunt: "What the hell is the video you've been sending around? It took me hours to download it! I had to call my ISP! They thought it was a virus."

      I pointed out that I didn't send it. I made it, but I didn't send it. "Blame your brother," I told my aunt.

      "Cripes!" she says. "Don't ever send me another video. You don't know the headaches I went through to download that thing."

      Did you watch it?

      "Watch it? I had my ISP zap it off my email account. I was getting account errors, quota errors, you name it!"

      But it didn't end there. My dad kept sending this five meg video around. More calls ensued. Angry emails came in from my cousins, uncles, aunts. The gist: don't ever send us a video again.

      I'm thinking: cripes, my family is cracked. It's just a five meg video, for chrissake!

      But who knows.

      Anyway, moral of the story. Normal people do not send videos. Morons (like me) start the ball rolling and actually email videos. But, no, no one sends videos. It's just marketing bullshit.

      There's still ill-will about the videos. I didn't think it was a big deal. And I apologized all around. But the damage has been done.
      • by b1t r0t ( 216468 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @04:01PM (#2951822)
        I mail the video to my parents. Now, okay, it's pretty small -- around 5 megs or so -- but I forget my parents are still on a modem. So I get this angry call from my dad: "What the hell did you send us! The modem's been nonstop for an hour!"

        1. Are you or have you ever been a PHB?
        2. Do you feel an inexplicable urge to use PowerPoint?
        3. Does your home web page use any Flash?
        4. Does your home web page have a "front door" page which contains nothing but a Flash animation?

        If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, seek help from your local BOFH immediately!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm the email admin where I work and (apparently) you'd be surprised at the garbage people try to email. I finally had to put a block on move attachments to stop them from coming in. The largest one I say trying to get in was just over 100mb and our ISP was allowing it. Since the ISP wouldn't block for me I just up my sendmail to stop anything over 10mb. On top of that I also filtered the .mpg, mp3, avi and other movie type files that they keep trying to clog our system up with.
    • > y stepfather tried to e-mail me a (not too large) PDF the other day, and it was bounced because it was too large. @Home (what was @Home) also had a transfer limit. I expect most ISPs do. Who on earth actually e-mails 350-meg files?

      Obviously a question from someone who's never had the, uh, "pleasure" of administering a network at a company with something called a "marketing department" ;-)

  • by aslagle ( 441969 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:01PM (#2951428)
    There is a lot more to a Replay than a 'modified PC'. There is a stable OS that is designed to stay up without rebooting, a UI designed to access other Replays on the local network, broadband access to guide data and other Replay owners, not to mention other 'goodies' like auto commercial advance and recording conflict resolution.

    Yes, there are programs that will add PVR functions to a PC, but none of them quite make it to the 'consumer box' level of integration.

    My wife, an admitted technophobe, had no problem learning how to use the Replay, and loves it (my kids do also). If I had put a PC in my A/V stack, I'm sure I'd be the only one using it.
  • Digital Acid Bath? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brit Aviator ( 542593 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:02PM (#2951438) Homepage
    Is it me, or is this article somewhat...breathless? No mention at all of the legitimate uses of digital copying, nor any mention of how the ability to copy and freely distribute television in the past (via VHS etc, albeit at lower quality) affected the TV industry and what correlation this has with the current situation as "digitizers apply their corrosive talents" to the same. I think I'll be shocked the day I hear a TV or movie exec stand up and say "hell, why are we stonewalling this stuff? Let's just evolve our company a bit and see if we can't make a buck or two off it!" Change is expensive, I know, but in the long run refusing to change may prove far more expensive: fatally so.

  • just the media.

    In order for the broadcasters to have "this technology" shot down, they are going to have to do the same to current day VCRs. Seriously, from what was described in the article, to what I do today with my VCR are no different.

    Then comes the issue of "serving up" the broadcast on the web say by a P2P client. Well, I guess the same thing can be applied to a gun. Gun manufactorers are not liable of John Doe holds up a 7-11 and blows away the clerk. Makers of recording mechanisms can not be held liable if John Doe serves up the lastest Friends show on the web.

    The complete Irony of this current debate is that broadcasters are screaming bloody murder that these players are NOT recording advertisments, but god forbid, are fighting tooth in nail to stop people from recording the show.
  • Nice idea (Score:2, Informative)

    by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 )
    At last an affordable replacement to the (RIP) Tivo (although I think they still sell them in the US... more extremely rich geeks there I suppose).

    It's a bit before its time, though. Home users haven't really got the bandwidth to use this (ADSL penetration in the UK is at something like 1.5% of households... the rest are on 56K). The kind of people who have broadband & don't mind waiting 3 hours for an episode of star trek to download can already get all this by trawling Usenet, and the rest haven't got the patience or the hardware.

    I thought the idea of putting your favourite programs on an IPAQ was amusing... 32MB wouldn't get you much video (about a minute if you're lucky, more if you don't give a crap about the quality).
    • Re:Nice idea (Score:2, Informative)

      by RC514 ( 546181 )
      Current codecs are a lot more efficient than you think. 32MB per minute is about 500kB/s, which is enough to transmit almost DVD-quality video. For small displays, like those of handhelds, the rough estimate is more like 1 or 2 MB per minute of video.
    • Re:Nice idea (Score:3, Informative)

      by maggard ( 5579 )
      At last an affordable replacement to the (RIP) Tivo (although I think they still sell them in the US... more extremely rich geeks there I suppose).
      They're in business, selling well, did great over the holiday season, just shipped v.2 hardware and secured a US$50 million round of financing.
      It's a bit before its time, though. Home users haven't really got the bandwidth to use this (ADSL penetration in the UK is at something like 1.5% of households... the rest are on 56K). The kind of people who have broadband & don't mind waiting 3 hours for an episode of star trek to download can already get all this by trawling Usenet, and the rest haven't got the patience or the hardware.
      Actually much of this has moved to the p2p services as Usenet is becoming clogged, retention times are down and really it's about the worst medium for distributing big binaries like these.
      I thought the idea of putting your favourite programs on an IPAQ was amusing... 32MB wouldn't get you much video (about a minute if you're lucky, more if you don't give a crap about the quality).
      Apparently you're also out of the loop on compression these days - figure each minute on something with an iPaq-size screen taking under 1 MB. A typical Star Trek Enterprise episode with intro and all at very good quality at a reasonable size clocks in at about 300-450 MB.

      Wow - 3 for 3 and you were wrong on each, got anything else you need to be corrected on? This is /. y'know, news for folks who might know what they're talking about.

  • by mrroot ( 543673 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:06PM (#2951476)
    In the mean time, anybody know where I can download "The Star Wars Christmas Special" or episodes 24 through 30 of Three's Company? This will surely enhance the quality of life for everyone.
    • You don't need the actual Three's Company episodes, I'll give you a synopsis. Enjoy!

      Episode 24: Jack gets involved in a sexual misunderstanding with the girls. Mr. Roeper thinks Jack is gay. Mrs. Roeper makes fun of Mr. Roper's sexual performance.

      Episode 25: Jack gets involved in a sexual misunderstanding with the girls. Mr. Roeper thinks Jack is gay. Mrs. Roeper makes fun of Mr. Roper's sexual performance.

      Episode 26: Jack gets involved in a sexual misunderstanding with the girls. Mr. Roeper thinks Jack is gay. Mrs. Roeper makes fun of Mr. Roper's sexual performance.

      Episode 27: Jack gets involved in a sexual misunderstanding with the girls. Mr. Roeper thinks Jack is gay. Mrs. Roeper makes fun of Mr. Roper's sexual performance.

      Episode 28: Jack gets involved in a sexual misunderstanding with the girls. Mr. Roeper thinks Jack is gay. Mrs. Roeper makes fun of Mr. Roper's sexual performance.

      Episode 29: Jack gets involved in a sexual misunderstanding with the girls. Mr. Roeper thinks Jack is gay. Mrs. Roeper makes fun of Mr. Roper's sexual performance.

      Episode 30: Jack gets involved in a sexual misunderstanding with the girls. Mr. Roeper thinks Jack is gay. Mrs. Roeper makes fun of Mr. Roper's sexual performance.

      If you want, I'll let you know the plot of Gilligan's Island too!

      True story: Actual synopsis of Dr. Who last month on DBS... "The Doctor must defeat various foes."

  • by lorcha ( 464930 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:08PM (#2951484)
    I understand and grant that the companies that produce the media that consumers enjoy (music, TV, movies, etc.) must make a profit in order to stay in business and continue production. What I do not understand, is why these media producers feel that the correct course of action is to attack technologies that threaten their current business models.

    These companies pay their executives millions of dollars per year to create revenue streams and increase profit margins. Why can't those executives show some crativity and use the new technologies themselves?

    For instance, they could seek out new viewiers for their TV shows by distributing content in unencrypted form so consumers can freely share the content with their friends. This would have worked especially well for the music industry who killed Napster instead of channeling their enormous user base into an enormous business opportunity.

    For all of the money we pay execs, they ought to be able to come up with something better than "This technology threatens our current business model and must be thwarted." Business models can and must evolve with the changing climate.
    • I think they should charge MORE to companies running ads in unencrypted freely availiable shows - Hell integrate the ads into the shows so you can't skip them. Set them free online - every so often you'd get a 'killer' show that everyone is mailing links to, more product exposure, everybody wins.
    • Napster did more than create a file-sharing community and force the music industry's hand. I think it is fair to say that Napster is responsible for copy-protected CD formats, sloppily created music software standards (created by a desperate music industry) and probably higher CD prices. I agree with you that these high paid executives should have to come up with creative solutions but they shouldn't have to do it with a gun to their head.

      Replay and Tivo (and especially customized desktops) are going to create a whole new Napster scenario. The result: copy protected television streams overpriced and incredibly restrictive (read: paranoid) subscription services and probably the death of some good entertainment because commercial prices will drop through the floor as ratings dive. Maybe none of this is unavoidable, but one would hope that the public has learned that copyright is a right within the law and unless you *change the law* what you are doing is wrong. But more importantly, sharing files like this forces these industries into nasty positions that cause them to overeact and generally make things harder and more complicated.

      PVRs are great. Watch the show when you want. But the public should refrain from rebroadcasting television shows by file sharing over the internet and let these companies come up with good solutions that will allow them to make some money so they can provide new entertainment. If we put them out of business by disrespecting the rights of the creators we haven't done anyone any good.
  • What kind of news is this? I've been able to record movies from my TV for a few years now. ATI has been selling TV capture cards for a long time now.
    • RTFA

      The article is about how a technology that geeks could do is now going mainstream. Thier product is an attempt to make a mass-market PC-video solution that a non-geek can use, with consumer bells and whisles like downloading TV guide listings from the web, software bundled with TVcard hardware, scheduled recording, etc. If they did thier work right, it should have a point-and-drool interface.

      And the article does have a point. When a few geeks trade thier favorite show, it's no big loss. When everyone and thier Aunt Sally does, the media industry is in the acid bath.
  • Build your own ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by EisPick ( 29965 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:10PM (#2951497)
    This week's issue of Business Week has build-your-own-PVR instructions [businessweek.com].

    When a meme leaps from the pages of Popular Mechanics and Wired to the pages of Business Week and the Boston Globe, it's probably time for the networks and studios to pay attention and figure out how they're going to deal with this technology.
    • You mean "deal with" in the mafioso sense, I presume.

      I believe the presumption that the TV scumbags^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hindustry is working under is that they're going to shift over to digital TV (after delaying it for as long as possible since they get some kind of deal on spectrum until it comes about) and control redistribution with some kind of watermark.

      My presumption is that they have achieved sublime mastery of the path of the Dodo. In the case of music, or movies, or comic books, you can say, redistrubition on the Internet is free advertising, and to a certain extent that is true, the MPAA and RIAA's profits may drop, but they're an organisation of producers (in the studio sense) as well as distributors; they actually make what is, for better or worse, our culture, which means society is their bitch. The individual people presently in control of movies and music can jockey for position in "the new order", and some of them may fall, but the music industry is not going anywhere.

      The TV stations, and the networks, really, are not production groups. They subcontract production to TV studios with whom they are, in a large part, in an adversarial relationship. The TV studios, who actually make TV programs, are going to continue to find ways to make money - people want TV, and if the revenue streams of those companies are seriously threatened, society will accept whatever terms TV producers care to name. Another poster suggested streaming content with commercials from your web site - that is a good idea, but if the studio that actually makes Buffy is going to do that, why would they cut in Warner Brothers? Once they've done that, why broadcast the show at all?

      The TV broadcasters, on the other hand, own nothing but a distribution monopoly. Should that monopoly pass away, they are in way more trouble than the people who actually make content.

      One of the other posters said that TV isn't going anywhere in the next decade. He's right, but a decade, while it's forever is circuit design, is not very long in the lives of the TV moguls who see their family fortunes threatened.

      The efforts by content distributors to have draconian controls installed in all personal electronics are going to get worse and worse. Our best hope is that they don't have the good sense to offer IBM and Panasonic the one thing that might make them go along with a plan to shift over to a DRM-enabled mandatory hardware standard - crass bribes of huge amounts of cash money.
  • by Teancom ( 13486 ) <david@nospaM.gnuconsulting.com> on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:10PM (#2951500) Homepage
    until kazaa stopped my linux client from working. I was d/ling whole series of television shows that I want to watch, but either 1) don't get the channel or 2) simply can't catch the episodes in the right order through syndication/reruns. That includes Farscape, Red Dwarf, Stargate SG-1, Dark Angel, and others. And the best part was, *every* episode was out there. Now, however, I'm a junkie in search of a fix. I broke down and started installing all the windows p2p stuff on my kids computer, but can't find a single decent replacement to kza.

    Morpheus (supposedly the same thing) comes back with much fewer hits than was I was getting, and the connection seems to be worse (dropouts, "connecting" hangs, etc). winmx seems decent, but there is either no results, or the one person that has it is queued up to 11 or 12. Any given gnutella client (bearshare, etc) is plagued with the normal gnutella problems (large bandwidth usage, slow searching, limited results). Jumping on irc (dalnet) is almost useless, as the queues are jam-packed, and you have to sit there all day, just to get in a queue 20 people long. Am I missing something? I'm obviously not the only person interested in getting tv shows off the 'net (the point of the article), so there has to be a resource out there that I'm missing. What is it? And (please oh please), let there be a command-line linux client!! The ability to start screen, kick off a session of kza, go to work, check in on the progress, add some other things, go home, check up on it again, redo some searches, back and forth, was priceless. Bring back kza! Please!

    /whine mode off....
    • How many have you ever made available for people to download from you?

      I think that answers your question.
    • In case you are looking for episodes of tv shows, then check out edonkey available here [edonkey2000.com]. I have been using edonkey for a few months now, and i have always found more stuff on edonkey than on any other network (kazaa/morpheus included). Also there are a few sites on the net which give out edonkey links which u can use to download verified files! There is a linux client available. Check out www.sharereactor.com [sharereactor.com] for a guide on using edonkey along with lots of links!!

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:12PM (#2951510) Homepage Journal
    Ha ha! You thought I was going to say "Any day now we'll have the ability to store our favorite shows digitally, watch them at a time of our choosing and be able to share them with our friends who may have missed that episode for some reason."

    Any day now we'll have broadcasters encoding "Dharma and Greg" with copy-control signals and mandatory copy-control conformance for all digital hardware that has anything to do with video signals. It will be effectively illegal to record any show for any purpose (including time shifting) and it will be illegal to so much as talk about ways to get around these restrictions (Or indeed, to talk about how much these restrictions suck.)

    • by roystgnr ( 4015 )
      Copy control signals (for various reasons Slashdot has discussed to death) just won't work. If I can see it and hear it, I can copy it.

      What will happen instead is what we're already seeing. TV station logos planted on top of shows, opaque and animated so they can't be edited out. Video squished, bent, and overlayed to accomodate advertisements while the show is actually playing. Scenes cut out of reruns so you'll have to buy the DVD set to get the whole show.

      The only way to ruin TV copying is to ruin TV. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to bother anyone doing it.
  • Note that the program only lets you rip into Windows Media Format. You are then essentially stuck watching it on your PC (and windows), which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I would much rather watch things on my TV (which is much larger then my monitor).

    It would be a much more interesting product if it would let you rip to a more open format, perhaps letting you burn VCDs. However then it really would be Napster-like. Though when all of those Windows Media DVD players come out, it might be a almost acceptable solution (assuming you're willing to buy a product that supports microsoft).
    • Note that the program only lets you rip into Windows Media Format...

      It would be a much more interesting product if it would let you rip to a more open format, perhaps letting you burn VCDs.

      I haven't tried this yet as my TiVo spits out MPEG-2, but this page at VCDHelp [vcdhelp.com] says TMPGEnc will accept Windows Media as input. This page describes transcoding to MPEG-2 for burning to SVCD; if for some strange reason you want to use VCD (which uses MPEG-1) instead of SVCD, try this page [vcdhelp.com].

  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:14PM (#2951519) Homepage Journal
    The main damage the television networks suffer from the 'Napsterization of TV' is the commercial time. Most of the TV shows you find on programs like Morpheus have the commercials edited out. I can only speculate on the reasoning, but my guess is that they are edited out to make the download time shorter.

    How could Television networks fight this? It's simple: Provide streaming content from their website. Let's say that UPN provided a streaming version of Enterprise, for example. They could release it 24 hours after the show is initially aired. (This way, the original broadcast still has commercial/timeslot value) The requirement is that I have to fill out information about myself so they can target ads to me. Then, what they do, is when the server streams down the show, it inserts in ads targeted to my demographic at the same time that the original broadcast aird commercials.

    This provides an interesting new twist to the Ad model. Not only is the demographic more far reaching, but it's no longer tied to a time-slot. If somebody discovers Enterprise 2 years into the show's run, they'll likely go back and watch the first episodes to get up to speed. This means that those commercials get aired again.

    Current streaming technologies require several seconds of buffering, so it isn't worth trying to skip past them. And since I can start watching immediately, I have no need or desire to get them on a file sharing program.

    With this model, not only could the networks minimize 'damage' done by these programs, but they'd also provide a potentially profitable service that works even better.

    Heck, if they wanted to make even more money off it, they could charge a $2 fee to see an even higher quality stream of the video, or something like that. I wouldn't care about that for the Drew Carrey show, but I'd likely pay that to see a higher quality version of Enterprise since the sets and effects are so much more interesting to look at.
    • How could Television networks fight this? It's simple: Provide streaming content from their website.

      How could television networks fight this? It's even simpler: Write more obvious product placements into the shows...

      [Interior shot - Crew room of Enterprise]

      Crewman 1 (punching buttons on replicator) to Crewman 2: Can I get you a Coke?

      Crewman 2: Yeah, but make it a Diet Coke. Ya know, it tastes just as good, but only has 2 calories. Fitness eval is coming up next month and I have to drop a few pounds...

      ... and so on. How do you skip comercials when they're woven into the fabric of the show?

      Course they can always use crawls and split screens, too...

    • The main damage the television networks suffer from the 'Napsterization of TV' is the commercial time.

      Doubt it. The reason i see it happening is that with TV shows, there is no way for me to go out and purchase a DVD with Futurama or Invader Zim or whatever on it. Futurama MAY be released on DVD years down the road, but there's not a high likelyhood- And Zim, nickelodeon wants to throw away; they don't see it as a moneymaker at all- Yet there's no way in hell there will be a DVD release of it.

      That's the problem these media moguls need to think about. Many People /WANT/ their teevee shows available for purchase. I sure as hell do.

    • It's a clever idea, but the affiliates also make money off the shows.

      Example: A certain number of spots are reserved for the local affiliates, who sell them to whoever, often its local businesses like the car dealership. There are some businesses that actually go around buying local time in large regions for regional products or for companies that want to be more discriminating about their media buys.

      Anyway, the point is that UPN couldn't stream the content to end users without pissing off affiliates -- this is part of the reason that its taken so long to get networks on satellite dishes and why you can't get, say, LA affiliates if you live in Minnesota.

      They may be able to do something that compensates the local affiliate for the spot views they lose, but it'd be complex math as the value of the spot time is directly related to the Nielsen/Arbitron numbers they get for that show. Ideally they would just show you the local spots, but that would be really complicated (insuring that all stations sent digital versions of their local spots for merging into the stream, etc). Another way may be to do a national spot and divide the revenue by the number of local station regions that had streamed viewers.
      • Anyway, the point is that UPN couldn't stream the content to end users without pissing off affiliates...

        Sure they could. In his proposal, he had folks logging in so they could demographically target ads at them, right? Well the login information includes where the person lives, right?

        You simply pay the affiliates a percentage of the ad revenue based on how many people in their area viewed the stream.

        Voila, everyone is happy.

    • and then all the local stations start fighting that because they are losing their local ad income (over 50% of that shows ad's are local ad's.) and without the stations the network is worthless. so the network caves...

      Sorry, the almighty dollar will thwart every attempt to get legitimate tv shows online.
      • That's the whole point of the demographic profiling that I mentioned in my original post. If I put in my zip code, then they know exactly where I live and can give me localized ads.

        AT&T Broadband, for example, is my provider. If they were to host one of these servers and get content for me to watch, they'd definitely send me down local ads just like they do with my cable.

        I don't think this is a problem in terms of implementation, but I do agree that the chicken and the egg theory applies, like you said.
    • A while back I had an idea like this. Get old TV shows that were sitting on the shelves collecting dust and put them on the 'Net in a streaming format. You could charge a (reasonable) fee with differing access levels. For example, maybe $10 per month would get you 10 shows at low quality and $20 would get you 20 shows at medium quality. (I'm just making these figures off the top of my head, so don't complain "that's too high.")

      Of course, I didn't have any contacts in the TV industry and I saw how reluctant the music/movie industries were to have their products online in any shape or form. So I gave up on it and moved to other site ideas.

      I still think this would be a good idea though. Maybe some server-side scripting could splice in commercials based on the user's preference and show. For example, say you're watching that episode of Futurama online (since you missed it on TV due to Fox's scheduling nightmares) and you come to a commercial. Since you've said you're interested in Sci-Fi and you're (obviously) interested in Futurama, you see commercials for the a new Sci-Fi movie, Futurama merchandise, new Simpsons episodes, etc.

      This would increase the value of the commercials since the vendors will have their commercial seen by people who would be more likely to purchase the products. (Of course, the user would need to be able to change their profile at any time and would need to be assured that their user data wouldn't be shared.) Are there even any "server-side video splicing" tools?
    • Lovely theory and one a bunch of folks followed into the money pit.

      Bandwidth costs: That episode of Enterprise is gonna take anywhere from 250-500MB and your $2, demographic information and eyeballs for 8 minutes of commercials ain't gonna cover it.

      Next while it's not easy to fast-forward or skip commercials right now it will be about two hours after such a service as you're proposing is released.

      Then there's the point that in that first hundred of folks to download this will be a few who will chop out the irrelevant bits and throw them on their p2p servers and the whole model will collapse 'cause there are a lot of folks willing to share (even though it doesn't work big-scale economically) and others more then happy to get without paying.

      Now, some sort of on-demand streaming is likely to happen, but it's gonna involve lots of heavy encryption and may not use your PC at all but a game console, hopped up DVD-player or most likely a next-gen TiVo-type player. The streaming will likely come from your cable head-end and you'll pay just lik you do existing Pay-Per-View.

    • Most of the TV shows you find on programs like Morpheus have the commercials edited out. I can only speculate on the reasoning, but my guess is that they are edited out to make the download time shorter.
      I would have thought the reasoning was obvious - no one wants to see the ads.

      Provide streaming content from their website.
      Maybe I'm alone in this but IMO streaming sucks. I've never been able to successfully stream anything of decent size/quality (not even just audio), even with cable. I won't look at movie trailers if there isn't a download version and I'll certainly never pay for streaming content.
  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:14PM (#2951524)
    Sure, we can all laugh about the idea of people emailing half a gig of video to each other, or downloading them onto their PDA, or say "wow, how cool would having digital archives of my favourite tv programs be", but the real issue here is - how do media artists make a living when their product can be copied an infinite number of times for virtually zero cost?

    I don't see much discussion of that, perhaps because nobody knows the answer? It hasn't been solved for music yet - no wonder the TV execs are wetting themselves.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:59PM (#2951809) Homepage
      how do media artists make a living when their product can be copied an infinite number of times for virtually zero cost?

      They can rely on good-will tipping from their fans (see .sig, below), or fund themselves from their day jobs. You may think that's unacceptable, but I don't -- I think the world would benefit from having less professional/corporate/money-driven content, and more amateur/semi-pro content.

      Just MHO.

    • true artist will always create. Probably make money be charging for the intial viewing.
      Perhaps this would re-ignite theater?
      Artist will ge paid(maybe not millions) one way or another, the corps will have a porblem maintinaing current revnue growth, and probably collpase to make way for a business model that fits the new entertainment distribution model.
      Or they'll be a 5 dollar a month sur-charge to download bore then 20 megs a month.
      or 5 addition dollar for every 100 megs of downloading over the first 100 megs.
    • How do media artists make a living when their product can be copied an infinite number of times for virtually zero cost?

      You know, I've been thinking about this for a bit. Something along the lines of

      1. Just suppose for whatever reason, Copyright can not be enforced and

      2. Suppose that not only can Copyright not be enforced but the means of distribution can not be controlled.

      Oh I imagine something like, someone somewhere will always be able to break whatever Code, the Media decideds to use, and that soon enough everyone will use encryption so that no one will know what is flying over the Net.

      3. What happnes to the Artist? Oh sure, everyone talks about how the artist will get money from people that care, or from live preformaces, but I think this really Ignores the fundamental idea of IP (intellectual Property

      4. I wonder if its really the Creative Process we are being ask to pay for? I think this might be an interesting argument because it would certainly go a long to nullifying a lot of arguments that go something like
      "Well, if it doesnt cost them anything to re-produce or make more copies, then dont have any right to profit on something that costs them almost nothing"

      I think what an Artist could argue is that "I am going to show you something, that you could not have come up with on your own, be it words or music or pictures or what have you, and I am charging you to experience. I am not charging you for this digital copy or that digital copy, but You are giving me money so that I can allow you see what I have made

      Now I know some may argue that WE have a right to see al information, but I am not exactly sure this is true. And this can bring up a whole slew of other discussions,

      but for now, I really do think that these issues are going to come to head as we come more and more to understand exactly what we are dealing with when it comes to digital data. I think it will be a very interesting debate

  • About two years ago, a doting Calfornian dad streamed his 8-year old daughter's favorite cartoon over the net.

    He later decided to turn it into a business, all without getting "the express written consent..." blah, blah, blah... and got busted for it.


    Now, admittedly, the legal climate has changed in the past 1.6 years, but doesn't this count as a "rebroadcast", etc. by the letter of the "old" laws even?

  • More to the point about "napsterization" of video content, there are starting to emerge companies [jivemediat...logies.com] that are providing non-DRM solutions to allow free unrestricted file sharing of TV and movie programming [jiveplayer.com].

    We keep talking on /. about the stoopid record industry and how they just don't get that file locking via DRM and subscription models are Bad Ideas (TM). Maybe the video folks can actually learn from their mistakes.

    What I like about these emerging solutions is how they address the underlying "business model" issues - instead of blindly trusting in DRM. Just maybe they will come to understand that you aren't going to get consumers to pay for the online content - get over it. Now what?

  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:25PM (#2951583) Journal
    Well, it's a matter of a long time. For one thing, the bandwidth and playback needs of TV are far higher than those necessary for Napster to take off. Traded MP3s sound decent to most listeners, and are small enough to be shared easily over a LAN, and painfully over a 56K. Warez enthusiasts may share video today, but it's too slow and far too low quality to be a competitor to TV and movies.

    For another thing, part of the ritual of television is that it's tied to time. I'll sit in front of my TV on Monday evening and watch football but would never think of downloading a Falcons-Buccaneers game from 1994 to watch on a Wednesday night.

    Besides, television is free, and there's already far more of it than anyone could watch. Are fans going to hoard Futurama or Bullwinkle episodes? Sure. Will that make a dent in serious TV watching? Not in this decade.
  • It used to be that to watch a TV show or Movie, you had to use a TV or go to a Theater. Or buy a VHS tape or DVD. To Listen to music, you had to listen to the radio, or buy a CD. If you want to read something, you have to buy a Magazine or Book.

    With TV and Radio, they could force you to consume Advertisements, and sell the Ad space. With books, DVD, and CD's, you have to buy a physical object. With a Movie theater, you have to pay admission. However, new technology has presented a third option. Use the Internet.

    You do not need to buy a new physical object each time you want to get new content with the internet. So they cannot sell you a physical object. They cannot easily charge admission to a web site, and competing with free content will cause you to lose. So most subscription websites do not work very well. You can edit out or block advertisements from websites. So Popup ads are dying, and with downloaded TV via TiVo, you can remove Ads. So you cannot sell Ad space since you have no guarantee that the Ad will be viewed.

    So if all your getting is the Content, how can you make a profit?

  • by curunir ( 98273 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:31PM (#2951623) Homepage Journal
    As a die hard Simpsons fan, I have nearly every episode archived so that I can watch them whenever I choose. I used to have every episode, until they came out with the whole first season on DVD. I bought it and promptly threw away my cd containing those episodes. When they release subsequent seasons on DVD, I'll buy it and get rid of my copies.

    The answer to this seems pretty simple to me. Release the content on DVD. I think most people would rather shell out 15-20 bucks for a high quality copy.

    Besides...how does it hurt them that I own a copy of the episodes. I still watch Simpsons episodes when they come on (both prime-time and syndicated versions).
    • But if there's at least one pirate out on the high seas of the dangerous Internet, the companies still have to take any and all measures necessary to stop it. They aren't greedy, they're just doing it for the children, who need to learn to respect IP. :P
  • There's nothing to stop you sharing SnapStream videos over the Internet. Nothing but bandwidth, that is. Most high-speed home Internet services allow rapid downloads, but relatively slow uploads. It'd take all day to send an episode of Babylon 5 at today's speeds. So there's little chance that TV shows will be Napsterized - for now.

    Why is it that everytime you read one of these articles, the author always mentions that bandwidth is the primary restriction. Are they implying that the lack of bandwidth is what is stopping rampant piracy of all these shows? If that is true, then it's not so hard to believe why we don't have broadband. It's in the interest of the TV Networks, MPAA, and RIAA to keep the public from getting broadband access. In fact, it seems like there are more benefits to corporate america for restricting broadband than promoting it.
  • Edits (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SomeOtherGuy ( 179082 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:35PM (#2951645) Journal
    By the time you get done editing the commercials out of a 2 hour TV show -- you will finally feel like you are getting your money's worth out of that new Athlon :) In other words: It takes a steady hand and a little patience and alot of spare time to make these edits. (and then more time to Archive to CD) Some people may get off on this kind of stuff -- but after about 5 episodes of the Simpsons and another handful of Seinfield and Threes Company -- I was burned out -- and my fingers hurt...)
    • By the time you get done editing the commercials out of a 2 hour TV show -- you will finally feel like you are getting your money's worth out of that new Athlon :) In other words: It takes a steady hand and a little patience and alot of spare time to make these edits.

      I would say it depends on the video format you're using. MPEG-1 files are a piece of cake to edit, I've cut commercials out of many things that I've recorded into MPEG-1 using Dazzle [dazzle.com]. VCD Cutter [seller-club.com] makes it a snap to do, the only time it takes it the time it takes to copy the data to another file, which is a hard drive limitation rather than a CPU or video card limitation.

      On the other hand, I imagine editing commercials out of AVI files would be a pain.
      • Looks like VCD Cutter only works on Win32...I imagine there has to be a Linux way to do this. (I used to keep a partition with Win98 to do things like this -- but soon discovered that it would cost $25 to $100 bucks per piece of software to do anything....I used to do that kind of "Wild Spending" before I was married with children -- but nowadays my software purchases usually equate to a small "contribution" to Slackware or Debian.)
    • Virtual Dub, direct stream copy. As there'll usually be a keyframe at commercial in and out, it shouldn't be any problem, no reencoding needed.. even if it doesn't get everything there's max 15 secs of commerical crap instead of five minutes. If you want the last frames out, reencode till the first keyframe after the commercial break, and cut and paste it together. I doubt I'd use more than 10 mins on an hour show total...

  • For the most part, music is available in some shape or form, even if it means buying it online. Most television programs are, as yet, not.
    Case in point: my local cable company recently shut off UPN. This means that the 4 television shows i watch (Buffy, Enterprise, Angel and Special Unit 2) I no longer have the option of watching. I also can't watch it via satellite, because of FCC regulations on what can be broadcast. In other words, I have no venue to watch these television shows.
    This isn't about not wanting to see the commercials. This isn't about not wanting to pay for the television shows. This is about a flat unavailability in my area. My only option is to get episodes from the internet (until/unless they eventually are put on DVD for sale, in which case I would definately buy them.)

    Music, of course, since it is available on CD almost by default, doesn't suffer from this problem.

    Is it breaking a copyright? Sure. Is it morally as bad as "stealing" music? Probably not. As I don't have the option of "supporting" these television shows by watching the commercials, they really aren't losing anything by this practice.

    At least, not by people in my situation.
  • Watch the flash demo [snapstream.com] for the software. Click on the "In the bedroom" window and check out what it says...

    Tired? Go to sleep and watch the rest of the game after you get some.

  • by linuxrunner ( 225041 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @03:51PM (#2951743) Homepage
    NO, not because of pirating music and videos, or movies... or even tv shows for that matter. We all still buy / purchase.

    No, the downfall will be because of the ever surmounting lawyer bills they will receive after all the BS... After chasing one p2p network and then the next when a new one pops up... then the next... and so forth.

    Learn to change / adapt, or become extinct.

  • TV is pumped through my home (and my body) without my consent on a daily basis. The courts have ruled time and time again that a person's emails/ideas/etc can be "owned" by thier employer/ISP if they are using equipment or bandwidth that the employer/ISP "owns". Well, seeing as I own my own home and my body, I can impose any kind of regulation or fee onto anyone attempting to use it as a medium.

    My terms and conditons are very simple: If you or your company wish to use my body as a medium to carry your radio waves, all you have to do is transfer *all* rights to the copyrighted works being transmitted on those waves to me. Radiating those waves into me will considered consent to this contract.

    So there you have it, if you are watching non-cable TV in the San Francisco area: I, THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER OF ALL SAN FRANCISCO TV, HEREBY GRANT PERMISSION TO REDISTRIBUTE THOSE WORKS FREELY.
  • Welcome to something that has been going on for quite some time. Seriously, the only recent development mentioned in this article sounds suspiciously like a product placement for that software (which does stuff that GPL'd programs have been able to do for a while).

    There is indeed an active TV show trading scene, recently segments of this market are starting to really look official. For example, there is the Digital Archive Project (no link provided because I don't want you lusers crashing their site) which has managed to encode 90% of the MST3K episodes and is working on the other 10%. That's almost 150 CDs worth of DivX data! Their distribution system is quite impressive, and at least in the USA, it seems their activities are legal.

    IANAL, but I'd like to hear from someone who is/can ask one whether the Betamax decision protects our rights to share recorded broadcasts with our friends. (The precedent is, a videotape of a show is legal if it's made for personal use, and playback can be time-shifted and occur somewhere other than the place where it was recorded. Well, actually, I don't know how broadly this applies...)

    There are many people who have every Simpsons episode on their hard drive, and even more who have every South Park (they've only had five seasons). There already is a video napster: it's called Electic Donkey--and there's also a lot of stuff going around on DC. This Boston Globe reporting is hardly front-line journalism. But I guess the vitality of the TV show trading community may be because the mainstream media have largely ignored them--so here's to hoping we go back to that.

  • The television industry shouldn't be as threatened by this as the music or movie industries. Movies will always be better for many people when seen in a large theater, but that won't save the video market. There'll always be a market for concert tickets and radio ads, but that won't save album sales. For both music and movies, having consumers purchase (or rent) a digital copy of the material is a large part of their market; if people can get them for free, a substantial portion of their possible revenue stream is gone. This is much less so for television, where the practice of offering collections of episodes on tape or DVD has never been widespread.

    Another thing is the "water cooler" aspect of (particularly prime-time) television. How many people are archiving Survivor episodes? What's a tape of the Super Bowl worth? For many television shows, the biggest lure is watching them with everyone else, being able to talk about them afterward, and having that shared experience with many people.

    Finally, there's the sheer volume and variety of the material. Of course, a great deal of it is utter crap, but that hasn't hurt it so far. It's worth noting that priced-to-own VHS has not hurt the cable movie channels. This is because it's very difficult to assemble a video library so comprehensive that you wouldn't want to watch anything else. The cable movie channels are forced to specialize mostly in a) popular movies people may not have bought yet, b) older movies people didn't bother buying, and c) softcore porn flicks some people were a little embarrassed about buying. They seem to be doing quite well for themselves for all that, though. There are certainly enough of them these days... I believe a similar dynamic will keep radio ads afloat for a long time. I simply don't have enough CDs to listen to nothing else for very long without getting sick of the whole lot; thus, I listen to the radio quite a bit when I'm in the car. The extension to TV and TV ads is obvious; no matter how easy it is, it's unlikely anyone (or at least not enough people) will be able to keep a copy locally of anything they might ever want to see on television.

    Television will continue to be driven by the ad market, and the TV ad market won't completely collapse until somebody figures out a more efficient method of getting public exposure, of buying eyeball time and introducing themselves into people's lives. As long as advertisers continue to view the internet with fear and suspicion, television (such as it is) is probably safe even in the face of rampant piracy.
  • RIAA, MPAA, "TV Moguls", why do you shoot yourselves?

    They continue to broadcast their media on freely available recordable channels and complain when we record those broadcasts. If they were serious about protecting the "rights" and not the profits, they would discontinue all broacast of all media and make any recording devices illegal. This load of "Don't steal our stuff, but feel free to enjoy and record it for your use" pisses me off. I urge everyone to record the next network broacast film, the next Boy Band hit song, and the next episode of The Simpsons, and show them that they are the ones that placed the original sharing network in place. We have only embraced and extended it.
  • The concept of a digital video recorder that records anything, anytime, is a great idea.

    SnapStream is a bad implementation. The streaming aspects of SnapStream are good but it is weak on the codec and programming guide end. It has a programmign guide, but it is far from complete, but the nail it its coffin is that it does not allow the use of third party codecs and its CGI-based interface is slow to say the least.

    There is where ShowShifter comes in (www.showshifter.com). ShowShifter allows for the use of third party compression codecs. With my 950mhz AMD Processor, I can compress to DivX in realtime with about 30% processor utilization. Whith my processor I can't compress the audio in realtime with DivX, but if I'd like to archive the show I simply compress the audio later inside ShowShifter. But for those with slower processors ShowShifter can capture in a light compression codec and then recompress when it has time.

    A one hour CD at excellant quality (which is indistiguishable on a television, and barly noticable on a PC) can fit on a CD. I know more people than me are doing such things as when I miss an episode of a show I like to watch, it can often be found on eDonkey (www.eDonkey2000.com). Alot of sci-fi shows are up as the people who are recording these things are the same type who enjoy sci-fi, but as the technology spreads I'm sure it will become more diverse.

    The Napsterization of television has already begun.
  • How does this help me share the content with my friends? By having them get at the shitty stream in wmv format? Give me a break!

    Here is something I want for all of you code-genius /. coders:

    A simple windows programs (ok maybe mac and linux too) that allows me to __mirror__ a directory to a friend so that all of my hard work at Morpheus can be shared on a private buddylist basis.

    Two things:

    1. I know I know: cron+rsync+ssh+bash script. But this thing has to run on windoze and has to be much easier than this.

    2. I know, I know: its not as free as just continuing to get/put the content on the Fast Track network. But I have a lot of buddies who would like to see my episodes of 24, but who wouldnt go near Morpheus for fear of all of that crappy spyware and because when they tried to download the LoR preview at work they ended up getting a video of Pamela Anderson giving head to some bonehead rocker.

    Help me out programming geniuses!
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @04:52PM (#2952120) Homepage
    Broadcast over the public airwaves should terminate copyright on the content. Content owners who don't want that should have to do it the hard way, over cable, on physical media, and over the Internet. But if you're using state-subsidized bandwidth, you should have to give up copyright at first broadcast.

    That's what to push for in legislation.

  • It's not speed and it's not 100% convenience. Set top boxes are the sweet spot between total control of intellectual property by consumers and total control by producers. They give you just the power than you paid for while not allowing you to do what you didn't pay for. In fact the convenience is so important that most of you will opt for set top boxes no matter how uncopyable the media is. Add some effective marketing and you've just found the solution to the piracy crisis.
  • And would you believe it, all the software required is FREE when you use Windows!

    I have a WinTV Hauppauge PCI card (one of the older versions) and can use it to broadcast television live off my PC, over the internet where I can watch it on my laptop in laboratories at university =)

    There is this wonderful FREE WINDOWS tool called Windows Media Encoder. Download it off Microsoft's site (for free). Use WinTV to select the channel you want to broadcast. Then run up Windows Media Encoder. This tool will perform REALTIME compression of the audio/video and broadcast it over the internet (out of my ADSL line) using Windows Media

    On my laptop, I simply type in my hostname in Windows Media player (or use dyndns for my hostname) and from labs at internet, I get to watch telly =)

    Fun stuff
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @06:11PM (#2952512)
    I don't know what the percentage of web-users on 56K is, but I tend to think it's still at least half.

    I run on DSL. Downloading a movie is unreliable, boring and the final image is usually pretty bad. I'd rather walk through snow and ice to rent some crap from Blockbuster. And I almost never even bother doing that.

    T.V. sucks. Most movies suck. There are a million more interesting ways to be entertained. I hate television! -Bad writing, bad production values, bad acting, and all packaged in a sludge of mind-warping advertising and propaganda. Why subject myself to such a horrid assult? Why would anybody?

    But nearly everybody does. And right now, it's a million times easier to flop down and waste away in front of whatever crap is being broadcast than it is to go hunting on-line for 50Meg low-res, shit color episodes of whatever (with the last two minutes missing because of some download failure).

    Until cheep and ubiquitous download speeds arrive which allow for very easy, very quick access to high quality television content. . . Well, it just won't make much difference to the status quo.

    And I am willing to bet ANYTHING that even if such a time does come, that it won't make a lick of difference. I don't care what distribution/financial model is adopted, there will ALWAYS be TONS of new and 'interesting' programming being shoveled up for the populace to waste away in front of.

    Pardon me, but if anybody thinks that the Powers That Be are going to allow all the meat puppets to unplug themselves from their nightly borg-alcove brain-fry sessions. . .

    Well anybody who thinks that has been watching too much TV.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, the Scary Monkey Show is about to start. . .

    -Fantastic Lad

  • A word of warning (Score:3, Informative)

    by _ganja_ ( 179968 ) on Monday February 04, 2002 @08:14PM (#2953004) Homepage
    I have purchased Snapstream and I would really urge anyone that is even thinking about it to read snapstream's own discusion forum first. This is one software purchase I really regret, the trial version kinda works but it is of course fairly limited, its only when you really start using the software seriously that the flaws show up. Crashes are fairly common, tunning is a major issue if you are outside the US and the *only* recording format that is supported is Windows media. The quality of the recordings isn't exactly great either (when the software actually does record that it).

    What does surprise me is nobody has really stated that they are running Linux to do PVCR functions. What software is around on the Linux front?

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."