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Japanese Makers To Forge An Internet TV Standard 127

An anonymous reader writes "Five Japanese TV manufacturers will form a working group to hammer out technical specifications by October for digital TVs with Internet access. They will develop a consumer electronics version of Linux to provide functions and performance required for digital products. The resulting source code will be made available through the General Public License procedure."
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Japanese Makers To Forge An Internet TV Standard

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  • by ryanr ( 30917 ) <ryan@thievco.com> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:19PM (#5628101) Homepage Journal
    The resulting source code will be made available through the General Public License procedure

    What procedure is that? The one where someone swipes some GPL code, tries to pass it off as proprietary, and has to be badgered and humiliated until they release the source or pull the product?
    • by Duncan3 ( 10537 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:48PM (#5628205) Homepage
      No no, the one where hardware companies release the code because they make 100% of their money selling hardware...

      Like when software companies give away their software because they... oh wait...
      • Ahh, is that similar to the one where hardware companies make use of GPL code and then release their derivative code that is useless on anything other than their hardware?

        That's a great use of GPL.

        I guess the BIG question is; can the resulting boxes can be mod'ed to run Windows XP? ;-)
        • Re:GPL procedure? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @08:44PM (#5628697) Journal
          That's a great use of GPL.

          Yes it is. The GPL can only succeed where there is the opportunity for companies to make profits. This is how they pay those "programmers" who develop the code, that "only" works on their hardware, even tho it is now GPL now, and anyone can use it.

          I understand that lots of people have a knee jerk reaction to a company making money using GPL to make money, but uh, that is the idea: make money selling the hardware and servicing the software. If you can't use GPL to make money, no one will want to use it. Really.
          • You obviously haven't had the utopian vision of a society that shares its code for the common good, unlike other evil entities that exploit, control and enslave its users with a monopoly that can, and apparantly does have the money to pay off the corrupt politicians.

            I think somewhere in there is some truth, but the GPL was started by people who were trying to STOP you from making money off it, but to entice you to add to the pool of useful code, at least thats the impossible dream I had when I read it.
            • Read the GPL (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Pharmboy ( 216950 )
              You obviously haven't had the utopian vision of a society that shares its code for the common good, unlike other evil entities that exploit, control and enslave its users with a monopoly that can, and apparantly does have the money to pay off the corrupt politicians.

              Thats swell. But you still have to eat.

              I think somewhere in there is some truth, but the GPL was started by people who were trying to STOP you from making money off it, but to entice you to add to the pool of useful code, at least thats the
          • I understand that lots of people have a knee jerk reaction to a company making money using GPL to make money

            Where are these "lots of people" because I sure as heck can't find them. Even RMS advocates making money from GPLd software. No knee jerks in sight.

            • Where are these "lots of people" because I sure as heck can't find them.

              They are here on slashdot. You should know that. The ones that think GPL is a eutopia where the lion lies with the sheep. Check the other reply to my comment. The commies :-)

              There are a certain amount of socialists who post pretty regularly who put down capitalism and making money with GPL pretty regular here. Perhaps I just spend too much time reading /., but even tho its a tiny percentage, its fairly common.

              Screw eutopia, Im
              • ... even tho its a tiny percentage, its fairly common.

                I've no gripe with what you said when you admit it's only a tiny percentage. I only had a problem when you claimed it was "lots of people". I think, and you agree, that it's a small number of people who are unfortunately very vocal.

        • derivative code that is useless

          If I write a graphics driver for my VGA card based on GPL code and therefore release it under the GPL too does that make my graphics driver code useless?

          What would be really amazing would be a mandatory standard hardware interface for home brew experimentation 8)

      • It's like when Microsoft gives away Xboxes for (almost) free cuz they make their money selling games that cost about 1/5 of the box-price eatch. ...Hey! Why can't MS start making PC's? The price tag for a state of the art machine would be like $200!
      • No no, the one where hardware companies release the code because they make 100% of their money selling hardware...

        They GPL the code so that the bugs can be fixed by unpaid OSS volunteers, and then incoporated into V2...

        Or am I just a cynic?
    • Just because the standard my be implemented as GPL, that doesn't mean a proprietary implementation cannot be written by MS et al, unless the standard uses patented technology which is only licenced to GPL implementations.

      IMHO, anything released initially under GPL AND protected by patent will never become a real standard. Why? Because unless Microsoft feel able to implement and integrate it most home PC users will not feel comfortable downloading it, and unless Microsoft creates an implementation it will h
  • Wow . . . (Score:5, Funny)

    by Selanit ( 192811 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:24PM (#5628121)
    So, they're going to forge this standard? Isn't there some kind of law against that? ;-)
  • by Jasin Natael ( 14968 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:28PM (#5628130)
    Finally, you'd have an OS/interface that would be the same for most TV's worldwide, and wouldn't need loads of effort and reprogramming to localize for different markets. And that's not mentioning the possiblity of a widely available set-top that could conceivably run a very decent browser (mozilla/phoenix). Maybe it's not what we geeky Americans drool over, but the business/marketing sense in it is obvious.
  • Would this be like HTML forged standards?

    Or more like Dell's forged printer cartridge chip standard?

    Enquiring minds want to know!

  • by borgdows ( 599861 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:39PM (#5628161)
    In France, we have a important internet provider (free.fr) which released in December a settop-box running Linux providing 2mbs internet access , digital TV and 2 phone lines for 30/mo.

    pictures and technicals details (in french) on http://free.box.free.fr/ (it's an unofficial site)
    • I forgot to mention that the DSLAM broadcast in MPEG format and that the receiver (the Freebox) uses a modified VLC client (VLC is the player from videolan.org)
    • Wait a sec, my French is a bit rusty (which already glorifies my french skills).
      Do I understand it correctly?
      30Euro/m just for the 400Euro box? Or is that including the services?

      An average power consumption of 20W seems a little high for me.

      Otherwise, woohoo... who says MIPS is dead :)

      Oh, and the documentation includes a description, how to install Internet access with Linux, exemplary demonstrated with Debian 3.0 (Woody). (Besides the obligatory MacOS X and 9, and Windows)

      Finally, be prepared to be bom
    • Now this seems very promising. I would love to be able to combine my phone, cable, and Internet bills into one. The only problem is I would still want to be able to switch if service was bad or something. Do you have other options available or are you locked in so to speak?
    • free as in fries?
    • 2mbs internet access , digital TV and 2 phone lines for 30/mo???
      My f***ing 256/128 adsl is 45/mo
      You french are REALLY odious.
      BTW, is it very difficult to get the french nationality?
  • by tigress ( 48157 )
    ...the General Public License procedure ...not to be confused with the Generic Public License, or the Public GUN License.
  • by Chromal ( 56550 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:42PM (#5628180) Homepage
    This is a pretty cool idea, especially if it means I can set up real time television streaming a la shoutcast. We've got a ways to go on bandwidth is most places to make this ubiquitous, though. It'd suck if it just turned into an alternate closed delivery scheme for digital cable.

    $ cat Farscape_4x22.mpg | vidcast -v -dtv dig_tv &

    Woo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:43PM (#5628181)
    This could never have happened in Capitalist America (troll, yeah, I know), where companies are too retarded to realize that you need to cooperate with others if you want to make *standards*.
    • Yes, example:
      Microsoft and XML.
    • Have you ever heard of RCA? a company formed from several different American companies to standardize radio broadcasting and reception. Or the maybe the NTSC you know the National Televison Systems commitee, the one responsible for the television broadcasting standards in America?

      Just Checking.
      • RCA has not been an American company for some time...

        1986 - RCA acquired by GE. A year-and-a-half later, General Electric sold its RCA and GE consumer electronics business to Thomson.

        1988 - Thomson completes purchase of RCA and GE consumer electronics businesses from General Electric, creating Thomson Consumer Electronics. Thus Thomson Grand Public became Thomson Consumer Electronics (TCE) with Pierre Garcin as Chairman.
        • I do understand this but I was referring to the orginal formation of RCA by the various patent holders of the time. They came together to form standards in the radio broadcasting and reception field.
          • Well, actually, they came together because they each held patents that the others needed and that was the only way to make any money with them instead of blowing it all on lawyers suing each other. No altruism involved.

            And of course once they merged they proceeded to try to screw other technology developers such as Edwin Armstrong.

      • NTSC? Surely you meant NTSC: Not The Same Color twice. Yeah I know this is a troll but really, have you ever tried to reproduce the same colors on different hardware using the same (NTSC) standard? It's nearly impossible.
    • I'll bite. I think American companies understand cooperation to make standards... they may be profiteering and monopolistic, but they aren't retarded. In fact, some of the big ones do come together from time to time for that purpose (usually to band together against the monopoly in their industry, but that's a good thing).

      In general the difference is they have no interest in making standards. Proprietary is, in their eyes, often much more profitable.

      On the other hand, Japanese corporations have taught
      • In fact, some of the big ones do come together from time to time for that purpose (usually to band together against the monopoly in their industry, but that's a good thing).

        I remember GM and the companies that supported them did that to get a bunch of their IT vendors to conform to an interoperability standard. Anyone know of any others?

    • What do you think the RIAA and MPAA are? They're a group of companies cooperating to make *standards*. They've created the DMCA. That counts, right?

      In Capitalist America, companies control YOU!
  • next step (Score:5, Funny)

    by VanillaCoke420 ( 662576 ) <vanillacoke420@ho t m a i l.com> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:45PM (#5628192)
    Next step is to gather a bunch of corporations to form new standards for TV shows, in order to improve the shows too.
  • Can I help? Seriously, i've been quite enamored with streaming media, MPEG (ISO / IEC 13818-x), RTP / RTSP, experience-over-IP, interactive digital television, etc. for years now. My last two positions were in this space, and wow ... i'd love to help with this stuff. I've done set-top stuff, analog and digital, nifty nifty nifty ... is this going to be open-source from the beginning or only released that way when it's finished?

    Forgive me, this kind of stuff just really excites me a lot :-)

    Regards,

  • by Talez ( 468021 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:55PM (#5628235)
    8mbps ADSL connections over in Japan are extremely common with 12mbps starting to be introduced.

    Hell, you can get free 64K ISDN through one of the many ISDN ISPs over there.

    They have the infrastructure to support it. If you were using multicast or something like that, Internet TV could be very usable even at high bitrates.
    • I wish things were like that were some common in the US, but there is a simple reason why they're not: geography. The US is about 26 times the size of Japan. Japan is about 350 people per square km, while the US is only about 30. There is simply less area to cover to give 3G/xDSL/whatever to almost everone than here in the US. Oh well.

      PS: Facts from the CIA world factbook

      • If you're not lucky enough to be eligible for DSL or Cable its satellite for you.

        Welcome to the world of high latency "broadband".

        Thankfully my exchange was upgraded to DSL and now I'm sitting pretty on a 512K connection.
        • I live in Missouri, USA...the population center of the nation is in this state (unless it has shifted since I last looked) and the geographic center is in a bordering state...right smack in the middle and I can't get anything but 56K that works at about 28.8K speeds...so take your "high latency" satellite elsewhere to complain... :-)
          • What? 400ms satellite vs 150ms 28K modem?

            If I was trying to play games online I know which one I'd pick! :P
            • OMFG you cannot be serious....150MS ping my freaking arse. Try 10000. I've never seen a 56Ker ping any lower than around 300, and that is with good 56K, not crappy 56K... In the area of games, below some point (which is well above the 56K mark) it isn't about ping anymore but about bandwith...who cares if you can ping 25ms to a game server if you can't transfer enough data to play the game.
            • What? 400ms satellite vs 150ms 28K modem?

              If I was trying to play games online I know which one I'd pick! :P


              I had satalite for several years (was one of the first customers) until less than a year ago, they put cable out here in the sticks.

              I could get a 400 ping, if all i did was PING, but for online gaming, my EFFECTIVE ping was really about 800+. This holds true for other tests I had done as well.

              Oh, and Hughes service sucks. Absolutely sucks. I had been on hold with them for over an hour, many tim
      • If a disperse population is the problem, why is broadband to common in Canada [ic.gc.ca], which has 3 people per sq Km, as compared to the US's 30?

        The answer to this lies in the fact that Americans don't want to use the internet, for whatever reasons. Therefore it is not as easily available.
    • by raian ( 23120 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @08:58PM (#5628752)
      8mbps ADSL connections over in Japan are extremely common with 12mbps starting to be introduced.

      Actually, most ADSL customers here have already gotten their free upgrade to 12mbps. And now a lot of people are moving to fiber: 100mbps for about US$30 a month. Note that fiber to the home is available even in rural areas like Fukui prefecture, so claims that this is due solely to higher population density are simply false--the incredible disparity is mostly the result of poor US legislation.
      • Is there some element of cross-subsidy going on?

        Which legislation do you have in mind?
        • Sorry, I should have said "poor U.S. legislators." Basically I agree with Larry Lessig's contention that the U.S. government's policy of "do nothing", relying solely on the market to build and keep broadband neutral, has failed.

          The U.S. government's inaction in the face of a clear market failure has left the U.S. far behind Japan, South Korea, and a growing number of other nations. As a result there are new business opportunities in these countries that won't exist for a long time in the U.S., "Internet T
    • Actually Japanese have achieved commercial 100mps through fiberoptic lines, there is a service offered from NTT that gives you that speed for less than what most DSL or cable costs in the US. But the real world figures of the 100mps is in reality around 10mps in most areas and only in highly developed areas can atain anywhere close to 100mbs.

      But recently I heard an ad for 12mbs DSL in Japan for 2000yen (around $18).
  • by BuckaBooBob ( 635108 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:56PM (#5628236)
    Remembers Bill gates "Vision" of a pc in every home running his software.. Visions of Windows enabled electronics Spread through the huse as well.. It sure seems that MS is not working the way he invisioned the future.. Linux is breaking more ground and seems to be the "OS" that will be powering all the electronics in the home.
    • Remembers Bill gates "Vision" of a pc in every home running his software.. Visions of Windows enabled electronics

      Sure Windows enabled electronics. Just with small correction: X Windows.

  • I thought it was just the Chinese that were good at forging.
  • by FuryG3 ( 113706 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @07:04PM (#5628257)
    afaik, Standard digital cable is a mpeg stream anyway. It'd be real nice if TV's and cable boxes all have some sort of standard, and this may open up the way for decent streaming TV or VoD streams.

    Right now, companies like AT&T are using the same cable to bring you CableTV, Broadband internet access, and Phone service (trying to break back into the local telco market). It's the same copper infrastructure, but the technology for all of these services on both sides on the wire are all different.

    If a standard like this really catches on, and VOIP takes hold, we may see providers like AT&T doing it all over IP, which could really help everyone out, as well as push broadband speeds up a notch.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The thing you want to see is OpenCable [opencable.com], which should be coming sometime around 2005-ish, give or take. It's not exactly wonderful, but it'll let you pick up a digital cable box at a local store and plug in into whatever company provides in your area.

      TV over IP will be quite a while before it hits mainstream, just due to bitrates. MPEG-2 is still king (at least until MPEG-LA and MPEG-4 part 10 settle down), and it's 2-4Mbps per SD channel, 19Mbps for HD. Cable modems tend to max out at 6Mbps theoretical.
    • This is even better for the the Bells since they have recently gotten the FCC to say they don't have to share any wires with other high speed providers. See this old slashdot [slashdot.org] article about the court case. I looked but do not see the reference to the recent FCC ruling. Presently DSL is growing faster than Cable. This type of digital TV might tip the balance back (with the cable folks using their better bandwidth), but it might not since the cable companies seem to be struggling to keep going, rather than to

  • by ChicagoFan ( 125489 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @07:18PM (#5628309)
    The United States government has announced in a press conference that this action is considered a terrorist act toward Microsoft. "Our allies would use Microsoft software for this task", said George W. Bush. "They are not with us, so they must be against us." Bombing of Japan begins tomorrow.

  • by weaknees ( 662168 )

    As soon as someone figures out how to get these digital TVs to send shows from one TV to another (and from one home to another), Hollywood will do to this what it did to ReplayTV and SonicBlue... crush them with legal fees.
  • by MagikSlinger ( 259969 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @07:28PM (#5628350) Homepage Journal
    To get around Sony's patents on Beta, JVC with a few other companies created the VHS standard and made it free to everyone to implement. This is a potential nightmare scenario for Microsoft if the companies quickly reach an agreement and stick to it.

    The only threats to this commoditization are the companies involved falling out with each other and Microsoft quickly poisoning the market for this commodity TV/Internet box. I wonder if Microsoft can handle this many threats to its business model (the Office monopoly cracking, the licensing schemes being rejected by its customers, etc.) at the same time?

    The other home entertainment companies don't have much to worry about because they make their money from hardware, so they can just adopt this if it ever comes together. The other group to crap its collective pants is the cable industry. They fear the PVR already, and this gives the Baby Bells an easy road in for pay-per-view and other previously cable-only franchises.

    If these Japanese companies can get it to market and adopted in Japan, this could be the beginning of something interesting.
  • by zzztkf ( 574953 ) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @07:33PM (#5628361)
    I have seen the article in Japanese Newspaper reporting same announcement like, http://www.asahi.com/money/topics/TKY200303290203. html(sorry Japanese only).

    Linux is on topic, but in the same time TRON-OS is also mentioned as a candidate of standard. There is another article that API of TRON OS could be merged into Monta Vista's Linux.
  • Is wait for Amazon to pantent it,
    and then wait for microsoft to adopt it, change the standard, and then take away the patent from Amazon and sue any japanese businesses using it
  • ...isnt there enough crap on TV already? Last thing i want is seeing spam while im watchin tv.
  • How is this different than the existing host of streaming protocols? The only thing to be determined is how the set-top box will find the available "channels", and a a billing system for PPV / subscription channels. I'm sure all the components are available and already in use - a massive amount of commerce already occurs over the internet, and every news site of worth provides streaming video.

    Dan East
  • Who cares? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by iion_tichy ( 643234 )
    Why do people never give up on that idea of internet on the TV? Why would anybody want to surf on a eye straining device that is usually placed in a position inconvenient for work. WHy don't they focus their energies on phasing out TV for good, replacing it by something internet based... Oh well, one company I wouldn't invest my money in.
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Uh, no. What they're proposing is a standard to build TVs that can accept video streams off the Internet. The potential here is huge. Don't like the crap that passes for news on CNN? Start your own news channel and stream it over the Net. Suddenly, you don't have to worry about getting a channel position on cable or satellite. Anyone with a fat enough pipe into their home could get it on their TV.
    • To be able to do this you need a common base. First you would need to attract the people not connected to the Internet (which is still a large number of people) before you replace the TV sets with computerlike technology. If you do not then it will be over quickly because of lack of interest and and an audience too small to be catering to. In the end though the different media will be integrated anyway.
  • Imagine sitting down to watch Six Feet Under only to have the screen scramble and a message start scrolling across the bottom of the screen saying: "1 0wnZ U - W4tch my H4x0red F33D N0w L0s3r!" and having to watch some pimply faced geek's idea of programming. Just great.
  • Will this be like the Internet phones [abnormal.com] I've got? They were such a smashing success when they cost nearly $1000 each! I know so because I saw the press release. Some people I know decided to get in this great business and ordered some of these things. They sold so well I've got nearly 200 left sitting in the warehouse and I would be happy to let them go $100 each. I think the initial order was for about 210 of the things :-)
  • MSX anyone?

    -uso.

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