Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 18th Jul 2010 09:32 UTC
Multimedia, AV I'm a couch potato. There, I've said it. I love sitting down and watching sci-fi movies, like any good geek would. And this is an (almost religious) action that hasn't changed for many, many, years. But I feel that we're in for a surprise soon. The way we watch TV and access content is about to change. TV watching will at last arrive into the 21st Century, and the technology giants will be there to duke it out for the reins of this new industry.
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other players
by superstoned on Sun 18th Jul 2010 10:10 UTC
superstoned
Member since:
2005-07-07

Hmmm, Sony is building more and more cleverness in their tv's, wouldn't that make a diff here? And both MeeGo and the KDE Plasma team have this 'device spectrum' idea (one infrastructure for a range of devices, from mobile to the 'ten foot' interface on tv's). Plasma Mediacenter is coming, and there will be a MeeGo interface for tv's too. And it is not unlikely (and would be smart) they will work together on this at one point in the future...

Plasma's tech is incredibly handy for this. The Plasma Mobile interface is proving this already, and what they currently have in the Media center area is pretty interesting (but far from production ready).

edit:typo

Edited 2010-07-18 10:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: other players
by Eugenia on Sun 18th Jul 2010 10:16 UTC in reply to "other players"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

>Sony is building more and more cleverness in their tv's, wouldn't that make a diff here?

No, because if that Sony solution is Sony-only, then it's pretty much useless. Having some access to youtube, or even Netflix, doesn't cut it. What's required is a full platform, with developer tools, and compatibility across all ranges of new TVs.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: other players
by superstoned on Sun 18th Jul 2010 12:34 UTC in reply to "RE: other players"
superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

True, true. Yet, they're going in this direction - and are probably building on linux. At some point, it might open up, esp if the foss world comes up with cool solutions like MeeGo and Plasma MediaCenter, right?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: other players
by Kroc on Sun 18th Jul 2010 16:29 UTC in reply to "RE: other players"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

In the Google TV announcement, Google said that they were working with Sony to make TVs with Google-TV built in. If so, it’s the first clue Sony have had in a long time;

1. Buy Sony latop

2. Reformat

They’re kings of proprietary media crap.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: other players
by nt_jerkface on Sun 18th Jul 2010 18:45 UTC in reply to "RE: other players"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


What's required is a full platform, with developer tools, and compatibility across all ranges of new TVs.


Required for who? Here we go again with geeks thinking that electronics should be designed around the needs of 1% of the population.

HDTV companies will likely cut deals with content providers like Netflix and Hulu to lower the cost of production. If you want your HDTV to do more then build an HTPC.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: other players
by Eugenia on Sun 18th Jul 2010 18:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: other players"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Oh, yes, this is definitely it. Uh huh.

This is what people were saying before the iPhone: "who needs a PDA-like phone? Only geeks care about that stuff. Normal consumers just want to make a call.".

And then the whole thing exploded in their face.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: other players
by nt_jerkface on Sun 18th Jul 2010 20:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: other players"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

PDA phones were an obvious and natural progression given that both PDAs and phones already existed.

I think there will definitely be an embedded media OS battle in the near future but it will be spread across a range of devices including blu-ray players and receivers. As for that battle resulting in a standardized platform for developers......not likely.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: other players
by kaiwai on Sun 18th Jul 2010 23:53 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: other players"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

PDA phones were an obvious and natural progression given that both PDAs and phones already existed.

I think there will definitely be an embedded media OS battle in the near future but it will be spread across a range of devices including blu-ray players and receivers. As for that battle resulting in a standardized platform for developers......not likely.


The issue is also if everything is thrown in the television you're going to have a device that does 100 things half assed rather than a few core competencies very well. We've already seen it with mobile phones with hundreds of features and each of these features sucking worse than if they were put in separate dedicated devices. The only thing I've seen convergence do is bring a whole heap of cheap crappy components together in a single device and selling it to the gullible masses as an revolutionary change when in reality it is a step backwards.

Give me a mobile with long battery life and reliable reception, give me a media player with great sound quality, give me a television that is easy to use and only the features required rather than a whole heap of crap that I'll never use in the life of the product (look on your remote and count how many buttons you'll never touch in the whole time you've owned the said television in front of you). Are there people with feature fetish? sure but the vast majority just want what they have to be easier to use and for the features that are included actually work rather than simply there to meet some arbitrary list of features the marketing people think the device must have.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: other players
by nt_jerkface on Mon 19th Jul 2010 01:01 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: other players"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

The issue is also if everything is thrown in the television you're going to have a device that does 100 things half assed rather than a few core competencies very well.


Very true and we have certainly seen that in other devices.

Another downside is that you end up with multiple points of failure. One reason why I don't keep an HTPC in the living room is because I don't want a general purpose OS near my HDTV when I only use it for games and movies. It's overkill and would be more likely to have an issue than the OS in my 360 or Blu-ray player.

I work on general purpose systems all day long, when I turn on my HDTV it is going to get a signal from either the 360 or the Blu-ray player. There is no need for a general purpose OS to get involved in that process.

Edited 2010-07-19 01:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: other players
by HappyGod on Sun 18th Jul 2010 23:59 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: other players"
HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

PDA phones were an obvious and natural progression given that both PDAs and phones already existed.


Actually, I think that the TV turning into a computer-esque device is a more natural progression than the PDA/Phone scenario you described.

People have been talking about the all-singing, all-dancing box in the living room pretty much for ever, and I think it makes sense to integrate that into the TV. It's like everyone knows it's going to happen, but no one knows how; or when.

I think Eugenia is right though. It feels like it's close now. Here in Australia, Foxtel already have a product that does the media centre stuff (basically a TiVo for cable), and I definitely don't see it as a stretch to add iPhone-like functionality.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: other players
by nt_jerkface on Mon 19th Jul 2010 00:38 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: other players"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

People have been talking about the all-singing, all-dancing box in the living room pretty much for ever, and I think it makes sense to integrate that into the TV.


Using an HDTV as a secondary browser is one thing but I don't think that means it makes sense to pack all the hardware inside the television.

Set-top boxes and Blu-ray players already have cpus that are better for browsing and streaming. I think it makes more sense to have a magic black box in the living room that can do everything and can be upgraded every few years without having to buy a new HDTV. Everything is going to standardize around 720p and 1080p so people are not going to be interested in buying a new 50" HDTV just so they can browse the web and stream movie rentals.

As for general purpose computing in the living room I don't see that happening anytime soon. I think people will continue to view televisions as entertainment devices and general computing as something that takes place on a laptop or desktop.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: other players
by phoenix on Mon 19th Jul 2010 22:30 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: other players"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

It doesn't make sense to include a full-blown computer into the TV. It makes a lot more sense to have a full-blown computer sitting next to the TV with a simple audio/video link between them.

What's next? I have to buy my TV from the cable company, as they've locked it down to only work with their setup? I have to buy my TV from Netflix in order to have it work with Netflix?

Keep TVs dumb devices. Put all the smarts in a small little box next to it.

The only people who will "win" from integating everything into the TV ... are the TV makers.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: other players
by lemur2 on Tue 20th Jul 2010 12:37 UTC in reply to "RE: other players"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

>Sony is building more and more cleverness in their tv's, wouldn't that make a diff here?

No, because if that Sony solution is Sony-only, then it's pretty much useless. Having some access to youtube, or even Netflix, doesn't cut it. What's required is a full platform, with developer tools, and compatibility across all ranges of new TVs.


In Australia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Broadband_Network

http://www.telstra.com.au/tbox/index.html

http://m.zdnet.com.au/linux-to-conquer-oz-via-t-box-android-3393035...

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/hometech/telstra-tbox-takes-the-...

This will work perfectly well with the ordinary HD TV that you could buy today.

Reply Score: 2

RE: other players
by phoenix on Mon 19th Jul 2010 22:26 UTC in reply to "other players"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Hmmm, Sony is building more and more cleverness in their tv's, wouldn't that make a diff here?


It would be nice if TVs went in the other direction, and become like monitors: passive output (display) devices.

I don't want an ethernet jack in my TV. I don't want Internet access built-in to my TV. I don't want tonnes of menus and layers and what not.

Give me a large, clear, crisp display with lots of inputs in the back, and a single set of audio outputs.

Let the other boxes in the living worry about where the content is coming from (VCR, DVD, BD, cable, HTPC, etc).

Maybe it's time to move to a projector and be done with the whole TV hassle. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by flanque
by flanque on Sun 18th Jul 2010 11:56 UTC
flanque
Member since:
2005-12-15

I already stream TV over the Internet and I'm sold. I'd love to have a secure apps eco-system on my TV and the ability to do things like home automation and lifestyle activities.

I don't see any future with there being a central "hub" server. At best perhaps a dedicated secure media archive box for personal media like videos, photos, etc.

There's only one problem - the broadband needs to step up about 100 notches. This is the weak link in the chain if you ask me.

Reply Score: 5

Comment by Nycran
by Nycran on Sun 18th Jul 2010 12:27 UTC
Nycran
Member since:
2006-02-06

I'm looking forward to emergence of solid IPTV. The idea of being able to watch any show or movie at any time from anywhere in world is pretty attractive.

Here in Australia data would be one of the big stumbling blocks. If my rather rough calculations are correct, assuming 3gb per hour of TV and an average usage of 3 hours per day, I'd need 270Gb per month just for TV. Most people here are still on 20GB or less plans.

Would the networks come to a standstill if there was mainstream data consumption on this level.

I'm thinking this kind of revolution might be another decade off, and within that time we might see a strong play for 3D TV which adds another dimension (pun intended) to the landscape.

Edited 2010-07-18 12:29 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Nycran
by Kroc on Sun 18th Jul 2010 21:34 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nycran"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

There’s no doubt that there’s the bandwidth. The problem is the teclco’s monetising it. They’re happy as is, and there’s no reason to change. This is why Google are forcing fiber tests in the US to get the ball rolling. Create the demand, and the supply will have to follow.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Nycran
by kaiwai on Mon 19th Jul 2010 00:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nycran"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

There’s no doubt that there’s the bandwidth. The problem is the teclco’s monetising it. They’re happy as is, and there’s no reason to change. This is why Google are forcing fiber tests in the US to get the ball rolling. Create the demand, and the supply will have to follow.


IPTV has come to NZ in the form of Tivo where Telecom NZ sells movies on demand via ADSL which isn't added to ones traffic allowance. The problem is that not only is the internet bandwidth expensive but the network backbone has pretty much over two decades of under investment so even if they were to offer flat rate the backbone be flooded in seconds. Add to that the sole telecommunications company in NZ being poorly run by management who have degrees in business - its not surprising that NZ is in the situation that it is in. A similar situation is mirrored in Australia - paying 20cents or something every time I wanted to make a local call (charge me 20cents or charge me a monthly rental - don't charge me both!), data charges as well as time charges back when I was using a dial up modem.

Oh well the saving grace maybe atleast we aren't ass raped like in the US where the receiver of mobile calls and text messages are charged - if there was ever a massive rip off scam going it would be that.

Reply Score: 2

So in short...
by NexusCrawler on Sun 18th Jul 2010 12:37 UTC
NexusCrawler
Member since:
2009-02-11

You're saying that the future of TV is using the TV as a "dumb" computer display and that a suitable computer should be embedded in the TV, using that display.

For me that just means that the TV dies as a TV in the regular meaning. It just becomes another window on the Internet, a window primarily designed for couch access. That is bound to happen, even if the manufacturers and service providers don't play the game...

Reply Score: 4

RE: So in short...
by phoenix on Mon 19th Jul 2010 22:35 UTC in reply to "So in short..."
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

You're saying that the future of TV is using the TV as a "dumb" computer display and that a suitable computer should be embedded in the TV, using that display.


Almost. Separate the TV from the computer, and you have nirvana. ;)

Upgrade the "magic box" that connects to the TV every now and then, without having to upgrade/replace the TV. Add services to the "magic box" next to the TV to add more content. Move the "magic box" upstairs to use on the 32" TV in the bedroom without having to lug the 60" TV upstairs. "magic box" goes up in a puff of smoke, just replace it, without touching the TV.

And so on.

Combining the two will cause no end of grief for everyone. Who wants to replace their HDTV just to get an upgraded embedded OS when it would be so much simpler/easier to upgrade the "magic box" next to it?

What's really needed is to standardise the "magic box" such that it could replace all the different set-top-boxes out there (digital cable/satellite, DVD/BD, PVR, Tivo, WebTV, etc, etc).

Reply Score: 2

Comment by JrezIN
by JrezIN on Sun 18th Jul 2010 12:43 UTC
JrezIN
Member since:
2005-06-29

We need a way to bring it to the masses. aTV (and other current boxes) failed to do so because it's meant to be just a rental proprietary box... the thing about GoogleTV (don't know about the new aTV, but I think it's about the same thing, cheaper and meant to be more like a trojan horse version of the original aTV--proprietary rental box) is that it bridges the Web and the current tv... no mater it's cable, satellite or anything else. This is a big step to move users from their current habits (more like a passive watching) to something closer to internet tv (a really active approach to "watching")... besides that, it has a lot of interesting things, like widgets, web browser and it's meant to not disrupt the current system (you connect the cable to the googleTV and the googleTV to the television... if you aren't using the googleTV software at the moment, it'll work exactly like the cable works without GoogleTV.
Another interesting thing here, is that GoogleTV will be integrated in TVs too, so, to these users, there won't be "another box"... Of course, it's a neutral platform, several vendors will make TVs and boxes using it...

and the current system... there's no point fighting it, people won't change fast enough... but as soon as people see advantages in the other model, they'll start to migrate... the thing is, there's no model yet. hard to find rss subscriptions (when there's only the $%@^@ iTunes link subscription link!), lack of metadata, codec hell (i just hope google tv will launch with webm support out of the box), plugins... and, well, the lack of "tv search engine" makes it difficult... also, web tv these days are pretty much a "pro-active watching" meaning that you actually select things to watch all the time, with hardly any break... and people do appreciate the passive way of watching tv too... just sit and relax, pass time...


TV is a big thing! It brings together rich and poor, it helps you escape the terrible really, but in a way everybody else does too... it make big bucks, and it barely changed in the last decades (it's hard to teach new tricks to an old dog).
IMHO, google is doing very well here, at least in paper (Nexus One was meant to be a revolution in the US mobile market too, but people don't realize/care to be carrier's bitches... and marketing, and maybe timing, could be better too)... If they can use the right amount of marketing and really offer a more open platform, things may start to change...

Reply Score: 3

Real situation is more complex
by jonsmirl on Sun 18th Jul 2010 13:14 UTC
jonsmirl
Member since:
2005-07-06

The true problem is encryption. The cable companies have encrypted the signal and won't share the decryption keys. Without these keys you can't build a box that integrates the signal. End of story - without those keys we will have a cable company owned box on every TV forever and integration will never happen.

The FCC is working to force them into sharing the keys. The proposal is called AllVid.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/15/sony-tivo-ncta-and-others-chime-...

There are links to the comments each side has made on the issue of sharing the keys. It is interesting to read the full position paper instead of just the summaries.

Reply Score: 5

Expectations
by Ikshaar on Sun 18th Jul 2010 13:54 UTC
Ikshaar
Member since:
2005-07-14

I have big expectations from GoogleTV - as many I am sure - that they will have the weight and appeal to force TV providers to play the game.

My TV died two days ago, and spend those 2 days looking for a new one. UI experience range from average to poor on these new TVs, while my Comcast DVR UI is just plain awful. So even if I cannot get the TV with GoogleTV now, I am only buying a display unit and will add the box to take over the UI later on.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by vivainio
by vivainio on Sun 18th Jul 2010 15:09 UTC
vivainio
Member since:
2008-12-26

Each TV manufacturer must include with every new TV model shipped this small (standard, upgradeable?) hardware piece that also has a network-upgradeable firmware. The software included must be compatible with all the other new TVs in the market. And it must run applications -- similar, if not exactly the same, to the ones you can find on your smartphone. The reason why all TVs must run the same platform is that if each manufacturer goes with their own incompatible implementation this will never take off.


This might be possible in China, but western capitalism tends to avoid stuff like that.

What CPU should it have? ARM? That would royally screw Intel, in potentially illegal fashion.

I don't believe time is even close to being ripe to standardize on any software/hardware platform. Let free competition hash out the winners. We have great competitive technology situation right now, let's not ruin it.

This is also why I think focusing on putting the device inside TV is a bad idea, it's much easier to get good competition and upgrade story with cheap set-top boxes. - without need to co-operate with TV manufacturers.

What *could* be useful standard would be something like ATX specification about how the computer should be housed inside the TV.

Personally, I think MeeGo will be a major player here, on the virtue of being quite vendor neutral.

Reply Score: 3

bah
by TheGZeus on Sun 18th Jul 2010 15:19 UTC
TheGZeus
Member since:
2010-05-19

TV is dead. People don't gather around the TV any more, and with 1080p monitors being as common as they are, and virtually no one able to discern resolution above 720, there's no need for _that_ even. Why even bother with a specialised device. Just let us use our computers.
The only thing that interests me about live TV is baseball, and American baseball play doesn't interest me that much.
I'd much rather watch Japanese baseball, and if there's an international standard for net broadcast, I'd be able to watch that. That's unlikely, given how few people in Japan use general-purpose computers... grr.

Reply Score: 4

RE: bah
by Kroc on Sun 18th Jul 2010 15:25 UTC in reply to "bah"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

It’s not the TV channels people want, it’s the large screen. A 22" PC monitor (and the PC interface) is not the same as a 52" LCD. What people would like is a simple interface to photos, the web and media without having to be a geek to hook up a PC to a TV and juggle the plethora of crappy software.

It will be a success, if all the in-fighting between manufacturers doesn’t cripple the market for 5 years. And that the cable companies are as clueless as AT&T.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: bah
by TheGZeus on Sun 18th Jul 2010 19:02 UTC in reply to "RE: bah"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

...and you can hook up any computer with a DVI or HDMI(or displayport, really) to a computer with said output(s).

A TV is a monitor with a tuner in it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: bah
by nt_jerkface on Sun 18th Jul 2010 20:21 UTC in reply to "bah"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

TV is dead. People don't gather around the TV any more


Maybe at your house and mine but:

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2010/02/08/2010-02-08_s...

Reply Score: 2

RE: bah
by AaronD on Sun 18th Jul 2010 20:44 UTC in reply to "bah"
AaronD Member since:
2009-08-19

TV is dead.

Show me a Youtube video as good as "The Wire" and I might agree with you.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: bah
by TheGZeus on Sun 18th Jul 2010 23:03 UTC in reply to "RE: bah"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

I didn't say "professional programming".
I said TV.

Reply Score: 1

RE: bah
by 3rdalbum on Mon 19th Jul 2010 11:57 UTC in reply to "bah"
3rdalbum Member since:
2008-05-26

and with 1080p monitors being as common as they are, and virtually no one able to discern resolution above 720, there's no need for _that_ even.


See an optometrist. People with half-decent vision should be able to see the difference between 720p and 1080p at normal viewing distance. Now, 1080i and 1080p is more difficult; but 720p and 1080p are miles apart.

If you can't easily see the difference between 720 and 1080 then you probably have an undiagnosed eye problem.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: bah
by TheGZeus on Mon 19th Jul 2010 13:16 UTC in reply to "RE: bah"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

"and with 1080p monitors being as common as they are, and virtually no one able to discern resolution above 720, there's no need for _that_ even.


See an optometrist. People with half-decent vision should be able to see the difference between 720p and 1080p at normal viewing distance. Now, 1080i and 1080p is more difficult; but 720p and 1080p are miles apart.

If you can't easily see the difference between 720 and 1080 then you probably have an undiagnosed eye problem.
"
I'm not making this up.
Perhaps better display refresh rates have changed things, but as recent as last year researchers were claiming that it wasn't possible.

Reports seem different now, which is frustrating (I hate being incorrect, and this sort of thing _should_ be easy to calculate) but meh.
That's not the point I was trying to make, it was something of an aside.

I have a 1080p monitor.
It was cheap. I can watch whatever I want, and I don't have to ask anyone if I want to change the channel.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: bah
by nt_jerkface on Wed 21st Jul 2010 01:13 UTC in reply to "RE: bah"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

It depends on the size of the HDTV.

Most people can't tell the difference between 720p and 1080p on HDTVS smaller than 40", especially on plasmas. Note that you can't judge 720p with a 1080p native monitor.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by mtzmtulivu
by mtzmtulivu on Sun 18th Jul 2010 15:48 UTC
mtzmtulivu
Member since:
2006-11-14

this "The Next Big Tech Battleground" will start in the blog-o-sphere only when apple start making tv.

Most of tech journalists and bloggers seem to cover tech news from apple's angle and apple being at the center of everything and to them, the battle wont start until apple enters the tv market and all apple enthusiasts start mentioning their apple tvs by name to differentiate themselves from the rest of tv owners.

Reply Score: 2

Think about more than the USofA
by shotsman on Sun 18th Jul 2010 16:38 UTC
shotsman
Member since:
2005-07-22

The TV manufacturers are most certainly thinking about the rest of the world not just the US market.
The Eu is a bigger market than the US. Add in the states in Europe that are not (yet) in the EU then the potential market here is probably worth more $$$, Yen, Yuan in research than the US even including Canada.

The Telco market here is much more segments than in the US. With LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) it is getting close to the sutuation where a new player with lots of £££ could come in really challenge Virgin & Sky for the distribution part of the broadcast chain.

IPTv is IMHO, for most people pie in the sky when it comes to 'reat time viewing'. Broadcast distribution methods are far more efficient.
That is until people can get Fibre right into their home. Then over the air (ie Radio waves & Satellite) broadcating will IMHO die a slow death.

The author is right about download capacity though.
If you add in HD streams you could need to have a capacity getting close to or even exceeding 1TB/month.
Charging by the bit (As is done at present) will just not work in that sort model.
Again, there needs to be a fundamental rethink of the whole schebang. The current system (no matter now much it is patched & upgraded) just can't take the bandwidth needed for point to point TX yet his is easily done with broadcast over the air.(the present system).
In some countries there is tight Gov control of how the networks get their signal to you. Thankfully there are not the local monopolies in the UK that there seems to be in the US. Long may this continue. Competition and more ISP doing LLU in more exchanges keeps the service quality & capacity growing. Yeah, I know that virgin have a monopoly on Cable and yes between 4pm & 11pm every day, the 50mb download slows to 4-6mb on my connection and their customer service stinks but you can always vote with your feet as i did last week. I now have rock steady 20Mb from Be.

Oh, and my Samsung TV is connected to the Internet.
BBC iPlayer works a treat (in beta)

To conclude, the author might be right about the US market but things are different in the rest of the world and the TV makers are Multinationals. They don't just supply NTSC (never twive the same colour) sets. Mine works with PAL,SECAM & NTSC

Reply Score: 2

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Yeah, I know that virgin .....


Virgin is an interesting kettle of fish. I have a V-Box (basic cable box) and in that box, I have a full IP based service that lets me order films on demand, watch music videos on demand, catch up on TV shows I've missed through the various Hulu style "player" services we have in the UK (BBC iPlayer, ITV NetPlayer, 4OD and a bunch of other channels that put content on the service) and there is all kinds of other stuff on there (kids TV, old series, and even on demand Porn.) My subscription package gives me all but the premium content free (i.e. Movies and Porn.) I haven't used a VCR for a VERY long time and I have no need for a DVR or PVR. No computer comes in to play. I don't need another "box" as the same "box" that already provides me my TV service does all this. To say it's pretty "sweet" is an understatement, and it wasn't till I was in the US and Canada a couple of months back that I realised how good we have it. If I upgrade to a V+ Box, I get a DVR too... which soaks up those channels that choose not to participate in the catch up service (Sky, basically.)

....have a monopoly on Cable and yes between 4pm & 11pm every day, the 50mb download slows to 4-6mb on my connection and their customer service stinks but you can always vote with your feet as i did last week. I now have rock steady 20Mb from Be.


Aside: With Virgin, get the basic 10mb service for Internet. It stays pretty much "the same" and is faster than any ADSL service I've had in recent years. The speed is relative to your local loop anyways.

Edited 2010-07-19 09:18 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Traditional Broadcasting is Dying
by marcus0263 on Sun 18th Jul 2010 17:24 UTC
marcus0263
Member since:
2007-06-02

TV's are becoming more and more just a monitor. Sure there are some all in one units and others like my Plasma I have some basic Internet functionality, but I never use it other than firmware updates. I threw off the yoke of Cable/Satellite years ago, the obscene amount of advertising along with quality sucked for what you paid for. Now I only do DVD's only and have a Roku box which more and more people are doing.

The Roku is outstanding, I get my streaming content from Netflix and a number of other "channels" both free and subscription based.

So in summary TV's are and will continue to advance in technology but how the media is delivered is evolving. Big Corporate Entertainment/Broadcasting is a dinosaur, they just don't know it's dead yet.

Reply Score: 3

DRM
by kahen on Sun 18th Jul 2010 18:11 UTC
kahen
Member since:
2009-09-07

And of course a lot of companies are in this just in an attempt to become the gatekeepers/keymasters as the DRM provider. Whoever wins that battle stands to earn billions.

PS: "the technology giants will be there to duke it out for the reigns [my emphasis] of this new industry." It should be "reins". Rein (n): A leather strap fastened on to a horse's bridle and used to control the horse. Often used figuratively e.g. "grab the reins" = "take control of".

Reply Score: 1

Already being done
by Jon Dough on Sun 18th Jul 2010 21:40 UTC
Jon Dough
Member since:
2005-11-30

Eugenia wrote:

"[A] conclusion I reached through my recent experience with Netflix and Hulu Plus on my Sony PS3. [...] The only thing that's missing from the new experience is Live TV (e.g. sports). [...] [T]here's always the solution of an aerial antenna for these few times that you might want to watch Live TV. The bottom line is: it's much cheaper, it's on-demand, it's interactive, and it's offered via a modern user experience."

My stepson is already doing this. He has his HDTV, a DSL account, a PS3, a laptop, a home network, and an antenna for over-the-air HDTV channels. He doesn't miss paid broadcast providers at all.

Reply Score: 3

Been done before?
by Sodapop on Sun 18th Jul 2010 23:05 UTC
Sodapop
Member since:
2005-07-06

If I'm not mistaken, the whole internet on TV was tried many times in the past and failed. If every body wanted an interface that brought the PC to the TV; why doesn't everybody have a WebTV unit?.

Sorry, I just can''t see it happening for the foreseeable future. Especially on a device that Humans watch for only a few hours a day.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Been done before?
by Eugenia on Mon 19th Jul 2010 01:55 UTC in reply to "Been done before?"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

>If I'm not mistaken, the whole internet on TV was tried many times in the past and failed.

That's because the right technology was not there yet.

>If every body wanted an interface that brought the PC to the TV;

Nobody wants a PC on their TV. I don't. I want a different, new class of device.

>why doesn't everybody have a WebTV unit?.

Because the WebTV sucked.

>Sorry, I just can''t see it happening for the foreseeable future. Especially on a device that Humans watch for only a few hours a day.

"A few hours a day" is way more time using the device than the average cellphone user.

Your problem is that you have a very narrow view of what it can be done in the TV. You're thinking "a mythTV/TiVo-like interface, maybe a web browser, some IP TV".

Nope, that's not what I'm talking about here.

What I'm talking about is getting up in the morning, the webcam detects motion, and if time is after 7 AM (settable), the (1080p+) TV turns ON by itself. It greets you, with a synthesized voice: "Good morning Sodapop". And then it summarizes the new day, in a few sentences: "The weather today will be 25 C, sunny. You have 5 emails, 3 Facebook, and 2 Twitter replies. Today you have two appointments, one with your dentist, and one with your boss. Elsewhere, BP was able to stop the oil leak. Mel Gibson was caught peeping. Have a nice day, Sodapop".

And the TV stays ON, with a very nice interface showing you various "active widgets" and notifications. Only if you wish to know more you can then use your TV's controls to read the news, emails, more weather info, or just switch to a TV channel instead. And if you go away, and the webcam doesn't detect motion for 5 minutes, it turns OFF.

Let's say that you want to check the news. You voice-command the TV to show you the news. That will be an ON-DEMAND streaming of just 5 minutes of video news. Think of it as an RSS stream, but with video. Quick, to the point, and with visual stimulation. And you can even select video-RSS from your favorite site, e.g. Engadget.

So basically, in the morning at least, the TV is what should take the place of the newspaper. It's ON, it's interactive, and it's not merely "another computer". It's the device that sets up your day. Instead of reading the RSS headlines of CNN on the train, on your smartphone, you can now read them, or have them voice-synthed for you, while you're having breakfast. By the time you're on the train, or on your car, you're ALREADY informed of how to start the day, or what's up in the world.

And if it's a whole family sharing the TV, you can set it up to recognize faces.

In the evening, when the family is back, the primary usage of the TV is entertainment. It could be video from various IP providers, or audio, streamed from the web or your networked PC/NAS server.

And of course, the TV is also the main communication tool for the family. You skype with it your extended family. You sit the kids around, and you video-call their grandma. Even with the current netbooks, video-calling is a 1-to-1 communication. Now, for the first time, you can have many-to-many, as it would be on a NATURAL setting.

And these are just some of the possibilities.

Edited 2010-07-19 02:14 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Been done before?
by indieinvader on Mon 19th Jul 2010 15:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Been done before?"
indieinvader Member since:
2009-08-11

Sorry, but that sounds terribly frightening!

I may sound old fashioned but I prefer my technology dumb. I don't want my devices to do things *for* me, I want them to make it easier for me to do the things that *I* want to do! Sure, I can agree that TVs need to move into the 21st century. Anyone can see that the providers are, for the most part, using an outdated delivery model. But I don't think we need to have an always on plug into the internet that turns *itself* on. Sure, its convenient but current TVs and computers offer the option to turn them off, permanently if you so desire, and I find that very appealing.

<off topic
I'd also like to mention that I'm not against technology in most ways, (I probably wouldn't be reading OSnews if I was) I'm a web developer and IT guy so I've worked with my fair share of technology.
</off topic

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Been done before?
by Eugenia on Mon 19th Jul 2010 19:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Been done before?"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

>I don't want my devices to do things *for* me, I want them to make it easier for me to do the things that *I* want to do!

Excuse me, but there would always be a setting to turn that functionality OFF. I mean, come on. When I wrote that comment, did you somehow thought that it would not be possible to use your smart TV "the old way"?

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Been done before?
by TheGZeus on Mon 19th Jul 2010 22:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Been done before?"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

>I don't want my devices to do things *for* me, I want them to make it easier for me to do the things that *I* want to do!

Excuse me, but there would always be a setting to turn that functionality OFF. I mean, come on. When I wrote that comment, did you somehow thought that it would not be possible to use your smart TV "the old way"?

I wonder if people ever thought that the vendor of their devices would decide if/what/when/how they could use them.
"Nah, of course not! That would be insane and evil!" is not now, nor ever will be good enough. We have to stay on guard.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Been done before?
by vivainio on Mon 19th Jul 2010 15:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Been done before?"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

And the TV stays ON, with a very nice interface showing you various "active widgets" and notifications. Only if you wish to know more you can then use your TV's controls to read the news, emails, more weather info, or just switch to a TV channel instead. And if you go away, and the webcam doesn't detect motion for 5 minutes, it turns OFF.


I guess all of this can be done with a boxee like device today (with relative ease), if you don't care about the webcam/motion sensor?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Been done before?
by Eugenia on Mon 19th Jul 2010 19:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Been done before?"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

I never said that we don't have the technology to do it. However, no one is doing it right now. Not this way. This is why I said when this guy mentioned WebTV, which was released 10 years ago, that back then they didn't have the right tech. Today we do. But for this to take off, it must come in a single package, it must be integrated. It's not about building HTPCs, buying a Boxee box that only does 1/5 of what I'm envisioning etc.

Basically, today we have the tech, but no one has made the work to bring all the functionality needed in one single product.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Been done before?
by phoenix on Mon 19th Jul 2010 22:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Been done before?"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

I never said that we don't have the technology to do it. However, no one is doing it right now. Not this way. This is why I said when this guy mentioned WebTV, which was released 10 years ago, that back then they didn't have the right tech. Today we do. But for this to take off, it must come in a single package, it must be integrated. It's not about building HTPCs, buying a Boxee box that only does 1/5 of what I'm envisioning etc.

Basically, today we have the tech, but no one has made the work to bring all the functionality needed in one single product.


Agree on the single, integrated product.

Totally disagree that the end-product should be a TV.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Been done before?
by phoenix on Mon 19th Jul 2010 22:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Been done before?"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

That's not a TV, that's a computer with a monitor and speakers. Integrating all those features into a single unit is ludicrous.

A TV is nothing more than a monitor, and it should remain that way. Want more out of it? Then attached a "magic box" to it and configure that to do what you want.

Everything you describe can be done via a set-top-box, and that's where the smarts should be housed.

All-in-one units in the monitor like you describe are more trouble than they are worth. (Yes, I include AiO PCs and iMac in that statement.) All it takes is for 1 little thing (speaker? camera? cpu fan?) to die or need upgrading for the whole house of cards to tumble down.

Also, what about those who don't want a physical TV, instead they want a projector mounted in the ceiling. Where's the smarts now? You want to build all that into every projector now as well? Or, how about putting it in a separate "magic box" that connects to the projector.

How would you make this portable? A "magic box" is easy to disconnect and move around. A 106" plasma TV ... not so much.

What about when you want upgrade (or even downgrade) TV sizes? Are you going to have to re-do all your programming? Wouldn't it be so much simpler to just "unplug TV from box, replace with new TV, connect to box" and have everything working again? You know, like the way a VCR/DVD/BD player currently works, compared to a TV with built-in VCR/DVD/BD.

What if you want to take all your cool stuff camping in your spiffy RV? Are you going to have to program everything twice, once in the living room, once in the RV? Why not just program it once in the "magic box" in the living room, then unplug that and connect it to the (most likely smaller) TV in the RV?

You really don't want to make the TV smart. It's just a screen. Keep it that way.

Reply Score: 4

Oh really!
by nboxer on Mon 19th Jul 2010 00:45 UTC
nboxer
Member since:
2006-12-11

"The way we watch TV and access content is about to change. TV watching will at last arrive into the 21st Century, and the technology giants will be there to duke it out for the reins of this new industry."

Back in the day, when we only had 3 or so major broadcasters, NBC, CBS, ABC and local channels the quality of content was very high especially during prime time hours. What ever was put up went through some QA control to make sure it was worth it. Today we have plenty of new channels with all sorts of nonsense channels and the market is more fragmanted but the quality has gone down hill.

"All in the Family" still cracks me up.. You just dont see this stuff anymore.

Reply Score: 2

sounds great
by viator on Mon 19th Jul 2010 01:52 UTC
viator
Member since:
2005-10-11

As long as it brings Ala carte programming as well. Theres a few channels i like on cable/satelite that i cant get on the web and i only really need THOSE channels. I dont want the 250/300 extra channels i never watch but have to pay for. Im willing to pay $2.00 per channel per month for access. Provide me with this and im sold!

Reply Score: 3

Android phone - the phone
by ericools on Mon 19th Jul 2010 01:55 UTC
ericools
Member since:
2010-05-16

They already have Android phones with HDMI ports. All you need to do is take one minus the phone and screen place it inside a TV and pair it with a bluetooth remote control and there you have it.

Some optional game controllers and mouse/keyboard setups would round it out nicely. Make sure to keep the SD card slot it a nice location.

I don't think it would be to hard to get content providers to support this as it's Android and they probably will anyway if they haven't already.

Why Android?
-Other Linux: would surely become available but to fragmented and lacking ready to go applications Android already has for this.
-iPhone OS: too closed, limited to Apple hardware and Apple approved development
-WinMobile/Blackberry/whatever else: just as limited as Apple with far less polish.

This is what I expect to happen and honestly think is better anyway.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Android phone - the phone
by vivainio on Mon 19th Jul 2010 08:32 UTC in reply to "Android phone - the phone"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

Android?


If this were to happen, it should be a spec, not an operating system.

HTML5 is the most natural platform, as it provides maximum interoperability and most "nontechnical" people can easily get started with it.

Reply Score: 3

Close...
by JayDee on Mon 19th Jul 2010 02:28 UTC
JayDee
Member since:
2009-06-02

Mr Jobs has a good point. The cable and satellite companies own the TV experience and won't let anyone take it from them.


Actually from what I understand, Google TV works with your current TV provider. They even have a partnership with Dish Network which allows the Google TV box to directly control your DishNet receiver. To me, GoogleTV will be almost like a TiVo box on steroids.

Each TV manufacturer must include with every new TV model shipped this small (standard, upgradeable?) hardware piece that also has a network-upgradeable firmware.


Not all customers are interested in having internet connectivity in their TV's. I see this everyday at work. Some customers come in and pick the cheapest TV they can get. They don't care that for $150 to $200 more, they can get the ones with the additional features.

The software included must be compatible with all the other new TVs in the market. And it must run applications -- similar, if not exactly the same, to the ones you can find on your smartphone. The reason why all TVs must run the same platform is that if each manufacturer goes with their own incompatible implementation this will never take off. You can't have AIM with video support via your TV's webcam on one TV, with only MSN Messenger support on another TV.


Very good point. This would also increase the number of available applications for the consumers. Samsung, for example, has an app store for their TV's and Blu-Ray players however the number of available apps is very low.


Of course, the two front-runners for this revolution are Apple with their iOS operating system, and Google with GoogleTV/Android.


I highly doubt Steve Jobs will license iOS to TV manufacturers. He would probably prefer to create his own brand.


But I personally believe that for either company to get ahead they must ditch "the box".


I believe from a consumer point of view, the box is the best way to stay up to date with the technology. A consumer is more likely to change the box than the TV as most people rarely change their TV sets.

People don't want to buy yet another box (aside their PS3, XBoX, Wii, AppleTV, WD TV, TiVo, Comcast etc.) to shove it somewhere in their living room too. What people want is something that comes with the TV and works out of the box.


Most new Blu-Ray players have internet connectivity nowadays. I am sure Sony will add Google TV to it's players very soon. This is one box that will not be seen as an extra box as TV's with included BD players are very rare.

People don't want to think in terms of "a box that's separate from Comcast's". They want to think in terms of "I don't need Comcast anymore, my TV can do miracles and serve me the content I want, all by itself".


The point of Google TV is to supplement traditional media with the internet, not replace it. Although you could if you wanted to.

Sure, people don't buy new TVs often, so baking the hardware/software solution inside an HDTV will make the whole idea more difficult to take off


I rather prefer Google's choice to give the user more options. It will become available integrated in Sony TV's and BD Players as well as Logitech boxes. As more people become accustomed to the system, your idea of including it into every TV will be easier but for now, not all customers will appreciate the additional cost.

The reason I decided to respond is because, although I like your ideas, I don't think they are feasible for the moment. Some customers just want to watch OTA television and don't even own computers, let alone have access to the internet (Although this could also be because my store is near a retirement community). These are the same people who don't see the advantage of LED vs LCD, believe in all the misconceptions of Plasma TV's, don't like the idea of paying extra for 3D or Internet Connectivity. Forcing that system on them would be a tough sell.

Reply Score: 3

not really....
by alcibiades on Mon 19th Jul 2010 08:53 UTC
alcibiades
Member since:
2005-10-12

"The only real obstacle in the kind of future I present in this article are Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon"

Not really. Imagine a world in which Apple had provided your TV platform. It would want to control what you watched, where you got it, the ads that played on it. It would want to track your every click.

And it would censor. It would be desperately trying to recreate network TV 1955, complete with the Brady Bunch and the Sound of Music. And it would keep telling you that this was all real cool, it had finally freed you from the scourge of porn, and that when you really thought about it, you did not want to access that copy of the black and white film of Ulysses or any of those Nouvelle Vague movies that you tried to get.

See, that was not suitable family viewing. We thought you would see it our way.

Reply Score: 3

too late
by bolomkxxviii on Mon 19th Jul 2010 14:30 UTC
bolomkxxviii
Member since:
2006-05-19

This is news? All the major players started looking at the next generation of TV at least a year ago. I ditched cable last year and get more content than I could ever watch for $10/month. Netflix/Roku, Miro, Clicker, HTPC to record OTA gives me more content than I could ever watch. Sure I don't get some content but I don't pay $90/month either. If someone could bring all these services into one interface that would be great and I am sure it will happen some time. IPTV is still very new. It is ready to watch now if you have a bit of know-how.

Reply Score: 2

UK and Europe ahead of the game
by stroma on Mon 19th Jul 2010 21:55 UTC
stroma
Member since:
2010-07-19

This idea isn't new Samsung created with the help of Yahoo their TV widgets product (disjointed user experience), Also Sony created VieraCast (not the most smoothest of UI). But you have rightly pointed out that these are closed products. I would say Apple also falls under this. Plus Apples effects have been quite limited to the vod sphere they haven't broken into the broadcast space. The iOS method will not work in this instance as it's based on single action interaction i.e. people will either be searching for content or watching it but not donig both as a lot of people do when watching TV.

In the UK there is a concerted effort to create a new platform that does all the things you mention including being open, currently subject to debate but it will be open once completed. It's called Project Canvas (http://www.projectcanvas.info/)who's primary aim is to create one unified interface to access TV based services (Broadcast, Interactive TV, VOD, and Web Apps).

But having apps and other artifacts on screen can be annoying feature of the modern digital world. Not sure Viewers (non geeks) like this. They do like accessing video on demand and snippets of info but not full screen apps. The TV is there to watch TV it's a lean back experience rather then the lean forward experience of the PC. lets not confuse the two. What I think you will see is the emergence of dual screen services.

Watch TV on the TV but use your handheld device (mobile, laptop, slate etc) to interact with content that is synched to what you are watching. This is a what a lot of people already do but with it's not intelliegently done. The devices are not aware of the programme.

Also this works with the way people watch or rather don't watch TV.

P.s there is a EU funded project which aims to also deliver the same results as project canvas, it's called HBB, http://www.hbbtv.org/download5.htm it seems to be a more research project rather then a commercial project like canvas.

Reply Score: 1

It's all about the software
by phoenix on Mon 19th Jul 2010 23:49 UTC
phoenix
Member since:
2005-07-11

What you describe is something that can all be done in software, which can then be run on any hardware platform the end-user desires. Then, it doesn't matter if it's run on a high-end TV with an embedded processor, a set-top box, a PVR, a PS3, a Wii, an HTPC, etc.

Rather than trying to get an entire industry to standardise on a single hardware platform with a single software platform on top, why not try to get the set-top box industry to standardise on a software interface? Then it won't matter what hardware you have. Similar to how Boxee/MythTV/Netflix all run on different hardware platforms, providing the same/similar features, all displaying on TVs of all shapes, sizes, and styles.

Everything that you describe fits perfectly into an uber-STB. And has absolutely no place, whatsoever, as a built-in part of a TV.

Reply Score: 2

metro305
Member since:
2005-09-11

My vision would be a set-top box (STB) powered by Android or iOS

-Delivery would be on demand via streaming or download and view

-STB tunnels back to central server for command and control so when you are away from home you can manage it remotely from web or MID

-Your remote control would be via tablet, phone, MID and this device would have an application/integration of a content/channel guide (search, create and queue)

-Remote control would act as a media travel companion remote viewing/syncing of desired video or gaming content.

So for instance an iOS/Android deployment would be
STB (WiFi,Wired,HDMI,HD Playback,160GB)
$100.00 - $200.00

1 Remote Control
(iPod Touch/Android device)
$100.00

Reply Score: 1

Passive audience
by trenchsol on Wed 21st Jul 2010 12:05 UTC
trenchsol
Member since:
2006-12-07

Major part of TV audience are passive watchers. Even the electronic program guide, offered by some providers, in order to browse the channels, is too complicated for many. I don't see any future in making TV more interactive, similar to smartphone or web browser. No, there is no money in that.

BTW, many people (like me) don't need a smartphone most of the time. There are situations when I wished I had one, but those were rare occasions, so, why bother with another gadget.

I think that TV providers should stream MPEG or something and TV sets should have a built in interface for decoding it. So, one could have a choice to plug either satellite antenna or ethernet or some other cable into TV set, or watch TV on the computer screen.

Reply Score: 2