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Sling Streams iTunes Content To TV

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the pulling-the-rug dept.

134

Vitamin_Boy writes "Sling has a new product out, the 'SlingCatcher.' It sends video from the PC to the TV and does it for $200. Oh, and it works with iTunes. Will this undercut Apple's iTV? The Ars Technica article thinks it might: 'The SlingCatcher... is media-agnostic. It doesn't care what codec videos are encoded with, nor whether or not they have been purchased from an approved online store. It is designed to take video output and stream it, which means that you could use the SlingCatcher with video purchased from other online services, such as the iTunes Store or CinemaNow. In this way, the SlingCatcher may turn out to be a one-size-fits-all solution in a field populated with specialty products.'"

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134 comments

Or you could.. you know.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17520708)

Get a card with a TV-OUT? They're not exactly rare.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (4, Insightful)

complete loony (663508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520736)

Yes, but then you have to have your PC next to the TV in the lounge room. There are lots of things you wouldn't be able to do on your PC at the same time, unless you also buy a second sound card and have an OS capable enough to send the audio in the right direction. I'm guessing this product will also come with a remote and IR port, which again adds more costs to the PC solution.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (0, Troll)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520912)

When I bought my first PC back in 1998 it came with a wireless connection between the PC and the TV. You just plug one box into the graphics card and the other box into the TV and it works.

You can pick these up in any electronics retailer for around £30.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (1, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520966)

Really? I went to my local electronics retailer and he had none available for about £30.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521064)

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521228)

I guess you missed the point to my post ;)

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521666)

I've been pretty pleased with this little box:

http://www.vantecusa.com/products/avox/p_avx100tx. html [vantecusa.com] (flash warning)

It takes any laptop harddrive and plays several popular video and audio formats. It's weak as an mp3 player, but it's great for movies and tv-shows.

I got mine for about $100 and it comes with a decent remote.

It has HD out as well as "regular" TV out. You hook it up via USB to your computer to put content on it.

I think they also make a bigger one takes 3.5" harddrives and has a network port.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (1)

markwalling (863035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521894)

as far as an os capable of sending sound the right direction: my old setup had a creative external sound card with an optical connector that i ran to my stereo. i was able to tell windows not to touch this, and then set winamp (before they went retarded) to direct output to the soundblaster. it worked great because i was sick of my instantmessaging dings being played with my music.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (4, Informative)

Optikschmoptik (971793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520946)

Actually, this looks like it might be the perfect solution to the problem that TV-out, S-video, et. al. were inadequately addressing.

I have a 2.5 year-old notebook that is pretty much my entire media center. If I want to watch something with decent resolution, I pretty much have to watch it on my notebook's 15.4" screen. Fine for me watching something on my own, but it's a little frustrating if I want to show a video at someone's house and they've got a brand new gigantic HDTV sitting next to my little LCD. If there happens to be an S-video cable sitting around (probably not), I still need to hunt down an 1/8" to stereo RCA to route the sound out, and the picture quality is still terrible. I looked into alternatives, but there's pretty much no reasonable way to get good video from my laptop onto a nicer screen--VGA to HDMI? VGA to component? I've been told I'd be pretty lucky to get it to work at all (maybe I fell for Dell kiosk fud, but that's part of the same frustration).

But 802.11g should be easy enough. Let this box worry about video processing and video compatibility. And sound. All my computer has to do is send data, and it's great at doing that. The device's concept seems so obvious, but apparently no one has bothered to try making it until now.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (2, Interesting)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521142)

That's odd. The HDTVs I looked at, and certainly the one I eventually bought, have either VGA or DVI-I sockets, so you can hook up a PC straight to it.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521478)

Problem is if you can't output at the TV's native resolution you have a shrunken or stretched image, and some TV's won't even accept input at their native resolution on their VGA port! Ugh..

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (1)

skiflyer (716312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522632)

That's just the beginning, there're timing issues outside of resolution on most DLP TVs that complicate the matter even further.

NVIDIA has options in the Windows software to specifically output to HDTV, which I haven't tinkered with since about 8 months ago, but which was mediocre at best (on my particular TV at that time, which was a pretty new format, so likely not well supported) and which started with the "By enabling this feature you're completely voiding all warranties on this video card" message.

And that was using a DVI-HDMI convert... so it was supposed to be the easy way.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (1)

AugustZephyr (989775) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522322)

As mentioned above there is still the problem of sound quality. Those laptop speakers don't sound so hot when there is a 5.1 channel system that is going unused because you cant throw the signal to it. Also most laptops (and many desktops) only offer an 1/8" headphone out. This doesn't do a surround sound 5.1 channel soundtrack justice by compressing it into just 2 channels.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521564)

If that HDTV only has HDMI inputs, and no analog inputs (DVI-I or VGA), that's a pretty lame television set right there. Given the amount of source equipment that produces various flavors of analog video, the world isn't ready for sets that only have digital inputs.

I do wish that I could find the engineer who thought that Y-Pr-Pb was a fair alternative to some sort of actual RGB-based interconnect (like, I don't know, everything else in existence that uses high-quality analog video, e.g. SCART and 5-pin RGBHV), and throttle them.

There's really no good reason why consumer video should be this complicated. It's mostly a result of a lack of widely-accepted standards and mutual incompatibility that doing something as seemingly trivial as getting a computer to display on a HDTV (which is nothing but a computer monitor with delusions of grandeur) becomes so complicated. Unfortunately, because consumers have become accustomed to such things being a PITA, they don't go running to the manufacturers with pitchforks in hand, every time one of them produces shoddy gear, as they should.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (3, Informative)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522306)

There are good reasons to send YPrPb signal as an output from an MPEG source, such as DVD or OTA HD-TV -- it more closely matches the input MPEG stream format. This allows for less overall mangling becuase it allows the output device, which presumably knows its own color profile, to do the only colorspace conversions that might be necessary.

I just don't understand why it's the only option. As far as I can tell the only things you have to do to make your input accept RGB and YPrPb is add a menu option and about 25 lines of DSP setup code. Most (if not all) video output devices process to pixel data with matched luminance and hue resolution and do color separations, be that RGB or some higher number of colors. Accepting RGB as input for that conversion seems almost trivial.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (1)

pradeepsekar (793666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521706)

One more product 'advertised' on Slashdot - Unfortunately, I cannot say that this product is innovative, or new. I have had a D-Link DSM 520 for the last 1 year now. Used to play both Audio and Video from my computer on my TV thru the WiFi interface (also has Ethernet capability - but my living room is not wired up). I recently bought a home theatre. It now plays all that through the HDMI connection on my home theatre. It even has an USB port, and can play content directly from the USB. Catches internet radio too - the choice is limited to a couple of stations that the company appears to have tied up with. Does not handle DivX yet. But the box is cool. http://www.dlink.com/products/?sec=0&pid=438 [dlink.com]

Sometimes not that easy... (3, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521756)

True, but as I recently found out to my chagrin, quite a few big-name (Compaq, I'm looking at you) don't let you install additional video cards. I had an old Celeron system that I wanted to use as a frontend STB, so I picked up an old $20 PCI-based video card with an S-Video out. Unfortunately, I didn't think to check the BIOS: there's no way to disable the onboard video and use an aftermarket card. (With the card in, both outputs just give a black screen.) Apparently this is not uncommon in low-end systems. In my case, it meant that I just had to get a new Socket 370 motherboard that didn't suck so much, which these days is another $20 junk-bin part, but it turned a simple drop-in upgrade into essentially rebuilding a computer.

Sometimes the obvious solutions have unanticipated complications; there's a whole lot of consumer hardware out there that won't "play nice" with anything. For non-technical people, buying a new box may be simpler than upgrading anything they have.

Re:Or you could.. you know.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17522292)

Sling Sucks, I got one of their boxes for streaming TV and the video was coppy even on a 100mbps ethernet. Unless the TV signal that you want to encode is pristine it won't work. I would even go so far to say that Windows media center steams better between a PC and an extender, and I'm no huge fan of the quality of that setup either.

fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17520716)

w00t!

TV-out anyone? (1)

myspys (204685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520746)

Is it me or does this sound exactly like TV-out, but instead of a cable, it uses wi-fi between the computer and the box next to the tv?

Re:TV-out anyone? (3, Informative)

myspys (204685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520764)

reply to my own post, bad, but..

why not use TV-out and http://www.shoptronics.com/2wiauvisesyw.html [shoptronics.com] if one wants to use tv-out but don't want a loooong cable (or put the pc next to the tv)?

$120 cheaper than Sling Streams

Re:TV-out anyone? (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520788)

Thanks for the link was looking for something like that but they have been far more then I wanted to pay.
The product page is http://www.svat.com/gx3000.shtml [svat.com] and it looks like the gx 3100 is just coming out so they don't have the product brochure up yet.
the 3100 comes with a remote relay abaility so will have to check the brochure to see how that works.

Re:TV-out anyone? (1)

Coppit (2441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521804)

Because the picture goes to crap as soon as you turn on the microwave, and because you'll have to rip all your DVDs to work around macrovision protection. (The transmitter looks like a VCR to macrovision, so your picture will "pulse" dark.)

Re:TV-out anyone? (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521984)

Because when you use video output right from the PC, you need to use the PC to control the video, switch to the next song/episode/whatever. With a Sling box you don't need to. You sit on your couch, or stay at your board game, or stay at the punch bowl next to the cute girl and use your remote. Or you can hand your buddy the remote and have him control it without having him sit down at your computer.

It's simple, easy, slick, and no one needs to touch a keyboard or mouse to change the song.

Re:TV-out anyone? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520888)

...but instead of a cable, it uses wi-fi...
And therin lies the essential, and elegant, difference.

Re:TV-out anyone? (1, Funny)

teslar (706653) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520954)

And therin lies the essential, and elegant, difference.
Because now you can tell how many P2P thingies your kids are running by measuring the framerate of your HD video? :)

Re:TV-out anyone? (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521092)

I could see something like this being interesting, when there is a long distance between TV and computer. So the computer with your movie archive sits in your appartment in NYC, and you are watching them on a TV while on a business trip in Seattle (maybe it's raining and you don't want to go out...). It's not clear to me how much bandwidth is required on both ends, though.

Upstream capacity of WAN connection is the killer. (3, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521678)

It's not clear to me how much bandwidth is required on both ends, though.

Well, that's not hard to figure out. If you want to watch DVDs via your internet connection, you better be able to put through around 5-6Mb/s, and that's assuming that you have some sort of transcoder that can filter out the unnecessary stuff and pass along only the video and audio stream that you want. The DVD spec allows bitrates up to 10.08Mb/s, if memory serves, including all subs and various audio streams, but a typical commercial one is much lower for the parts you'd actually need to transmit.

Now, if you have a computer on the transmitting/media-server end that's cable of transcoding the video into some more modern format than MPEG-2, then you can probably start talking about live streaming on a 1Mb pipe. You wouldn't get HDTV, but you could easily push passable 720x480 MPEG-4, at say 800Kb/s for the video and 128Kb/s audio, for a total of around 930Kb/s before adding in your protocol's overhead. So basically, a 1MB/s symmetric connection would probably work.

It's certainly possible with today's technology, unfortunately, most U.S. broadband connections aren't up to snuff. A lot of folks are on connections that only give them 128, 256, or 512 Kb/s upstream speeds (e.g. even Comcast's premium cable service only offers a paltry 384 kb/s upstream speed with 6Mb/s down, or 768kb/s up with 8Mb/s down). With buffering you could probably make some of those connections work, but I doubt it would be a hit with consumers -- you wouldn't get the same 'instant start' that you do with locally-stored videos (because of all the buffering).

For the next few years at least, media sharing of the kind you're talking about (where you keep all your content on one system, and dole it out to front-end systems for display), is going to be pretty much a LAN phenomenon.

Re:Upstream capacity of WAN connection is the kill (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522330)

Thanks for the informative reply - I was looking at some of their other products, and they seem to make the claim "an Internet connected computer or compatible mobile phone" could be used. Maybe they reduce the quality, or maybe they assume a lot of bandwidth, or maybe they assume that the computer is internet-connected but on the LAN, too... :-) http://store.digitalriver.com/servlet/ControllerSe rvlet?Action=DisplayPage&Locale=en_US&id=ProductDe tailsPage&SiteID=slingbox&productID=53042900 [digitalriver.com]

Re:TV-out anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521322)

Yes I think that is the point that most people on Slashdot are missing.
This is clearly a wireless TV out. Depending on the resolution/ compression that they can use - (is 54 MBPS fast enough to send uncompressed 720p video?) this could be an excellent innovation.

I think its fairly obvious that this is NOT streaming encrypted Itunes files to the sling box player - its streaming the decoded video output.

Currently thats bloody hard to do well without massive compression issues.

Questions (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17520766)

1. Going by the description it appears this would include streaming pay-to-view music videos and DRM protected DVDs. Is that a correct interpretation?

1a. If so: I assume it streams unencrypted/unencoded video signals rather than the data stream itself. What is to prevent me from plugging the receiver into my DV recorder?

2. Assuming the alternative, that it streams the original signals: How could an iPod magically gain the software to decode any stream?

Please enlighten me about how either alternative 1 or alternative 2 could be true in accordance with the 'it does not care about what codex you are using'.

Re:Questions (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521246)

My guess is that it is a dongle that does one of the following:
1) Takes your video card's TV-out (if present) and transmits it wirelessly. Plenty of devices do that at far lower prices.
2) Takes your video card's VGA-out and digitizes it, then either streams the raw digitized video or performs some sort of compression. The question is, what resolution can it handle? I wouldn't be surprised if it was limited to 480p
3) Presents itself as a virtual video card and/or screeenscrapes your PC a la Windows VNC servers, but unlike VNC is optimized for video instead of remote desktop. (Lossy compression vs. lossless to improve framerate for example).

TFA doesn't really have much details.

Either way, I can't see any possible approach that is "codec independent" which will be able to handle HD video at that price point.

Re:Questions (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521276)

Holy shit... Slingbox claims to be able to encode HD in realtime with the Slingbox PRO.

I wonder how much that thing costs... Depending on its actual capabilities, it may be a new way to record cable/satellite HDTV. :)

Re:Questions (1)

iaredam (719465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521492)

$250 - for the SlingBox PRO plus another 50-60 for the converter. without the converter it will only stream 480p

why all the hoopla? (3, Insightful)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520800)

By now, there are half a dozen products that stream video from the PC, from the Web, etc. to your TV. I don't see why people get so excited about either the Sling or iTV--they are nothing new.

Re:why all the hoopla? (4, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521066)

I don't see why people get so excited about either the Sling or iTV--they are nothing new.

For the same reason people got excited about the iPod when there was already the creative mp3 player line (and many others).

Advertising & Bling. Surely someone with your nick would understand ;-)

Re:why all the hoopla? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521490)

>Advertising & Bling.

or, in non-mac-hating reality, interface and form factor.

the creative was as big and round as a portable CD player and frequently froze.

Re:why all the hoopla? (2, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521076)

By now, there are half a dozen products that stream video from the PC, from the Web, etc. to your TV.

Yep, I've been using a Kiss DP1500 [kiss-technology.com] for the past year - it's a DVD player that'll stream video or audio from a shared folder over WiFi. It'll also play web radio and most audio/video formats out there.

It cost me A$240.00 about a year ago, and yes, it does run Linux...

Re:why all the hoopla? (1)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521216)

Exactly. I have used MediaMVP's for years, unfortunately they are not HD. The Slingbox is HD, but even that isn't new, there are already several players in the HD space (Dvico TVIX, Mediagate, D-Link, Helios, etc).

One problem with boxes like Slingbox and iTV are their form factor, they look out of place with normal audio/video components. They look more like toys then serious AV components, which IMO is a mistake because AV geeks are the early adopters of technology like this and if the component doesn't fit nicely with everything else in the rack forget it.

Agreed... (1)

The Last Gunslinger (827632) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521248)

I just picked up a D-Link DSM-520 [dlink.com] a few days ago at Fry's for $190, and it does exactly the same thing: plays all the AVI/MPG videos (plus audio and image files) stored on the PC in my office, streaming over an 802.11g wireless link.

Sure, it doesn't play DRM-locked music downloaded from iTunes, but BFD. The only such files I have are the ones my wife insists on purchasing from Apple.

Best of all, it has multiple video output options, including composite RCA, S-video, component, and native HDMI.

These devices have been around for some time...I don't see why Sling's entry garners any special attention.

While we're at it... (1)

gillbates (106458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521964)

Let's not forget the Neuros OSD [neurosaudio.com] which does the same thing, and more, and has open source firmware!

I'm a bit more excited about the OSD because of its hackability factor. It runs Linux - I've got the source and am working on building my own software for it.

Strange Title on that Slashvertisement (3, Insightful)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520816)

I recently bought a new computer monitor, and it is iTunes compatible!!!1

No, seriously, we get it -- its an output device. It can output whatever the heck you want to the TV, be it iTunes or World of Warcraft or your Open Office spreadsheet (which probably makes for better television than half of the lineup). If it couldn't output whatever the heck you wanted, THAT would be news to the Slashdot "Egads DRM is choking us to death!" faction. And they'd be mostly right to be upset about that.

Uh, remember Vista? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520850)

The DRM is end-to-end, so this will only receive the "degraded" signal. Still no different than TV-out.

Re:Uh, remember Vista? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520978)

People actually use Vista? Wow! I wonder if Windows has considered selling snow to Eskimos, because clearly people will by any shit they're willing to sell.

Nice idea, but - (2, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520916)

A) We've seen this before, so what's the change?
B) My understanding of the iTunes store sharing is that when you want to view a video/play a song you purchased, it checks to see if the client you're using is authorized. If Slingbox hasn't broken that DRM system, then how can it be used for iTunes purchased shows?

client in iTunes (1)

mbaudis (585035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521372)

The client iTunes sees is your computer (which has to be authorized). Simply put, the Slingbox is just like a TV-out + v e r y thin wires.

How is this better than.... (4, Informative)

bobintetley (643462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520924)

How is this better than the Hauppage MVP [hauppauge.com] ?

Not to blow my own trumpet, but I did a fair bit of work on the mvpmc [mvpmc.org] project to get VLC streaming integration working on this device.

The Hauppage MVP can be picked up for around 50 USD, it sits next to your TV and has an ethernet (or wireless if you want to pay a bit more) connection and a remote. It can integrate with slimserver for music playback, MythTV, can play MPEG1/2 video directly from shares (and any kind of video via VLC, which it does by requesting a vod transcoded MPEG2 stream and allowing you to control it transparently via the MVP remote), and is far more flexible than this - AND cheaper!

Re:How is this better than.... (3, Insightful)

bobintetley (643462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520950)

And if I read the article, I'd have noticed the big deal was DRMed crapola from iTunes.... that'll teach me.

Re:How is this better than.... (2, Interesting)

Ray Radlein (711289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520960)

The MediaMVP is a wonderful little device (we've got one in our bedroom), but mvpmc is not exactly a solution for everyone (I'm fairly technical, and I still haven't screwed up my courage enough to use any of the various replacement MVP solutions yet), and the native MVP software languished for almost a year before being updated a few times recently.

The big new thing here is the playing of iTunes videos: I still remember how pissed off I was when I discovered that there was no way of streaming the Battlestar Galactica episode I bought from iTunes down to the TV in the living room. I was not about to make my wife and her mother crowd around a computer monitor to watch it. Since, last I checked, VLC won't play iTunes protected videos, using it as a bridge to stream content wouldn't work (if there's a way around that, I'm all ears!).

Re:How is this better than.... (1)

marc_gerges (561641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521058)

The MediaMVP is a wonderful little device (we've got one in our bedroom), but mvpmc is not exactly a solution for everyone (I'm fairly technical, and I still haven't screwed up my courage enough to use any of the various replacement MVP solutions yet), and the native MVP software languished for almost a year before being updated a few times recently.
Frankly, the MVP is probably one of the safest devices to fiddle around with: it boots its software over the net and - so you can try out whatever you want and if you don't like it or it doesn't work, pulling the plug will solve all problems.


The big new thing here is the playing of iTunes videos: I still remember how pissed off I was when I discovered that there was no way of streaming the Battlestar Galactica episode I bought from iTunes down to the TV in the living room. I was not about to make my wife and her mother crowd around a computer monitor to watch it. Since, last I checked, VLC won't play iTunes protected videos, using it as a bridge to stream content wouldn't work (if there's a way around that, I'm all ears!).
Well, that'll teach you, then.

Go and pay iTunes for its stuff if it gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, and then download it via bittorrent, so you have a clean copy that you can actually use.

Re:How is this better than.... (2, Funny)

Ray Radlein (711289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521122)

Well, that'll teach you, then.

In fact, it did.

Go and pay iTunes for its stuff if it gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, and then download it via bittorrent, so you have a clean copy that you can actually use.

There are some people who might allege that I did exactly that. I, of course, have no comment as to the veracity of such hypothetical allegations.

Re:How is this better than.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521244)

here are some people who might allege that I did exactly that. I, of course, have no comment as to the veracity of such hypothetical allegations.
Yeah, uh, can you get back to seeding that ep? I'm stuck at 98.4%

...^H^H^H^H^H i meant, uh.. hypothetically?

Warning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521214)

The MPAA will be around shortly to take a statement from yourself regarding the unothorised reproduction of an iTunes video to people who have not obtained licenses.

Seriously, though, your wife and mother in law better start worrying, how long before your drm purchased media includes a requirement that every individual pair of eyes/ears witnessing said media has it's own licence?

Though i wander if i could then get cheaper movies by paying for only the picture, no need to LISTEN to jessica alba after all...

Re:How is this better than.... (1)

Ray Radlein (711289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521046)

As an aside about mvpmc, I would really love it if there were actual precompiled packages available for it through yum or rpm or whatever; a README which says "make sure you have this cross-compilation environment, run make this, make that, make so-and-so, oh, and here's how you compile the kernel..." is fairly off-putting, especially when you know that all of the stuff that somes after that in the setup process is going to be just as painful. :-(

Re:How is this better than.... (2, Informative)

bobintetley (643462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521062)

If you just want a working mvpmc and don't plan on doing any development, you can just download a dongle file - it's a single binary file that you stick in your /tftpboot directory to serve to the MVP via tftp (it's actually a squashfs image).

All releases of mvpmc have one of these binary dongles and a nightly process builds upto date ones if you need new improvements (I and most of the other devs also put up new ones on our project pages if we're working on something we want folks to test, but don't want to commit to the main tree just yet).

Point is, if you just want mvpmc you don't need to compile it.

Admittedly, if you DO want to do some development, the cross compiling stuff (MVP is PPC) can be a bit painful, but the lead dev (Jon) has done a LOT of work in this area recently and now it really is as simple as doing a "cg-clone && make" (and waiting a few hours!).

Re:How is this better than.... (1)

Ray Radlein (711289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521150)

Point is, if you just want mvpmc you don't need to compile it.

That's good to know... what about the server-side software? I assume that there is some software running the equivalent of Haupage's MVPStart service to do the back-end stuff; is that pre-packaged?

Re:How is this better than.... (1)

bobintetley (643462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521178)

MVPMC does require that you have a DHCP server and a TFTP server to send the OS image. You then need SMB or NFS shares to share content to it (and VLC, MythTV and SlimServer depending on what you want to do with your MVP).

If you have a Windows machine and the Hauppage software, I *think* (don't quote me on that - I don't use Windows some I'm not 100% on this) that you can rename the Hauppage dongle.bin file to something else and replace it with the mvpmc one (the Hauppage software has a stripped down DHCP and TFTP server). MVPMC also has an emulation mode so it can use the Hauppage server software as well as standard NFS/SMB, VLC, etc.

You will need to make a config file for mvpmc though - it's basically a shell script that starts the mvpmc binary on the MVP and you give it the IP addresses of your server and mount any shares you'll need. See the site for a guide on doing this.

It is well worth the effort - I'm thrilled with what I can do with my MVP/mvpmc and it'd take something pretty special for me to ever consider changing it.

Re:How is this better than.... (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521192)

If you have a Windows machine and the Hauppage software, I *think* (don't quote me on that - I don't use Windows some I'm not 100% on this) that you can rename the Hauppage dongle.bin file to something else and replace it with the mvpmc one (the Hauppage software has a stripped down DHCP and TFTP server).

Yes, that works. Its what I did when I first tried mvpmc, although I use a Linux TFTP server now (although its with the DHCP provided by my router).

Re:How is this better than.... (1)

Ray Radlein (711289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521428)

If you have a Windows machine and the Hauppage software, I *think* (don't quote me on that - I don't use Windows some I'm not 100% on this) that you can rename the Hauppage dongle.bin file to something else and replace it with the mvpmc one (the Hauppage software has a stripped down DHCP and TFTP server).

I am completely gobsmacked by the sheer whydidntithinkofthat-edness of that solution.

Our setup here is that we have the MVP in our bedroom, and a Pinnacle ShowCenter downstairs in the living room; in my wife's computer room we have a ReplayTV and my wife's computer (which has proven utterly and completely resistant to having Linux installed on it, despite several full-fledged attempts on my part); and in my computer room we have my computer, which runs WinXP and Fedora Core 6 (we also have a decrepit RH 7.3 box and three Amigas, but those don't factor into the media equation, much to the Amigas' chagrin). I wired the house with Gigabit, so we don't have any bandwidth worries when it comes to shuttling media content back and forth. Currently, we run the Windows back-ends for both the MediaMVP and the Pinnacle media center on both of our computers (although something in the Hauppage software a couple of revisions back nuked the MediaMVP's ability to switch from one server to the other); so whenever I boot into FC6, my computer vanishes from the media-serving equation.

Because of the Pinnacle media center downstairs, if nothing else, both computers really need to primarily run WinXP for the time being (I've actually kicked the tires on one or two Pinnacle software replacements, without much joy), so I'd have to run mvpmc under Windows for the most part.

I think I might have to give this a try.

HDMI (2, Informative)

diesel66 (254283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521120)

The Sling thing and Apple's iTV have HDMI out. The Hauppage thing appears to just have component out. If you want to drive the latest widescreen LCDs and Plasmas to their potential, HDMI is pretty helpful. That would be an important factor for me, anyway.

Re:HDMI (2, Informative)

VorlonFog (948943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521936)

"That Hauppauge thing" is the Media MVP, and it has S-Video out, and if you have a SCART version, RGB.

Re:How is this better than.... (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522338)

The main difference is that you pull the Sling out of the box, plug it in, install a piece of software (presumably...), and you're done. Yours looks pretty good (although I suspect the Sling will probably be more "shiny"), and I think I may buy one... but the original software that shipped with it was pretty 'basic', and that's what most people judge a product on. How does it work out of the box? Not too good? Oh, darn.

Not to criticize your work - since it looks like y'all have really improved the interface. But it's like what CmdrTaco missed about the iPod - UI is king.

Re:How is this better than.... (1)

glindsey (73730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522502)

Where can you find it for $50? Best I've seen it for is $90...

I'd love to find it cheaper, because this sounds like the perfect thing to replace the MediaPortal machine in my living room. Don't get me wrong, I love MP, but having a whole PC there is just overkill for what I'd like to do...

Re:How is this better than.... (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522696)

Bob, where can I get this for $50? I just checked google and buy.com, and the lowest price I can find is $80 ($95 from buy.com)

This? Nah. (3, Interesting)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520932)

Apple's probably far more worried about the Xbox 360's movie and TV download service, which is apparently doing very, very well. That's not to say this is a bad product - I can think of uses for it - but at the same time, it also seems like a hassle in terms of interface, and interface is king to a lot of folks.

XBox360 the 4th best selling console (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521086)

I doubt they're doing well, in December 2006 the XBox360 sold less than either DS Lite, PS2, or Wii. To make the claim that XBox360 sold the most they ignored the Japanese sales, portables and previous generation consoles to make a limited claim of 'top seller in the US for 3rd generation non portable console'. Whoopeeee.

There's so much turf when it comes to Microsoft, I'd wait for the real numbers.

Re:XBox360 the 4th best selling console (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521298)

By the numbers:
1. Xbox 360s sold or shipped to retailers: 10.4 million.
2. iTV: 0. None. Nada.

Re:XBox360 the 4th best selling console (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521464)

Christmas 2006:

Wii 3.45 million sold.
XBox 360 2 million.
Even the PS2 beat the XBox 360.

It's not the big success they claim, so better wait for the official numbers because there's a lot of turf. As for iTV, again, we don't know how it will do, it's not even launched yet.

Undercut? (2, Insightful)

Gord (23773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520940)

> Will this undercut Apple's iTV?

It's a bit difficult to tell since it's not even released yet, nor have many details been made public.

Will find out more at today's keynote I expect.

Re:Undercut? (1)

ben there... (946946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521746)

Yeah, I was also surprised by this line:
In this way, the SlingCatcher may turn out to be a one-size-fits-all solution in a field populated with specialty products.

iTV hasn't been released. XBox 360 may be a specialty product, but I'd say the field is primarily populated with products like MediaMVP [hauppauge.com] .

The line should read:
In this way, iTV and XBox360 may turn out to be specialty solutions in a field dominated by one-size-fits-all products, such as SlingBox, MediaMVP, MythTV, SageTV, and BeyondTV.

Re:Undercut? (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522362)

since Apple and other media selling companies are likely to have it taken off the market for some made up DMCA violation or other frivolous reason, it may not be an issue that we don't know much yet

It's Good Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17520972)

It's good because:

It is marketed to those that think DRM is the end of the world, so anything that prevents that, or at least holds it back, is good!

It is just unique enough that most will have no idea what it really is doing, and think it's some sort of magic. Magic they just gots to have!

Hype!

iTunes and the iPod are nice, but... (0, Offtopic)

Diffusion (125352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520980)

In response to Apple's attempts to control my ability to work with my own music:

Fuck you, Apple. And fuck you, Steve Jobs.

Re:iTunes and the iPod are nice, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521098)

And a big fuck you to you, too, Diffusion. Go open source a goat.

Love,
Stevie

XBMC anyone? (1)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17520994)

$200? How about no. Buy original Xbox for £50, perform softmod, install XBMC, rejoice!

Really these stories are very mundane now I've been watching content from my PC on my TV for over a year now, even streaming content directly from the net onto my TV for just as long. It's not wireless, but you already had cat5 running to the tv area right?

The only thing that XBMC is lacking is support for HD. The Xbox's poor little cpu just can't handle decoding it. As soon as the 1st "next gen" console is capable of runnign unsigned code that will change.

Re:XBMC anyone? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521050)

"Buy original Xbox for £50, perform softmod, install XBMC, rejoice!"

I can just see Joe Public managing that. Not. These devices are meant for average people to use , not technophiles with plenty of knowledge and time on their hands.

"Really these stories are very mundane now I've been watching content from my PC on my TV for over a year now, even streaming content directly from the net onto my TV for just as long. It's not wireless, but you already had cat5 running to the tv area right?"

You definately have too much time on your hands.

Re:XBMC anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521204)

You definately have too much time on your hands.

No, the poster doesn't have too much time on his hands. He's a techie and enjoys getting his hands dirty working with technology. And that's why he's on Slashdot, a forum for technically-minded people.

You in contrast, who have no interest in working with technology, why the hell are you here at all? If you merely want to USE stuff that others have built, why don't you go sit on a dumb consumer forum instead?

Re:XBMC anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521282)

Dumb consumers have FORUMS now? I thought they got by with just calling us up on the phone. Thank god phones have more than two buttons, that probably screens half of the really stupid ones.

Re:XBMC anyone? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521596)

"He's a techie and enjoys getting his hands dirty working with technology."

So loafing around watching TV is getting down & dirty with technology? Thats certainly a new spin on it.

Re:XBMC anyone? (1)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522014)

So loafing around watching TV is getting down & dirty with technology? Thats certainly a new spin on it.


No, that's making use of available technology.

If you consider watching TV to be "loafing around" then why are you even posting in regard to this article?

Re:XBMC anyone? (1)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521434)

I can just see Joe Public managing that. Not. These devices are meant for average people to use , not technophiles with plenty of knowledge and time on their hands.


Good job I don't read news sites intended for Joe Public then, else I might have offended someone. This is Slashdot, where people use velocity sensors on laptops to remote control robotic cleaners. I fail to see where Joe Public comes into play.

This technology is a year behind where we should be right now. It's not new at all, it's been done before several times. It's probably the cheapest out of the box implementation but that hardly makes it news. Where's the headline for £10 mp3 players?

Re:XBMC anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521826)

I can just see Joe Public managing that. Not. These devices are meant for average people to use , not technophiles with plenty of knowledge and time on their hands.

Yeah, like all the people who had mp3s playing on their computer at parties before Joe Public even heard of Napster. All the people who were carrying around their mp3s in a portable before iPod. All the people who were playing videos from the web for their friends and computer games whose graphics stomped PS2 and Xbox on their TV using their GeForce card in freakin 2002 (5 years ago!).

They're just "technophiles" with too much time on their hands. Maybe Joe Public is just retarded, and the people who defend Joe Public's stupidity are even more retarded. Fucking consumers.

Isn't this basically what Apple is announcing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521222)

Isn't this exactly like one of the BIG products that Apple / Steve Jobs is announcing today at Mac World? Macrumors.com says so. I guess Sling wanted to sell one or two before all the Mac Heads went with the Apple-branded product.

iTV not tied to iTunes... (1)

grrrl (110084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521254)

Apple's iTV should also be largely media-agnostic, apart from WIndows only DRM schemes. The box should run a FrontRow like interface, and currently FrontRow can play whatever Quicktime can - including DivX, XviD, so it should be pretty damn video flexible.

Anyway, more will be revealed in about 4 hours...

Meme Alert: (2, Insightful)

Zaphod2016 (971897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521294)

media-agnostic
adj.

Without devotion to specific codecs, nor specific (approved) stores. Designed as a one-size-fits-all solution.

Current Google Index: [google.com] 13,900.

I like this phrase. I love this concept. Here's hoping we hear it a lot more often in the wake of the recent BlueRay/HDDVD debacle.

Sling will fail. (1)

imageboard (1038004) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521324)

Will it be technologically superior to iTunes? Most likely. But it is not iTunes technical superiority that will make it the more popular product, if we applied this reasoning to all of Apple's ventures then the iPod would not be the top mp3 player, .mac wouldn't be used and the last iTunes cell would have been even more of a failure. Apple have an ability to sell a product to consumers who simply do not care about it's effectiveness so long as it fits into their existing Apple set up. I have no doubt Apple's offering will be more of a success, whether that success is deserved or not however is a different matter.

Huh? (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521384)

The SlingCatcher... is media-agnostic.
So they are saying the SlingCatcher isn't sure if media exists? I am all for media "hipspeak" if it makes them feel better/cooler, but at least have it make sense....

Re:Huh? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521604)

No, by strict definition, it'd mean the SlingCatcher believes it is impossible to know if media exists.

"1. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience."

How we developed AI and are only worried if it cares whether media exists or not, I have no idea.

Perhaps it's a deist? (2, Funny)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521620)

Media exists, but it doesn't care what happens to the SlingCatcher.

Already have one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17521530)

Dlink DSM-320 and it only cost $99.00

Anyways, as long as these things need a PC to operate they will suck. Give me one of these that will go to itunes or any other RSS feed and allow me to select and play from the feed directly and you have a BIG winner.

Most people do not want to leave their pc on 24/7. I have resorted to leaving my Mediaportal PC under the TV on all the time as it serves up content for all the DSM-320 boxes in the house.

Record in mpg and all play it.... Encode the DVD's ad Xvid and all of them play it. works great. Only time I have problems is with RSS feeds like Channel Federator. they use a wierd codec. DL.TV does not so the DSM-320's play that just fine while many of the other RSS feeds play only on the mediaportal HTPC..

BTW: I can build Mediaportal playback slaves now for $200.00 each now that they released the master/slave system for it. A mini-ITX 800 board will happily play the content so a micro ATX and AMD processor for $70.00 will easily do it.

No remote, then (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521626)

If the device streams video from the video output and doesn't care about the application that generates it, then it follows that you cannot have a remote control for pauses, jumps, etc (or have to provide and configure one yourself, and have some way of sending the signal to the PC, and then you probably can make your own setup to send the video to the TV).

For me, having a remote is important stuff when watching TV, I guess the average Joe would agree with me, specially if he has to climb some stairs to rewind the film every time he goes to the kitchen for another beer.

The device doesn't seem in this case particularly consumer-ready.

Re:No remote, then (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522020)

> If the device streams video from the video output and doesn't care about the application that generates it, then it follows that you cannot have a remote control for pauses, jumps, etc

Yeah, because that's exactly as silly as claiming you can pause live video broadcasts from Television!

Just slap a DVR into what you think this thing is, and you will have exactly what you say it can't be.

Re:No remote, then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17522582)

Umm, how much more kludgey do we need to get to approach the grace that the iTV box will be>

Apple's trademark is ease-of-use (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521724)

My limited understanding of Apple's iTV (we'll all know for sure later today) is that it will integrate with iTunes libraries, share whatever media is there, cache it locally and/or stream it over a home network, and do it all with little further thought from the user. Oh, and it'll use the Apple Remote, natch.

Unless the SlingCatcher can match that kind of instantaneous ease-of-use, it won't undercut anything.

my worthless prediction ..... (1)

nblender (741424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17521932)

Is that the market will split into a couple of factions... 1 is the content providers (itms, etc) providing music/video via DAAP or some equivalent mechanism, and the hardware providers (apple, sling, etc) providing set top boxes or TV's with built-in DAAP clients....

That means, I'm waiting for the $1000 42" LCD TV with built-in ethernet/wifi that connects to my household MythTV backend with a DAAP plugin.

The pieces are almost there. Probably less than a year.

They missed the perfect device. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522040)

The Sling Catcher is a dead item out of the box. They missed the perfect device.

It should, WITHOUT A PC, be able to connect to and control a slingbox.

If I could drag that box to my vacation home, plug in and watch the CATV from home on the TV in my villa I would be all over it.

Hell college kids could snake one to school and watch their TV lineup from home.

No, they make this crappy box that is a glorified VNC display device just like the Hauppanage Media MVP.... No thanks.

Re:They missed the perfect device. (2, Informative)

superatrain (842910) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522598)

Umm.... You can just tunnel through ssh to a mythtv backend and do that already. Don't see why you need a new device for that...

Neuros OSD (1)

Lothsahn (221388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522588)

The Neuros OSD does this as well, runs linux, and is open source. What more could a Slashdot geek want?

The only limitation I see with the OSD is the fact that it only does composite out.

iTV naming? (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522656)

Is it definately going to be called iTV? Cause here in the UK there is already a television company called ITV - And its the biggest privately owned TV broadcaster in the country... I could see apple suing for the use of "i" at the start of the name...

Either way, without a re-branding, iTV won't get far here, it will just be mass confusion!
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