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Roku Box Adds HD, Grows Beyond Netflix

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the watch-anything-anywhere dept.

Businesses 95

DeviceGuru writes "Roku has announced two free updates to its Internet-enabled Netflix movie-streaming set-top box. The initial update adds advanced compression capable of streaming HD video over average consumer broadband connections, while the second (expected during the first quarter of 2009) will add A/V streaming from sources other than Netflix (e.g. YouTube, Hulu, Comedy Central, MSNBC, etc.). Roku faces growing competition from other providers of Internet-based video-on-demand STBs, such as Blockbuster's STB, Syabas's Popcorn Hour (aka NMT), AppleTV, and others. Roku hasn't said anything specific, but perhaps it'll partner with Boxee, which already provides a popular AppleTV hack."

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95 comments

Maybe I'm just not aware of it... (3, Insightful)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215719)

... but seriously when is porn going to get into the streaming scene? (insert joke)

Re:Maybe I'm just not aware of it... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26215943)

Look up FyreTV. Unfortunately, they just ended the free beta period. It's $10 for 100 minutes of streaming per month and the hardware is free.

Re:Maybe I'm just not aware of it... (3, Funny)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216171)

but seriously when is porn going to get into the streaming scene? (insert joke)

When R. Kelly starts filming again.

Re:Maybe I'm just not aware of it... (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216581)

... but seriously when is porn going to get into the streaming scene? (insert joke)

There are a ton of for-pay webcam services. They seem to be intermediaries between 'independent contractors' in mostly 3rd world countries and customers in the west. They often take the lion's share of the money (usually $1/minute and up), paying the contractors 25% or less, although I've heard of one place advertising for contractors and claiming to pay 50%.

Sorry, I don't know any URLs off-hand, but you can probably find them easily enough even with a brain-dead google search since that's kind of their client base.

Re:Maybe I'm just not aware of it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26219621)

seriously? pornhub, youporn, redtube...

Re:Maybe I'm just not aware of it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26223617)

At CES '08 with the FyreTV

see:
http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/01/fyretv-brings-t.html

XBMC (3, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215763)

Someone just needs to build a nice small XBMC replacement. Something the size of Popcorn or Apple TV. Donate some engineers / money to the XBMC guys to get it to work with your chipset. Maybe some 1080p hardware decoding.

My XBOX is starting to show its age, but XBMC hands down beats every single one of those players hands down.

Re:XBMC (1)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215859)

Can your XBMC stream movies from NetFlix? Does it occupy about 4"x4"x2" of space and is completely silent?

Re:XBMC (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215927)

Maybe you missed the part where I said "Someone needs to build a nice small XBoxMC replacement".

XBMC is already ported to Linux, OS X, and Windows. It's a project that's been refined over the last 4.5 years. All it needs is someone to come in and create a 4"x4"x2" device designed just to use it.

Re:XBMC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26215979)

Only a few inches larger than what you were requesting, but here it is. Team this device up with XBMC or Boxee and you're good to go.

http://www.apple.com/macmini/

Re:XBMC (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216391)

Only a few inches larger than what you were requesting, but here it is. Team this device up with XBMC or Boxee and you're good to go.

http://www.apple.com/macmini/ [apple.com]

For best results I'd wait till after the MacWorld San Francisco, in January, since it is extremely likely that Apple will update the MacMini hardware (greatly, considering it hasn't been updated since Aug 2007).

Re:XBMC (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26218883)

For best results I'd wait till after the MacWorld San Francisco, in January, since it is extremely likely that Apple will update the MacMini hardware (greatly, considering it hasn't been updated since Aug 2007).

Or announce the end of the product line and lower the price on the remaining inventory. Both eventualities are worth the wait.

Re:XBMC (1)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216455)

Did you miss the part where I said "Can your XBMC stream movies from NetFlix"? Will your small XBMC stream movies from NetFlix?

Re:XBMC (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26219187)

While my XBMC does not stream from NetFlix, it IS completely silent, and takes up far less than 4"x4"x2" since XBMC is a program, not hardware.

Re:XBMC (2, Informative)

SoapBoxRants (1335927) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215917)

Have you seen an AppleTV running Boxee? With the exception of Netflix capabilities (which they are working on adding)...it basically is XBMC with a much better interface.

Re:XBMC (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215933)

The AppleTV is woefully underpowered and too expensive.

And "Interface" is just a matter of what skin you have installed, my XBMC looks gorgeous as is.

Re:XBMC (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26217925)

I think you might want to eat those words... considering the Xbox is the real "woefully underpowered" device.

The Xbox has an Intel Celeron (coppermine) 733 dating from 1999 or 2001 depending on when it was produced, by comparison the AppleTV has an Intel Crofton 1.0Ghz from the last year or so.

There's also the RAM, 64MB of DDR SDRAM in the xbox, 256MB of DDR2 SDRAM in the AppleTV.

As far as it being too expensive, the xbox at release was double what the AppleTV was at release... nuff said.

Re:XBMC (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26218763)

Unless I'm completely mistaken the Xbox launched at $299. The cheapest AppleTV is $229 at Apple's website right now. It is no longer possible to purchase an Xbox brand new expect off 3rd party channels. However, used consoles can be bought from any Gamestop for $50. A purchase of the original Splinter Cell for $3 and some time will allow you to softmod your Xbox and install XBMC.

The specs on the Xbox might look extremely underpowered right now and they are for HD playback, but the Xbox doesn't have an Operating System like the AppleTV is trying to run concurrently. XBMC also does not have hardware accelerated video playback so the AppleTV is limited to 720P playback, and depending on the format and encoding it will choke on some files. The Xbox on the other hand will be even more limited on what 720P content it will play back, mainly only MPEG2 streams at that resolution.

The other issue with the AppleTV is that you still need to hack it just like the Xbox. There was a Boxee installer for it; however, shortly after release an update magically came out that updated the system if you had automatic updates enabled. This updated the OS, removed Boxee and closed the hole they used to install it. That's not exactly the open platform I'm looking to run as my media frontend IMO.

Re:XBMC (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26219077)

The other issue with the AppleTV is that you still need to hack it just like the Xbox. There was a Boxee installer for it; however, shortly after release an update magically came out that updated the system if you had automatic updates enabled. This updated the OS, removed Boxee and closed the hole they used to install it. That's not exactly the open platform I'm looking to run as my media frontend IMO.

I was thinking along those same lines, but I also did some searching and discovered that Boxee has a new installer [boxee.tv] for installation on AppleTV 2.3. It has two bugs right now, but there appear to be workarounds for them, and an updated installer is in the works to address at least one of them if not both.

Of course, everyone running Boxee on AppleTV will be turning off automatic updates and will be watching carefully for reports if another update disables it again. How Apple responds to the workaround will determine if they truly intended to cut out Boxee.

I wonder though about that other AppleTV mod that added functionality only if the thumb drive was attached was affected by the 2.3 update; disconnect the USB drive and the AppleTV is back to normal. If only I could remember what mod that was...

Apple TV and aTV Flash (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26219159)

I wonder though about that other AppleTV mod that added functionality only if the thumb drive was attached was affected by the 2.3 update; disconnect the USB drive and the AppleTV is back to normal. If only I could remember what mod that was...

Ah, apparently I needed to search GeekBrief.TV with "Apple TV" instead of "AppleTV" to find reference to aTV Flash [atvflash.com] . It too was affected and they also have an update that works with Apple TV 2.3.

The software can be easily removed at any time, and will NOT void your warranty.

Key Features:

  • Play additional video formats such as DivX, Xvid, AVI, WMV, RMVB & more
  • Play DVD files WITHOUT converting them (includes menu & special feature support)
  • Surf the web with a Safari based web browser
  • Create video playlists with loop and shuffle support
  • Easily enable external USB hard drive storage
  • Enable FTP, SFTP and SSH access
  • Install other Mac OS X applications like Firefox, and EyeTV
  • Restore synced media from Apple TV in the event of a hard drive failure
  • All original Apple TV features remain intact

Re:XBMC (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26222159)

Combined with the lack of cable card support and a decent Tivo-like DVR application (remember when the rumor mill was abuzz with talk that Apple would buy Tivo?) and AppleTV is still very much a niche-market device. Get both of those features and it's a contender to replace cable boxes (right now I'm stuck with Verizon's and IMO it sucks) and break out into something really useful. If it takes countless articles on how to turn it into more of a home entertainment platform, then Apple isn't using the thing to its full potential...

AppleTV running Boxee (2, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216967)

Have you seen an AppleTV running Boxee?

The problem with that setup is all the frakkin' daggits. I hate daggits.

Re:XBMC (1)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216219)

I have 2 PopcornHours and we love them. Non-geek friendly which is great for the rest of the family. Even with the remote control xbmc wasn't the most user friendly thing around.

Popcornhour >> xbmc.

Re:XBMC (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216221)

You can already install XBMC on AppleTV. I find it much more usable and snappier than Boxee, which seems...boxy on the ATV compared to XBMC. If you have the PlayOn DLNA server (one-time $30 fee) installed on a Windows PC, you can stream Hulu to XBMC on your AppleTV (or 360 or PS3, etc.).

My number 1 gripe about Boxee...it insists on sharing your viewing habits with people on your "friends" list.

Re:XBMC (1)

TheBeowulf (916247) | more than 5 years ago | (#26217285)

XBMC would only start showing age if folks bought into this HD malarkey. For those happily sticking with their standard definition TVs, XMBC is still the best option out there. Even on an HDTV, XBMC looks snazzy and works very well. News Flash: DVDs continue to work and look fine to spite the fancy commercials for blu-ray madness.

Besides, what else is my Xbox going to be used for, playing games? Pfft. As if I had time.

Re:XBMC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26218219)

Simple. Install XBMC on the appleTV. I've got two running that way.

No .. Concentrate on the medium (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26221041)

In true Build-It-And-They will come if we just get something like MRSS going where a "Feed" is known as a "Channel" and can link to other Channels, as well as slideshows (Channel full of png links), movies (some freeish codec), tv shows (a series would just be a Channel full of consecutive episoses) and music (an albumn would just be a Channel of consecutive songs) with nice png thumbnail support, the ability to add links to "buy plastic disc edition" and the whole thing very easy to mashup and deep link (Jimbo's saturday night sci-fi feed - a Channel containing links to other host's offerings) and then just let it grow into its own sprawling Media-WWW two things will happen:

1. Any old set top box, or pc/mac piece of software will be able to be written to let you surf it, inc XBMC native support
2. Once it becomes a major source of quality content (Star Trek New Adventures, etc.) the media cartels will jump on board, and overcome the lack of DRM by embedding ads in the media directly safe in the knowledge that Joe Sixpack will watch their content using his STB remote from the sofa rather than track down a non-advert-embedded edition and mess about torrenting it

Essentially the Media-WWW will be just like Web 1.0 - links all over the place, but video and audio instead of text and the odd gif

Mythbackend ! (3, Insightful)

0x4a6f6e43 (837256) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215807)

Just add the ability to talk to a Mythbackend and output HD at 1080p and I'll get two!

Re:Mythbackend ! (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216069)

Maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't "advanced compression" defeat the purpose of HD video?

Re:Mythbackend ! (4, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216243)

What's to miss about better picture quality for the same bit rate?

Compare h.264 to mpeg-2.

Re:Mythbackend ! (1)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216249)


Maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't "advanced compression" defeat the purpose of HD video?

The cableco/satellite people heavily compress the HD video coming down already. You can often see blockiness in scene changes or certain colours (red & blue). x264 compresses very well.

Re:Mythbackend ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26217295)

did you miss the part where DirecTV uses h264 compression already?
which would be why the DirecTV adapter for VMC wasn't announced with the TVPack, because VMC doesn't natively support h264 yet....

obviously you did.

and the amount of "compression" on satellite is slight compared to what cable companies try to get away with....

Re:Mythbackend ! (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 5 years ago | (#26217613)

The quality of OTA channels on cable seems pretty good to me. U-Verse is pretty bad, though.
I'm pretty sure the Roku player uses WMV/VC-1 like everything else for HD, so the only thing they can do it reduce the quality. Will they offer these lower quality HD streams to the 360 and Tivo? The HD streaming doesn't work very even over a 10mbit connection in my experience.

Re:Mythbackend ! (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#26219297)

doesn't "advanced compression" defeat the purpose of HD video?

Certainly not if it was lossless compression (which I don't know if it is).

Re:Mythbackend ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26217473)

XBMC can output 1080p on a mac mini or appletv.

And talking to your mythbackend.. Yeah. I'll pass on that. I don't need Linux + MySQL or PostGres + a bunch of other buggy crap cobbled together by hippies to watch the movies I download off usenet.

PC's and Media Center? (1)

Brit_in_the_USA (936704) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215865)

Anyone have any idea when/if....
*HD* Netlfix will come to PC's (Windows, Linux, MAC) ?
Official netflix integration into Vista MCE (unofficial exists) ?
Official or unofficial integration of Hulu in Media Center?

Re:PC's and Media Center? (2, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215975)

Isn't HD Netflix OnDemand available already? I see a section under their OnDemand feature labeled HD with a small selection of content.

Re:PC's and Media Center? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26216201)

Where do you see that? I can't find a list of HD titles anywhere.

Re:PC's and Media Center? (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26217159)

Where do you see that? I can't find a list of HD titles anywhere.

Ah, I guess it's for TV only.

I have the HD option under "Watch Instantly" -> "Genres". But further info shows that it's only for TV.

I guess it shows up for me since I activated my Tivo to use Netflix.

Re:PC's and Media Center? (1)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215985)

If they do it for the Xbox360 [gizmodo.com] , then it might stand to reason that Media Center might follow? Dunno, the whole article is nothing more than speculation at this point. But it's from someone (Shane Kim) [microsoft.com] who, if anyone knew if it were a possibility/in the pipeline, it would be him.

Closed Caption (1)

e4liberty (537089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215879)

Hopefully one of the "additional providers of HD content" will also provide streams with Closed Captioning (or subtitles). My biggest disappointment with Roku/Netflix is no Closed Caption.

Re:Closed Caption (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26215955)

Doesn't this break the US Government laws [fcc.gov] on requiring closed captioning?

Re:Closed Caption (1)

e4liberty (537089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216281)

I'm sure Netflix can finesse this in a number of ways; for example, per this fcc page [fcc.gov] "Channels producing revenues of under $3,000,000" are exempt from the rule. Instant Watch is "free for Netflix subscribers."

There are also technical issues; HDMI doesn't have a CC stream so the merge of CC or subtitle and video have to happen in the Roku box or upstream.

Re:Closed Caption (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216295)

Netflix may be providing videos but I don't think they count as a video programming provider.

Re:Closed Caption (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216533)

No, Netflix isn't a broadcaster. The FCC only has jurisdiction over radio waves.

Re:Closed Caption (1)

e4liberty (537089) | more than 4 years ago | (#26225717)

Nope. See the FCC web site [fcc.gov] .

The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.

Re:Closed Caption (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216969)

FCC rules about close-captioning apply to broadcast TV, period.

Re:Closed Caption (1)

e4liberty (537089) | more than 4 years ago | (#26225811)

IANAL, but FCC defines a video programming distributor [fcc.gov] as

(2) Video programming distributor. Any television broadcast station licensed by the Commission and any multichannel video programming distributor as defined in  76.1000(e) of this chapter, and any other distributor of video programming for residential reception that delivers such programming directly to the home and is subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.

and "any other distributor of video programming for residential reception that delivers such programming directly to the home" sounds like it fits.

I love Roku (2, Interesting)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216031)

As an AppleTV I must say I really admire Roku. They seem to understand hardware and software in a way few manufacturers do. They work really hard on compatibility with so many formats and products, its really great. I love my AppleTV as well, and it does some things better, but to get the openess of Roku it must be seriously hacked. Roku is the one pushing this segment forward.

Re:I love Roku (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26216131)

Shill!

Re:I love Roku (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26216217)

openess of Roku

What drugs are you on? Can I have some?

Right now today, the Roku box is totally CLOSED. Vague promises of future openness don't mean shit.

Re:I love Roku (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216503)

What "openness" would that be? Link?

I'd call you a shill as a couple of AC's have done, but if you are a shill, you're an incompetent one making completely baseless claims. At the moment there is no evidence of openness that I can find.

Re:I love Roku (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26217425)

I didn't say OSS, I said "open" in which I meant it will play my media of many formats, OGG included, works well with iTunes, WMP or Real is updated to support new formats and programs often. I was if you missed it making a comparison to my ATV, which while slick is certainly more closed off than Roku supporting a few handpicked formats and one media player. Unlike many companies Roku survives of interoperability because they don't own an OS or a popular desktop media player. Perhaps I should have been more clear, but shill I am not.

Re:I love Roku (2, Informative)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26217523)

At the moment there is no evidence of openness that I can find.

you either didn't look very hard or don't have much in the way of researching skills.

http://www.roku.com/community/gpl_nfp.php [roku.com]

http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=2932 [zdnet.com]

http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/30/1645200&from=rss [slashdot.org]

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10050649-93.html [cnet.com]

http://hackaday.com/2008/07/02/netflix-player-source-code-released/ [hackaday.com]

http://forums.rokulabs.com/viewtopic.php?t=17046&highlight=&sid=1bea026fdae6ddaace484e70273f2d0d [rokulabs.com]

I'm not saying much has become of it, but Roku has already released all GPL code and is hosting forums for their users where they allow talk about hacking it at least. They publicly state their intentions to allow any content provider to use their box to distribute content, and mention the release of a software development kit to help people do that.

I don't know if you are claiming there is no evidence of "open" as in FOSS or "open" as in allowing other companies to use the platform, but there seems to be plenty of evidence of both.

     

Re:I love Roku (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26244321)

And all of this manifests... how? My Roku only plays Netflix. (Or rather, only played now that I've sent it back.) How do I get it to play anything else?

Right now, it's all 100% talk, and has been for a while. GPL'ed code doesn't mean crap if I can't change the box at all.

Re:I love Roku (1)

ubercam (1025540) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216517)

As an AppleTV I must say I really admire Roku.

Wow I didn't know AppleTV automatically connected to Slashdot and replied to threads about its favourite software. I want one!

Re:I love Roku (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216571)

I was going to go with "Have you contacted Apple to let them know you have become self aware?"

Re:I love Roku (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26217257)

As an AppleTV I must say I really admire Roku.

Great. Now we have electronic appliances with self-esteem issues. This isn't going to end well. I'm not looking forward to my toaster oven gaining an oedipus complex.

AppleTV responds (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26217373)

Your just jealous because you can't output HDMI and lack my awesome style. Call me when you can stream media over wireless G or buy DRM music off iTunes. Geez the never of some media devices!

Re:AppleTV responds (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26217543)

I'm not buying it, Xbox. AppleTV would at least use proper grammar.

"Presumably" Hulu (5, Insightful)

MrDelSarto (95771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216061)

The article says

"Presumably this will include sources such as YouTube, Hulu, Comedy Central, MSNBC, etc."

I'm pretty sure this would be a licensing issue, not at technical issue about streaming formats.

It's one thing to have to sit at your computer, or faff about with a media PC to watch content. But I imagine the networks would be very scared of a simple, cheap, no subscription, plug-in box. I'd be (pleasantly) surprised if they let Roku get to that content.

Once Hulu comes to my Tivo (I hate having a million boxes for different things), I'd reconsider why I even pay for even the cheapest tier cable.

If anyone wonders what the Comcast 250G caps are about, they have nothing to do with bandwidth contention and everything to do with them realising soon they will loose half (more?) of their business when cable TV dies.

Re:"Presumably" Hulu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26216229)

Hulu is on the PS3 now - the Roku isn't that big a step away. But I'd like to see one box that can do hulu, netflix hd, and local upnp/DLNA streaming with hdmi output.

Re:"Presumably" Hulu (2, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216479)

Hulu is on the PS3 now - the Roku isn't that big a step away. But I'd like to see one box that can do hulu, netflix hd, and local upnp/DLNA streaming with hdmi output.

Exactly. Between my PS3 and TiVo I've got almost all the bases covered (since TiVo added the Netflix streaming in addition to the Amazon Video support).

Likewise a PS3 and an XBox360 would also cover most of the streaming video options, or a 360 and an AppleTV, or lots of other combinations.

Lets count the media sources together:
Sony's Video store on the PS3
MS's Video store on the 360
Apple's iTunes
Amazon's Video store (formerly unBox)
Netflix
Hulu

Once people have access to "enough" media sources, their usually set, and each Set Top Box seems to be getting more and more access to more and more sources.

Re:"Presumably" Hulu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26217671)

It's too bad you can't get CNN on it though...

But then again I could just get CNN via XM/Sirius, and I know there's an IP stream somewhere for CNN, but it seems to be a weird one.

Re:"Presumably" Hulu (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 4 years ago | (#26225119)

It's too bad you can't get CNN on it though...

You say that like it a bad thing ... :)

Actually, jokes aside, I tend to use my computer to keep track of news, since I often want to check into a story more than TV lets me. Its too passive a media.

When I'm using a TV its because I want to be entertained, not so much informed (unless its the weather :) ).

Re:"Presumably" Hulu (3, Informative)

exhilaration (587191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216263)

I don't see any licensing issues as long as Roku doesn't try to block commercials. After all, it's just another web client, relegated to a niche audience.

Re:"Presumably" Hulu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26216357)

realising soon they will loose half (more?) of their business when cable TV dies

I am really starting to think some clever person inserted an autocorrect for "lose" in a bunch of dictionaries. I am not claiming to have mastered grammar or spelling, but this one always jumps out at me.

Re:"Presumably" Hulu (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216431)

I use MediaMall's PlayOn media server to watch Hulu and Netflix on my PS3 and Xbox360. It also streams to my PopcornHour box. It costs $30. I am in no way affiliated with them, I just love the product.

http://www.themediamall.com/playon [themediamall.com]

Re:"Presumably" Hulu (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216497)

I'm another happy customer. If you run XBMC on Apple TV, you can use PlayOn to watch Hulu. Netflix technically works, but it chokes to due to Apple TV's hardware.

Re:"Presumably" Hulu (2, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216737)

Once Hulu comes to my Tivo (I hate having a million boxes for different things), I'd reconsider why I even pay for even the cheapest tier cable.

Cable is in for lots of rude awakenings in the coming year or two.

Once digital TV goes live, and signal strength increases on the digital signals, a lot of people in formerly "I can get a usable signal" areas will suddenly get crystal clear reception.

I live in the canyons of concrete and steel in NYC and went from missing a couple of channels and lots of snow (on analog signals) to crystal clear reception on all channels plus sub channels, plus some I didn't expect (on digital). That, plus some supplemental downloading Amazon, Sony, iTunes to fill in a "first run cable" series or two (or even just waiting for syndication), and cutting the cable back to just an ISP seems much more promising.

If only FiOS was here over DSL I'd ditch cable as an ISP also.

Re:"Presumably" Hulu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26218025)

Once Hulu comes to my Tivo (I hate having a million boxes for different things), I'd reconsider why I even pay for even the cheapest tier cable.

I don't watch virtually any TV, but I pay $7 for the cheapest tier (Comcast) cable TV because they discount $15 off my cable internet bill. Go figure.

Steaming HD Rules (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26216683)

I've been spending the past few weeks enjoying the HD streaming they recently enabled on TiVos. It's great to be able to go just watch any movie in my instant queue, all using the TiVo interface. There are nice little touches like TV series show up as a folder with one "recording" per episode instead.

It works very well, and I can get full quality (or sometimes one mark under, according to the little display) on my 6 Mb DSL line.

So far I've watched Meet the Robinsons, King of Kong, and a couple of other things. The quality is superior to DVD, I believe.

The only problem I have with it is the idea of a "instant queue". That seems rather unnecessary to me. I'd rather just have my instant queue mirror my main queue, just without the non-streamable movies. I'm sure it's useful for some people, but for me it's just a (minor) complication.

Having the additional options would be great for Roku users. Right now I have access to Amazon Unbox, YouTube, and Netflix through my TiVo. I'd LOVE to get Hulu access or something like that.

Re:Steaming HD Rules (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 5 years ago | (#26217045)

Steaming HD is good, I'll admit, but I prefer baked or pan-fried. It's not as healthy as steamed, but it tastes so much better. Basted with some chipotle sauce, and it's da bomb.

Re:Steaming HD Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26217389)

the queues used to work this way.

but if you think about it, why would you want to have to put something in your regular queue to be able to get it in your instant watch queue?

oh because your going to rip it and steal it when it comes on dvd too...

gotcha

Still waiting to record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26217551)

I would love to use one of these services, but my DSL connection is too flakey. The video loses sync within a minute or two, and rebuffers too often to be watchable.

Any progress on being able to record these streams--or at least set a much larger buffer (like half the show)?

Pity download caps will kills this idea for now. (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26218709)

While all of this seems to be great, there's one problem nobody really wants to talk about: the imposition of monthy download capacity limits by Internet Service Providers.

Indeed, even Comcast's 250 GB per month is woefully inadequate to accommodate streaming HD video over a device like Roku or Apple TV if you watch a lot of movies streamed to your device. And many ISP's are talking much smaller monthly download limits, too. The result: either you can't download as many movies and TV shows you really want, or, the media service providers will need to compromise picture quality for their HD downloads, which means the downloaded video won't be anywhere as good as what you get from a Blu-ray disc, and probably worse than the picture quality of an ATSC 720p/1080i broadcast.

Until the USA starts its conversion to IPv6 and tremendously increases its Internet bandwidth capacity (which will lift the limits imposed by ISP's), the very idea of downloaded HD movies will end up being a non-starter.

Re:Pity download caps will kills this idea for now (2, Insightful)

dschuetz (10924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26218885)

I think it might go the other way. It's one thing for a few geeks with home-brewed media center PCs to start streaming lots of movies and run up huge bandwidth totals.

It's a totally different thing for "Interweb" users with a cable modem and a single PC they use for online banking, when they get something like AppleTV or Roku and can start watching lots of stuff that way.

That is, once this starts to go mainstream, when average home internet users can start using these devices, there'll be a lot more pressure for ISPs to NOT impose those bandwidth caps.

At least, that's how I'm hoping it goes.

Re:Pity download caps will kills this idea for now (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26219449)

That is, once this starts to go mainstream, when average home internet users can start using these devices, there'll be a lot more pressure for ISPs to NOT impose those bandwidth caps.

Actually, that's all the MORE reason for ISP's to put in download caps--with the current economic conditions, nobody is willing to put in the investment to tremendously expand the bandwidth necessary to accommodate large-scale video streaming.

Besides, with the prices of Blu-ray players and discs now dropping rapidly, why bother with a solution that could tie up your broadband connection for long periods of time and the picture quality still can't compare to a real 1080p-resolution Blu-ray disc?

Re:Pity download caps will kills this idea for now (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26222289)

Besides, with the prices of Blu-ray players and discs now dropping rapidly, why bother with a solution that could tie up your broadband connection for long periods of time and the picture quality still can't compare to a real 1080p-resolution Blu-ray disc?

With modern codecs, excellent video quality can be had for 2-3 Mbps for a 720p video. The 1080p is about 2.25x more pixels, but since codecs scale well, you could probably do an excellent quality for 4-5 Mbps. Even 3Mbps could probably do well for the majority of video at 1080p.

Frankly, at 4Mbps for 1080p, you're probably not going to be able to tell the difference between that and Blu-Ray.

I may be biased, because I live in an area where the local cable company provides 20Mbps service. So 2/3/4Mbps streams don't phase me at all.

Re:Pity download caps will kills this idea for now (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 4 years ago | (#26226965)

While download speeds isn't an issue, the issue I mentioned here is download capacity limits. Essentially, you're limited to 250 GB or less a month, which may put a kibosh on downloading HD movies given that one movie at 720p resolution will probably take about 12-15 GB of downloads.

ISP's are imposing download capacity limits not only because of fear of the current network infrastructure being overwhelmed, but also to discourage continuous downloading from torrent sites (torrent sites often carry illegally copied material).

Re:Pity download caps will kills this idea for now (1)

Jumperalex (185007) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241999)

I think the balancing act here, and the point of the OP, is that suddenly ISP complaints about a "few bad players [cough pirates cough] sucking up all the bandwidth," starts to really lose its authority. Then it becomes a balance between the loss of a PR whipping boy (file sharers) and the need to control costs. I think the first casualty in this battle will be the ISP's ability to continue to sell "unlimited" capacity. They will be forced into a little more truth in advertising. Then they will have to price-out various cap levels. Heavy streamers will pay more, you standard 40yo streaming netflix only who keeps their cable/sat will pay the same, and grandma will be allowed to pay less for email. In essence it will turn into the cell phone minutes model where you pay for what you think you need and just a little more because the penalty per/GB for going over will be excessive.

At least that is where I see this going when you're average non-file sharer starts hitting the current caps for doing something "normal" like watching a bunch of netflix. Because no one is going to listen to this bullshit about file sharers at that point. Now, what they might start listening to again is conversations about a tiered internet with netflix being lionized.

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