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First Impressions of the Neuros Link

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the full-screen dept.

Hardware Hacking 64

DeviceGuru writes "Having recently constructed the BoxeeBox, DeviceGuru blogger Rick Lehrbaum naturally was eager to check out Neuros Technology's somewhat similar IP-TV set-top box. Lehrbaum's first-impressions review of the Neuros Link describes the device's hardware and Ubuntu-based software, shows screenshots of its functionality, identifies a handful of weak spots, offers some specific suggestions for improvement, and shares a few hacks (including adding an HDD and Boxee). All in all, he concludes, the Link's hardware is more than worth its minimal $300 pricetag."

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It looks hideous (1, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012459)

I'm not one to normally hold a device's physical appearance against it, but if something is going to be sitting near the TV in plain view, it has got to be better looking than the Link.

Features Shmeatures. This thing is ugly!

Re:It looks hideous (2, Funny)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012549)

Other than looking like a 1980's VCR, what's wrong with it.

lol :D

Honestly, other than being boxy as hell, it's not that bad.

Re:It looks hideous (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012567)

You may like a Volvo, but I'd take a Jaguar any day.

Re:It looks hideous (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012665)

"They're boxy, but they're good."

Man, that's an old movie.

Re:It looks hideous (1)

jseale (691367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020835)

They're boxee also, get it? Yeah it'd be nice to get boxee running on this sucker. It'd make Apple TV look like a MacMini on crack.

Re:It looks hideous (1)

soren202 (1477905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013955)

I'd have to disagree with that. Considering the cost and the function, it's really not that bad. Although it does remind me quite a bit of one of the ye-olde computers my school used to use en-masse for it's computer labs, I've seen uglier (read - beige and proud of it) boxes, and I'd certainly buy it if it worked well enough. I prefer function over form, and I'm willing to sacrifice good looks (to a point) for a cheaper, better working product. Although, looking at the popularity of Apple products, there's clearly a market out there for people who are willing to shell out some more money for a better looking box. Nothing against them, of course, they're allowed to spend money on what they want, and, after a certain point, looks really do become important. I can see how this box pushes it, even if it's acceptable for my purposes. In the end though, it's really all moot. Most of the people here would sooner build their own HTPC than buy something like this. I certainly would prefer to build something a bit stronger and prettier for my $300 than let somebody else build my computer for me.

you're kidding .. (0)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012915)

you're kidding aren't you, tell me you're kidding ...

Re:It looks hideous (1, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012989)

Ugly doesn't even begin to describe this thing. Sure it would look ok for a desktop computer, but for an audio-video device that goes next to a TV? No way.

Re:It looks hideous (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013797)

"This thing is ugly!"

agreed. Also the conclusion conflicts with the review. In the review he says: "The need to navigate around the long, alpha-sorted list on the Neuros.TV media portal doesn't seem consistent with the sort of "10-foot user experience" needed for comfortable TV-viewing in the family room (my emphasis). In contrast, HTPC-oriented platforms like MythTV, Windows Media Center, the Xbox Media Center (XBMC), and Boxee (an XBMC variant) make it easy to locate and play content with a few buttons on a small, handheld remote. Why not include XMBC or Boxee? (Neuros appears to be edging toward XBMC.)"

So he states that pretty much every other HTPC available is better than this, including sub-$100 XBMC operating on a Xbox, then goes on to say: "...the fact that at $300 -- substantially below the impulse-purchase threshold -- the Link represents an exceptional value..... What self-respecting geek wouldn't want to snag one of these?"

Huh? So it sucks, but I must buy one?

I have a Xbox running XBMC and it's amazing for less than $100. Saying "XBMC is better" then going on to conclude that the $300 Link is "an exceptional value" doesn't make sense. His conclusion does not match his observations.

Re:It looks hideous (3, Interesting)

JoeBorn (625012) | more than 4 years ago | (#27017483)

I have a Xbox running XBMC and it's amazing for less than $100. Saying "XBMC is better" then going on to conclude that the $300 Link is "an exceptional value" doesn't make sense. His conclusion does not match his observations.

Well, this combines a HW and SW comparison. Wrt to HW, a modded second hand X Box is an unbeatable value for standard def, period. It was subsidized HW and can't be beat (particuliarly at $100). If you can get past the modding headaches and SD limitations, you won't find a better value. In fact, if you need component and composite connectors, the LINK doesn't support that at all.

That being said, the LINK is many years newer hardware. The processor is 2.8 GHz 64 bit v Xbox's 733 MHz (IIRC) etc. and the LINK has HDMI, HD GPU, etc.

Wrt to SW, the LINK is evolving from its starting point of basically stock Ubuntu with a collection of apps (including XBMC and Boxee) to a more seamless, integrated experience. The app software is all GPL, so parts of many apps will be integrated over time, there is still lots of experimentation ongoing (and getting community input during this period is precisely why we launched to users early)

Joe (from Neuros)

Re:It looks hideous (1)

isthisnicknameinuse (1365519) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014005)

Yeah, but keep in mind that it's not a 100% finished and polished product.

It's labeled "Gamma" for a reason, and it has a 4 months no-questions-asked return policy built-in for the same reason ;)

It's arguably ugly since it's made with off-the-shelf components mostly and the case is not a custom case, it's pretty much off the shelf too. I for one could do away without the extra-bright power button light and some bulk.

Pretty sure that following iterations of the product will be much more pretty and have some customized design, like all previous Neuros products.

Re:It looks hideous (2, Informative)

Enigma2175 (179646) | more than 4 years ago | (#27017237)

It's labeled "Gamma" for a reason

What is that reason? Usually if a product is in final testing it is labeled "Beta" [wikipedia.org] , if it is earlier than that in the development phase it is labeled "Alpha". If it not yet Alpha it is "pre-Alpha" or "in development". Gamma would imply that it is past Alpha and past Beta and instead of going into production it is gone into some new development phase.

This thing looks just like the MSI Hetis 915 [msicomputer.com] and it has similar specs. I don't know if they sell the Hetis anymore, but I bought one several years ago for a MythTV frontend and it cost about the same. Neuros is selling oldish tech at fairly high prices for what you get.

This box is only going to be useful for a HDTV, since it doesn't seem to have a S-Video or composite output. I don't know how well it will serve as a HDTV box since it has an ATI graphics adapter. I don't think the ATI linux drivers allow any offloading of the decoding (like XvMC [wikipedia.org] or NVidia's new VDPAU [wikipedia.org] . It has no hard drive thus can't serve as a media storage or recording box. It doesn't appear to have an optical drive and you control it using a clunky keyboard rather than a remote. This doesn't look like a very good HTPC to me.

Hopefully boxes based on the ION [engadget.com] platform will be coming soon and will bridge the divide between cheap, attractive and capable.

Re:It looks hideous (1)

JoeBorn (625012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019265)

Gamma is a term we coined to refer to production white box hardware with early software (alpha level integration in this case). See the Neuros Gamma Wiki Page [neurostechnology.com]

Re:It looks hideous (1)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014333)

You're an Apple user aren't you...

Framebuffer? (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012563)

TFA does not mention what is he using for graphical display. Framebuffer would be ideal choice, but Ubuntu for some reason blacklists framebuffer and having worked on similar project, I know that enabling framebuffer is kind of tricky on Ubuntu systems. For some reason, I always believed geexbox [geexbox.org] provides best trimmed kernel, fast bootable, and much better.

From TFA: (2, Informative)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012677)

The board's Integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200 GPU supports resolutions up to 2560x1600 and can supply HDMI video at up to 1080p (1920x1200).

The Link's OS also comes with ATI's proprietary 3D-accelerated graphics driver preinstalled.

Re:Framebuffer? (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012859)

Framebuffer? Are you insane?

Last I checked, there were no framebuffer implementations that had support for video acceleration - not even hardware scaling.

Essentially a showstopper for video playback, especially high definition content.

Re:Framebuffer? (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012885)

An additional note:

The OP links to GeeXboX while talking about framebuffer video, but GeeXboX is pretty clear about the fact that they use X and not framebuffer. Nearly every news item refers to updates to their X.org configuration.

Re:Framebuffer? (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013421)

Could you please provide me the link where it says they use X? I would love to know how they could bundle whole distro in 8MB, with X.

Re:Framebuffer? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27040263)

You provided the link yourself. Read the news articles - the announcement for each beta release has a detailed ChangeLog, and as of today, every "Detailed ChangeLog" entry I see on that page has an X.org changes section.

Re:Framebuffer? (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013279)

I could be terribly wrong, but for playing media you won't need video acceleration. Last time I tested, geexbox worked like charm using mplayer with Framebuffer on retarded 800MHz motherboards and came with mere 8MB distro..(that was 3 years ago).

Re:Framebuffer? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013701)

I could be terribly wrong, but for playing media you won't need video acceleration. Last time I tested, geexbox worked like charm using mplayer with Framebuffer on retarded 800MHz motherboards and came with mere 8MB distro..(that was 3 years ago).

For playing back SDTV, probably - you only needed a 300MHz processor to do DVD decoding entirely in software. But start amping it up to 720p/1080p video, and you're talking serious power. The simpler formats (e.g., MPEG4 ASP) may do just fine with a couple of GHz, but Blu-Ray and the like require serious hardware.

At the very least, the video card should support color-space conversion (video surfaces) - so the player only needs to output YUV video to the surface, and the video translates that to normal RGB for you. This is probably adequate for the majority of torrented videos and flash video out there. Blu-Ray pretty much requires a good video card as the players tend to do all the h.264 decoding in hardware - a CPU just can't keep up.

Alas, color-space conversion isn't possible with a normal framebuffer. Even players like VLC and mplayer will take advantage of a video surface if they can.

Re:Framebuffer? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27040225)

Depends on your output resolution, and how good your monitor is at scaling - Often monitors have crap scaling capability, and so need the (much higher quality) hardware scaling of the video card. There's no way you're driving a 1920x1080 native display without some serious CPU (regardless of input content) unless the video card does scaling (in which case the output resolution doesn't matter, CPU usage is all about the source resolution). Every video card made for the past decade (at least) has built-in hardware scaling at a minimum.

Sounds nice but (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012637)

I can't help but feel that a more integrated product (e.g. not based on 100% commodity hardware) could be a little cheaper. This doesn't seem like a great price for what it does. I also can't help but think from his dick-sucking link at the bottom of the article that it's a paid advertisement (on his site, if not this one.) What self-respecting geek wouldn't want to snag one? Puh-lease. This ain't no Quadrocopter. It's a dinky PC. It doesn't even have a slot-loading drive, which would have sexed it up considerably. Or if it does, this shitty adview doesn't say so. Regardless, why does a machine like this need a motherboard with expansion slots? If nothing else, it could be smaller.

Re:Sounds nice but (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012743)

All about volume.

To really cut the price, you'd need to go with some non-x86 embedded setup. Trouble is, that would increase the software development costs and (much worse) would mean that you'd need to hassle a whole lot of "content providers" to get things working with their services. x86+flash, by contrast, is pretty broadly supported without special agreements.

If you have to use x86, how many of these things do you have to stamp out before your economies of scale can approach those of boring miniITX motherboards? 10,000? 100,000? I'm sure any mobo manufacturer would be happy to do a reduced price highly integrated version just for you, if your order is large enough; but Neuros probably can't hit that at present.

Re:Sounds nice but (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012947)

I'm sure any mobo manufacturer would be happy to do a reduced price highly integrated version just for you, if your order is large enough; but Neuros probably can't hit that at present.

So how many of these devices do they have in the channel? Two? Even at 10,000 units or even less they should have been able to order the machines without the unnecessary expansion slots and headers. Doing so saves the customer ~4x the cost difference and lets you sell a lot more units, not to mention the waste involved in putting that crap on there. This is just a commodity PC and it's not clear that they're actually doing you any favors. They're selling you integration, and it's nice to see people selling systems with preinstalled Linux, but is this device actually better than what you can build yourself in any way?

Re:Sounds nice but (5, Informative)

JoeBorn (625012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27015391)

I'm from Neuros for those that don't already know, I'll answer the x86 v embedded elsewhere. Regarding economies of scale, let's look at it a different way. As many of you know, Neuros history is in embedded systems from scratch. This is our first x86 project as well as the first using off the shelf components. We actually did it because of the economies of scale advantage. The PC industry has such an established supply chain, with such huge volumes that its creates a huge advantage. You have to live with x86 plusses and minuses, which, again I'll address separately. But if you favor x86, which obviously we do for this currently. Sticking with off the shelf makes sense (at least to start). As posted elsewhere, this MB *at retail* is $80 that's really quiet a value for that piece of hardware. Look at the GPU, and the host of peripherals and expansion. Firewire, tons of USB, s/pdif, 7.1 audio, HDMI, DVI, VGA, PCI, SATA, etc. Sure, much of that is worthless for a mainstream wal-mart product, but not for a Gamma launch to folks that want to experiment and play around. Likewise with the case, it's nice having size for a internal 3.5" drive, and/or an optical drive. The case could be smaller certainly, but today, it's the size of a TiVo, so it's not an unreasonable compromise IMHO. Of course, as the product matures, we'll cut out many peripherals, and put it in a smaller case, certainly there will be cost savings, but some not immaterial tradeoffs. It wouldn't surprise me if we continued to sell this unit along side it. I suspect many would continue to prefer it. Best guess is that the savings will be on the order of $50 for some of the customization above. Important no doubt, but not everyone would want those tradeoffs, particularly at a stage where we're specifically targeting hackers.

Re:Sounds nice but (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27016943)

I'd give you +1 for proper use of "hackers"!

Re:Sounds nice but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020247)

I own a link, and am happy with it, the machine is a great buy just for the hardware. The video card ( ATI HD 3200 ) is $120 on most e-tailers. My new lenovo laptop only runs the HD 2600 ( which is a nice card too ). The case looks better than my old panasonic dvr, and after replace a fan runs very quiet.

Joe is right, it has more ports than any machine I have ever owned. I am probably going to add a DVD drive, so I can use it for DVD playback.

Because it is running linux, with a 2.8GHz AMD chip, I can get anything to play on it. I am typically playing 1080p video over my wired lan using samba. The keymote is very geek cool too.

Re:Sounds nice but (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028589)

I don't care about the size or even the appearance much. I just want cheap and good and low-power (at least at idle) and quiet. I know that's a lot to ask...

Re:Sounds nice but (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035993)

Sounds like you need a Beagleboard...

http://beagleboard.org/ [beagleboard.org]

Re:Sounds nice but (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27038985)

OMAP doesn't have x86 compat doesn't have Flash. I need x86 until this situation is rectified. If I want to run binary XBMC builds, likewise, I need x86.

Re:Sounds nice but (2, Informative)

JoeBorn (625012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27015689)

To really cut the price, you'd need to go with some non-x86 embedded setup. Trouble is, that would increase the software development costs and (much worse) would mean that you'd need to hassle a whole lot of "content providers" to get things working with their services. x86+flash, by contrast, is pretty broadly supported without special agreements.

you got it exactly right, and in fact, traditionally we've done all embedded HW, and we could produce a proprietary solution in quantity of 100 if we wanted. It's all about the benefit of the above.

And let me expand upon the above and explain why x86 makes fundamental sense for a device like this (at least for the forseeable future). What you outline above portays it from our (the mfg's perspective) but let's look at it from the user's perspective, because that's where it really comes alive.

When you say "special agreements," let's think about the ramifications for you as a user. Let's also recognize that it's not just agreements, it's technical integration effort too. So all of a sudden, a new Hulu launches tomorrow, and it's virtually guaranteed that it will, right. Well, first off no embedded device yet supports flash 10, so you are out there. Eventually these device will support flash 10, but how well, flash 10 that includes HD video, because if not, well again, you might be left in the cold. What if its some other plug-in (which often is it) well, then, in many cases, the integration hasn't even started.

The net effect is that you find yourself in the current situation. It's great that there's a $100 box that plays youtube and netflix, but what about nbc.com? what about youtube HD? what about stumbleupon video or dig video, etc etc. Sure, in theory they can all ultimately support all these content provides but a) that doesn't do you much good today and b)how many new content providers will have appeared by then?

Until there is broad agreement on a standard for video (and not just playback but browsing and navigation, etc) then x86 as flawed and expensive as it is is only choice for comprehensive playback.

Another note, at this point, it's not enough to just have x86, you need a powerful CPU. Again, this limitation will surely go away eventually, but for the time being, there is sadly lots of software that runs only on the CPU. Boxee did a great job of porting to the AppleTV, but ask them about the limitations of the ~1 GHz x86 CPU, which prevented Hulu HD from playing, etc.

Don't get me wrong, this stuff will change eventually, and Neuros will be delighted to go back to embedded to embrace it will smaller, cheaper hardware, but for now, the lack of a set of standards forced us to a PC architecture to provide comprehensive access to content.

I like it except for X feeture .. (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012889)

"I can't help but feel that a more integrated product (e.g. not based on 100% commodity hardware) could be a little cheaper"

£210 for a set-top box is too expensive, get real would you

Re:Sounds nice but (4, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012979)

Mother board is $80 [newegg.com]
Processor is $50 [newegg.com]
4GB of ram is $50 [dealnews.com]

Small cases aren't cheap. But the builder in me would rather build something out of a nice hardwood or plexi-glass. (Depending on the decor of the house).

I can't wait until XBMC supports full hardware decoding and HDMI Audio out.

Re:Sounds nice but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27013397)

I can't wait until XBMC supports full hardware decoding and HDMI Audio out.

Or you could go with MythTV which supports VDPAU [wikipedia.org] acceleration in the SVN version. Mythbuntu [mythbuntu.org] would be a good place to get it.

Re:Sounds nice but (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014059)

XBMC also supports VDPAU, however the motherboard uses ATI. By 'Full' I meant every and all cards that support hardware decoding, not just vdpau.

Re:Sounds nice but (3, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013489)

But the builder in me would rather build something out of a nice hardwood or plexi-glass. (Depending on the decor of the house).

I found some nice art deco examples here. [slipperyskip.com]

Re:Sounds nice but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27014385)

Just a small quibble. The link has 1GB of ram, not 4... also you are missing the bluetooth keyboard.

Re:Sounds nice but (1)

JoeBorn (625012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014955)

don't forget you've got a wifi card, wireless keyboard (and you want one with an integrated trackball of touchpad) flash drive and, as you mention, case.

Re:Sounds nice but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020161)

Nice of you to forget the majority of the hardware

the keymote which is another $50
Or the 4GB USB thumbdrive, about $20
Or the 11G wireless, about another $30
The ATI HD-3200 video card, another $120

Your $180 + the $220 here and the $300 price sounds pretty good. And I still haven't bought a case, or decent ( quiet ) power supply.

Re:Sounds nice but (4, Interesting)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014379)

I have a LINK, too.

If you want a small, cheap media center that has no future, you go right ahead on and buy that POS thing that HP is flogging.

I've had my LINK for two weeks. It rocks. It plays any file I throw at it. MKV, Dixv 3-6, DVDs.

Expansion slots? Yeah, it has slots. It also has an active hacking/mod community that's experimenting and enjoying the chance to contribute and have some fun with a cool toy.

If you prefer "appliances" to computers, that's fine. Buy what lets you sleep at night. I'll stick with something that lets me make it work the way I want it to, not the crap that HP and Dell are flogging, thank you very much.

When you get your new appliance, see if you can run Elisa, MythTV, and Boxee on it. Let me know if you can manage to add a SATA raid to it, too.

And get off my damn lawn, too. Damned kids.

Re:Sounds nice but (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014625)

If you want a small, cheap media center that has no future, you go right ahead on and buy that POS thing that HP is flogging.

Just let me say here and now that I will never again buy anything from HP. While after much wailing and gnashing of teeth they replaced my complete lemon of a laptop with a substantially upgraded model, the price I paid in agony (mostly time on the phone, lord spare me from overseas technical support) was not worth the difference. It's sad because eCost has a TON of stuff from HP that looks sexy as all get-out but I know that if I have even one problem (and I probably will) then I will regret ever even looking at the fucking stuff.

When you get your new appliance, see if you can run Elisa, MythTV, and Boxee on it. Let me know if you can manage to add a SATA raid to it, too.

I've actually been buying used, sort-of-appliance-class computers lately with super-low-power consumption in mind. I bought two DT Research machines based on the Geode LX 800, a WebDT 360 and a DT168. Both are fanless and diskless (flash storage, and I have more on the way) and I put Debian Lenny on the DT168, then attached my XFS-formatted MyBook 1TB that was formerly attached to my laptop, when it ran Linux. My firewall/AP is a WRT54G with DD-WRT v24sp1 micro. My media player is currently an Xbox running XBMC, but I am looking into putting together something running Linux to do the same job at HD resolutions. I also have a Rokubox and I'd love to figure out how to use that to stream the video, but I'm not sure it can handle all the codecs I want and my server has too little CPU to transcode.

Re:Sounds nice but (1)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014833)

I had a bout the same experience with HP. I bought a really hot (at the time) AMD-based laptop and wanted physical media for XP and the bastards wouldn't cough up.

HP? Never again. Nothing.

I bought a Zonbu becasue it was low power and have an eee pc (701). I like tinker with hardware and software and both boxes are pretyt nice for that reason. Did you check out the SheevaPlug from Marvell? That's next for me.

I'm planning to stick a CF-based SATA RAID inside my LINK. I have an old Packard-Bell Media Center Remote on the way right now. LIRC supports it and has a config file on their sourceforge site. I'm planning to hack up the config to control neuros.tv in FF. It won't do much for the keyboard stuff, but it'll be a whiz moving around in the menus and in things like VLC that don't require keyboarding.

It is something for watching TV, apparently (3, Insightful)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012937)

I thought I'd mention that since the summary can't be bothered...

Boxee/Hulu (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013105)

Hulu needs to let Boxee use them as a chabnel again. Those dudes need to team up... Thinking of the biggest "push" model (broadcast) moving to the "pull" model (aggregated RSS feeds as "channels") makes me wet my pants. This would be a good first step. I don't care who makes it work; I just want it now!!

Re:Boxee/Hulu (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013337)

P.S. anyone else think something that ran an older emac or imac would be really nice (at least as an audio appliance)? They're the perfect shape. Getting Ubuntu 8.10 PPC onto an 800mhz eMac wasn't that bad besides some arcane video driver issues...

Currently in dependency Hell getting Gnash to work (for some reason the gcc-3.3-base package to install on PPC is broken).

Re:Boxee/Hulu (1)

Hardtrance (55355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013553)

Hulu needs to let Boxee use them as a chabnel again

          Done.

http://lifehacker.com/5157524/bring-hulu-back-to-boxee-and-xbmc/ [lifehacker.com]

Re:Boxee/Hulu (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013815)

Oh hey thanks. Boxee hadn't posted it on Titter (obviously). I guess Hulu ticked me off so much I kind of forgot to think of some kind of hacked-up approach...

Hmmm... LifeHacker is +1 Informative again?

Re:Boxee/Hulu (1)

morghanphoenix (1070832) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014569)

It is Hulu's content providers you should be ticked at, without them Hulu wouldn't be of too much worth. How people can fault Hulu for doing what they needed to do to keep their content? If they hadn't backed off and removed official support it's likely there wouldn't be the chance for a hacked version to watch the shows that could have been pulled. Blame the content providers, not Hulu.

Re:Boxee/Hulu (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27015599)

Any links, etc. would be great (or well, I'll probably just go Google it). I *am* a little foggy on what is going on. I was a bit peeved when I heard they withdrew their support, but not enough to stop me from going to hulu.com

Hulu is a great service, and I really hope they will get behind Boxee or a similar product in the *very* near future.

Review misses important point (5, Informative)

horza (87255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013253)

The review misses one of the most important things in a home media device which is: is it fan-less and how noisy is it?

It also mentions MythTV but doesn't do any form of comparison to the main alternative.

Finally it mentions Hulu as the main media portal... and fails to mention this isn't accessible outside of the USA.

Phillip.

Re:Review misses important point (2, Informative)

isthisnicknameinuse (1365519) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013935)

> The review misses one of the most important things in a home media device which is: is it fan-less and how noisy is it?

It's not fanless, but the fan is not very noisy. It's definitely not audible with any kind of audio being played back by the TV. It's normally inaudible against daytime background noise. You can hear it in a silent room, or at night.

> Finally it mentions Hulu as the main media portal... and fails to mention this isn't accessible outside of the USA.

Hulu is just one of the various video providers that is integrated. Most of them are USA-only (blame big media...), but there are some that work outside of the states.

Re:Review misses important point (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014281)

A box like this has to compete with AppleTV/Xbox on the lowend and
mini pc's like the Mac Mini on the highend. Plus there are ample
possibilities for home built machines with integrated chipsets that
support full h264 acceleration.

Unless it can play bluray rips, $300 just isn't a very compelling
price for the box. It's more expensive than other CD options and
not as capable of the more expensive HD capable alternatives.

ATI is simply the wrong direction to go for a box like this.

Re:Review misses important point (1)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014735)

Plays H.264. I haven't tried on 1080p, yet. I'm waiting on the wall mount before I open the box on the bigger set.

Re:Review misses important point (2, Informative)

JoeBorn (625012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27016615)

A box like this has to compete with AppleTV/Xbox on the lowend and mini pc's like the Mac Mini on the highend.

exactly right, and I believe there's a place in the middle. A device with comprehensive playback capabilities (both downloaded content and web video) that operates like a piece of electronics. That's the vision, as many, including the reviewer point out, we're not there yet. We started from the PC side and are evolving to be more electronics like, both software and eventually more stripped down hardware. Our focus since release (and until production- remember this is a gamma product) will be on enhancing the UI for couch use. And, yes it will be a period of experimentation, XBMC, Boxee, Miro all work on the box and are in use by various members of the community. We (neuros) feel this is the sweet spot. No, it's not as cheap (or small) as a straight AppleTV (or the like), and the web interface isn't as couch friendly in the navigation. but its more open, expandable, free standing and comprehensive in terms of access to content and we are working on the shortcomings.

Plus there are ample possibilities for home built machines with integrated chipsets that support full h264 acceleration.

At this point, to a certain extent, you can really view this as a home built effort. It's not home built in the sense you have complete access to all the components, but honestly if there's something you want to customize about it, you can literally buy the parts yourself, or we'll sell you a sub assembly and we've listed all the components line by line on the wiki.

The point is that there are economies of scale of a community working in collaboration directly with the manufacturer on a focused set of hardware. A good example of this is ATI, as mentioned elsewhere, we are working directly with ATI as a customer to solve the issues with the system. I think it stands to reason that we have more influence with ATI as a group than as individual hackers, and in fact you will find ATI/AMD engineers participating directly in our community.

As anyone that's put together one of these systems knows, there are tons of minor details that need to be worked out, and it's vastly more efficient if we join forces on a focused application on a defined hardware platform. That's why we've made sure that engineers at Boxee, XBMC, Miro, etc all have sample hardware.

As mentioned elsewhere the hardware does have direct h264 acceleration and is 1080p capable, athough this has not been full implemented in Linux yet.

Unless it can play bluray rips, $300 isn't a very compelling price for the box. It's more expensive than other CD options and not as capable of the more expensive HD capable alternatives.

ATI is simply the wrong direction to go for a box like this.

the ATI hardware is capable, and believe me, I share the frustration wrt ATI. But understand that we came, like most here, biased against ATI at the outset (and we have ulterior motive or connection with ATI). Despite that, they were able to convince us, both with the offers of support for the project as well as current features that they were the right vendor for this device. This is something we continue to evaluate, but if you do the detailed analysis, there are issues with Linux support for both ATI and nVidia, and either vendor must evolve their Linux performance. The good news is that the playing field for Linux, unlike the desktop, is *vastly * more level on the set-top box side than it is on the desktop. More accurately, slanted to Linux's favor, so I believe this will drive a lot of effort. Obviously the success or failure of this project and those like it will be important too.

Re:Review misses important point (1)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014521)

The LINK uses http://pc.neuros.tv/ [neuros.tv] as it's default portal. But there's nothing to stop you from using any other video collection portal you wish to use.

MythTV is okay. I've seen Elisa and plan to install it this weekend. The next rev of the software (which is due any day) will include XBMC. If I understood the thread correctly, there were stability issues between XBMC and the ATI video driver (which has just been updated). In addition, there is also a PC-based method to stream netflix to the LINK which can then put it out to your TV.

The LINK does have a fan. I don't think it's noisy, but I also have a FiOS STB that is constantly clicking along as it updates itself. It isn't loud enough to bother me.

Re:Review misses important point (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27015991)

Hulu is a waste of time anyway since the thing has to freeze and buffer all the time if you try to watch it during prime-time hours.

Personally I think the Asus eee box has more promise for the same price, though obviously this Link is twice as speedy, but for most things except HD video an Atom processor is ok with. As for both of their default linux OS's you're best off ditching them and installing regular Ubuntu with XBMC.

doest sound like.... (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 5 years ago | (#27015125)

It doesn't sound like it would paly all the content that I own. I have ripped a of my (not netflix's) dvd that are 1080P to h264 with aac sound, and the only thing in the house that can play them is the ps3. Not my 2.5GHz dual core Athlon 64 with 4 gig of ram and a 800gt. It does come close, but if anything else decides that it needs to run, i'll drop a few frames. Is the ATI card in it one that has ATI's vdvpu equivlent? then i'd be much more inclined to belive that it will work. As for the people saying the case is ugly, i agree, and will likely be building my own case when i build my media box. I'm holding off a bit to see how the state of intel/nvidia/ati graphics goes in terms of video playback, ohh and if Apple refreshes the mac mini.

Re:doest sound like.... (2)

mammlouk (1488591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27015469)

Seriously? You really own DVDs that are 1080P? Can I buy one? I'll understand if you want to hold on to them all since they will be worth so much some day. If you are upsampling your DVDs when you rip them, you are waisting time. As far as your PC not being able to play them back, you have bigger configuration issues (Maybe you're running Windows?). I have some HD-DVD and BluRay(hooray linux on PS3) rips that are 1080p with 5.1 AAC and they all play back without issue on my Intel 7500 2.2Ghz Core 2 Duo Laptop with Nvidia 8400GS without using VDPAU. As far as the ATI GPU based h.264 decoding. I believe the 3200 will be compatible, but that won't realy matter until ATI gets XvBA fully functioning and the acceleration support (probably via the VA-API XvBA backend) is worked into one of the media players.

Re:doest sound like.... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27015677)

If you are upsampling your DVDs when you rip them, you are waisting time.

So... he's attaching clocks to his belt?

Re:doest sound like.... (1)

JoeBorn (625012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27015981)

Is the ATI card in it one that has ATI's vdvpu equivlent? then i'd be much more inclined to belive that it will work.

the ATI interface is evolving, we (Neuros) is working with them directly to evolve the Linux drivers (both proprietary and open). Today it doesn't yet have the vdpau type interface.

However, ATI specs that this is a full bluray capable card, so it's in the software interfaces. Without that we're currently at the cusp of 1080p (24 fps like the apple.com trailers) but there's clearly improvements coming

I realize that ATI doesn't have the best FOSS reputation, but when we looked at nVidia, ATI had some advantages, particularly on the HDMI side (which nVidia doesn't well support yet) as well as a lot of support for this project, which is obviously important.

Neuros OSD (2, Insightful)

chadruva (613658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27016821)

I own the Neuros OSD, which is compact and looks good, simple to use and powerful, however, by todays standards it is a bit outdated, without support HD videos, MKV format, H.264, etc.

It would be fantastic if they did a Neuros OSD Reloaded, with support for new codecs and features (more powerful hardware), but with the same form-factor, this new thing is not as attractive as the OSD, and for what it is (a media PC) I think they would need to add more value.

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