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Linux-Friendly, Internet-Enabled HDTVs?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the for-the-well-equipped-hermit-cave dept.

Displays 277

mrchaotica writes "I'm in the market for a new HDTV (in the $1200-or-slightly-more range, as I won the extended-service-plan lottery and have a Sears store credit). Several of the TVs I've looked at have various 'Internet TV' features (here are Samsung's and Panasonic's). Some manufacturers appear to be rolling their own, while others are partnering with Yahoo (maybe in an attempt to create a 'standard?'). Moreover, these TVs also tend to run Linux under the hood (although their GPL compliance, such as in Panasonic's case, may leave something to be desired). Finally, it's easy to imagine these TVs being able to support video streaming services (YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, etc.) without a set-top box, but I don't know the extent to which that support actually exists. Here are my questions: 1) Is this 'Internet TV' thing going to be a big deal going forward, or just a gimmick? 2) Which manufacturers are most [open standard|Linux|hacker]-friendly? 3) Which TV models have the best support (or best potential and community backing) for this sort of thing?"

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Youtube on your TV? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28998745)

The quality would be so bad at that size, would you even want to watch?

Re:Youtube on your TV? (4, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998833)

I can tell you from experience, using YouTube on my TiVo, that can really be the case. Good looking videos look like SD content. Bad looking videos look like nothing but JPEG artifacts.

I haven't tried any YouTube HD videos, but they should look great.

It's so hard to find any non-throwaway content on YouTube, that I haven't found the feature very useful.

Re:Youtube on your TV? (2, Informative)

luder (923306) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999013)

Bad looking videos look like nothing but JPEG artifacts.


I tried it in HD, they look ok, but worse than a good divx dvdrip. The biggest problem for me is the slowness of full-screen playback, when playing on full HD resolution (1080p). It totally sucks! To avoid that, I have to stream the video with the help of a video player with FLV support, like VLC or SMPlayer. Too much of a hassle, for me...

Re:Youtube on your TV? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999047)

I can't say that surprises me. I'm watching "Tesla: Master of Lighting" through YouTube on my TiVo right now, but it looks like a slightly over-compressed Digital Cable channel. No slowdown or other problems, it works fine.

The box wasn't really designed for this, they added the feature 2+ years after release. I'm not really surprised that it has trouble displaying HD video that's not in it's ideal format.

It may just be the software. The Netflix integration works perfectly, even in HD.

Re:Youtube on your TV? (1)

maharb (1534501) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998893)

YouTube has a large number of videos that are not crappy quality. They also happen to be shows, movies and things that a TV user would be more likely to look at than 30 sec clips of dogs or whatever.

Having seen youtube videos on a TV screen I can say it is very viewable and very entertaining to watch with friends. So don't bash it until you try it.

Re:Youtube on your TV? (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999777)

I think it will vary wildly depending on the video's quality and the size of your TV. Small screens look sharper than big ones, especially with lower resolutions. Quite simply, a 50" Samsung playing Youtube videos will look like shit, where a 26" generic will probably look reasonable.

Re:Youtube on your TV? (1)

Nasser (80677) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998977)

I have a Samsung UN55B8000 TV and with the new firmware update, I am able to use youtube. It looks great! My only complaint is that it is hard to navigate with the TV's remote control. I wish i could hook up a wireless keyboard.

Re:Youtube on your TV? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999315)

Youtube looks great when I watch it on my HDTV using AppleTV. The device pulls in the highest quality version of the video. Videos whose sources were crappy still look like crap, of course.

Re:Youtube on your TV? (1)

redkcir (1431605) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999441)

I have a Samsung TV conneted to the net. The picture isn't as bad as you would think playing YouTube content and some other stuff. It can also play media from any computer on the home network, except from Linux boxes (windows only). The BlueRay DVD players have the ability of streaming built in to them, and Samsungs is Netflix ready. It will play movies from Netfix if you have an account there.

Re:Youtube on your TV? (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999797)

The quality would be so bad at that size, would you even want to watch?

Yes. I regularly do. The quality is quite acceptable. Not HD obviously, but does anybody really expect it to be?

"It's just around the corner" (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998759)

First it was the TV and the Computer. Now it's the TV, Computer and/or the Internet. Convergence doesn't actually happen - they just keep adding items to it.

Re:"It's just around the corner" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999769)

I disagree. Now that TV's have caught up to monitors in resolution, my computer is in the living room now. The only weird thing is using my living room as an office.

So now my computer is my TV source, my DVD playback, my game console, my internet device (which is more convenient for guests being in the living room), and I also design my electronics on the big screen. It's pretty fun, and the couch is more comfy than the computer chair was. I just need a better mouse, and a higher coffee table. One thing at a time though.

Re:"It's just around the corner" (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999869)

I'll bet you're single, young and/or have a very large TV.

single: I don't see most wives buying into a "higher coffee table".

young or very large TV: Even with HDTV resolution, it's not easy for older folks to work from the couch (unless the TV is close enough to kick).

In summary, convergence is held back by non-compatible ergonomics. You can get around that by spending a lot of money or putting up with funky furniture in your living room, but for the masses, it ain't ready yet.

Is there such a thing (4, Interesting)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998785)

Is there such a thing as a TV that can run mythfrontend? That would be sweet beyond words.

Re:Is there such a thing (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998963)

Fascinating... Although I don't need/want the storage backend to be in the TV as well. Also I clicked through to the company's site and they don't seem to be making these anymore.

Re:Is there such a thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999465)

Try here. [alliotv.com] But I don't see any Linux option.

Re:Is there such a thing (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999253)

What's stopping you from hooking a quiet netbook with a remote control (and perhaps a TV receiver) to it?

Re:Is there such a thing (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999289)

That's not the point. An HDTV *is* a computer already. Why should we have to use another one?

Re:Is there such a thing (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999663)

That's not the point. An HDTV *is* a computer already. Why should we have to use another one?

To make a beowolf of them? ;)

Its called Windows 7 Ultimate (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28998797)

Stop being a fucking nerd and join the Windows world.

Re:Its called Windows 7 Ultimate (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999137)

Since Windows 7 Ultimate would probably cost more than the TV, I'll stick with Linux thanks.

Funny? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999643)

I'm not really sure why this is marked Funny, in the case of anything less than a top-end TV it's 100% true.

Re:Funny? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999871)

Because it sounded nice and sarcastically condescending.

I'll be charitable though, and not ridicule you for missing it.

Re:Its called Windows 7 Ultimate (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999285)

You'll note that none of these TVs run Windows because it doesn't make any sense to run a full-blown Windows install on the TV, nor do Sony and Panasonic want to get warranty calls about their TVs being infected with spyware and viruses.

The TVs themselves have a small Linux kernel. Even non-internet ready TVs often have Linux kernels to display the on screen menu. I believe all Sony TVs run Linux.

No more broadcast. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28998805)

I see eventually all radio and television programming going to the web or cable or a combination of the two - maybe some other technology all together: TCP/IP and Ethernet is getting ling in the tooth and I don't see too much of a future for it. As far as the spectrum, that will be divided among new devices and current ones. You HAM guys have a real fight coming in a decade or so.

everything changes (4, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999105)

You prediction was made in much simpler terms years ago, and so far it seems to be coming true: Everything that has traditionally been sent by wires will be transmitted wirelessly, everything that has traditionally been sent wirelessly will be sent by wire. Ham radio doomed itself years ago when the old farts in the ARRL insisted that morse code be kept as a requirement for most licenses, and any license that had good range without using satellites. Of course, many of them quit using morse right after they got their license. But they still insisted that new hams learn it (and using a computer that could send and receive code wasn't an acceptable option, perhaps because the ARRL couldn't sell computers training materials). Now the code requirement has finally been dropped, but too little too late. Many of us who would have gladly worked for General or advanced "tickets" decades ago were blocked out by the asinine requirement, even after all other radio services completely abandoned the code. Now there seems little reason to get the equipment that has continued to spiral in price, particularly when the Internet and other services have made ham almost obsolete. Yes, it still comes in very handy in emergency situations when other forms of communication break down, but it's utility is greatly diminished by having driven away many potential members of the ham community.

Re:everything changes (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999291)

Feh, the morse code requirement was easy compared to all the legalese we had to memorize. It was also kind of fun. The legalese, though, was not fun.

Re:everything changes (1)

dB 0 (982589) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999455)

I remember the ARRL actively seeking [osdir.com] the dropping of the code requirement. And hear [arrl.org] they refer to the change as long awaited...

I agree with your overall assessment of the current state and likely future of the craft, but I've always considered the ARRL to be good stewards of the science.

Considering the expense and investment of time necessary to start in amateur radio, and the fact that the internet duplicates and extends its functionality to such an extent, the Hams decline seems an unfortunate inevitability. It really is too bad. IMing someone in Japan is not the same as shaking the air from Chicago to Kyoto.

That and I'm pretty sure I got an erection the first time I bounced a transmission off the atmosphere. That did not happen with my first e-mail.

Netflix (5, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998807)

I know Sony makes at least a couple of TVs that use Linux to run the OSDs. That said, I doubt you'll find any manufacturers willing to let you put new software on the TV. Your best bet there is probably some 3rd party box (can you replace the kernel on a RoKu?).

In non-hackability, my TiVo lets me watch YouTube and Netflix as well as some other things, I it probably is the future of TV. YouTube is... gimmicky. It's YouTube, so mostly little videos. There are some documentaries and other things worth watching, but not a lot.

Being able to watch Netflix stuff is fantastic, and looks better than DVD since much of it is real HD. The content isn't there yet (it's rather limited, especially with new releases) but it's very nice. The biggest problem is that you have to have a "queue" which you update on your computers, so you can't add new movies from your TV. This is fixable, but that's how it operates now. I really love using it, it works very well.

I would love to have Netflix on my TV if I didn't have my TiVo to do the job. My TiVo also supports Amazon Unbox which I don't use (due to prices, where I already pay for NetFlix). There are some other video casts available for free on my TiVo (like David Pogue's from the NYT), and they recently added support to automatically get video from an RSS feed if it's in the right format.

This kind of video on demand seems to be the future to me. I already use recording on my TiVo sort of like VOD (since I can watch what I want when I want). These things seem like clear winners to me.

As for widgets, they seem of limited use. Pressing a button to call up a little weather forecast would be OK. Maybe having a little baseball diamond/score block up while I'm watching some other channel would be good. I used to like it when I had a set-top box that would display caller ID info.

Mostly though, widgets seem like a "but we're more than a generic TV" thing, trying to turn a commodity (an LCD panel in a case) into something more. My guess is that mostly no one will care soon.

If you want these features, you can use your TV if it supports them. But you can use a RoKu box to do the same thing, for only $100. Many higher end DVD/Blu-Ray players are starting to offer some of these features. TiVos support them. The XBox 360 supports them.

Basically, you don't need to get them in your TV. Every other box under the sun will soon have them. I wouldn't use this as a deciding factor.

Save your money (5, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998819)

Save your money on subscriptions.

Just get a no-frills (but decent) HDTV then pick up a PopcornHour Network Media Tank [popcornhour.com]. Plays xvid, DVD ISO, x.264, etc up to 1080p.

Re:Save your money (1, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998939)

That, or buy a TV and a PC. Two things a media center PC can do that a net-TV or a Popcorn Hour box can't:
  • Play indie games and other PC games.
  • View web pages other than the widgets that the TV manufacturer approves. This way you can manage your Netflix queue.

Re:Save your money (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998987)

So get a Wii, spend 500 Wii points ($5) for Opera for the Wii, and surf the net, manage your netflix queue, play games, and watch YouTube on your TV w/o having the cost and power consumption of a PC.

Re:Save your money (2, Insightful)

MooUK (905450) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999039)

The only issue with the "a console is cheaper than a PC, buy it instead" is that most of the time, you still want a PC - so it becomes "buy it as well".

Re:Save your money (1)

Dustie (1253268) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999161)

If he do not have a PC already I don't think this would be where he asked the question.

Re:Save your money (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999503)

If he do not have a PC already I don't think this would be where he asked the question.

Having a PC != having a dedicated PC for the TV.

Re:Save your money (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999109)

So get a Wii, spend 500 Wii points ($5) for Opera for the Wii, and surf the net

I tried that for a while. I gave up when the net became a mess of "Upgrade to Flash Player 9" and 30-second Slashdot homepage loads. And you still need a PC to run Privoxy because Internet Channel doesn't have Adblock/Noscript/Flashblock unlike Firefox for Windows or Linux.

manage your netflix queue, play games

Did you mean only JavaScript games and Flash 7 games?

and watch YouTube on your TV

I tried that. The HQ button doesn't show up on a Wii, and I haven't been able to get full screen to work either (but it was a few months ago).

Re:Save your money (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999261)

Did you mean only JavaScript games and Flash 7 games?

Yes, because the wii being a "video game console" doesn't have any games on it other than those on the damn web browser.

Re:Save your money (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999491)

Play indie games and other PC games.

spend 500 Wii points ($5) for Opera for the Wii

Did you mean only JavaScript games and Flash 7 games?

Yes, because the wii being a "video game console" doesn't have any games on it other than those on the damn web browser.

Due to Nintendo's blanket policies against micro-ISVs [warioworld.com], every Wii game not published by a major label has the overhead of JavaScript or Flash 7. PC games, on the other hand, can have more performance because they run as native code.

Re:Save your money (2, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999589)

I (the submitter of the article) actually do have a Wii already, so that's a serious possibility. In fact, I've also got the Homebrew Channel and Mplayer-CE installed on it, and can technically watch YouTube and Shoutcast video streams right now (aside from the crashes and bugginess).

I do wish there was a Mozilla or Webkit browser available on the Wii so I wouldn't have to buy Opera, though -- it's not the $5; it's the principle of not wanting to have the purchase tied to the hardware.

And another thing, which I should have mentioned in the article submission: although Netflix and Amazon support would be nice, what I really want is support for Hulu!

Fancy TV vs. TV+PC for computerish features (2, Insightful)

billstewart (78916) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999151)

If I were spending that kind of money on television, I'd get a more basic high-resolution TV and if I want to add general-purpose-computer-type features, I'd use a computer to get them, because the computer's going to be much more flexible and extensible in the future than a locked-in TV feature set. That still probably means you're going to spend a couple of hundred dollars upgrading your video card, so you can get 1920x1080 or more at high speed, and then you'll probably find yourself adding a TV tuner card to run MythTV, and then probably adding another terabyte or two of disk because mythTV filled up your current disk, etc., so it's not clear you'll actually save any money, but you'll get a lot more flexibility for things you want to do in the future.

Re:Fancy TV vs. TV+PC for computerish features (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999655)

If I were spending that kind of money on television, I'd get a more basic high-resolution TV...

You don't really have a choice: TVs with these Internet features tend to also be the TVs with good traditional-TV specs (1080P, 120Hz+ refresh rate, high contrast ratio, good color accuracy, etc.). Conversely, TVs without these features tend to be the ones with crappy screens.

Besides, I have to spend at least $1200 on the TV itself whether I want to or not (to use up the whole credit). In other words, I'm hoping to spend $0-$200 out-of-pocket on this, and I'm only doing it in the first place because the current TV (which I didn't even pay for either; it was given to me!) is getting replaced under warranty. Building a new computer is completely out of the question, although running a Myth front-end either directly on the TV or on my Wii wouldn't be.

...the computer's going to be much more flexible and extensible in the future than a locked-in TV feature set.

I know; that's why I'm asking Slashdot about this. I'm hoping somebody will have a tip about a decently-active "Linux on TVs" project, so I can pick a TV based on it having features added by the community in the future.

Re:Fancy TV vs. TV+PC for computerish features (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999895)

If you're only using this TV to connect to your computer, then 120Hz doesn't do you any good. Unless you can get the computer to output 24Hz while watching Bluray. The inputs on all TVs still only accept up to 60Hz.

why no DVR (1)

eean (177028) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998991)

Why doesn't that thing have a DVR, in addition to all the streaming.

I looked around for a prebuilt MythTV system and basically haven't found anything.

Re:Save your money (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999091)

Looks very interesting till I saw "follow us on twitter" Hey I have to stand up for what I believe just like I won't buy anymore Sony products.

Re:Save your money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999811)

I ended up buying this guy [wdc.com] for a cool $99 shipped. Pop some third party firmware [b-rad.cc] and your options are aplenty.

With a little bit of effort and a lot of fun (and linux, too!) you get some great functionality for under $100.

I have a LED-backed Samsung UN40B6000 (4, Informative)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998835)

I recently had to return 3 Sony LCDs of 2 different varieties because of various manufacturing defects and decided to try Samsung. I had recently got a bonus at work so decided to splurge on an backlight with LEDs [wikipedia.org] to avoid the problems that plagued the Sony models I had. It might be a bit more expensive now to get an LED backed display like the one I ended up getting the UN40B6000 model [amazon.com] and I've had 0 problems with it so far. I should mention I'm picky as hell about colors and uneven lighting and I think it was worth the extra few bucks. Another bonus is that it runs far cooler than the other LCDs I have seen and given equal components (read capacitors) should last a lot longer.

I also bought one of those Proscan 40" LCDs they had at Costco for 450 bucks and I use that to watch movies in the computer lounge area. Great deal but I would not waste a Blu-Ray player on it. It does have a transformer buzz thing going on all the time but for 450 bucks you can't complain. The only thing I hate about is that it draws 240 watts continuously because of the poor power system design but I just bought one of those wireless xmas-lights plugs and I turn off the whole power strip, warts and all when I'm not using it.

It's a TV!! (5, Funny)

Garbad Ropedink (1542973) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998899)

It's a damn TV! Not every bloody piece of technology is supposed to be able to have something to do with Linux. You want internet on your TV? Run a video cable from your computer to your TV and use a wireless keyboard and mouse. There you go. Internet on your TV!

You Linux users get right on my nerves most of the time.
'Is this microwave open standards compliant?'
'Is this toaster open source?'
'Does anybody know where I can get a Linux compatible table lamp?'
'Has anyone tried installing Linux on an alarm clock?'

I tells ya it never ends!

Re:It's a TV!! (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999009)

You don't deserve that insightful rating. -1 ignorant is more like it.

As the question explained, a lot of current model televisions have full-blown computers in them that are already running full-blown operating systems, in some cases, they are already running linux in a locked-down tivoized format (GPLv3 is looking more and more prescient). Most of the top-of-the-line models have ethernet ports and embedded support for video serving from places like youtube, netflix, hulu and yahoo. It is absolutely reasonable to wonder just how well these systems will work with linux systems on the same lan - for example, will it stream video from a local mythtv server, or are you stuck with only the officially approved video sources? Can you remotely control it (power on, change channels, change volume, etc) via a socket connection or maybe an internal webserver? Can you use it to browse samba or nfs shares and display jpgs, play mp3s and mkvs?

IF a microwave, lamp or alarm clock had an ethernet port and functionality well beyond traditional models of such, then it would also be perfectly reasonable to ask just how well all that extra functionality interfaced with linux and open standards.

Re:It's a TV!! (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999611)

Besides the possibility of extending the TV O/S and/or application suite, I'd like to see one implement an X server and window manager. Also, implement (or allow the installation of) various control functions as X clients.

I've got a number of touchscreen X displays that allow me to run clients from various systems around my house. If the TV set was an X server, it could participate in this network (allowing me to run apps on various systems from my TV set). Or I could run the TV control client at another location, changing channels, volume, or for a TV with disk storage, programming the recording function remotely.

Once the money has been spent on the display and network port, adding this kind of capability should be relatively inexpensive.

Re:It's a TV!! (1)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999019)

By supporting the manufacturers who use Linux or other open source technologies, you encourage their adoption. By spending money on proprietary systems, you don't. It's called "voting with your wallet."

And while a purchase like this ends up where each users contributes an almost negligible amount of support, it's the concept of millions of users that builds a strong base.

Linux is already big in the embedded OS world so it's not likely to go away any time soon, but there are those of us who think it should get bigger, not smaller.

Re:It's a TV!! (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999023)

I understand your frustration, and the microwave thing would be pretty ridiculous.

But as long as manufacturers insist and making their TVs do more and more (Yahoo! widgets and other software), why not let me install my own software?

My company just moved and we've put up an LCD in our entrance to show a simple video and slideshow of photos and other information. Terribly simple stuff that a DS or most cell phones could do (if they had a video decoder chip). Yet we'll have to hook it up to a computer to drive the screen (since we want to be able to update stuff on it throughout the day, not just run a loop from a DVD).

If you make a TV that has an internet connection and has the power to run Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Unbox, etc... why not let me run what I want? Let me make a little display program to show what I want (for example, server monitoring, or the aforementioned video/introduction thing).

At this point, I'm happy with my TV just being a TV. I can easily use other boxes to do everything else. I expect many of these things to fail (the widget idea, for example).

But if the TV I want already includes that functionality, or you want me to upgrade to a better TV that includes it, I'd like a little control over it.

It's a microwave!! (4, Interesting)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999619)

A Linux microwave would be nice to have if I wanted to add a microphone so it could pop popcorn correctly.

Re:It's a TV!! (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999055)

Well I was considering getting a Samsung LCD television that had an ethernet port and RSS capability, and even some built-in games. The problem is, as far as I could tell from the marketing material, it would only let you pick up the USA Today RSS feed. So I'm thinking, you have a TV with an ethernet port, internet capability, and the ability to run programs and 1. you're only doing RSS and 2. you only let users choose the USA Today feed. It would be nice if I could pick up TWIT or even some video podcasts. If it has the ability to play games, why not include the Opera browser? It seems a shame to have that kind of hardware and not be able to do anything with it because Samsung made a deal with USA Today. It doesn't have to be Linux. Just an SDK and the ability to upload my own programs would have made me buy that TV.

Yes, but (0, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999063)

Every bloody piece of technology you own was PRODUCED with Linux, and it more than likely relies on Linux. Wanna know why? Because Linux is reliable. I maintain 38 intrusion machines, 5 extruders, and 7 sonic welders, as well as dozens of table/bench machines that rely on Linux. In the entire plant, only ONE machine runs in a Windows (NT4 SP6) environment, and it crashes frequently.

If/when you fork over half a ton of money, do you want to bring YOUR high tech gadget home, just to see a BSOD? Just for fun, Linux users can experience [softpedia.com] the BSOD. But, why?

Re:Yes, but (2, Interesting)

Hungus (585181) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999367)

Linux is more reliable, but that is not the reason is is used. Linux is cheap, can be stripped down to its essentials thus having less of a footprint and is easily extensible. That is why Linux is used. If M$ gave away the compilers and libraries then made windows truly modular companies would start using it instead. Sad but true.

Re:Yes, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999387)

mod up +1 insightful.

at least there is one person here who gets it. for real this time.

In my shop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999569)

all our CNC lathes are running windows 98 se with a software layer for input. And they don't crash, until someone decides load up solitaire while they should be running parts.

Re:It's a TV!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999117)

it's like how fags need to work faggotry into everything. opps! linux users and fags are the same thing.

Re:It's a TV!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999635)

There's also MHEG-5. No, that's not a typo. MHEG-5 is a mark up language that can be used in digital TV broadcasts. That's about the limit of my knowledge on the subject, but I think it will enable the kind of "Starship Troopers" interactive TV - "Want to know more? - Click Here" type stuff. I may even stop skipping ads.

Re:It's a TV!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999651)

Thanks for your opinion. That being said, many electronics are running some OS, regardless of how stripped down or tweaked it may be in order to perform the few functions that the appliance is intended to do. There is nothing wrong with preferring that the OS in the items we buy is an OpenSource product, like Linux. If nothing else, the public should take comfort in the fact that if it's running an OS and connected to some form of network, at least if it's running Linux, it won't be subject to spyware or viruses. Maybe there's users with preferences aren't the problem, maybe the problem is the other, uneducated and/or closed-minded users.

Re:It's a TV!! (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999853)

'Has anyone tried installing Linux on an alarm clock?'

I have. I ended up configuring an old Linux PC to act as an alarm clock.

And in response to your post, would you really prefer them to run Windows?

Whatever happened to... (4, Insightful)

TheGreenNuke (1612943) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998905)

just using the PC input most HDTV ship with? That way you get your full blown computer running whatever "[open standard|Linux|hacker]-friendly" system you want.

Re:Whatever happened to... (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998919)

Or get a video card with an HDMI output. You can probably get one in the $100 range pretty easily. (or possibly less, I haven't priced video cards in a while)

Re:Whatever happened to... (2, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998971)

If all you want is HD playback and HDMI, $100 is way too much to spend. That stuff is coming built-in on $80 motherboards now-days. A $50 video card can do all that just fine.

Re:Whatever happened to... (2, Interesting)

antdude (79039) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999633)

What bothers me is that NVIDIA yanked its TV output from its latest drivers and cards. One can't do fullscreen TV overlay anymore. I had to switch to ATI Radeon 4870 so I could watch videos fullscreen on my 20" 1996 CRT TV. :(

Not what I would used to select a TV (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28998909)

The technology in this area is changing very quickly, anything you get this week will be superseded quickly. Pick a TV based on the picture quality, power consumption and number of HDMI connections.


Re:Not what I would used to select a TV (2, Insightful)

ffujita (229489) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999075)

As a historical example, there were TVs with built-in VHS and/or DVD players, but the other stuff got obsolete long before the TV did.

Metastable (1)

pseudo_vik (325473) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999011)

Recently got a Sharp Aquos, which comes with an Ethernet port, and a bunch of widgets that does "stuff" (including getting weather etc.). I'm sure it would be trivial to create a widget for browsing and playing movie files from my home network - but either because Sharp does not use Linux, and/or they don't release the API - that is never likely to happen. The TV is good, but I should have asked questions like mrchaotica here.

hacker-friendly HDMI-capable TV can't support HDCP (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999043)

The simple reason you won't get a hacker-friendly HDMI-capable TV is that they can't support HDCP (copy protection) on that.

That said, I'm sure a 3rd party firmware will turn out soon enough for some model, if haven't already.

Re:hacker-friendly HDMI-capable TV can't support H (0, Troll)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999795)

Just to clarify for the uninformed, that 'acronym' stands for 'HanDiCaP'.

Projector (2, Interesting)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999049)

My advice? And it's what I did... get a projector.

You get a bigger screen than a TV (for me, 82" at 9.8ft), and it accepts all sorts of inputs. I have my HDTV box wired up to it by component cables, and a VGA D-SUB coming down for my laptop. It works fabulously, and I can switch between the two with a single button on the remote.

Get a Plasma (2, Interesting)

genik76 (1193359) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999077)

Don't get hyped by the bright colour of LCDs in the showroom, get a Plasma if you don't have an exceptionally bright living room or watch static images for a long time period. They have - better blacks (without gimmicks like LCD-backlighting) - more natural colors - much better motion resolution (http://www.crutchfield.com/S-mVnnO3HsmRB/learn/learningcenter/home/tv_flatpanel.html) Modern plasmas from better manufacturers (Pioneer, Panasonic, Samsung) don't have the burn-in issues (which were common some years ago) anymore.

Re:Get a Plasma (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999481)

I have no clue why this is modded Informative.

It doesn't address any portion of the questions being asked. I think an Offtopic would be more deserved.

On topic:
I think that mrchaotica should just build a small HTPC. You can pick up a small ITX board for about $200. It would feature an Intel Atom N330 and a GeForce 9400M with HDMI output.
Buy a cheap ITX chassis and use a USB flash drive for OS (or small 1.8" SSD HDD).

I built mine 6 months ago for about $400 + hard drives (3x1500GB drives). I've even built my own media center software which will one day be released on SourceForge.

My experiences (4, Informative)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999113)

I bought a new HDTV, so let me share some of my experiences and things to look out for:

1) DLNA. This is *supposed* to be a standard built on top of uPnP, allowing a TV to access a media server on the local network. It sounds good in theory: let your MythTV box stream directly to your TV. In practice, it is not worth very much: the set of video formats that a DLNA TV supports is VERY MUCH smaller than the set of formats you see in practice on your media files. In fact, my Samsung TV cannot even play back content streamed over the network that it can play if that same file is placed on a USB flash drive and plugged directly into the TV. My advice is don't plan on using DLNA, plan on hooking up a real computer.

2) HDMI inputs. Again, my TV has 4 inputs - 3 more than I need. The TV will NOT take the digital audio from an HDMI source - for example, Blu-Ray audio from my PS3 - and pass that audio unmolested through to the optical output connecting the TV to the amplifier. As a result, all I would get from any game or from most Blu-Ray disks was the left and right channels passed on to the stereo - no sub, no surround, no center channel. And the TV does NOT have a six channel audio output - only 2. So I end up having to do all the switching at the stereo, and then pass everything on to the TV - so I really only need one HDMI input.

3) HDMI-CEC. In theory, this allows the TV's remote to control other things, like a Blu-Ray player or a stereo, by passing the command data down the HDMI cable. The PS3 does not support this, nor does my lower-end (but brand new) Sony stereo. Maybe if you buy all of your gear from the same manufacturer, and you buy higher end gear this works, but beware. Plan on either having many remotes, or buying a smart remote and training it (and because the PS3 uses Bluetooth rather than IR, plan on your universal remote not controlling the PS3).

4) Internet through your TV. Two words:
Your TV will likely not support EITHER of them very well. Again, plan on an external computer. And DON'T plan on using a wireless mouse or keyboard - those things are so range-crippled now that unless you are within a couple of feet of the receiver (and I mean that literally: less than 4 feet!) they won't work (and that's not some no-name keyboard: that's a Logitech).

5) Linux. Yes, my Samsung runs Linux. It is cool to see the GPL in the manual. Other than that - it really matters not at all. The TV application itself is NOT FLOSS, nor is the Linux any kind of a standard distribution: You aren't going to do a "apt-get install $FOO" here. The system doesn't implement any of the "standard" things you might want, like SSH or X. It doesn't even support any file system on external devices other than VFAT (so no larger-than-4G files using EXT2).

All in all, my advice is: treat the TV as a monitor - it's job it to show pixels. Don't expect the TV to make sound - you'll have an external amp or receiver for that. Don't expect the TV to surf the web - you'll want a real computer with a real operating environment for that. Don't expect the TV to play media files - again, you'll want a real computer for that.

Cut those features from the TV, and spend the money you save putting together a media PC as a companion for the TV.

Re:My experiences (3, Informative)

chefmonkey (140671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999225)

Just another perspective on wireless keyboard and mice: your experience mirrors mine, EXCEPT for Bluetooth devices. Our main TV right now has a Mac Mini hooked up to it, using an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Batteries in both are going on 6 months of pretty heavy use, and they still work from the front lawn (!), about 50 feet from the computer.

The Logitech Bluetooth keyboard and mouse have similar range on them, but scream through batteries at a terrifying pace.

Re:My experiences (1)

TheGreenNuke (1612943) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999227)

And DON'T plan on using a wireless mouse or keyboard - those things are so range-crippled now that unless you are within a couple of feet of the receiver (and I mean that literally: less than 4 feet!) they won't work (and that's not some no-name keyboard: that's a Logitech).

I have a Logitech wireless mouse and keyboard set that is 6 years old. Works just fine 6 feet away from the receiver.

Re:My experiences (2, Informative)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999245)

"I have a Logitech wireless mouse and keyboard set that is 6 years old. Works just fine 6 feet away from the receiver."

Emphasis mine. The older stuff was usefuf; the newer stuff is not. However, since the thrust of this story is "buying new stuff", unless somebody can find a source for 6 year old gear....

Re:My experiences (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999483)

Emphasis mine. The older stuff was usefuf; the newer stuff is not. However, since the thrust of this story is "buying new stuff", unless somebody can find a source for 6 year old gear....

I bought a new Logitech wireless keyboard/mouse last week and I'm using it right now about eight feet from the MythTV box with no problems.

Re:My experiences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999839)

you're not paying attention.

he said BLUETOOTH. It's a standard which is perfect for the application of mixing the new HDTV's and the computer. The range is according to spec around 30m. The only complaint I have with BT is that every now and then I get a second of lag on my keyboard. That is however on a BT dongle that is doing a mouse, a keyboard, stereo sound output from the computer, and a microphone to the computer.

SPONGE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999119)

may d0, may not with 4rocess and coming a piss

Internet TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999139)

One of the big draws for myself to buy a T.V that is wifi ready or internet ready, would not be for the widgets but rather for the updates that they could supply for software issues and such. On a personal note I am bounce back and forth between the idea of an edge lit led T.V by Samsung or a plasma either by panasonic or samsung.

It's called a portable computer with a big screen! (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999155)

Seriously. Buy the largest TV or display that you can connect to PCs. Then buy a small quiet laptop and hook a programmable remote control onto it.

Now all you need is the software. Which there is a big choice of. You can also build whatever you want.

It's cheap, and the recording/time-shifting features are integrated.

Roku Netflix Set Top Box (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999213)

Roku Netflix Set Top Box already lets you stream Netflix movies to your TV.

You could extend streaming and downloads to the Internet in general.

Hulu lets you watch TV shows online.

TV programming would be on-demand instead of on a set schedule. It opens up the possibility of creating your own TV channel.

To answer your question, 'Internet TV' is going to be a big deal.

you still need a box for cable and sat also cablec (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999325)

you still need a box for cable and sat also the cable cable system is a big mess right now and a lot stuff is not in clear qam on cable.

Get a Roku box (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999329)

It's on $99. Netflix and Amazon look great in HD if you have enough bandwidth. Then you can buy your TV based on video quality rather than connectivity.

use computer for internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999339)

+1 for plugging the tv into the graphics out on your computer... play movies away....whatever...

There's no answer yet (1)

sjvn (11568) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999379)

I'm covering the intersection of Internet and TV now at Videotcy (http://videotcy.com/), and, of course, I've been covering Linux almost since day one. What I've found is that the TV vendors honestly don't know what they're going to do yet with Linux. Or, to be more precise, they don't know how they're going to bring Internet-based video into their TVs. That's in large part because the field is still developing, For example, only one in five of Ethernet/Wi-Fi equipped TVs are even connected to the Internet.

So, what should they do? Spend money to add functionality that might not be used? Rely on media-extenders for Internet TV? Build in real computing power?

No one knows yet. That's one reason why I started Videotcy. I foresee interesting times ahead and I'm sure Linux and open source will have a big role to play. What that role will be? Well, I plan on finding out. I just don't have, no one does, an answer yet.


I like my Samsung (1)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999449)

Not sure if it runs Linux under the hood (yeah, shame on me for not hacking it)... but I like my Samsung TV just fine. It has Yahoo widgets for Flickr, Youtube, the weather, stocks, and a bunch of other stuff. You can plug in a USB thumb drive or portable hard drive and it will play MP3's and video right off the disk. It does not have a built in DVR, nor does it support that functionality, but it's a nice TV with some cool extra features that I find useful.

spine (0, Offtopic)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999479)

(in the $1200-or-slightly-more range, as I won the extended-service-plan lottery and have a Sears store credit

Why does everyone write in this weenie, preemptive retort blocking way around here? Same thing as "I know this is going to burn my karma" clauses. Grow a spine. Just say what you think. You have 1200 bucks. Cool. I don't have an issue with you buying a TV with it. You don't have to ask it like you'd ask your boss for a day off. "Boss, I would like to take a day off in four months, as my girlfriend booked a long weekend at a get away resort and have an obligation to go with her". Just say "I'm taking this day off", or "I have about 1200 bucks for a tv". Everything else is just showing you're intimidated by possible responses by people that don't even matter.

Unfortunately... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999485)

Whether or not a device runs linux is, these days, not a hugely useful guide to its level of openness, especially when audio/video become involved.

Many embedded platforms, almost certainly the majority of those used in "HD" media setups, support a pretty aggressive set of lockdown features at the hardware/low-level firmware level. If the system will only load manufacturer signed firmware, all the GPL2 in the world won't help you. If you are very lucky, and know a lot about what you are doing, they'll have left some sort of software weakness in place. If not, I hope you have a decent set of hardware hacking skills...

The situation is still a good deal better with router and NAS units and things; because the manufacturers don't care, and there aren't any mandatory "platform integrity" requirements to fulfil; but media devices are a mess.

Try this out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28999541)


Try that out. Mount it on the back of your tv, comes with an ion and can play 1080P without issues. And of course, it's an actual computer, so you can play some games on decent graphics levels as well.

"Internet TV" has always been a gimmick. (3, Interesting)

mark_wilkins (687537) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999545)

In early 1996, I was a software engineer for Mitsubishi Consumer Electronics, in meetings to plan their first generation implementation of the ATV standard, on which current, U.S. HDTV devices are based. A huge priority for them at the time was to build a web browser into their television sets, and many ways to do this were investigated.

WebTV, which was pretty much the same idea in a set-top box, was in development at the time, and provided a model for that kind of thing, so Mitsubishi announced that they would, at some unspecified point, begin selling TVs with a feature they called "Diamond Internet" built into them.

It never happened. I don't know whether the issue was politics in the software department, or maybe just management recognition that it was a gimmick, but they never delivered such a product. Probably it came down to there just being too many other issues to manage to get an ATV set out the door.

However, it's clear that the idea's been there, lurking in people's minds, for the thirteen intervening years, and hasn't become any more useful a concept.

Incidentally, around that same time, I did buy a wonderful set-top-box by a company called Videoguide, that delivered TV schedules and news headlines to the device via unused text pager bandwidth. It was a great product, inexpensive and very useful, as even though I did have internet at home at that time, it wasn't an always-on connection. However, between shortened times to come out of sleep for laptops and PCs and the ubiquity of always-on internet connections in the home, I think the utility of a product like that isn't what it used to be. And anyway, Videoguide ended up getting bought out by Gemstar after spending tons of money.

Vote for "None of the above" (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999559)

Who needs a tuner? Get a tuner card, get a nice, fat computer screen and put it on a Linux box running XBMC. You'll never waste a night on viruses or wondering what went wrong, you'll constantly have plenty to watch, NO MATTER WHAT TIME OR DAY, and all will be well.

We have several machines like this in the house, now. Those video plugins for Universal, YouTube and others are all pretty good. And the demand there gives programming-people reason to keep series you actually watch, if you don't merely download them.

It's a really sweet life!

Not exactly US... (1)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 4 years ago | (#28999587)

... but Philips has the Net TV line range, and while not 'open' perse, it does allow you to browse all internet addresses, instead of just the Samsung/Panasonic/etc. addresses....

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