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Thumbdrive-Sized Streaming Media Players Coming Soon

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the size-does-matter dept.

The Internet 112

DeviceGuru writes "Roku is building its streaming media player technology into a thumbdrive-style device that will plug directly into a TV's HDMI port. The Roku Streaming Stick, to be priced in the $50-$100 range, will convert ordinary TVs into smart TVs, according to CEO Anthony Wood. One catch is that it will depend on the TV having at least one Mobile High-Definition Link (MHDL) compliant HDMI port. The new standard is not widely supported yet, with only Nokia, Samsung, Silicon Image, Sony, and Toshiba listed as members on the MHDL Consortium's web page."

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Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593634)

Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba make most of the TVs available around here, certainly all of the ones of decent quality. How much more support do you need?

Re:Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593868)

They also tend to make the more expensive ones - anyone looking for this as an alternative to a "smart" TV is probably price conscious, it'd be nice to add someone like LG to that list.

Re:Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba? (4, Interesting)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594364)

I have an LG "dumb" TV and love it. I have a 4-year old laptop hooked to the SVGA port for internet video, controlled from my primary system via tightVNC. Works great and I can use my choice of browser.

Re:Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba? (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38597780)

i do that quiet often, but in my case it is not because of browser of choice but because i can watch hulu for free, and i find it the easiest way to watch .avi's

bad idea for multiple reasons (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600506)

Yea, I'm using an old laptop as my TVs Internet access, as well as a BluRay player with limited Imternet apps and some media player capability. But I plan on upgrading the laptop to a PC with HDMI output. That will support a lot more than Roku, including PC gaming and pretty much anything on the web, not just a limited subset.

Building the Roku device into a smaller form factor may be good for Roku, but not so great for the consumer. The need for the atypical connector is a shame, likely just done to avoid providing a power supply. Even if you have the right type of HDMI port (and many will buy it and then find that they don't), it is likely on the back of the TV. So it will not be easily reached by an IR remote. Even if Roku provides some type of RF remote to work past the positioning problem that will not help many users of Harmony type universal remotes who want everything working from one IR remote.

Re:bad idea for multiple reasons (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601404)

Roku is moving to Bluetooth for their remotes. Expect Bluetooth to become the norm for entertainment system remotes. Also, there is the CEC standard for HDMI for remote consolidation. I would expect to see this catch on in the future as well. I know that both of my Vizio TVs have both Bluetooth and CEC. You will even be able to control your XBMC box using your TV remote soon. http://xbmc.org/natethomas/2011/11/01/the-usb-cec-adapter-is-a-look-into-the-future/ [xbmc.org]

Re:Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba? (1)

iiiears (987462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594128)

Cinavia - No Blu-ray streaming. Please, Buy another new Sony T.V. with this amazing capability.

And the point is...? (5, Insightful)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593654)

So you get this super-nifty thing which can only be attached to the most super-nifty of the HDMI ports, which will only be equipped to begin with on devices which were already super-nifty.

So, I guess the choices are as thus (since keeping an old TV and buying a new Roku isn't an option):

1. Keep old TV, buy old Roku.

2. Buy new TV, keep old Roku.

3. Buy new super-nifty TV, don't bother with super-nifty Roku because the super-nifty is already built into the TV.

(4. Oh, yeah: At no point is there any functional merit to a new super-nifty Roku. Neat!)

Re:And the point is...? (4, Insightful)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593890)

My New Years Eve.

I was playing around with a digital antenna to get a sub channel. One reason why I quit cable was because they weren't required to support them... I wanted to watch Kohaku on UTB 18.2 Hollywood. I am forced to use this piece of trash [bestbuy.com] since it was all they had at bestbuy. It literally has 1.5 out of 5 stars. As I ask myself why I am moving this box around the room having to scan for channels in this day and age, I give up because the digital channel in MY NEIGHBORHOOD isn't picked up by the scanner no matter how hard I try, given the limitations imposed by the length of the power cord and the random antenna I chose.

I'm thinking, good thing I picked up a Roku box while I was at bestbuy for plan B... I heard about it, and just assumed it was a smart device that would magically find content given it is online. Felt like there were a few unnecessary steps, but I get it to work, only to find that it just has a bunch of youtube-like channels, but no youtube!? No access to any of the upload sites. WTF? If I wanted Angry Bird I'd just get the app, thank you. So what is the hooplah? The channels suck.

I hop online to lookup Roku alternatives, thinking I must have been thinking of something else... Find Boxee, and figure that must have been the magic box. I find I don't even need to buy one. I can just install it on my computer. Brilliant!

90MB download, installed, I try to run it, "dll not found". Silence. It turns out you need to install DirectX manually, but at this point if my Windows 7 doesn't support it, and no one cared to mention it during the install, I figure Boxee doesn't deserve any more attention.

So I end up just hooking up my PC as is to the TV... Shit, it works. I can watch anything. Brilliant!!!

What are all these boxes really about!?!? ...my last WTF and OMG moment of 2011.

Re:And the point is...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38594142)

Now you're getting it. You still have that powerhog of a pc that also makes unnecessary noise, but you're getting there...

Now maybe start thinking about building your own alternative to rokuboxee, hardwarewise. Many a mini-itx bord with builtin cpu and graphics is a good MythTV/XBMC frontend. (So far, I believe proprietary nvidia has been recommended for graphics.) You may be able to get one passively cooled, even.

There's no netflicks for a DIY box, though. For that you need the readymade crap.

Re:And the point is...? (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594256)

Best bet IMHO is the new AMD E-350 mini boards. you are talking about a unit that uses 18w for the chip and around 35w all told full load, has a Radeon chip built into the APU that has support for just about every format, many of them even have a PCIe so if you decide you need even more GPU you can add it easily but since they do 1080p over HDMI I really don't see the point but its nice to have the option, and you can pick up one for $70 after rebate [newegg.com] if you don't mind using a DVI to HDMI adapter or $100 if you want an HDMI built in. Oh and they hold 8Gb of RAM which is nice as Win 7 superfetch will load all your apps into RAM to make it VERY snappy. Great little unit and easy peasy to make a whisper quiet HTPC with one, I've built a couple for customers and they are happy as can be with it. And Netflix works just fine in WMC friend, it shows up under Internet TV along with about 2 dozen free channels.

As for TFA the point of this is.....what exactly? any TV new and fancy enough to have that port will already have streaming built in and the ones old enough they could use this won't have the port. Sounds like a solution in search of a problem to me. For those customers that didn't have the money to go HTPC I recommend the WD TV Live which is small and looks nice in an entertainment center and whether they choose HTPC or WDTV for the kiddies i recommend the Nbox Media Player as its simple enough for young ones to use and with a 200Gb drive you can load all their favorite shows and movies on them no problem and no have to worry about little Suzy crying because her sister scratched their favorite Dora disc. Oh and for those that have clueless family/friends that want to be able to rip DVDs? Tipard DVD ripper, best $30 they'll ever spend as its literally "push button to rip movie" and its default setting is to a bog standard DivX 5 which will play on anything and it has built in Streams and CUDA to help speed ripping.

That is one really nice thing about today, when i started with HTPCs they cost an arm and a leg to build and now you can build a really nice unit with frankly insane amounts of power for cheap, hell you shop around you can build one nice enough to even game on for less than $600. And when I started out pretty much the only software you had was this buggy shit that came with whatever cap card you got, now their is WMC and XBMC and MediaPortal and MythTV, man its never been easier to have a nice HTPC!

Re:And the point is...? (1)

queBurro (1499731) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594654)

I'm looking for a neat way of getting my DVB-T1 equipped tv to pick up DVB-T2 (i.e. terrestrial HD), I don't suppose you've got an idea have you?

Re:And the point is...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38597120)

Humax or PAce external dvb t2 receiver mate

Re:And the point is...? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594776)

If Radeon is the answer, it must have been a stupid fucking question. I'm not interested in any solution that includes one. I would very much like a cheap nVidia-based solution for video streaming and PVR functions, though. With a relatively modern nVidia-based GPU you can use CoreAVC to get great compression rates on H.264.

The Nbox is a non-starter because the only cheap one is non-networked even though adding ethernet would have cost them about a dollar. You can buy a Roku or AppleTV for what it costs to get a Nbox with networking, and by all accounts it's crap comparatively. Stop hawking that miserable piece of shit.

Eh? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595062)

Radeon has been fairly good. In Linux, VDPAU is way ahead of XvBA in popular support and across the board there is more CUDA work than OpenCL, but other than those details Radeon is serviceable. For $220 you can get a whole new box (e.g. Zotac AD10) with an E-350. ION-equipped Atoms might be an alternative for a die-hard nVidia fan, but it seems to me Intel and nVidia aren't playing together as well and currently the platform is pretty well inferior to e-350. My main caution would be that you are *heavily* reliant in both cases on hardware decode, and things change in ways that may break hardware decode (hi10p being the current headache).

If you are interested in *encoding* content and you bring up CoreAVC implying Windows anyway, you'd probably be best off pining for a Sandy Bridge processor. It's 'quick sync video' stuff is very impressive though it is sadly windows only. By most every account it blows all the CUDA/OpenCL based alternatives out of the water.

Re:Eh? (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595114)

Radeon has been fairly good. In Linux, VDPAU is way ahead of XvBA in popular support and across the board there is more CUDA work than OpenCL, but other than those details Radeon is serviceable.

AMD can't code their way out of a nutsack. Every system I have ever had with an AMD card has had crashes related to the video driver. The last AMD system I bought new had graphics too primitive to be supported by fglrx and yet too new to be supported by radeon, I get display trashing even with RenderAccel disabled. Under Windows it only runs Vista because no other drivers exist; you can use one of the Vista drivers on Windows 7, but it causes the second resume from suspend to fail. Fuck AMD twice. I will still consider their processors but their graphics cards are not even an also-ran, they are FUCK YOU AMD territory.

If you are interested in *encoding* content and you bring up CoreAVC implying Windows anyway, you'd probably be best off pining for a Sandy Bridge processor.

Oh good, that means I can spend three times as much! I'll need a separate GPU anyway, and meanwhile I have to pay the intel premium for the chip AND the intel premium for the chipset, which causes the motherboards to cost 2-3x as much as the equivalent AMD solution.

Re:Eh? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38598728)

Ignore Drinkypoo as obvious troll is obvious. The same poster tried to claim last time there was a post on AMD that they were "trapped" on Vista as there was no drivers for their laptop chip and when i pointed out several sources for the chip in question for both XP AND Windows 7 i got "Those don't work...and go fuck yourself!" which is not only pathetic and sad but also complete lies as i had sold a machine with the EXACT SAME CHIP running XP, it ran just wonderfully. Drinkypoo is a Linux + Nvidia fangirl and will spew FUD any time either Windows or AMD is mentioned.

As for ION what Drinkypoo fails to mention is Nvidia has abandoned it along with the rest of their chipset business after intel refused to give them access to the newer bus designs. there will NEVER be an ION 3, ION will never get NCQ support, the Nvidia chips you see now are it and won't be getting a single update as Nvidia is not in the chipset business anymore and the IGP developers were let go nearly two years ago. So anybody using ION for anything would have to be nuts as its obsolete and won't be getting replaced by anything but shitty Intel IGP.

As for SB? Frankly Intel has it waaay overpriced compared to socket AM3. Intel has been nuts lately with sockets anyway with LGA775, 1155, 1156, 1366 and 2011 all being produced. I recently priced the i3 and frankly i could have gotten a black edition quad and a nice motherboard and still come out about 35% less than going with an i3 dual and bottom of the line board. On an HTPC frankly the extra cost really isn't worth it as the unit simply won't be doing that much heavy lifting with the GPU doing the decode. I've built a couple of E-350 HTPCs as well as a couple of Phenom II based and with both we are talking full 1080p over HDMI with very little CPU usage so IMHO its just not worth the price difference. I recently built a customer an AMD Athlon quad HTPC and even after making a profit they ended up with a unit that not only does 1080p but games thanks to an HD4830 and transcodes and rips movies for just a hair under $600 with Win 7 HP X64, you just can't beat that price for that kind of performance.

But don't waste your breath on drinkypoo unless your post is "AMD kills kittehs and Windows burns babies!" all you'll get is shit flung at you, with each lie getting worse and more unbelievable than the last. AMD has not only opened their specs to the Linux driver devs but actually paid out of their own pocket to hire devs to help them so i don't see how a company could be more committed to Linux support than that. if you go to Phoronix you'll see they've made HUGE strides in an insanely short amount of time and IIRC most of the E-series features are supported now. Of course its even better in Windows but considering the help AMD is giving I wouldn't be surprised if the two platforms are equal as far as features go in another year with most AMD CPUs and APUs already perfectly usable in linux with free drivers.

Caution... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595106)

E-350 works great, *except* for:
-Netflix (surprised you didn't mention this), high-def streams under silverlight don't get decode accelerated (or did they fix this? I'm not following windows too closely but that was my recollection)
-New or 'obscure' hi-def codecs. The 10-bit profile of h264 is starting to see more and more use but there is no CUDA, OpenCL, DXVA, XvBA, or VA-API offload for it and E-350's CPU half lacks the horsepower to decode without dropping frames. Maybe this will change, but no one knowledgeable enough has provided any hint as to whether a hardware change is simply absolutely required before this can be supported.

Re:Caution... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599058)

I can't tell you for certain but i'm pretty sure they fixed that one but again can't be 100% sure as I haven't had a chance to check in again with the one using E-350 and Netflix but his was playing just fine on his TV last I checked but its a 720p set so I don't know if that'll make a difference with silverlight. In both that and your other issue frankly it really doesn't matter as the E-350 supports hybrid crossfire and nearly all the E-350 HTPC boards comes with a PCIe X16 so adding a cheap Radeon HD card is beyond simple and no IGP will ever compare to discrete graphics. i recently got a customer an HD4650 1Gb on sale for $10 after MIR so it isn't like it'll break the bank to add a Radeon discrete. He is quite happy with his new card and it offloads most codecs so again I really doubt that would be a problem.

For me what sells the E-350 is how quietly it runs, both in HTPCs and mobile situations. They are also VERY low power and low heat which with the rising electricity costs is a nice bonus. Finally in just about every test I've seen the E-350 gives better performance than Atom + ION for often less cost. I mean you can buy a E-350 board that'll hold 8Gb of RAM starting at just $70 on Newegg which for a dual core APU with Radeon graphics is beyond cheap which is why I've also been using it in low cost office and home PCs. I've had nothing but good luck and happy customers with the E-350 and even with a full win 7 HP its snappy and easily has enough power for all the tasks your average Joe or Jane is using a PC for.

I liked the handling and quiet of the E-350 enough i put my money where my mouth is and sold my laptop for a EEE E-350 netbook and frankly couldn't be happier. while I don't do netflix so I can't comment there I can tell you with my EEE I'm getting 6 hours watching 720p video and when i go by my dad's place I can plug it in via HDMI to the TV so he and I can sit down and watch a new action or western at 1080p which is nice. it has enough kick I'm actually using it with Hydrogen and Audacity to lay drum beats and edit multitrack recordings which for a unit that only weighs 3 pounds and cost me $350 with 8Gb of RAM is pretty impressive in my book. But at $70 you really ought to give one a try, at that price its a dirt cheap way to upgrade any older box to give it some kick.

Re:And the point is...? (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594274)

You certainly can use Netflix on a DIY media box. You just can't have it with Linux. Linux is not the only OS out there. Windows Media Center actually holds up well vs. Myth or other solutions.

Re:And the point is...? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594488)

and why on earth would you bother with netflix?

What instead of Netflix? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38598848)

What alternative to Netflix VOD do you recommend for customers in the United States? Is Amazon Prime any better?

Re:And the point is...? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595074)

Well, apart from *price*, I don't particularly feel like shelling out a ton of money for an OS when I prefer the alternative and I'm not wanting for anything more. Besides, I tried WMC and frankly prefer XBMC even on Windows for non-DVR content and I'm hoping improved Myth support in Eden will make XBMC complete for me...

Re:And the point is...? (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38598386)

I've tried many of them, and my PVR is *still* on MCE 2005. IR blasters and remote (the MS/Phillips one), the VFD on the case and everything else just works practically out of the box. It's a shame Snapstream won't support their residential users. BTV is pretty nifty, but Beyond Media is simply just a train wreck.

As for MythTV, I haven't tried it in ages. But, MCE works, does the job. Besides, I can even play games on it.

Re:And the point is...? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601646)

Of course there is Netflix for a DIY box. Windows7 has Windows Media Center out of the box, and it plays Netflix just fine. It is even designed to run from a remote with a 6' interface. If you want to spend a little more effort (which I assume you do if you want a DIY solution), you can install Playon. This will allow you to use whatever you want for your frontend, as it will stream as a UPNP media device. Thus you can have an XBMC box running on linux and still watch Netflix and Hulu.

The direct interfaces for a lot of services are better than using Playon, but it allows me to use Roku in the bedrooms, a low end Acer Revo Atom based computer in the spare livingroom, and have access to anything that doesn't have a native client for those platforms. While I have the full PC in the living room for HTPC, if my son wants to watch Nicktoons shows streamed from their website, the best way to do it is for him to load up XBMC and have it find the Playon stream from the same computer so that the programs show up as a channel on XBMC.

Re:And the point is...? (1)

Monoman (8745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594308)

I guess the point is that some of the new TVs being sold as "smart" TVs with Roku/Boxee/etc like functionality built in. Some are fine, some aren't as good as the Roku. We ditched pay TV service almost 6 months ago and now our "TV" consists of Netflix, Netflix online, Hulu Plus, and whatever else we can find online. The Roku allows us to use an older not "smart" TV to watch Hulu Plus and Netflix online. Sure there are other "channels" we don't use much but those two alone make it worth it for us.

Re:And the point is...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596870)

" just assumed it was a smart device that would magically find content given it is online"

That's one of the dumbest assumptions I've ever seen.

As for the Boxee DLL problem, you knew what you needed to do and then were too stubborn to actually do it. And that's just downloading the DirectX Installer and running it. Your laziness, self-entitlement, and misplaced rage is astonishing.

Re:And the point is...? (1)

Xoltri (1052470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599234)

Well I can speak to this as I think I have the ideal setup for my needs. I ditched satellite TV about 6 months ago and have been getting all of my content online.

I have two boxee boxes and a home theater PC. Boxee is awesome in finding online content for you and indexing it. If you want to watch a show, you just start typing, for example 'Dirty Jobs' and it will show you all the episodes available online. When you click on one it will take you to the exact page on the Discovery website the episode is located at, and make it full screen. Repeat for any show available online. It also shows you all the networks that have shows and provides a nice interface to browse them. Sure you can get this same content with a computer and a web browser, but this is so much more slick.

Basically, I already had a home theater PC feeding my basement TV, and I needed to be able to watch my downloaded content on my other two TV's. I decided upon Boxee boxes because at $200 CAD it was cheaper than building two extra home theater PC's by far, not to mention the maintenance of them. The fact that it also handles web content so well was a bonus that I've come to thoroughly enjoy.

My main source of content though is still downloading shows. I have a program called Sickbeard that is like a PVR for your computer. It will monitor usenet through my $10 / lifetime subscription to nzbmatrix for shows I like to watch. When one is posted it will automatically download it through my $10 / month usenet subscription (through SSL for privacy), extract the files, move it to the proper folder, and nicely rename the file. Then I can watch it on my HTPC, or on the boxee boxes on the other TV's. Sickbeard was difficult to set up, but once it is it is amazingly simple to use, and I can prove it. My wife can go on sickbeard, add a show and watch it on any TV in the house and I never even hear about it. That's worth fortunes.

My only complaint about Boxee is relating to the audio. It doesn't normalize the audio levels in any way, so some shows are loud and some are quiet, and sometimes I am not able to adjust the volume slider on the online content. Other than that I would highly recommend it.

Re:And the point is...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38601074)

I'm confused where you drunk or trying to fail? Reading your story left me thinking "yeah, but why didn't you. . ." so many times I'm not going to list them all. Sure, I'd expect my mom to have the problems you mentioned, but someone with a Slashdot account shouldn't have made so many mistakes. Maybe you just wanted your PC on your TV all along, but felt guilty about it and needed an excuse? I'm going with trying to fail.

Re:And the point is...? (2)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593992)

The point is, with this device, there is no DRM involved, and your TV won't be able to report the file names of the movies you watch to the MPAA.

Re:And the point is...? (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594096)

Hard to believe Sony is involved with something that DOESN"T involve DRM.

Re:And the point is...? (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594088)

Of course everyone is you, and therefore everyone already owns an HDTV. And a Roku box.

Re:And the point is...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38594136)

Roku has many many more features and Channels than the traditional or even newer Smart TV's. Not only the basic Hulu/Netflix/Amazon/Crackle lineup, but also loads of specific Channels in the Channel Store and even Private Channels like Plex that allow you to stream certain channels (not just videos on) from your computer. It appears "v(*_*)vvvv" below me didn't take the time to research what he can get and where from and instead chose to believe that Roku would just magically give him what he wanted at the push of a button.

Regardless, my Roku has made me a happy cord cutter, and since the price range is the exact same as for the Roku boxes then unless you really don't have space the size of a coaster (that's how small it already is) or no free power outlet to plug it into, there's no point in the USB stick anyway. What I'm saying is: the USB stick is neat, but might as well spring for the 100 dollar box anyway.

Re:And the point is...? (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38597016)

Seems the Roku is now the size of a USB dongle [cnet.com] .

Re:And the point is...? (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599470)

How the fuck did you get to the GP without even looking at the summary?

Can I get these two channels? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38598940)

Roku has many many more features and Channels than the traditional or even newer Smart TV's.

But does it have the channels that the households in my survey sample want? One household is a staunch fan of ESPN and Versus. Can I get live streams of professional and collegiate sporting events (mostly NHL, NFL, and NCAA football) on Roku? Another is a staunch fan of MSNBC. Can I get audiovisually presented, progressive slanted commentary on United States politics on Roku?

Re:And the point is...? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594990)

I think the 'thumb stick' form factor is a tad more than necessary and in general am disappointed with Roku as a limited platform, but TV integrated stuff is less desireable for two reasons:

1) It is generally even *more* limited than Roku.

2) Some people avoid all-in-one systems where a perfectly fine monitor has to be replaced to reasonably upgrade the system. A large display is significantly more cost than the ~20" desktop monitors. If the TV still is sufficient 5 years from now, but a new codec requires more horsepower than your set can cope with, you would have to add a set-top box anyway. For example, there is an increasing amount of h264 hi10p content out there, and all the current low-power/heat type boxes will likely never be able to play it.

Re:And the point is...? (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602640)

1) Is it limited in ways that actually matter for most people?

2) So use the built-in thing, and then plug a box in later. *shrug* This isn't the 90s where having built-in whiz-bang functionality adds physical size to a display like a built-in VCR, where things had few (if any) external inputs.

This is 2012, and the whiz-bang functionality doesn't take up any perceptible space inside of a display. And it's generally included whether you want it or not. And if it gets tired as formats progress and march on, there are a multitude of available inputs to connect an external box to even on the lowliest modern LCD.

3) Most folks (and I'm specifically referring to anyone who doesn't have a compulsively-organized NAS full of their own rips) will want a Blu-Ray player, anyway. And the Blu-Ray machine will generally be able to do many of the same things as a Roku.

Why no USB? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38598100)

So, I guess the choices are as thus (since keeping an old TV and buying a new Roku isn't an option):

1. Keep old TV, buy old Roku.

2. Buy new TV, keep old Roku.

3. Buy new super-nifty TV, don't bother with super-nifty Roku because the super-nifty is already built into the TV.

(4. Oh, yeah: At no point is there any functional merit to a new super-nifty Roku. Neat!)

Agreed, why limit the device to a port that was introduced only 6 months ago and still isn't finalized? [wikipedia.org] My first thought was: "Why don't they use standard HDMI and draw power from a USB port?"

Many HDTVs have a USB port so that makes sense, but I thought maybe the Mobile High definition Link (MHL) [wikipedia.org] port must put out more power than USB but it doesn't, MHL puts out 500mA @ 5V [goodandevo.net] just like USB. [wikipedia.org]

So again I wonder, why not use power from a unused USB port and go with standard HDMI and be compatible with millions more TVs already on the market?

MDHL compliant HDMI port? (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593696)

I'm guessing this sort of port will only be found on a smart TV - so, really, where's the market for a device designed to "convert ordinary TVs into smart TVs" that requires that port?

Really, the fundamental issue is the market for devices like the Roku box or AppleTV is drying up as more and more televisions come with the same functionality built in. They're still iterating on what's rapidly becoming an obsolete product segment - sort of like how Palm kept releasing new takes on the PDA long after stand-alone PDAs became irrelevant.

Re:MDHL compliant HDMI port? (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593802)

Good point. Maybe somebody didn't figure out the "?" part of the SPUG (South Park Underpants Gnome) theme.

Re:MDHL compliant HDMI port? (2)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593912)

I'm guessing this sort of port will only be found on a smart TV - so, really, where's the market for a device designed to "convert ordinary TVs into smart TVs" that requires that port?

I guess it's possible that someone could come up with a converter for MHDL to HDMI. Perhaps they already exist and they just didn't include it in the Roku for price considerations. Even so it's going to be an increasingly shrinking market of people who already have a TV that's good enough quality they don't want to replace it, not so good that it doesn't already have any of these features, and don't mind spending $100 for the Roku plus whatever the converter might cost to keep an old set functional.

It's already next to impossible to buy a reasonably good TV now that doesn't have some kind of smart streaming facility - I know, having just had to go through the pain of replacing my old set. Mind you, I also got a "smart" BluRay player thrown in for free so I assume these are also available cheap enough to effectively price the Roku out of the market before it's even started.

Re:MDHL compliant HDMI port? (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593950)

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess it'll be as simple as a power injector like current MHL to HDMI adapters use to connect some cell phones to TVs. Slip it between your MHDL dongle and the HDMI port on your TV and you're set. Or they'll just put a power port on the dongle that can tap a USB port for juice. Many TVs have USB ports. Limiting their customer base to a small percentage of flat panel owners would be ridonkulous.

Re:MDHL compliant HDMI port? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595084)

Wrong. MHL uses HDMI ports but not HDMI signalling. They are not limiting their customer base, because they already have devices which connect to ordinary televisions.

Re:MDHL compliant HDMI port? (1)

iiiears (987462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594144)

There are adapters like this but if you like Blu-ray HiDef The sound will cut out a few minutes in. It doesn't work..

Sony will sell you a new Cinavia capable T.V.

Re:MDHL compliant HDMI port? (2)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593930)

But this is what worries me with "smart TVs". They won't be smart enough for long. When a new site comes out e.g. FaceTwit, will the TV be updated to support it?
Well, it wouldn't be in the manufacturer's interests, as they will want you to buy a new TV. So unless it can be rooted and runs an open source OS like Android, so you can take charge of updates yourself, your shiny new smart TV will quickly become out-of-date.

Re:MDHL compliant HDMI port? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38594086)

HTPC exist for this purpose.
Dumb TV + HTPC vastly superior to smart TV.

Re:MDHL compliant HDMI port? (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594098)

Most "smart TVs" are extensible (they're marketed as having "apps" for various services), and many of them support third party plugins developed to a published spec. TV manufacturers understand that people aren't going to go out and buy a new TV just because it lets them watch YouTube.

I'll have the raspberry pi instead (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593732)

So.. rolling my own from a raspberry pi will still be the best option this year? That comes with a bog standard hdmi port.
http://www.raspberrypi.org/

Re:I'll have the raspberry pi instead (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594808)

Vehement agreemsg. I have a television that cost more than I've paid for many of my used cars, and which has only one problem (occasionally confusing inputs 7 and 8... hilarious. I don't use them anymore, it has plenty of them.) I'm not going to go buy another one to get a MHL port. But I *do* plan to buy a R-Pi when I can just order one, put it in a cute little clear enclosure, and attach it to the standard mount points on the rear of the TV, which is not wall-mounted. I have a bluetooth dongle for it already, and even a USB2 hub and USB2 to ethernet should I elect to use the cheaper model instead.

Re:I'll have the raspberry pi instead (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38597208)

Good for you - but if you can't be bothered, you can buy realtek 1186-based boxes where they're already done this work. And the realtek chip will decode practically every movie format there is.

On the other hand, if you do make such a thing, publish the specs and tutorials - it'll be a practical real-world use to put the Pi to, and I'm sure the software will be vastly improved over the existing boxes.

Re:I'll have the raspberry pi instead (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38597322)

Honestly, I expect to find that by the time I actually get my grubby hands on one, there will be at least most of a solution. My fantasy is that there's a beta of XBMC already floating around that works on it by then.

If you can point me to a rtl1186-based system that will do this for say $40 or less then I'll consider it.

Re:I'll have the raspberry pi instead (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38603626)

$40, no.. the cheapest I think is about $120 but I think a raspberry will be a better solution - in time.

With XBMC or YAMC on it, mmmmmmm. Things can only be good for the future.

or buy this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593756)

Or (soon) buy a raspberry pi for 1/3 of the cost?
I understand it has hdmi output and sufficient power to do most of this? /might be wrong, not got one yet

Re:or buy this? (5, Funny)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593826)

But then you will have to buy a separate $1095.99 HDMI cable. [slashdot.org]

Re:or buy this? (1)

johnkoer (163434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596344)

That is nothing, this cable [amazon.com] runs 2694.75.

Re:or buy this? (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594072)

Not everybody wants to roll their own. Some people (yes, even geeks) like it when Shit Just Works. Open the box, plug it in, use it. We're not talking about something that costs thousands of dollars. To me, saving $25-75 isn't worth the hours it would take to make a general purpose device do the same thing. I've got other stuff I could be doing with my time that would either be more fun or bring in more money than I'd just "saved".

Re:or buy this? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38597148)

Plus, people tend to have more than one TV in the house. The raspberry pi, or some other small dongle, can be easily moved around... so if you want to put it in the kid's room for a few hours, that's no problem.

Plus, it just seems more fun to hack on. Being able to run emulators seems like a no-brainer requirement.

Televisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593888)

Why do televisions still even exist? What can you do with a television that you can't do with a computer?

Re:Televisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593954)

Permanently hang it on the wall in my living room? I could do that with a computer, but I'm not going to as its much more comfortable to work in my office.

Re:Televisions (2)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594080)

Why do televisions still even exist? What can you do with a television that you can't do with a computer?

Have an entertainment medium that I can control with 5 buttons. After a 11 hour day at work, I don't want to browse the net to find what I want, bother loading it in youtube, and then max screening it, and sending it over to my larger monitor.

All this takes work I DON"T SIMPLY WANT TO DO EVERY TIME I DECIDE TO WATCH SOMETHING FOR SIMPLE ENTERTAINMENT on the computer. However, on the TV, I only need 5 buttons minimum to get at what I want if I'm lazy and don't want to use the programming guide, (and even then, it's only 8 buttons to do anything I want on the TV).

These buttons are: VolUP / VolDN / ChanUP/ ChanDN/ PWR/ MENU/ SCROLLUP/ SCROLLDN.

Sometimes I just want to veg out and NOT use my brain to be entertained.

Re:Televisions (1)

gitano_dbs (1490853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594462)

Why do televisions still even exist? What can you do with a television that you can't do with a computer?

Have an entertainment medium that I can control with 5 buttons. After a 11 hour day at work, I don't want to browse the net to find what I want, bother loading it in youtube, and then max screening it, and sending it over to my larger monitor. All this takes work I DON"T SIMPLY WANT TO DO EVERY TIME I DECIDE TO WATCH SOMETHING FOR SIMPLE ENTERTAINMENT on the computer. However, on the TV, I only need 5 buttons minimum to get at what I want if I'm lazy and don't want to use the programming guide, (and even then, it's only 8 buttons to do anything I want on the TV). These buttons are: VolUP / VolDN / ChanUP/ ChanDN/ PWR/ MENU/ SCROLLUP/ SCROLLDN. Sometimes I just want to veg out and NOT use my brain to be entertained.

Can have that setup on a computer as well. For example, using XBMC http://xbmc.org/ [xbmc.org] and choose on almost any remote control, there its apps for mobiles to use as remote on xbmc. I use xbmc at home on the android phone as remote http://xbmc.org/freezy3k/2010/07/13/official-xbmc-remote-for-android/ [xbmc.org] . Just need to set up the first day, and the everyday use its pretty simple like a TV, but on a large feature set. All you have to do drop Pictures, Films and TV shows in different folders and the xbmc plug-ins will do the rest.

Re:Televisions (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594662)

When was the last time you have seen a control with 5 buttons? Most remote controls have almost the same number of buttons as the standard keyboard (same order of magnitude).

>I don't want to browse the net to find what I want
So you want to watch what you don't want to watch?

Re:Televisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595028)

> So you want to watch what you don't want to watch?
As far as I'm concerned, that's the only reason for the continued existence of TV. People who just want to do nothing but sit and get fed with whatever is on at that time. Anyone else finds (via that on-demand services or just plain warez) what they want and watch it.

Online blackouts (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599350)

People who just want to do nothing but sit and get fed with whatever is on at that time.

People will pay good money to sit down and get fed with progressive slanted, audiovisually presented commentary on United States politics. Otherwise, someone in one of the household wouldn't keep paying for cable just to get MSNBC.

Anyone else finds (via that on-demand services or just plain warez) what they want and watch it.

Except the major professional and collegiate sports leagues don't really tend to have these on-demand services. If a game is shown on conventional TV, it often ends up blacked out online. Likewise, the last time I checked a couple months ago, MSNBC ran its online stream only at inconvenient hours of the day.

Re:Televisions (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595862)

When was the last time you have seen a control with 5 buttons?

This [apple.com] has only 4 buttons. I got a new 19" HDTV for Christmas that I put up in my bedroom, and my wife wanted to be able to watch NetFlix, so I got an Apple TV yesterday. It works o.k., but I haven't tried streaming from a computer yet, so I'm not sure how good it is with HD streaming.

Re:Televisions (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595950)

That's seven buttons.

Re:Televisions (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38598198)

Why do ACs still even exist? What insight can I glean from a Anonymous Coward that I can't from a registered user?

Re:Televisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38604670)

FAGGET

HDMI is ok, (4, Interesting)

klingens (147173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594016)

but what other connectors does it have? USB? Ethernet? WLAN? SD Card? If so, it's another Raspberry Pi, just a lot smaller. And if we are lucky it has an A8 and maybe more memory.
Root it and you have a nice little cheap home Linux server. I can dream, right?

Re:HDMI is ok, (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594584)

It does not use HDMI it uses MHDL which is just coming into the market.

Re:HDMI is ok, (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595322)

It almost certainly has no other connectors, and communicates with the remote via bluetooth and the network via wifi. In a package that size, fitting an ethernet jack is infeasible. It's also possible it will get network through the connector, I don't know too much about MHL yet.

raspberry-pi / Linux/Mono / Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38594100)

Just provide me with a raspberry-pi kindof device with Linux/Mono on it so i don't have to get windows and that i can install/run the Netflix player myself and i'll gladly buy it.

streaming devices suck (1)

Golden_Rider (137548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594402)

The problem with most of these streaming devices is that they can't play all media formats. Yes, you can play Netflix etc., but you can't play all of the existing media you have somewhere on a network share. Most of these devices just decode via some chip, so if there's a new video format (like we have now with Hi10p files), you're out of luck. Also I so far had no luck finding one which could handle styled subtitles (karaoke etc.) well.

So for me the only solution is a home-built PC with a good graphics card which has HDMI. That way it is easy to upgrade codecs/media player software.

Re:streaming devices suck (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38596250)

I've had fantastic success with the WDTV Live Streaming whatever-the-hell-it's-called:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005KOZNBW/ref=oh_o02_s00_i00_details [amazon.com]

Plays anything I throw at it (samba share, NFS share, media server like orb, local storage, etc) and does just about every online video service (netflix, blockbuster, etc).

Picked it up for $89 in November. Fantastic!

Re:streaming devices suck (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599564)

I've been very happy with my Boxee box. I haven't found a local video file it won't play, and it has hardware-accelerated flash for playing random web videos. The video decoding is based on ffmpeg, I believe.

MHDL HDMI ports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38594474)

What's up with the MHDL compliant HDMI port specification? Is it good or is it whack?

computer vs tv (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594632)

can somebody explain why computer attached to tv is worse than smart tv, dumb tv with smart something TV-specialized?
Is this a price issue?

Re:computer vs tv (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595338)

Yes, a Roku box costs sixty bucks and more and more people's only computer is a netbook. The latest and greatest of those are starting to get Micro-HDMI output, but only the VERY latest are suitable for use as a media player (they need a decent GPU; the first generation of netbooks all had pathetic graphics and wouldn't do 1080p, or wouldn't do it acceptably) and they can't handle doing that AND websurfing even if the cables weren't a hassle. So you get a cute little Roku or similar to handle media. I was thinking about Apple TV, but I heard the Netflix app on there has been totally fucked of late, so I guess I'll just keep using my Wii for now.

Re:computer vs tv (1)

CCurzon (1936782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599614)

I got a second hand desktop with a decent video card for $30. Wiped and reinstalled Windows, installed XBMC and it's good to go. Added a wireless keyboard with built in track pad for $40 and I could control it from anywhere.

Granted, though, I already had a network set up in my house as well as a desktop with significant storage on it, so the solution isn't as great for everyone.

Preinstallation, size, and tradition (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599476)

can somebody explain why computer attached to tv is worse

Home theater PCs have proven to be for geeks only [pineight.com] for several reasons:

  • No major PC maker ships affordable PCs with competent media center software already installed. Windows Media Center isn't really a match for XBMC. Microsoft wants people to buy an Xbox 360 and use that as a Windows Media Center extender, and Apple wants people to buy an Apple TV and use that as an iTunes extender.
  • Spouse acceptance factor. Ordinary tower PCs are so big that they look out of place next to a TV, and they generate too much heat to fit in an enclosed space.
  • As CronoCloud put it [slashdot.org] : "Because of tradition." There's a misconception widespread among the general public that PCs are for desks, and dedicated devices are for the living room, and never the twain shall meet.

"Ordinary" TV? (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594738)

Since when are ports like that found on "ordinary" television sets? An "ordinary" set is lucky to have even a composite RCA plug input, or maybe it has just been awhile since I purchased one?

New TVs, not used TVs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599540)

We're talking about new TVs, the kind sold at Best Buy, ABC Warehouse, H.H. Gregg, Walmart, and the like. If you buy your TVs at Goodwill or the pawn shop, they'll be a decade behind the latest technology.

and of course... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594756)

....it's using the lame HDMI.

It's not like we have established a nice USB format that could be used, and could perhaps use a raspberry pi-like system to just allow people to copy movies, files, etc into the device for display on their tv?

Heavens, we need to be sure DRM is built in there somewhere. :(

Re:and of course... (1)

Imbrondir (2367812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594928)

HDMI for display is a no brainer imho. Many cheap ARM chips are coming with HDMI chip support these days, and essentially all TVs made in the last 5+ years comes with an HDMI port. For HD output, compatibility and low prices, there are no competitors.

USB would be a nice addition, but you're not seriously suggesting using USB as video out? I know there are adapters, but at 480 mbps video needs heavy recompression to output anywhere near HD output. Also copying movies through USB into the device sucks. Much more fun to stream it off the from a laptop or preferably a NAS.

Re:and of course... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595362)

....it's using the lame HDMI.

No, it is not. you don't even have to RTFA, just RTFS.

Re:and of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595496)

doesn't really need usb either. If you're just talking about resolution and display coax cable does that just fine (and over longer distances).

What's on TV that you need? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595042)

Posting as AC because I modded here... This little device I'm sure comes with 'convenient' DRM. Mainly though, what's on TV that you must have a TV to watch? Nothing you can't get on the internet with the computer you already have. I literally can't remember the last time I watched television in my home. Literally. It's been at least a couple of years. Shelling out dough for a DRM-crippled device that has less functionality than what I already have? No thanks.

rigid right angles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38595634)

Sorry, but if I'm spending money on an expensive TV, then I really don't want a ~3 inch object (?) sticking at a right angle off the back of it.

(yes I know right angles with plugs are unavoidable, but my current Samsung TV has them all in a recessed enough area)

Better than a "smart TV" (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38595798)

Keeping the "smart" separate from the "TV" is the right thing to do. If you think an '80s car with a clunky old tape deck is funny, wait until your TV has an 8-year-old HTPC permanently embedded in it...

BTW this sounds like that "popcorn hour" thing. I haven't paid much attention to it since it's a closed toy, but sounds like just a smaller version of the same thing.

Re:Better than a "smart TV" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38596910)

The "smart" part of a tv doesn't really cost that much extra,(The "smart" cost the same as a couple of extra inches) and when the tv have become too "dumb" you can just buy a separate box then.

Re:Better than a "smart TV" (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38597090)

pretty much.

However, the 'popcorn hour' and similar (cheaper) boxes like the Himedia, WD TV Live, Elion Labon, Mede8er etc are all pretty nice. They're basically streamer clients - you plug it into your network and then you can stream your video files from your PC to it and watch them on yout TV with minimum (ie no) hassle.

The better ones come with video jukebox style screens, and can have HDDs embedded in them. But basically, that's all they are - video decoders for your TV.

They're quite convenient things to have though, I recommend a cheap one (the elion for example is possibly the best of the cheapest).

Re:Better than a "smart TV" (1)

brianerst (549609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38597382)

That's apparently the reason for creating the Roku thumbdrive in the first place - to separate out the smart from the TV. BestBuy is going to package them with their Insignia TVs [pcmag.com] and Roku is trying to get other manufacturers to do the same.

When the latest super-duper codec or app comes out that cannot be handled with a simple firmware update, you pitch the old $50 dongle and plug in the new $50 dongle. The $600 TV stays.

It seems like a pretty good idea - its the implementation details that we need to see.

minor addition to Roku line...for now (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38597424)

So most TVs that will support this dongle already offer the major features that it provides. So it certainly won't provide a big burst of sales for Roku at the outset. What Roku will need to do to make the product a success is to provide a better user interface to the streaming services that it supports, and do a better job of keeping their device updated than the TV manufacturers do. This might not be too hard. While modern TVs are updatable, TV manufacturers tend to be far more interested in selling new TVs than in enhancing old ones. For example, my Panasonic TV supports Amazon streaming, but there is only a time display when in fast forward or rewind, and only on-screen controls work (even though the TV remote has the buttons), and it doesn't keep track of where you left off if you return to a movie that you previously watched.

MHL not MHDL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38597630)

And you can already get adapters for it to connect to your non MHL TV. Many of the newer phones have micro usb connectors that dual function as MHL connectors. It is simply a HDMI connector that supplies power to the device. IE a POE injector for HDMI

Stream from where? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38598388)

I looked at their pages and cant seem to find out if it will stream from MY server, or just 'external' services.

Re:Stream from where? (1)

dhickman (958529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38599308)

I have been running iptv for years. I started with a Mythbox to replace my tivo around 2003 and eventually hooked a pc up to the tv and placed the server in the computer room.

The next step was hacking an apple tv (1) and using it as a front end and to play boxee and other content. It worked well until the MKV format started to dominate.

When the boxee box came out, I bought it, retired my old mythbox and started to use my own file server and netflix.

I recently bought an Xbox 360, and use it for Espn and games. I also bought a roku 2 as a kid and wife friendly netflix device.

I have considered returning to using a peecee hooked to my tv and then I remember why I got rid of it in the first place( circa 2006-7), I want my television to use a simple remote. I find using three different devices with three different remotes and a tv remote, much simpler than trying to keep a peecee running with an XYL and kids touching it.

I have considered building a media center pc, but honestly the only thing that it would provide that I can not get through legal or grey market mean is the local news.

My biggest issue now is that I want to use a single unified remote for all of my devices and the roku and boxee are RF based and do not have an IR option. As a result I have a pile of remotes for the kids to loose.

Re:Stream from where? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602328)

The next version of XBMC that is currently in Beta will support the CEC. CEC is the Consumer Electronics Control standard that is part of HDMI. HDMI does not require devices to use it, but requires them not to interfere with it. Both of my Vizio TVs support CEC, so I assume it is not real hard to find. Some people have been reporting that their computers support it without an external adapter. For those who's HTPCs don't support it, there is the CEC-USB device that will add support for CEC to your PC.

This is likely the direction you want to look for long term remote consolidation.
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