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Ubuntu TV: Coming Soon To a Living Room Near You (Video)

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the forget-the-world-we'll-dominate-your-TV-instead dept.

Television 183

Apple TV is a little device you hook to your television. Ubuntu TV (motto: "TV for human beings") is going to be inside your TV, says Peter Goodall, Canonical's Product Manage for Ubuntu TV. At CES, he described Ubuntu TV to Timothy Lord in detail. Join them via Slashdot Video to see what's up with this Ubuntu venture, which has lots of competition; "Smart TV" was a major CES catchphrase this year.

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Smart boxes not TVs (4, Insightful)

Monoman (8745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712778)

I personally would rather see the TV makers stick to making the displays and let other companies like Roku, Boxee, Tivo, etc handle the "smart" parts.

We have a Samsung smart TV too. We use Hulu quite a bit but have found that the Hulu app appears to suffer from lag sometimes. However, on our older TV (not smart) we have a Roku we use for Hulu and it never experiences the problem. If the TV lags bad I just pause the show on the smart tv and then go resume it on the Roku.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38712844)

Exactly. There is no money to be made on it after the sale of the TV for the manufacturer, and therefore no incentive to maintain / upgrade the service; or even fix it if it's broken. This is not a good business model for the consumer.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (2)

Monoman (8745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713096)

It would be nice if TVs just had standard slots for tuners/adapter but you can pretty much forget about them standardizing on an interface so others can make money.

Samsung is working on this (4, Interesting)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713336)

Samsung is working on a "user upgradeable" TV with plug in modules. There was little detail about it at CES this year, but it appeared from the demos that you could plug in modules to upgrade CPU, operating system, and image processing components.

I don't know exactly how much of the TV is upgradeable, but Samsung suggested that most of the important bits of the TV could be upgraded this way.

-ted

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713468)

I'd think the TV makers would be scrambling for ways to differentiate. I mean, the buzz of last year's CES was the ill-conceived push for "3d tv". I get the sense most people had the same "meh" reaction I did.

And while I agree with the gp, that I'd rather have that functionality in a roku (etc), more ways to get content sounds nice to everyone. Standardized ways of doing so might just be a byproduct of manufacturers trying to offer as many services as possible in their devices' feature lists.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (3, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713592)

If you have an HDTV, the standard interface is marked HDMI.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

Monoman (8745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714738)

That works great. Now we need an internal HDMI interface and standard slot. Some folks don't want "set top" boxes.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713838)

Why? My TV has a nice standard HDMI input (several of them in fact). That's quite sufficient to get video and sound into the TV. That way I can hook up anything I want and not have to worry about whether it has the right size, shape, connector and protocol to fit my TV.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714124)

It's called an HDMI port.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (-1, Troll)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713734)

Exactly. There is no money to be made on it after the sale of the TV for the manufacturer, and therefore no incentive to maintain / upgrade the service; or even fix it if it's broken. This is not a good business model for the consumer.

Rather like Android phones. That's why they don't get much in the way of updates from the manufacturer. And I suppose, also like Android phones, geeks will be able to get around that because it's Ubuntu underneath, and they can get community created builds.

Meanwhile, consumers that would prefer to get official software updates from the manufacturer will be better getting a "Smart TV" from Apple (once they release one). Just like they're better off with an iPhone. Apple does see the value in doing software updates for old models, for as long as the old model has the power to run the new software OK. Their incentive is maintaining the good will of their customers.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (2)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714240)

Apple sees the value in more or less maintaining the previous version.

They see the value in throwing the one before that a couple of bones.

They don't see much value in going back before that.

They see the value in suing people who try to bring current functionality to older products.

See what they're doing for a dual G5 Power Mac or the original iPhone? I'm Apple free now, I had to give my mom my newer Mac-Mini to replace her dual G5 since the version of iTunes available on the dual G5 couldn't load the latest IOS on her 3GS. I was glad to be rid of it.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (2)

horza (87255) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714296)

With Android it is the carrier, not the manufacturer, that updates it. In most cases the manufacturer provides plenty of updates. Most people are happy with the stock Android that comes with their phone, but geeks get the option to install the latest and greatest.

Your argument, however, makes no sense. You suggest that the Android manufacturers have no incentive to update their phones, yet Apple has the incentive of "maintaining good will"? If the latter is a good business model then Android manufacturers have the same incentive. It is also based on the false premis that consumers are better off with an iPhone than an Android phone, when the reality is clearly the other way around.

Phillip.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38712848)

I have a Sony Internet TV and Hulu experiences frequent lags. If we stream from Amazon Prime then we never have any problems. I wonder if it's the Hulu client in the smart TV which is actually the problem.

I hate having a TV with the programs built in. We are at the mercy of Sony to push updates to our Internet TV. Hopefully Sony will continue to support the TV and send me frequent updates to fix some of the performance problems in the TV. If they stop supporting the software then my TV is worthless. In retrospect, I would prefer to have a separate box so I'm not stuck to vendor lock-in.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713146)

In retrospect, I would prefer to have a separate box so I'm not stuck to vendor lock-in.

Or, you know, don't buy a Sony... ever.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (0)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713882)

That was very insightful for an AC. After all the evil and harm that Sony's done to their customers, any fool that buys a Sony deserves what he gets. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Ubuntu put in the furry section? (-1)

reedk (43097) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712968)

Two obersrvations: 1. It may be the nerves of the camera, but if you are asked to explain your product and your first response is "uhhh...," that'sa sign the product goal isn't clear. He has trouble explaining this despite havinf presumably done it a hundred times already. 2. What's with the giant 6-foot insect in the corner? It's quite the distraction. It looks like the ubuntu tent is in the corner of the hall with the insect infestation.

Re:Ubuntu put in the furry section? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713488)

saying "uhhh" frequently in speech is a common habit shared by many people. It is in now way indicative of anything other than the fact that you suffer from that habit. It doesn't mean you don't know what to say, are making things up, or anything like that.

Re:Ubuntu put in the furry section? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713584)

[Saying "uhhh" frequently] is in now way indicative of anything other than the fact that you suffer from that habit.

Except that the market has chosen to discourage that habit in salespeople in favor of an ability to memorize answers to the most frequent questions and recite them flawlessly.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (3)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713028)

No. It's annoying! It's annoying having a tv with plenty of features that go to waste because you end up plugging in one our two our more boxes to input ports. And each one requires anything else to remote control it properly (i.e. Some features are only available through their particular remote). I loved the idea of a smart tv, because it's like having my computer connected to the tv, without the extra boxes and cables.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (2)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713170)

Yes, I love my smart TV. It has a built in media server to play shows I download on my laptop, There's Netflix app that came with the TV, and it still functions as a regular TV. I think getting Ubuntu TV would be great if my cable provider would support it. Of course when the cable company starts losing $10-$25/month because people don't need to rent the stupid boxes from them, they'll most likely block the competing service. My cable co. Charges $10/month for the basic digital cable decoder box and $25/month for the digital cable decoder with PVR. That's on top of the $160/month for cable not including the HD channels. One more excuse to pirate shows.

I'm slowly convincing my wife that, yes cable is convenient if you like to channel surf and don't know what you want to watch, but you can download anything you want, only get what you want instead of the 100 extra channels of crap, you don't have to watch the stupid commercials, and with the money we'd save by getting rid of cable we could buy a new computer/TV/whatever else she wanted every year.

Good luck "downloading" sports (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713612)

Good luck "downloading" Monday Night Football or any other live professional or collegiate sporting event that has become appointment television.

Re:Good luck "downloading" sports (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713826)

You see, the issue is that Sports is a big avenue for profit in the US (well, in general in many countries, but the US has taken very good advantage of it). So while in other countries, they attract you to the cable plans with the "You can watch all the games". In the US, you have the "you can always pay-per-view the games". So they don't want you to have that.

Note that in the US, cable companies charge you for delivering freely broadcasted channels as well. Go figure why networks don't broadcast their real-time content online for free (after all they also pay for spectrum and broadcasting equipment).

Re:Good luck "downloading" sports (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713936)

Neither my wife or I like sports so no problem there for us, but I can see your point and how it might affect others. Surly there must be a live internet stream from a sport channel website or pay-per-view or some other alternative. I suppose if you really wanted sports that much you'd just have to suck it up and pay the cable company what they want.

Where I'm at that would be $25 for the digital PVR, since all sports channels are HD and the basic $10 digital cable decoder I have doesn't work with HD channels, $160 for the basic cable (100 channels of crap most of the time), then another $25 for each of three or four different sport channel packages. That doesn't include pay-per-view for any special events that aren't shown on the regular channels. So I'd be looking at around $260 + pay-per-view a month if I was into sports.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713190)

What smart features does your TV have that a separate box couldn't possible ever have?

Idbar already said it: fewer cables (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713600)

because it's like having my computer connected to the tv, without the extra boxes and cables.

What smart features does your TV have that a separate box couldn't possible ever have?

Idbar already said it: fewer cables.

Re:Idbar already said it: fewer cables (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714400)

Roku already solved that "problem".

Not that one HDMI port and one power cable is such a burden to begin with.

On the other hand, an external box allows you to standardize the experience between multiple TV sets without forcing you to buy the most expensive component by far from ONE AND ONLY ONE vendor.

It's bad enough when the $100 box represents a "check in and never leave" vendor lock situation.

Three devices, two HDMI ports (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714588)

Not that one HDMI port and one power cable is such a burden to begin with.

It is when the cable box occupies the TV's first HDMI port and the video game console occupies the TV's other HDMI port.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713714)

I'm going to tell you the first one that went to waste on my Sony XBR in the 90s: Picture-in-Picture. It was great to have the chance of checking other stuff while not missing the main one. It was (to me) particularly useful for the news. Then my cable company came to bring the set top box, and bye-bye feature.

In addition to it, some boxes for some reason whatsoever don't control the TV volume but the local box volume, so you have to use their remote to control the volume (or any other stupid stuff), so you'll have to have both remotes always at reach.

So yes, I find TVs coming with awesome features, and I sincerely just got one Google TV and the rest.. is monitors with computers plugged to them and wireless keyboards, because I refuse to pay for features that I'm not going to use, and I refuse to pay for many multiple boxes, for a single task each. It's just ridiculous.

Why none of the freaking TV manufacturers has come with a USB dongle that enables channel decoding for cable companies instead of using a bunch of extra boxes (and cards) is something that it's out of my head. (If it's security, it's not like people don't crack satellite box firmware already).

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714470)

I had a TV remote, a PVR remote, a Blu-Ray remote and a 360 controller. Now I have a Harmony 4in1 remote and it is a lot less hassle. It will turn on the TV and Blu-Ray, change channel and even control the correct volume. Nearly gadget of the decade just for that.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713630)

I loved the idea of a smart tv, because it's like having my computer connected to the tv

But does a smart TV let you play computer games on the TV, or do you still need an external console and are you still limited to the selection of games for that console?

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713726)

Up until a week or two ago, I would agree with you, primarily on the grounds of Remote Control Hell. For the primary television in the living room, maybe a smart TV wins, but I'm planning some small remote monitors with a BeagleBoard in back to serve up reasonably non-interactive content. While a smart TV should be able to meet my needs for such a function, history tells me that it will be locked down in one way or another.

TV manufacturers' objective is to shorten the upgrade cycle. That doesn't do much for me; I want my TV to last 10 years minimum. (My parents had their first color TV for 25 years!)

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713766)

I see your point of the "upgrading" cycle. But if they really don't offer something "worth" the upgrade and their features go to waste (as I said in a previous post, like the Picture-in-picture that vanished thanks to the cable boxes), then why do I need anything more than a plain monitor (with perhaps a single tuner if so)?

Same here (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713066)

But id like it for a different reason. I just want a simple pane of glass that displays video. I don't want or need all the extra stuff.

Doing this just makes them more expensive, more prone to break and repair even worse. Oh, and more controllable by other parties upstream

Like having an integrated DVD player break on a 2000 TV and you are hosed with a huge bill.. when all you really needed was a 25 dollar one attached to the back of it.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (2)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713432)

I agree, I don't want integrated. It always reminds me of TV's with VCRs in them. The VCR almost always died first, leaving a TV with a built in VCR that didn't work and another VCR hooked up to it.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714622)

VCR's are mechanical, and so are prone to breaking. TVs are already computers, so adding features is trivial. Do you also argue that your desktop shouldn't play music? After all, that's one more thing that might break.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

joeyblades (785896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713694)

I personally would rather not have any more "boxes" attached to my TV.

I have a Sony Google TV and I love it.
I haven't noticed any latency issues.

BTW, You really can't compare an integrated Sony/Google TV (or similar) solution with Roku unless you ONLY care about streaming. One of the best things about Google TV is the integrated Chrome browser. I love watching some program and being able to pull up a browser in the background and learn about what other movies that actor is in? or what's the name of that song playing in the soundtrack? or how many stars does this movie get on Rotten Tomatoes? or what's that pitcher's stats? etc.... Or, if I want to show my family some pictures on some web site, but I would like to leave the playoff game on in the background.

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713856)

I agree. But then again I was always more of an "individual components" kind of guy. When one part fails you don't have to replace the whole shebang, and you can upgrade one part at a time.

But that's just me, I think most people prefer a stereo to components, and a VCR/DVD/BluRay/wheteverisnext inside the TV rather than a pile of boxes they have to wire together.

I already have Ubuntu TV -- a computer running kubuntu sits next to the TV and uses it for a monitor. I sit on the couch with a wireless mouse to control it, occasionally using a wireless keyboard. I've had this setup for almost ten years (it used to be a Mandrake TV).

Re:Smart boxes not TVs (1)

BigZee (769371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713994)

The way you described your personal preference made me recall the introduction of the Sony Profeel in the '80s. The idea was to sell TVs in the same way as Hi-Fi - you buy just the components you need/want to connect to a high quality monitor. It might have been a good idea but given the limited options it never really took off. In most cases, Profeel monitors were generally used at trade shows as simply a high quality monitor that could accept a video feed. Had the different service options we have now been available back then it might have taken off. However, I don't think so. Although people might want a PVR and access to several internet or satellite feeds the majority do not want the plethora of boxes and cables that might be associated with such services. In practice, as demonstrated by Sky in the UK, people want a one stop shop. In this respect, integrating the available options into the TV is probably the most satisfactory option. It may not suit us nerds (I have an HDDVD player, Laserdisk player, PS3, VHS video recorder, Mythtv box and a Wii huddled under my TV) but I expect it is the way forward for many. In fact, I expect that the TV of the future will simply be a tablet PC where the screen happens to be 40 or 50 inches in size and sits on the wall instead of your lap. No one seems to mind having the myriad of services available in an Ipad.

Integrated Computers & TV's dont mix (5, Informative)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712804)

Computer hardware changes a lot faster than the display components. There is only a limited market for integrated devices unless they are strictly re-formatting/ receiving streams over IP.

Of course, manufactures would LOVE for you to buy an Integrated device with TV today, so they can sell you a brand new shiny toy in 3-5 years when your display gear no longer works with DRM version X.

Look at all the VCR / TV combo's sitting in the garage sales cause they dont play DVD's , etc..

Re:Integrated Computers & TV's dont mix (4, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712976)

The VCR/TV combos that I saw were always portable TVs. I quite often saw them in office environments, where they could be moved to where ever training or a presentation required them. In such a case, a separate TV and VCR wasn't a good option, because of having to carry 2 items, and the hassle of rewiring them together each time they were moved. And they probably had a useful life of, what 10-15 years?

For large screen TVs, building a VCR in wasn't very common. I imagine there was such a product but I never saw one.

Re:Integrated Computers & TV's dont mix (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714486)

who cares, these cheap ass TV's are lucky to last more than 5 years anyway, dont worry they will sell you a new toy one way or another

Inspiration (0)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712826)

Constant distraction plaguing every level of design, development and implementation is a good thing. I know this because I've been into space.
Signed,
Fake Mark Shuttleworth

Debian TV (4, Funny)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712834)


apt-get update
apt-get install latest-tv-show

Then to get the latest episodes:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

Re:Debian TV (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712896)

You get to type all that in with the number pad on the remote. Because GUIs ate for wimps.

Re:Debian TV (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38712920)

Oh, "apt-get" jokes, ha hah ah ah ahah aha hah ah!!! So fresh, so original, so creative, so witty. Mod this one "funny", boys.

Re:Debian TV (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713006)

How about MythTV Bittorrent Tracker MythTV-GUI
Everyone with a MythTV box connected together sharing TV/SAT/DVD/Whatever. If it's a file sharing network then the upload speed of each DSL would not be an issue. Maybe even a "Push - Pull" function. No website to tie it all together. Just built in search for other MythTV systems online. After a year or two every show out there would be recorded and shared. Only new shows/movies would need to be "acuired."

A hive mind of DVRs! Youtube be damed. MPAA go to h....
A Video network "By the People, For the People!"

Slashdot Hackers! Go Forth and "Share the Code!"

PS. I like the Debian TV idea too.

Re:Debian TV (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713054)

Run it over a mostly anonymous networking layer like freenet / i2p / something else, and it might even be "kind of" safe to participate in.
One big problem is going to be local ad insertion. Ever noticed local ads during network shows? Yeah.
I use mythtv with hands off automatic commercial detection and skipping so I don't see ads, and if everyone used this, this we'd all theoretically have more or less identical streams, I think?

Re:Debian TV (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713862)

Only new shows/movies would need to be "acuired."

That and sports. And political talk shows.

Re:Debian TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714350)

Probably falls under the category of new show...

New shows (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714628)

Then perhaps you're beginning to understand my point: Several heads of household within my extended family think new shows alone are worth the asking price of cable TV.

Re:Debian TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713942)

Don't plan on getting it accepted into the myth code. Other than DVD decryption, the core myth devs are very strongly opposed to any features that are likely to have legality issues.

Re:Debian TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713416)

Ubuntu TV: We are sorry, but your TV does not support Unity 3D. Please update your hardware.

Re:Debian TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713596)

apt-get update

E: Could not open lock file /var/lib/apt/lists/lock - open (13: Permission denied)
E: Unable to lock directory /var/lib/apt/lists/
E: Could not open lock file /var/lib/dpkg/lock - open (13: Permission denied)
E: Unable to lock the administration directory (/var/lib/dpkg/), are you root?

Re:Debian TV (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713642)

Add this ppa

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:drwho2005-daily/ppa

If you start to hear a strange wooshing sound and your computer turnes blue and begins to fade in and out you've gon too far...

I link the Interface (2)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712838)

If they can provide some content like Netflix, Hulu, etc. than it might be worth looking into. I wonder if it's a full blown linux OS or some cut down version with limited capabilities?

Re:I link the Interface (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712960)

I wonder if it's a full blown linux OS or some cut down version with limited capabilities?

Well, looks it's going to run Unity so it'll be nearly impossible to tell.

Re:I link the Interface (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714216)

Or you could just do like they did - grab the code from the guys who wrote it, and install ANY linux distro on a linux-based TV [theregister.co.uk] .

Come on people - TVs running linux are not new. What *is* new is that Canonical, having failed to deliver on their promised android tablets more than 2 years after they were announced [arstechnica.com] , and more than a year after they were supposed to ship, are now looking for something else "shiny" to make people forget abut all their previous failures to ship.

Besides, would you really want to buy a TV that's going to break something on every update?

I unlink the interface (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712980)

We already have so many Media Center GUIs for Linux starting with the XBMC, why is Cannonical not building uppon accepted and popular community made interfaces and instead rolling their own? I mean, again?

Re:I unlink the interface (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714468)

They could perhaps even improve upon what is already out there filling in some of the gaps that some people perceive in those projects that already exist. They could also greatly accelerate the development of their "new thing" by reusing old code.

That last bit is the whole point of Free Software.

Even Windows and Mac users are in on that party.

2012! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38712846)

Year of Linux on the...TV...?

The real problem (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712908)

The conventional wisdom which I'm sure we'll soon be subjected to, is the problem this device has is content, where will they get the TV equivalent of top40 content, etc.

The real problem this device has, is why would someone buy it instead of apple/roku/homebrew mythtv/boxee/tivo/xmbc/android tv... any others I've missed? What makes this one special other than its a different manufacturer trying to do the same thing. If anything I'm curious how well this device conforms from a user perspective to the boring standard model all the other developers are using. Even the idea that something new or unique could exist in this market is unthinkable.

The /. car analogy is good luck trying to tell commuter vehicles apart when trying to purchase a new car. The marketing materials are useless because they either insist that you'll get laid if you select their car, or they're puffed up with useless comparison charts (stereotypically you'll have a column of something like "number of tires" all being 4 in each row, or ships with a steering wheel all having a "Y". Why have that column?). The salespeople just want to sell you the most expensive car with the most expensive dealer addons and the most expensive possible financing package. Your friends will provide mostly useless anecdotes about their individual car's maintenance history and peculiar favorite parts, which mostly tells you more about them than about the car model in general. Any decision making data about use, comfort, reliability, economics are simply unobtainable.

Re:The real problem (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713308)

>> why would someone buy it instead of apple/roku/homebrew mythtv/boxee/tivo/xmbc/android tv...

You won't get the option. Ubuntu are taking a page out of Microsoft's marketing strategy. It will just come in your new TV whether you want it or not.

The early screenshots I've seen of its GUI indicate it will be as user-unfriendly and useless as unity.

Re:The real problem (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714176)

You won't get the option. Ubuntu are taking a page out of Microsoft's marketing strategy. It will just come in your new TV whether you want it or not.

On all TVs? I think that unlikely. Probably not on the rumored to exist appleTV. Not on the large monitor connected to my mythtv box which I colloquially call my "TV". That last idea might be an interestingly bizarre way to get linux on the desktop, what if all computer monitors came with Ubuntu and you could get some real work done while waiting for windows to boot?

The early screenshots I've seen of its GUI indicate it will be as user-unfriendly and useless as unity.

I look forward to seeing how hard they'll make it to use, in a weird way its kind of entertaining to watch things devolve, watch the world burn. Now, at home to play the Wii I push the "input" button on the side of the TV right above the Wii until I see the Wii screen, easy, fast, convenient, intuitive, and simple. I'm sure they'll think of some agonizing way to have to swipe thru ribbons and menus and unidentifiable icons for 5 minutes to change the input. I'm terrified to even imagine what I'll have to do to adjust the volume... tilt the TV to detect the level with the built in accelerometer?

A solution looking for a problem (5, Insightful)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712914)

I just don't see the big consumer demand for these smart TVs. Even among my gadget loving friends, the interest in smart TVs can be described as lukewarm at best. Sure, the integrated capability to stream content from providers other than the cable/satellite company does appeal to some. But I just don't see people banging down doors to get this integrated into the TV. If anything, I see more people using their TVs as big monitors for their PCs and game consoles.

Perhaps it's just the cynic in me but I see this more as a push by the advertisers as a means to get more of their content delivered. All of the providers will relish the opportunity to embed ads, either in their UI or in their content. Yet another business model being pushed on people who don't really want it, if they care at all.

Re:A solution looking for a problem (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713050)

For me, it's cutting down the "box count" and overall volume and energy consumption of the boxes that drive the TV. I've got a WDTV, PS3 and eeePC driving the TV now.

XBMC on eeePC works pretty well, if you leave it running, essentially by itself, 24-7, otherwise, getting into Windows to launch XBMC is a horridly painful wait, and if you've had something as complex as a browser running in the same session, performance can sometimes be.... lacking. A dedicated, very small and very power efficient, box that boots straight to XBMC and does nothing else would be a welcome addition.

WDTV works pretty well for what it does, there's something to be said for being able to give the kids relatively unsupervised access to the remote control and knowing 100% for sure that they won't be deleting the entire file tree. If the little box with UbuntuTV / XBMC ever makes it to the living room, the WDTV will probably retire to drive another screen in another room.

PS3 is winding down, it has a couple of really neat games, but as a media center it was always too finicky about file formats - and it's too big and too power hungry for what it does.

Oh, and this idea of putting it "in the TV" - maybe I'll get behind that in 5-10 years, but for right now, the processors are just too lame, 5-10 years from now the TV will feel horribly outdated by the clunky slow menu system "inside" and will probably end up being driven by an external box anyway.

Re:A solution looking for a problem (1)

Zibodiz (2160038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713968)

As a TV repairman, I wholeheartedly agree. Over half the 'smart TVs' I work on have never been used with anything but a satellite Box and maybe a DVD player... often, I mention something about online functionality, and the EU is shocked their TV can get online. Then there's the one that calls me to 'fix' their TV because they can't surf the web with it.

Re:A solution looking for a problem (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714488)

I wonder if that's because your gadget-loving friends already have PCs, consoles, etc to connect to the TV that handle that functionality, and if "normal" people might be keener on them.

That said I *think* my TV has some kind of smart functionality built-in, but I've not investigated it as my Blu-ray player does, so I just use that...

Far too late to the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714684)

This is about the last thing I want to see on my TV.
It is bad enough having to put up with XP Embedded bluse screening every few days but now Ubuntu?

Why? Why? Why?

Why the heck are Canonical spending time and money on this?
Don't they have enough things on their plate as it is? Reducing the number of unfixed bugs in Ubuntu maybe? That was the reason I stopped using it...

Oh silly me, they need to start getting an income. Well, I don't think that many mainstream TV makers will want to put all their eggs in the Ubuntu basket.

But will it integrate with cable (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712950)

What would make something like this work is if I can integrate this with my cable box. Now that channels are three digits and I can't remember them, I can use a smarter interface. I would also be nice if my on-demand, my netflix, and hulu were all right next to each other. Services like this usually can't pull this off. But maybe Ubuntu will be seen as less of a threat by Comcast and the others, and they'll allow better integration. If so, that would be great.

Re:But will it integrate with cable (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713104)

What would make something like this work is if I can integrate this with my cable box.

I wonder if its going to be "push" like my cablebox was or "pull" like my mythtv. I like the pull model because with a few minutes configuration I can expunge entire channels. I don't even see Univision, ESPN, QVC or EWTN as existing. I like it that way. I much prefer scrolling thru 20 channels that I actually watch than almost 80 of which 60 I never watch. The expensive fee movie channels are not grayed out on my mythtv like they are on a settop, they just don't exist.

I'm worried a commercial settop or integrated settop or whatever is going to be intensely push. So I can watch the youtube video I want, after spend time and mindshare scrolling past the vendor's advertising suggestion, etc. 10000 channels of home shopping and religious preaching to scroll thru while searching for actual content.. Just wait until you get the TV equivalent of foul loud animated flashing internet browser ads, without the virtue of adblock+ for the TV. Or maybe someone is developing something like adblock+ for TV?

Its the "see the beautiful countryside" vs "see the commercial billboards" problem, coming now to your TV.

XBMC on a Raspberry Pi (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712978)

A Raspberry Pi can hang off of an HDMI port with little or no additional support, the only thing "unaesthetic" about the solution is the power supply cable.

So, for me, the question is: which free software package is going to port themselves to a sub-$100 HDMI out solution that can hide behind a flat panel first: Ubuntu, or XBMC?

I can already buy a WDTV Live for ~$100, but on Raspberry Pi I'd have the option to "shell out" of the media center if desired.

Re:XBMC on a Raspberry Pi (2)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713016)

Most TVs now have a USB port (used for firmware update on "non-smart" TVs) - just use a micro-USB cable to power the RPi from the TV itself.

Re:XBMC on a Raspberry Pi (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713064)

Most TVs now have a USB port (used for firmware update on "non-smart" TVs) - just use a micro-USB cable to power the RPi from the TV itself.

Cool - if the port will source 700mA (will need ethernet to get access to the NAS).

Re:XBMC on a Raspberry Pi (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713022)

So, for me, the question is: which free software package is going to port themselves to a sub-$100 HDMI out solution that can hide behind a flat panel first: Ubuntu, or XBMC?

Doesn't it already run Debian, in which case it's just "apt-get install mythtv-frontend" and tada its done? I also had to configure, if I recall, GDM as a login manager, modified the GDM config files to autologin as the mythtv user, installed ratpoison as the display manager which is never used buy mythtv got worked up unless run under a window manager, did something to make ratpoison start off mythtv-frontend (or was it some .x file?) and it just worked?

Its all a puppet recipe for me, that I set up several years ago, so when I deployed my newest FE I didn't actually "do" any of the above, I just told puppet its a mythtv-frontend and a couple minutes later magically it started working. But I could look up what puppet is doing if I wanted.

Re:XBMC on a Raspberry Pi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713078)

This would require video playback acceleration- which the info's not been made fully public yet. You can barely make a boot-load image set with the info that's out right now. In a couple of weeks or so of release, I'd agree with you- but for now...

Re:XBMC on a Raspberry Pi (3, Interesting)

shish (588640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713290)

XBMC already runs nicely on the pi; the software-rendered GUI maxes out the CPU (I'm not sure if this is before or after the software renderer improvements they're working on), but hardware accelerated 1080p30 playback is fine - one of the XBMC developers was given access to an alpha board IIRC. Apparently the integration is one of the many things the Pi people have been asked not to talk about, so I presume things are brewing behind the scenes and they don't want to be assaulted with questions until it's 100% finished.

boot time? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38712984)

Whats the boot time on a "smart TV"?

I know my old tube TV started up in about 3 seconds and the picture was stabilizing for about 10 to 15 seconds.

My current very new LCD starts up in about 10 maybe 15 seconds I haven't timed it, but its much slower than the tube it replaced. Spends a weird amount of time displaying the LG logo when its "up" but doing ... something, I guess.

My old cable settop DVR box, before I cancelled/returned it, took a good solid 5 minutes to boot. More than even the longest TV commercial break, anyway. Analysis with a power meter shows that "off" merely meant it output a black screen, no change in consumption, which I thought was interesting. Obviously it came out of "blank screensaver mode" in about one second, I'm talking about power on boot time, or after it locked up, which it did all the time.

My current mythtv frontend using all solid state on a vanilla Debian install takes, eh maybe 2 minutes to boot from power to the mythtv frontend screen. It basically never locks up, and I never shut it off because it draws approximately no power (around 5 watts) and it would be extremely environmentally damaging to destroy it by repetitive power cycling, so I do not.

So that's the real world boot time data I have. Any /.er with a "smart TV" either inside the TV itself or an addon box want to provide some real world data?

Re:boot time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713048)

I have a Samsung smart TV, it's up in a few seconds. As fast as my previous CRT. It works fine as a TV.

Re:boot time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713112)

My samsung tv has the bad capacitor click of death, it takes about a 30 seconds to start up after it reboots itself several times.

Re:boot time? (1)

shish (588640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713340)

I have a hanns-g monitor with nothing smart about it at all, and it takes 10-15 seconds to go from power on to displaying something, and has 5-10 seconds of blankness when switching resolution (even "switching" from 1080p to 1080p). Much slower than even their slightly older models, and I have no idea why. I dread to think how painful it would be with an OS installed...

Re:boot time? (1)

JTL21 (190706) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713724)

2011 Sony TV - I find it pretty much acceptable.

Timing depends on what you mean by boot time...

If you only need to use the same input as you turned off from last time you can be running in seven or eight seconds from a hard off situation (which I think is pretty good). Its a couple of seconds quicker from standby. Also if in Standby you can turn on the device that you want to watch (or in some cases press play) and from that end of the chain the surround amp and the TV will then be turned on and the right input selected*.

Even from hard power off it will display picture from last used source pretty quickly - HDMI (including HDCP negotiation) or even AVC HD broadcast (I'm in the UK) in under 8 seconds and I think the GOP length is pretty long. Channel selection is available from this point (although sluggish during the boot process) although not input selection.

Full boot up seems to take over 30s though including:
establishing a network connection,
logging into Skype.
identifying Audio System connected over HDMI*, turning it on and transferring sound output responsibilities.
identifying connected HDMI devices* (even those connected through the audio system) to allow direct selection of them from the TV UI.
other tasks such as populating the programme guide from the broadcast and finding DLNA servers are also taking place.

Interestingly the main menu continues to populate itself even after it is available (at about 30s), finishing at around 35-40s but selection of many items is available earlier. Programme guide and input selection also available from about 30s.

*I believe these processes are all using the HDMI CEC standard and would also work between non Sony devices but I haven't personally tested it. I have PS3 (only works with slim), Sony Blu-ray and Sony Surround Sound Receiver.

Disclaimer - Former Sony TV Product Planner. No current commercial relationship with Sony and I bought the TV and the surround receiver albeit with staff discount.

Note that while very much an Internet TV with iPlayer (BBC catch up), Lovefilm (UK Netflix equivalent including postal discs and streaming), MUBI, music services, DLNA capability, Skype etc. (and Sony's Premium Movie store and music subscription services) the Sony TVs are not sold as SmartTV and the services are very much directed towards being video content rather than apps. There is an Opera based browser but I would never bother using it.

The added cost of hardware for these additional services is almost nothing on models without wifi and without the Skype camera (cost of the video encoding is within the camera not the TV hardware everyone must pay for). Making more models without the features would reduce the value of those with the features by reducing the number of potential users and therefore the content providers interest. Outside the US the market for monitors rather than TVs is small even if many then connect a STB. Also the fact that features are built into the TV doesn't mean that if you wanted to upgrade in 5 years you need to replace the screen, just buy a new Internet box then. I have my doubts about whether the proprietary upgrade path Samsung is now creating will ever be used as the number of potential upgraders is probably not that great so will the upgrades come to market? It also indicates that they expect many services not to be available on the current TVs without upgrade which isn't the best way to maximise the platform size which is the key to getting the good content there, its very much hardware thinking.

My view and I think that of many in Sony was that the Internet features aren't necessarily to make people buy a new TV (there are Blu-rays and net box options for about GBP100 for adding the feature) but that if you are buying a new TV wouldn't you rather have the one with these features available at a similar cost or small premium.

Smart idiot box (3, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713072)

Beware anything the marketing department label as smart.

Only general purpose computers are "smart". Everything else is a gadget or toy.

ubuntu isle of man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713162)

Ubuntu, coming to you from the tax haven Isle of Man.

Ubuntu, you aint cool anymore bro.

Interesting video, but... (1)

tjbp (2499800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713228)

can I has root?

TV For old ladies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713412)

I'm sure all the old ladies are going to really appreciate that hideous color scheme Ubuntu is utilizing - what is that mauve?

Same color as my grandmother's favorite dress. Before she died. Twenty-seven years ago.

TV Priced it's self out of my market (2)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713428)

Cable TV is priced to where I don't see the value in it anymore. I got ride of cable, upped my internet to the next tier, and connected an HTPC to the screen. The HTPC has a tuner card with rabbit ears, so I can DVR a few OTA shows, and the rest is all streaming and downloads. There is so much of that available, I don't really feel like I am missing anything.

Re:TV Priced it's self out of my market (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713920)

There is so much of that available, I don't really feel like I am missing anything.

Including live broadcasts of professional and collegiate sports? Monday Night Football, for example, is available only on cable or satellite. At least one head of household in my extended family has told me that if money becomes tight, he will go back to dial-up before going back to OTA.

Re:TV Priced it's self out of my market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714222)

"Professional" Sports break all new paradigms. They're limited to a handful of extremely overpriced networks. To me, it's akin to paying far too much at Amish Furniture. You're paying not for the product but for someone's uneconomic lifestyle.

If it it was the sports they like anyway, they can watch free at the many scheduled at local sports parks (soccer fields, etc) instead of the ad-encouraged soap opera that is professional sports.

Give the person that concept & see how they respond.

Re:TV Priced it's self out of my market (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714518)

Horses for courses; personally I'm not about to cancel my cable subscription, but I never watch sport (literally never, absolutely none of it interests me in the slightest).

I played with this at CES (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713474)

The functionality was lke a boxee box with a tv tuner. The booth dude said you could get to a linux shell and that there were plans in the works to make it a DVR as well. Even though a lot of us could build that functionality ourselves, I think there is a market if you can get tv+boxee+dvr all in one. Ultimately the price will determine if the project lives or dies though.

no transcript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713568)

if you can not add sub titles (i understand its hard and time consuming) then please, PLEASE supply a transcript.
or farm out the transcript requirement to the Slashdot crowd.

lol @ TV (2)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713622)

Smart TV, how to sell 20th century technology to mentally lazy people.

If you want to watch quality programs you search it for yourself, you don't sit on the couch and expect to get served.

TV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713728)

There's still people out there watching TV?

External "UbuntuTV Box" would be better... (1)

RanceJustice (2028040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713814)

Feel free to read my recent posting history for my opinion on "SmartTVs" - to put it succinctly, they're a waste so long as manufacturer and content provider greed dictate a fragmented, proprietary ecosystem. If Ubuntu wants to really dive into "living room" media, I'd much rather they create a "Ubuntu TV Box" of sorts. Aesthetically pleasing chassis and cutting-edge hardware support (Latest HDMI/DisplayPort, WiDi wireless display technology, 802.11N built in, Gigabit Ethernet, 2+ USB3.0 ports for external drives to source media, possible internal 1TB HDD, sufficient power and hardware support for HD codecs - possibly based on a high end next generation AMD APU setup which would give it quad core processing power for streaming/encoding and a 6000 or 7000 series mid-grade GPU built in. Perhaps include 1 PCI-E x16 3.0 expansion slot for a CableCARD or similar tuner/encoder/recorder card), combined with a custom version of Ubuntu (perhaps taking a few pages from MythBuntu) could show the power of an open platform. With a product sold like this, Ubuntu could lobby for Linux support of CableCARD devices and have an installed base that would make use of them.

Compared to the various proprietary solutions out there, this "UbuTV" box would be far more extensible and be able to integrate all forms of media, frequently updated, and give the user the choice they desire. If Starz releases their HBOGo competitor, simply install support for it. If you subscribe to Netflix, load up that module. Having a default "Just Works" UI, but the ability to install XBMC or MythTV as well would be quite viable. If you want to play games, just load up Desura - it could be the first full-featured distribution variant made to "just work" on a linux Home Theater PC, that would be pre-installed on proper , supported hardware direct with UbuntuTV in mind.

Unfortunately, by leaving this up to the SmartTV manufacturers, I worry this is going to be swift faceplant when "SmartTV" is no longer the buzzword of the moment. I don't want support for updates and hardware to to confined to the whims of Sony, Samsung, and LG. The worst part is when they cheap out on hardware capable of decoding smooth 1080p media for instance, it will reflect badly on UbuntuTV. The TV manufacturers have little interest in really supporting their products long term - they'd much rather you just buy another one. Unless Canonical has made some extremely lucrative offers which frankly I'm not sure is possible much less a good use of their finances, I don't anticipate SmartTV manufacturers going out of their way to make the UbuntuTV experience that great - its just another bullet point for sale. If they had hardware they commissioned and a rising userbase, then they'd have a bit more weight at negotiation. Including the service in SmartTVs could be a decent second step if its "box" made it desirable for the userbase and a true selling point. I also think that Ubuntu needs to work on other aspects of its service, such as Ubuntu One (I'd like to see total cross-platform support. It needs to "out dropbox, dropbox" for the vast majority of users and personally including SpiderOak style encryption is the only way I'd even consider using a service of the type. Furthermore, it needs to support 3rd party content for streaming and the like not just things purchased in the Ubuntu ecosystem. A comprehensive referral system allowing additional data at a rate above competitors would be a good idea as well I'd like to support Ubuntu One, but until it can at least match SpiderOak if not outdo them....).

I don't want to see Ubuntu crash and burn because SmartTV manufacturers don't really give a crap about the product. Its just not a good way to start, putting your entire reputation in a new market at the control of 3rd parties. Releasing two personalized hardware offerings, one as I listed above at the "high end" and a slightly more modest variant similar to a WDTV, along with preparing disc images of customized official UbuntuTV OS offerings meant for users with home-built HTPCs, would be a much better way to start off showcasing UbuntuTV.

Re:External "UbuntuTV Box" would be better... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713988)

ok, so Ubuntu is coming up with 'Ubuntu embedded' for device manufacturers (in this case TV devices) to stick a pre-written software stack in there to provide extra functionality.

I'd say this is less about providing true 'my TV is a computer' but rather 'my TV has one hell of a EPG'. The TV manufacturers generally don't spend much effort on the GUI aspects, which is one reason why Ubuntu might do well here - they get someone who's already written that pesky software, once integrated, they've got additional features to sell more units.

Upgrading is not really part of the plan, you want that, you buy a PC. This is for 'home users' to get better goodies without any hassle.

Maybe Canonical will produce a STB with this on it, but I doubt it - they're trying to build a revenue base from the current fashion in connected devices. Once they;ve done this, they might branch out and put Ubuntu on other things, like in-car entertainment or smart bedside radio/clock/tv/streamer or aircraft entertainment displays or interactive advertising hoardings, or whatever. And good luck to them, just don't make the mistake of thinking this is general purpose Ubuntu for computing.

Re:External "UbuntuTV Box" would be better... (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714116)

"Compared to the various proprietary solutions out there, this "UbuTV" box would be far more extensible"

Why?

The people that provide the content don't give a crap about platforms. The providers are perfectly able, and proven capable, of blocking platforms they don't like. If they decide to "googlize" this mythical product of yours, the platform is dead. Period.

So why would an Ubuntu box be more successful than Google? Or Apple?

Worst demo EVAR (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714016)

Wow, way to kill any interest in a product. That was the most fragmented and confusing demo I've seen in ages.

I can see it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714656)

Crash and Burn arguing over who's television station is pwned

Year of the Linux Living Room!!!!!11 (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714678)

This makes sense. Once Ubuntu took over the desktop, it was only natural to move in to the living room. It's not like they've slipped to the #2 spot for distro users or anything; or that their own Unity desktop is still full of bugs.

Movie Browser (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714702)

That movie browser is totally unusable for browsing movies.
It has no support for a folder hierarchy and it take the whole screen to only display 6 titles at a time. No thanks.

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