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Boxee TV's Unlimited Cloud-based DVR Holds Users Hostage To Monthly Fees

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the ownership-is-obsolete dept.

Cloud 174

An anonymous reader writes "Boxee has announced the game-changing Boxee TV, offering live streaming TV via two on-board tuners and an industry-first 'No Limit' DVR service that allows users to record as much TV content as they want, and access it from virtually anywhere. The problem is that the unit, which records directly to the cloud, does not allow recording to a local drive, meaning users are stuck with Boxee for as long as they want to access their stored content — potentially hundreds or thousands of hours – to the tune of $14.99 per month until Boxee ups the ante. CEPro.com suggests, 'I suspect Boxee is offering unlimited storage to make users especially beholden to them. The more content you have, the less likely you are to drop the service.'"

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Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (3, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41680671)

With the exception of Tivo, I've yet to see any of these new DVR's I keep hearing about lately even mention if they work with cablecards or switched digital video. If not, what the hell would I buy one for?!? My cableco and all of the satellite networks encrypt pretty much ALL their channels now (and my cableco uses SDV extensively too). WTF good does a DVR do me if all I can get on it are a handful of over-the-air channels?

And as far as connecting to online services, big fucking deal. My Xbox, TV, and even blu-ray player already do that. And even if this wasn't a standard feature on pretty much everything sold today (pretty sure it will be built into my next refrigerator too), I could buy a Roku box for $60 that will do that.

Can someone please tell me what market these things are aimed at (or if any of them beside Tivo *do* actually support cablecards and SDV)?

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 2 years ago | (#41680759)

With the exception of Tivo, I've yet to see any of these new DVR's I keep hearing about lately even mention if they work with cablecards or switched digital video....WTF good does a DVR do me if all I can get on it are a handful of over-the-air channels?

More than a decade ago, my ReplayTV had a IR transmitter to control my Dish TV box by faking remote control signals. I assume today's DVRs have something similar.

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 2 years ago | (#41681499)

My first TiVo (a series 2) was the same way. But that was because at the time, there was no other option for recording the encrypted content from the cable company. Cablecard didn't exist yet, did it?

I suppose some boxes could still work similarly, but unless the box from your cable company has multiple outputs for each tuner, you'll be limited to recording a single program at a time.

Pay to rent more boxes (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41681549)

unless the box from your cable company has multiple outputs for each tuner, you'll be limited to recording a single program at a time.

I think cable companies just want customers to pay to rent more boxes in order to record more simultaneous channels.

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (1)

MDMurphy (208495) | about 2 years ago | (#41681775)

That was back before HD and encrypted HDMI. The cable box took the digital signal from the cable provider and it was converted to analog video in the. The TiVo/ReplayTV took the analog video and digitized it before storing on the hard drive. When watching it the DVR converted it back to analog video again. Not exactly the best approach for high fidelity viewing.

If you could control a new box today with an older DVR you might be able to do that, recording the analog output. ( provided it doesn't have copy protection and the DVR refuses to record it which is a strong possibility ) Now if there was a cable box that didn't have HDCP on it's output, then you could do that with a properly equipped DVR.

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41680775)

hdhomerun

the pc cards

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (3, Interesting)

ccguy (1116865) | about 2 years ago | (#41680909)

Can someone please tell me what market these things are aimed at (or if any of them beside Tivo *do* actually support cablecards and SDV)?

Depending on the implementation it could allow to watch US TV from abroad as long as a US buddy is willing to help a bit...

Of course if I went out of my way to organize this so I could pay to watch US TV from Spain someone would still have the balls to call me a pirate. So preemptive fuck you.

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681931)

as long as a US buddy is willing to help a bit...

Why would you ever want to befriend someone from the US? Have you no respect for yourself?

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (1)

Nukenbar (215420) | about 2 years ago | (#41681081)

My Verizon Fios encrypts nothing that I subscribe to.

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681627)

Can someone confirm that all digital signals that Verizon sends are ClearQAM? This is a kind of huge deal if it is true.

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682269)

They aren't. It's horseshit. You can get locals plus a few extras in clear QAM, but that's it.

Cablecard is currently an anti-feature (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681173)

WTF good does a DVR do me if all I can get on it are a handful of over-the-air channels?

It's all about framing. You say that, and I say "WTF good does cable/satellite TV do me, if I can't watch it on a DVR?"

I record OTA shows; that's about half my TV. The advertisers who pay to run ads during those shows, have some (though not all, I'll admit) of their ads seen. The advertisers who pay to run ads during shows that are only transmitted encrypted, are never seen because I watch all that stuff through ad-free torrents. (So if you have an ad to run, make sure you place your order with someone who can actually show your ad to people -- i.e. not cable or satellite channels.)

Cablecard is irrelevant, because no half-decent DVR will ever have the capacity to work with Cablecard. It's illegal and a contract violation to work with Cablecard while not sucking. Ergo, it's a negative bullet point on a DVR feature list, which tells everyone the DVR is crippled. Why would anyone say their product sucks?

If you are frustrated by the lack of tools that work with your cableco, there is an answer: cancel your subscription. Stop paying them. If they ever decide they want your money, they will step forward and promise a plaintext service. Then everyone (viewers, cablecos, advertisers) will win. For now, the time is not right, because you're still paying them. You lose, advertisers lose, and cableco wins.

Re:Cablecard is currently an anti-feature (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | about 2 years ago | (#41681311)

Cablecard is irrelevant, because no half-decent DVR will ever have the capacity to work with Cablecard. It's illegal and a contract violation to work with Cablecard while not sucking. Ergo, it's a negative bullet point on a DVR feature list, which tells everyone the DVR is crippled. Why would anyone say their product sucks?

Illegal? No. Contract violation? No.

I use a Ceton InfiniTV 4 CableCARD tuner and SageTV (using SageDCT [babgvant.com] to control the tuner), and am able to record any program that's flagged Copy Freely, which in my area is all of the Extended Basic channels (which is all I want, anyways).

All legal, no contract violations, no DRM.

In your area (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41681577)

I use a Ceton InfiniTV 4 CableCARD tuner and SageTV (using SageDCT to control the tuner), and am able to record any program that's flagged Copy Freely, which in my area is all of the Extended Basic channels (which is all I want, anyways).

Not everybody lives in your area. I remember reading comments to previous Slashdot articles claiming that cable TV operators in some areas flag extended basic cable restrictively.

Re:Cablecard is currently an anti-feature (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#41682061)

I use SageTV and an old analog tuner. My cable company still sends out the first 70 channels in the old analog format. I'm wondering when, if at all they are going to drop that. While I can't PVR everything, the first 70 channels is enough for me.Especially when the only PVR now offered by my cable company is the HD one which costs $25 a month.

Re:Cablecard is currently an anti-feature (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 2 years ago | (#41681631)

It's illegal and a contract violation to work with Cablecard while not sucking.

And yet, strangely enough, Verizon, Comcast, etc have not sued TiVo into the ground.

So which cable company's payroll are you on?

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41681263)

No. ATSC only or Clear QAM, which as of this week is going away. the FCC is allowing Cable providers to encrypt everything to keep the scumbag customers from recording with unauthorized devices.

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (1)

Kagato (116051) | about 2 years ago | (#41681373)

Out of the gate it's Clear QAM (which is going away) and OTA. However, this summer Comcast and Boxee filed a proposal with the FCC to deliver basic tier programming via E-DTA via a DLNA. I would have liked to see E-DTA looped into this.

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#41682319)

I tried the Boxee online service (sans box) for a while. It had the worst software and interface imaginable.

Weird controls, slow and unresponsive, hard to find needed functions, etc.

If my experience with Boxee online is any indication, there is no way I'd be buying hardware plus the associated software from those people.

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#41681929)

Now that the FCC has approved the cable companies to encrypt the retransmitted over the air signals, I suspect you won't even be able to get that anymore very soon.

Re:Do any of these work with cablecards or SDV? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 2 years ago | (#41682273)

One of the things keeping me from cutting cable is DVR access. Right now, I have a DVR that I use to record a bunch of shows for my kids, my wife, and me. We all then watch these shows at our leisure. If I were cutting the cord, I could get my local stations over the air, but then I'd be back in the "need to watch it when it is on" boat. I know I could build a MythTV or similar box, but I really don't have hundreds of dollars to drop on this. This also makes TiVo with a lifetime subscription less enticing. (Though buying a used TiVo with a lifetime subscription from eBay is an option.) I could justify a monthly fee (either Boxee or TiVo) as coming out of the savings I achieve if I cut cable. (Savings that would also go to services like Amazon VOD to get shows - such as Mythbusters - that I wouldn't get via OTA.)

Fuck Boxee (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680695)

I like how those of us who bought a first-gen Boxee Box got a shit firmware out of the box, a shit web browser, and a shit experience with the whole mess, and instead of addressing any of those issues in the last two years they said "fuck all y'all niggas," discontinued updates to a broken piece of shit, and then released a hostage-ware device to fuck their customers anew.

Re:Fuck Boxee (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41680711)

Yep, fuck boxee!

Re:Fuck Boxee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680925)

Yep, fuck boxee!

Fuck the laziness it takes to balk at building your own media center PC. Then you can store what you want, the way you want, as long as you want, without monthly fees just for a DVR, and nobody gets to tell you not to.

Why the hell would I pay Boxee again?

Re:Fuck Boxee (2)

mat.power (2677517) | about 2 years ago | (#41681003)

Why you gotta be so mean to Boxxy [youtube.com] ?

Re:Fuck Boxee (1)

Tomji (142759) | about 2 years ago | (#41681115)

For some stupid reasons (I needed a streaming player now) i also bought one.
I am much happier with my new RaspberryPi media center in the other room controlled via HEC,
Since they're not good guys, they could at least open up the older boxee boxes for custom (read XBMC) firmwares.

tried a Pi, ended up with a XIOS (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 2 years ago | (#41682307)

I played around with a Raspberry Pi running XBMC, but found it a bit laggy and the IR receiver dongle I had acted like a mouse rather than as arrow keys, making navigation painful.

Rather than buying a Pi, case, memory card, and new IR dongle, I ended up getting a Pivos XIOS DS. Running their pure XBMC firmware it works pretty well and is noticeably faster than the Pi.

Re:Fuck Boxee (4, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41682131)

I was an enthusiastic user of Boxee in their early days and ran it on top of Ubuntu. But the basically gave the finger to the entire community. I also bought a Boxee Box as I thought it could be a cheap way to easily stream movies off my main XBMC box. It's not good for that, either. File scraping is a nightmare. They add nothing to XBMC and, as a matter of fact, take a lot of stuff out that makes XBMC terrific. For instance Boxee's file scraping isn't good for anything other than straight mainstream viewers. If you like anime then you're SOL. You can only use their scraper.

There is *nothing* out there even remotely close to the quality of regular XBMC. When they get their Android version perfected there is going to be a flood of cheap XBMC boxes base don Android that really will be high quality. Boxee is not the way to go.

Michael Brutsch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680699)

Michael Brutsch is a Linux programmer. Coincidence? I think not.

Duh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680707)

Natural evolution of cloud-based commerce. Nothing to see here.

Re:Duh... (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41681799)

Normal use of service base commerce.

You have unlimited storage. Storage isn't free, unlimited means you may be storing a lot of stuff. So after you stop paying what options do you have.
1. Download you stuff... If that is an option you are going to be paying a lot of money for what? Old TV Shows?
2. They will offer all there stuff for free. Sure as a customer is is a good deal, however that means there is an infrastructure for you to access your old stuff. Now to offset they will need to either advertise.
3. One time lump storage sum. Still it goes down to it is a freakin TV show.

You are paying for a service. Once you are no longer paying for the service, you loose it. There are far greater problems with the economy then a company not offering services to non-paying members. Especially for just recorded TV shows.

Surely this should work like most cloud storage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680723)

That is: They record everything, and your 'Record' action is basically a bookmark.
Surely the redundancy is pointless.

I suppose one issue might be - your local community cable channels.

Re:Surely this should work like most cloud storage (1)

lengau (817416) | about 2 years ago | (#41681241)

There was a company that used to do that. IIRC, they got sued for copyright infringement. On the other hand, if you uploaded it, they could do fingerprinting to make sure it's the same video and then toss the duplicate.

Bet it doesn't upload anything (5, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 years ago | (#41680727)

Most people have dreadful upload rates anyway ; the asymmetric connections we receive are very much tailored for us to be consumers, not servers.

I'll lay dollars to donuts that it doesn't upload what you record - they just have a master server which records *everything* and your Boxee just sets a row in a database that tells it what you asked it to record. This way they can offer "unlimited" storage - they just retain a single copy of each program that users record, and look to see whether they should offer it to you based on what you "recorded".

No doubt they hope this gets around the legal limitations that have been cropping up recently with other parties offering store-and-forward services.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (1)

ccguy (1116865) | about 2 years ago | (#41680815)

Most people have dreadful upload rates anyway

For reasonable usage you don't need to upload in real time, you can just save locally and upload as the bandwidth allows.

I'll lay dollars to donuts that it doesn't upload what you record - they just have a master server which records *everything*

Well, everything for all markets? If you record a TV show in New York, play it later and you see some West Coast network logo you are going to notice for sure...

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680891)

That's not the case - for example, In New York, I recorded a movie of your mother simultaneously blowing a horse and a black man, and it had a "Made in Der Nederlands" caption in its intro. I then flew to Oregon and again watched the movie. Yep, it still had the "Made in Der Nederlands" caption on it.

What can we gather from this? Your mother not only blows animals, but she blows black men as well. That's probably how you were born.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681369)

Yep, he MUST have been conceived via oral sex. Because that's TOTALLY possible.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#41681107)

Well, everything for all markets?

Well, ONE of everything that was requested ... at least. It is better than 100,000 versions of Walking Dead being stored on their servers.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (2)

ccguy (1116865) | about 2 years ago | (#41681215)

Well, everything for all markets?

Well, ONE of everything that was requested ... at least. It is better than 100,000 versions of Walking Dead being stored on their servers.

There's no such thing. There's lots of local programming, and even if we were talking of nationwide stations and shows, the commercials are different for example. My guess is that messing with commercials in any way would instantly lawyers smell blood...

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681537)

How many different channels exist in the US? How many different combinations do you get at different locations?

Assuming that every state has a unique set of channels and only one set per state boxee would need to set up 50 recording stations spread over the country. Easily manageable. That estimate is most probably too low but how many recordings stations would boxee need? 100? 500? 2000? It depends a lot on the number and distribution of customers if it is cheaper to truly store all customer records or to record everything once.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681641)

I pay for roughly 250 stations. Of those, 5 or 6 are local networks but 90% of their content is nationwide (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC etc..). I have maybe 2 truely local stations not including the local government and community college stations that I doubt anyone would record.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (1)

lengau (817416) | about 2 years ago | (#41681299)

Sort of. I imagine that using proper de-duplication schemes, the vast majority of the show (including all the audio of the TV show, though ads wouldn't be included [ads could each be stored once and inserted at the proper time, which would also bring a whole lot of data for ad skipping]) can be recorded once, and only parts that are different in different markets (e.g. the logo in the corner) would take up extra space. Nationwide markets (such as anyone on a single satellite provider in most cases) would be incredibly cheap to store for. Local channels would be more expensive, though.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41681669)

I imagine that using proper de-duplication schemes, the vast majority of the show [...] can be recorded once

What sort of de-duplication are you talking about? Each cable provider encodes the video at slightly different settings, making typical SHA-256 based de-duplication fail to recognize streams that are substantially the same yet not pixel-for-pixel identical.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 2 years ago | (#41682423)

For reasonable usage you don't need to upload in real time, you can just save locally and upload as the bandwidth allows.

For OTA HDTV, I get about 6GB/hour average when recording. With two tuners (like this box has), it wouldn't be at all unusual to record 4 hours of TV per day, which would be 24GB.

To be able to upload that without falling behind, you'd need to have a 1GB/hour upload rate, which works out to a steady stream of around 2.8Mbps. Yes, it can be done (and easily with FiOS, for example), but you must have a good provider and no caps to make it work. I've completely ignored the use case of a family with cable TV where you might see 20 or more hours per day recorded (although definitely at lower bit rates), especially since storage is unlimited (which would lead to people recording anything they might ever think they might want to watch).

Basically, what it means is that the box would have to have local storage of some kind, and that would mean a spinning hard drive (since that would be the only way to keep the box price low enough), but if you have a spinning hard drive, why bother with cloud storage, as the cost difference between a 3TB drive and one that is big enough to cache until upload would be less than 5 months of paying for the service.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (2)

sohmc (595388) | about 2 years ago | (#41680937)

Having a single master copy might be difficult do in part of the "redistribute" part of copyright. It's one thing if John Q. Public records a show in his private home for later watching. It's another for John Q. Public then makes copies of that recording to distribute to friends/family/etc.

Also, local affiliates get ad money for local businesses so I'm sure that there would be a lot of push back on this.

What the Boxee probably does is store the recording on a small drive (40GB maybe) and then uploads it as bandwidth allows.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (2)

dean.collins (862044) | about 2 years ago | (#41681261)

They will need to record a copy per person. CableVision had to do this in order to get around these issues a few years ago. Cheers, Dean Collins http://www.coganation.net/ [coganation.net]

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (1)

atisss (1661313) | about 2 years ago | (#41681531)

So they would just automatically match scenes from other recordings (and knowing which channel it was recorded helps), and keep single copy of every possible difference (ads, logo). Put all that in the nice box of interface for retrieving every individual copy and call it "compression".

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41680947)

Well you would hope so, otherwise there servers will be full of X thousands of identical versions of a handful of popular shows.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680955)

There was already a court case that if each customer had their own recorded copy it was legal. So they have to go that route and not the one you propose to be legal.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#41681447)

Most people have dreadful upload rates anyway ; the asymmetric connections we receive are very much tailored for us to be consumers, not servers.

I'll lay dollars to donuts that it doesn't upload what you record - they just have a master server which records *everything* and your Boxee just sets a row in a database that tells it what you asked it to record. This way they can offer "unlimited" storage - they just retain a single copy of each program that users record, and look to see whether they should offer it to you based on what you "recorded".

No doubt they hope this gets around the legal limitations that have been cropping up recently with other parties offering store-and-forward services.

While that is definitely an efficient model, the paid advertisers to those programs might have something to say about it. Right now, if you DVR something, you still get commercials. If Boxee grabs the live feed without commercials that won't work, nor will it work if they grab a local feed that is different than your locale. Advertisers pay good money for those time slots, it is unlikely that they will simply let that go.

Re:Bet it doesn't upload anything (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | about 2 years ago | (#41682019)

I know myself I have a 1 meg upload imagine a 1 hour TV show or a 2 to 3 hour movie. Your internet would be just so offal slow waiting for that huge file to upload. Takes me half hour just to upload bunch songs to Google Music. It must be recorded locally then unlocked by a code sent to the box. I cannot see everything being uploaded.

Wait, so it's still recording from schedules? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680735)

Why do media distributors keep doing this? It doesn't even make any sense.

It's like a bad hack to adapt 20th century TV schedules into 21st century content distribution. Why not just get rid of the stupid schedules completely?

I don't even care about "owning" content, because I very rarely watch anything more than once, so I fail to see the point of storing a personal library of TV in the cloud. Give me something like Netflix over this any day.

Re:Wait, so it's still recording from schedules? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41680967)

Probably because the would be a legal nightmare, where simply offering storage to people recording their own shows is not regulated.

Three reasons for schedules (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41681765)

It's like a bad hack to adapt 20th century TV schedules into 21st century content distribution. Why not just get rid of the stupid schedules completely?

Three reasons:

  • First, twentieth century TV schedules encourage people to subscribe so that they can follow water cooler conversation at work the next morning.
  • Second, distribution contracts still in effect may date back to the twentieth century.
  • Third, viewers still expect some programs to be broadcast with less than a 60 second delay, such as sports and political talk shows.

Upload speeds and caps and this dont work that wel (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41680737)

Upload speeds and caps and this dont work that well.

And this is a problem because... ? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680741)

How is this different than any other cloud storage provider, with the exception that the DVR content remains "at Boxee" and can't be copied?

This is just like any other subscription service, IMO. Why does everything have to be some damned sinister all the time?

Re:And this is a problem because... ? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#41681461)

How is this different than any other cloud storage provider, with the exception that the DVR content remains "at Boxee" and can't be copied?

This is just like any other subscription service, IMO. Why does everything have to be some damned sinister all the time?

Because if the summary doesn't make it sound sinister, nobody will read the article.

Re:And this is a problem because... ? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41681911)

Well these sinister evil hackers at the FSF will probably release a Boxee app that lets you actually DVR straight to an external server, hard drive, or other storage and fuck you and your $14.99. The icon will be the TPB logo.

Re:And this is a problem because... ? (1)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#41682379)

In fact this is the same as the cable/satellite/telephone company's PVR system. They all stop working if you cancel your subscription too, even though the shows are stored locally you still can't get at them without paying hte monthly fee.
On a side note, I work for a telco who looked in to network based PVR features, the end result was that it was determined that it was a legal nightmare that we didn't dare touch, so instead we put a PVR in each customer's house. Customer's get most of the same functionality, but it costs more in hardware, and is limited to how many shows you can record at a time, the network solution would have removed those restrictions.

Once again the media cartels refuse to adapt to new technologies and everyone else pays the price.

The nice thing about TV shows (1)

xetovss (17621) | about 2 years ago | (#41680747)

The nice thing about TV shows is the fact that broadcasters often repeat them often and are available in other formats such as DVD's or online streaming services, so even if you were to cancel your service to Boxee the information isn't gone, just might be a slight time inconvenience if one wanted to watch it. Or one could just use a TV provider provided DVR box which records the digital stream directly to the box instead of to the "cloud", it just isn't "unlimited" .

However from personal experience a 500GB DVR box is more than enough (at least for SD programming). Also now being offered by TV providers is boxes with a lot more that 500GB are being offered now and can in some cases record up to 5 programs at once.

Re:The nice thing about TV shows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680771)

I'd be much more interested in a cable company provided DVR if Time Warner could provide one that lasts more than two months! (or at least provide data recovery)

Re:The nice thing about TV shows (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41681339)

I have months of shows on my 1TB MythTV box. that is a mix of HD and SD content... Mostly HD lately. you can compress the crap out of Cable/Sattelite TV HD and not notice because it's already compressed to hell and back. Each episode of The daily Show in HD is only taking 250mb of space at 720p (it's broadcast in 720p, so any more resolution is a waste) and it looks as good as the live broadcast does.

If you dont go insane and record 90 shows a day, 1 TB holds a little over 2 months of programming.

Re:The nice thing about TV shows (1)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#41682443)

nitpick... is it broadcast at 720p or 1080i? I know at the telco I work for we receive all the feeds from the providers at 1080i with the exception of sports channel feeds which arrive at 720p. people have their choice of which resolution they want to set their digital boxes to, but that doesn't change how the providers send the feed, only how it's displayed on their TV.

Company Discovers... (1, Funny)

EvilSS (557649) | about 2 years ago | (#41680755)

...recurring revenue better then one time revenue. News at 11!

It's a Joke Right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680773)

After how they treated their boxeebox customers by sidelining a product that was still on the shelves yesterday?

I'm avoiding any product they produce like the bubonic plague and telling anyone who lends an ear to do the same.

this is not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680801)

look at itunes....

Fail to see the issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680807)

So they offer a service - unlimited Hard Drive space - and they charge you for it as long as you use it.

What exactly is the issue? If you don't like it, buy a PC with TV tuners and use your own hard drives.....

The summary is incomplete (4, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 2 years ago | (#41680825)

It forgets to mention why I'm supposed to be outraged, or upset, or concerned, or... feel anything at all about this.

Ok, so Boxee deletes your recording if you stop paying. So what? Who cares? Don't sign up if that bothers you.

Re:The summary is incomplete (4, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41680951)

It forgets to mention why I'm supposed to be outraged, or upset, or concerned, or... feel anything at all about this.

Didn't you get the memo? Unless otherwise stated those are the default reactions to be assumed for any Slashdot story, along with "confused" and "horny."

Re:The summary is incomplete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681407)

Well, if they go out of business for any reason, you lose it all.
If you run out of money (lose your job...), you lose it all.

Quite simply, if you stop to think instead of being flippant, you might realize that someone's actually trying to point out the issues so that they can make an informed decision on that. If you didn't know about that, you'd be "okay" with those ground rules? I know I wouldn't be and wouldn't sign up for that. If you are, it's your own look out, but spare everyone the bullshit you just spouted off with.

Re:The summary is incomplete (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41681453)

Or just wait til it gets hacked/jailbroken/modded to record locally.

Re:The summary is incomplete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681509)

So I pay for Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime, they have a pile of content.

If I stop paying, they stop sending it.

Agreed. I don't see why anyone cares about this.

Re:The summary is incomplete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681567)

So everytime you record something it uploads it to the cloud ? (Doesn't make any sense)
Why would you need the tuners in that case ?

Its also $5 more than an umlimited usenet subscription. (I pay for the top cable package but I don't use it just download what I want).
It would probably be cheaper for me to just buy the boxed sets.

I think this is a slashvertisement.

Boxee are notoriously poor when it comes to supporting their existing hardware.
The PC based version worked quite well due to XBMC already working well in that scenario.

These type of companies don't seem to realise to get a piece of dedicated hardware working properly you actually have to do some work.
(Seems common for these sorts of companies to take opensource release it but still not have anyone capable of actually fixing the corner cases that arise due to different hardware - Mikrotik is the same for routers (Charge $45 for a cd with the sources - when the software is distributed over HTTP which I think is against the GPL).

Innovate in the hardware not the software makes it fairly difficult for the chinese to clone it and use the upstream project and contribute to it.
(If you have the best quality hardware you will win well enough. At you will do better than the chinese clones that will do everything in software just using the upstream project unchanged).

This sort of strategy will likely work in good upstream kernel support as well. (Less development work maintaining a fork you can employ really good hardware guys and only a few software guys).

In routers it is the difference between Mikrotik that ends up with nothing getting fixed and sucking and Ubiquiti whose stuff just keeps on getting better with age.

Re:The summary is incomplete (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 2 years ago | (#41681691)

I don't have a method to get recorded shows off of the HD Dish DVR in my living room, other than to play them out and record them (likely in standard def). It encrypts the files it records, I don't have a capture card that can capture raw HD, and since it's rented I would have to give it back if I quit the service.

Boxee is simply removing the box from my house and taking internet bandwidth in exchange for more tuners. Nothing radical from a security standpoint.

Re:The summary is incomplete (1)

StormReaver (59959) | about 2 years ago | (#41682291)

It forgets to mention why I'm supposed to be outraged, or upset, or concerned, or... feel anything at all about this.

Because this is the defacto power that all services hold over subscribers who store their data on servers they don't control. That this particular cloud service doesn't amount to anything particularly valuable isn't the point. The point is that the same thing will, and does, happen with all services that have exclusive control over someone else's data.

I've seen some really short-sighted responses to the tune of, "just store a copy of your data on the cloud, and keep a copy on your own server." That would be really good advice, assuming people did that. But we all know what will actually happen (and so do the "cloud" providers): people will get to the point where they think there is no longer a reason to keep their own copy (for a variety of reasons), and only worry about the copy on the server they don't control. Their own copy will get so woefully behind that it will be abandoned. Then their data will essentially be owned by the service provider, who will eventually jack up rates beyond what is reasonable.

But at that point, the customer is locked in, and doesn't have any choice but to pay the extortion money demanded by the "cloud" provider.

So yes, you should care because this behavior will be coming to a service you do care about, unless you're smart enough to avoid the whole "cloud" nonsense altogether. Boxee is just a symptom of a much larger problem for those who get suckered into "cloud" services.

Brilliant strategy (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#41680847)

The strategy is brilliant as a way to lock people into your service for the long run. Especially when you consider that with de-dupe they are really only putting pointers to a given file in a database with your account. Like or not, this is the cloud doing what the cloud does best and is the way of the future.

Re:Brilliant strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681019)

>Like or not, this is the cloud doing what the cloud does best and is the way of the future.

Finding ways to make the process so administratively inefficient that the "efficient" way of doing things is significantly more expensive than the "inefficient" way of doing it?

$15 a month buys a hell of a lot of hard drive and electricity to run one with.

Redirect the data? (3, Interesting)

stickrnan (1290752) | about 2 years ago | (#41680851)

If the device has to go through your own network, can't you just redirect the upload address to one of your own choosing?

Re:Redirect the data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681327)

Yeah - that was my first reaction.

Two network cards and an internal DNS server, pointed at your own storage machine.

No draconian 1% cuts in the cloud! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41680873)

> I suspect Boxee is offering unlimited storage to make users
> especially beholden to them. The more content you have, the
> less likely you are to drop the service.

Well, it works for governmemt, why shouldn't business adopt that business model? [instantrimshot.com]

Dumb headline (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41680875)

Holding users hostage? Jesus, things are getting desperate in these tough economic times.

Amazon Cloud - Unlimited MP3 storage??? NOT! (5, Interesting)

zidium (2550286) | about 2 years ago | (#41680877)

OK,

About a year and a half ago, I received an offer to store unlimited numbers of MP3s on Amazon Cloud services. I was under the understanding that this would be good for the duration of my account, a perk of being an early adopter of Amazon Cloud Player.

Then last month, I got a nasty email saying that my "trial" was over, that I was 20 GB over the new limit (200 "songs") and that I would have to pay every month for the service to keep the songs.

That's why no one should sign up w/ Boxee assuming their unlimited offer will always be there. One day they're going to wake up and either suffer more money or lose content.

No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680893)

Which is why I say "No thanks!" to yet another thing no one wanted in the first place. Netflix gets by with the monthly fee because it streams data from their servers. If I pay a monthly fee for it and XBox Live and this and that and this other thing and that other thing and and and and, it just goes on forever. Nickel and dime fees that are killing people in the US. You ever wonder how all the DOW and fortune 500 companies can be doing so well while unemployment is so high? Its because we're allowing them to continue making money while they have less responsibility for the product. They don't have to hire more people so they don't. They have spread vertically so far that the money from these little fees are enough to help when one of their products doesn't get enough profit. There is no need to expand production and hire new people because they can just charge more fees for this digital thing and wham bam problem solved. Thank you for reading this rant and now back to your regularly scheduled trolling.

big deal... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680965)

it was never your content in the first place, it's funny how people think they have a right to things they've never owned, only stolen.

itunes/play is cheaper (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41681039)

buy the show, watch it as many times as you want, download it to mobile devices, no need to worry about data usage if you're not on unlimited data

Sky+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681041)

In the UK (don't know about the rest of the world) we have Sky+.

Sky+ records to the hard drive in the device but encrypts the video. As soon as you stop paying them you lose access to everything you have recorded.

Fits a niche, would work for me (1)

CQDX (2720013) | about 2 years ago | (#41681139)

We had Uverse. Service was ok and the any room DVR is really nice but we cancelled because it was expensive and the primary consumer is my wife who was mostly watching OTA stuff anyway. Most of the cable only programming is crap reality shows anyway. So we put up an antenna and are recording using DVD recorders. It works but the DVD+RW's wear out after a few months and they are getting harder to find. And our DVD recorders only have SDTV tuners. And you can't watch something else while the recorder is recording. A Boxee sounds like it would work for my wife. She would especially like to be able to stream her recordings to her tablet. Sure I could do roll my own with a spare Linux box but I have better things to do and *I* don't want to be the support tech when something doesn't record right. Now if the Boxee plan also let use the cloud for data storage to back up our stuff, it would pay for itself.

BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681207)

Where there is a will, there is a way. However, I encourage everybody to drop boxee and send a clear signal that we want OPTIONS.

CableCo charges included? (1)

dean.collins (862044) | about 2 years ago | (#41681277)

I noticed on Fred Wilsons blog today that the FCC endorsed "BoxeeTV" device has been announced - http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2012/10/boxee-tv.html [avc.com] This was sort of announced recently along with the FCC decision that cable tv providers no longer need to carry unencrypted cable http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/15/3506030/fcc-allows-basic-cable-encryption-protects-consumers-open-access [theverge.com] (guess those washington lobbying efforts paid off), One point of note the FCC announcements indicated that cable providers only need to offer this for free for 2 years and then will be allowed to charge for this from then on http://www.slashgear.com/fcc-cuts-boxee-a-little-encryption-slack-but-not-forever-15251887/ [slashgear.com] , I cant find any information from Boxee about what these costs will be from the cable providers to make BoxeeTV work? I'm also curious about "storage in the cloud" and whether Boxee expects any patent challenges around this? eg would be a shame if an injunction strikes down the cloud portion functionality. http://blog.collins.net.pr/2012/10/boxeetv-announced.html [collins.net.pr]

Same model, different player... (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 2 years ago | (#41681283)

Boxee is just doing what Amazon does now with their Prime service. Prime offers you access to watch tons of TV and movies at no additional cost (beyond the cost of the Prime membership). You can queue up shows and watch them at your leisure. But if you cancel Prime...poof...there goes all your TV shows and movies in the queue. So you can only watch it for as long as your membership is active. Boxee is doing exactly the same thing.

Cloud services are for people that are dumb and/or too lazy to figure out how to do it for themselves. The appeal is that it's so easy. Just pay a few bucks a month and let the cloud company manage everything for you. Ok, so I can have access to my music and movie library from anywhere there is an internet connection. You can do the same thing with an OpenSSH connection to your home media server (for free) or by using a VPN service (some are free, some you pay for). To me, paying $15 a month...every month...forever...is not a very good deal for something I can do for free. But not everyone is technically inclined or has the time to figure it out so for them it's worth it. To each their own.

Re:Same model, different player... (1)

darjen (879890) | about 2 years ago | (#41681443)

I pay for a music streaming service even though I could download or rip almost everything I want to listen to. Why? Because it is too damn convenient. I have no desire to mess with poor quality torrents or organizing my own music collection anymore. Hell, I used to spend more than $10 a month just buying CDs. And some of those I would get tired of pretty quickly. If you have a decent programming job/salary, $10 a month is not all that much.

Re:Same model, different player... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681999)

Cloud services are for people that are dumb and/or too lazy to figure out how to do it for themselves.

Which intersects nicely with the set of people who watch TV.

BADOOM-TISH!

Seriously though I do read through these comments as I am utterly baffled why so many Slashdotters are transfixed with TV.

It is shallow, sound-bite-driven, populist rubbish. I don't have any love for Wikipedia but you'd learn more reading an article there than watching any documentary on TV.

oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681451)

piratebay.se

all the same shows, no monthly payments. actually I lied, MORE shows.

DirectTV already does this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681753)

A few months back, DirectTV showed me that you don't need to have your DVR recording to the cloud in order to be denied access to your programs.

In June, I shut off my DirectTV satellite service for the summer. A couple of weeks later, I tried to watch a program that was recorded to the DVR earlier. The DirectTV device displayed a message informing that the content wasn't available because I was not subscribed to the service.

It wouldn't even display the list of recorded programs that were stored on the DVR, just the message screen stating that access was denied because the DirecTV service was not enabled. This was DirectTV denying access to the programs stored on the local hard drive of the DirectTV DVR that I owned (it was purchased, not leased).

Before this experience, I was also one of the those who believed that owning the device and having your content stored on a local drive is safer and gives you more control.

But why? (1)

biodata (1981610) | about 2 years ago | (#41681817)

I guess some people might want to record things but it's not like there isn't enough of it on all day every day, and then there's the internet where all the decent TV channels archive everything so you can watch it later anyway. I never record anything and never struggle to find something to watch. Paying money to record live TV seems like paying money for internet pr0n.

Cue Boxee TV bankruptcy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681881)

No one likes having his or her arm twisted by some greedy asshole.

The technically astute will know about this Boxee behavior sooner, but when the word
spreads people will vote with their wallets, and their vote will be against Boxee.

Of course all this is not exactly a surprise if you do much thinking, but then most
people don't.

The continued move away from ownership (1)

cdogg4ya (198266) | about 2 years ago | (#41681993)

No company in business today wants you to own anything. They want to own it and give you a limited license to use it. Boxee is the latest to jump on the" I need to have a monthly income stream beyond one time selling hardware" so lets do it by not storing stuff locally but in our cloud where we can charge for it. I was very excited to read about this new box as I was looking for a DVR solution for just regular OTA content that I occasionally want to watch without having to have a monthly fee or a computer based solution. I just moved into the country and I got pissed off while reading about how I need to sign up for 2 years to get Satellite service and at the end I STILL dont own the equipment but they are leasing it to me. This is is for a combination of two reasons, 1) theft of service (having it in multiple locations at once) and 2) To stop the secondary market where people can have contractless service.

Additionally as others have mentioned, not everyone has these huge pipes to the Internet...for $70 a month I get a 2M down / 512k up DSL connection where I had a $40 15M down / 5M up connection in the city...

Re:The continued move away from ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682439)

Additionally as others have mentioned, not everyone has these huge pipes to the Internet...for $70 a month I get a 2M down / 512k up DSL connection where I had a $40 15M down / 5M up connection in the city...

To quote Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction: "Move outta the sticks fellas."

#irc.trolLtalk.com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682279)

inclompa7ibilities

how long ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682555)

Before some industrious programmer figures out the apis and the command sequences and make alternative access to the content available to all ?

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