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Linux Looms Large in DVRs, PVRs

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the no-pesky-license-fees dept.

Television 168

An anonymous reader writes "According to an article at LinuxDevices there's a new fanless digital entertainment center reference design based on Linux and the MythTV open source DVR (digital video recorder) software. The 'Royal Linux Media Center' runs ESG's Royal Linux OS on a Transmeta development board based on its Efficeon chip. Linux has been increasingly popular in DVRs and PVRs, with examples including TiVo (of course), HP's recently unveiled Linux media hub, i3's Mood box, Interact-TV's Telly, Siemens' Speedstream, VWB's MediaReady 4000, Amino's AmiNet500, Sharp's Galileo, Dream-Multimedia-Tv's Dreambox, NEC's AX10, and Sony's CoCoon, to name a few."

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frist pr0st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330017)

of the fo)KJ(

Re:frist pr0st (0, Offtopic)

frogger01 (806562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330073)

since i now have terrible karma [slashdot.org] anyways, what do i have to lose....

you fucking suck. stop posting first posts... if you're going to get a fp, just say fp and that's it, and mods, just let it go. dont mod either way, maybe we can save some sanity

oh, if your wondering what to mod this, it would be +5 informative (80% informative, 20% interesting)

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330046)

this article just appeared outta thin air.

well and good (4, Funny)

tuxter (809927) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330052)

That's all well and good, but does it run Linux?
Oh, fuck it!

penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330057)

i just visited slashdot for the first time a couple days ago. each night afterwards i've dreamt of dancing penises. what do i do?

Re:penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330093)

Just keep visiting, the dancing penises will soon turn into gaping anuses.

Re:penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330147)

join the GNAA [www.gnaa.us]

Might DRM be the mighty blow? (4, Interesting)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330059)

Linux is well poised for the appliance market... but I have to wonder when DRM and the DMCA will make it difficult, if not impossible, to provide the services on Linux needed to compete in the media space if DRM gets in the way. The simple way, I guess, is to put the DRM enforcement into hardware, but I think that leaves us all worse off in the end.

Re:Might DRM be the mighty blow? (3, Insightful)

cbrocious (764766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330166)

No, it will not be.

They don't have to put it in hardware as long as they close the source for their software. DRM can be done on Linux, just not in opensource software.

Re:Might DRM be the mighty blow? (2)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330172)

DRM? I think subscription is the mighty blow. If there is any solution that is a 1-time purchase with no need to assemble/build anything. Work-out-of-box while being subscription-free. Then I am sold!

Of course the quality has to be good too. Don't need all the features, basics will do.

Re:Might DRM be the mighty blow? (1)

plover (150551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331709)

Except nobody wants to "give away" subscription services. Look at xmltv. They had a very hard time keeping up with north american tv schedules because GIST and TV Guide constantly modified their listings to foil the screen scrapers. (They now have partnered with zap2it, who merely requires a montly survey of their subscribers.)

With xmltv being open source, I suspect GIST had a techie or two whose job it was to keep current with it, analyze the source and ensure their website was quickly modified to break it. And I suspect TV Guide has a similar employee.

That's why subscriptions are important. These people want something for their efforts in collecting this data, or they may as well go home. The difference is that you see the subscription fee as "paying for something that should be free", and they see it as "making this week's payroll." There needs to be some kind of medium ground.

Re:Might DRM be the mighty blow? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330194)

drm can be doen in an open source manner, too.

linux doesn't guarantee that you can reflash the machine with your own modified code.

besides.. "hardware" functionality IS largely software in an ever increasing way..

reflashing is exactly what the GPL is MEANT for (2)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330281)

The GPL doesn't say legally that modifications to the software can only be made for machines which allow one to modify software.

BUT.

GPL also says that users can redistribute under later versions. And RMS has already hinted at cleaning it up to avoid just this kind of thing.

AND.

The Spirit of the GPL is to provide software that people can modify and use however they want, without letting others take the software and make it proprietary. But by making it impossible to run custom software on the target hardware, the use of Open Source becomes a marketing ploy and essentially a leeching strategy for development.

Re:reflashing is exactly what the GPL is MEANT for (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331121)

The Spirit of the GPL is to provide software that people can modify and use however they want, without letting others take the software and make it proprietary. But by making it impossible to run custom software on the target hardware, the use of Open Source becomes a marketing ploy and essentially a leeching strategy for development.

I disagree. E.g. Acme produces a neat digital camera which runs imbedded Linux. There is no easy way to update this software.

I run a company, Nadir Products, and I want to get into the digital camera market. I slap together some off-the-shelf hardware, buy an Acme camera and demand the source code, modify it to run on my hardware, and sell the resulting camera.

This is the spirit (and letter) of the GPL - the fact I can't reprogram my Acme camera is irrelevant.

DRM Might be the mighty blow. (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330223)

You are right, DRM enforcement in hardware is worse off. Palladium / Trusted Computing, in whatever incarnation, is still being pushed at us, this time as a way of supposedly making a computer more secure. If successful, it would either:

1.) Make Linux buy a license for every version of binary that we use. Licenses would be controlled by Microsoft, so this would be prohibitively expensive, unless we can all settle on a single binary kernel, essentially making Linux proprietary -- as in, individual users can no longer alter it to meet their needs without dropping the DRM support.

2.) Ignore DRM. Hopefully consumers will follow suit, and these devices are critical. If we don't let the industry impose its own standards, we can still watch movies with our own software. How are people going to react when their Terminator 4 doesn't work on their Linux-based DVD player? Especially with the quality of movies so low recently -- I'd sell my soul and buy an Xbox for Halo 2, but no way I'll sell out Linux for Blade: Trinity.

Putting DRM in software at least allows someone to crack it and provide other software. Putting DRM in hardware would make it, to my knowledge, impossible to break without some serious hardware cracking. The difference is that Joe Blow can break CSS by downloading a DeCSS-enabled mplayer, but he can't break Trusted Computing, because he can't "download" a modded Trusted Computer. And a "Trusted Computer" would be harder to mod than, say, an Xbox.

Don't forget patents (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331042)


have intellectual properly laws always been so far behind technology?

Re:Might DRM be the mighty blow? (2, Informative)

AstroDrabb (534369) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331083)

Why? A company that is building and selling a Linux-based DVR/PVR can just license the DRM just like any other company can. Heck, Red Hat could license the MS media formats today and deliver them to their customers if Red Hat thought it would increase sales.

Why would a company selling a Linux based device not be allowed to license DRM while a company basing their DVR/PVR on some other OS be allowed to license the DRM? It doesn't work that way. If DRM ever becomes big in devices, a Linux based device will be able to license the same DRM as any other device. Heck, a Linux based device could actually have an advantage. Every device maker will be required to license the DRM technology, but the ones that build around Linux can save OS license fees and have an extra cost advantage.

Re:Might DRM be the mighty blow? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331140)

Your absolutely right.
The big companies could license DRM infested codec keys and codecs from MS.
When I make changes to linux and distribute that code, I would not be licensed to give the MS codecs with it.
The executable I produce will be different to the licensed version, and I would lose DRM rights.

Only the person at the top of the ladder will win.

and the record is set.. (0, Offtopic)

Moustache N Tits (828608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330060)

Congrats folks, it only took 4 years and 11 days to set the 21st century record for most links in a slashdot story. Or is that 3 years and 11 days?

Re:and the record is set.. (1)

TildeMan (472701) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330107)

Actually, it took a lot less. The first story posted in the 21st century set that record, even if it has been broken many times since then. It only took 3 or 4 years, plus 11 days, to set the record to 15 links.

Re:and the record is set.. (1)

Moustache N Tits (828608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330204)

Actually, it took a lot less. The first story posted in the 21st century set that record, even if it has been broken many times since then. It only took 3 or 4 years, plus 11 days, to set the record to 15 links.

Touche'

Can any of these (5, Funny)

testing124 (772675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330065)

Play WMV9 ?

Re:Can any of these (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330159)

Why would anyone care?

Good question. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330236)

Send me a WMV9 file, and I'll attempt to play it on mplayer. I think most of these can have the Windows DLLs, so, probably.

I am ninja@slaphack.com and I fear no spam.

Re:Good question. (2, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331161)

WMV9 is the one that has the nice "feature" where it will open up a browser window and load an arbitary page from the web simply by trying to view a movie.

You need to (from reputable companies) purchase a license for that one media file before it can be played, the web page displayed should be a purchase/more info page for the artist.

Adware spreading virus infections have noticed this now.

Re:Can any of these (1)

wmelnick (411371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330375)

The VWB MediaReady 4000 unit will play Windows Media sometime in Q2 of this year.

Re:Can any of these (1)

John Hurliman (152784) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330590)

MythTV uses mplayer (or any program of your choosing actually) to play back video files, and mplayer supports WMV9 with the binary codecs installed. Not sure if the commercial offerings support this, but a DIY solution certainly would.

And to balance things out, does a solution based on Windows Media Center support AAC and OGG [Vorbis/Theora]?

what happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330067)

is slashcode failing?

Dish Network (4, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330081)

IIRC, Dish also uses linux in all of their set top boxes, including their DVR units.

So yeah, linux seems seriously popular in the various DVRs that are available. Is there a source that lists known hacks/mods available for them?

Re:Dish Network (1)

the angry liberal (825035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330430)

My only problem with all these people running out to adopt Linux:

Further commercialization and exploitation can only add to politics and power struggles.

You also have to ask yourself:

What have these companies given back to the community? They have saved considerable resources by riding on free code. It only seems fitting they write a few checks to a foundation or two. Maybe release some of their own code? No? Hmm.

Re:Dish Network (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330663)

They only have to give back their modifications, nothing more, nothing less. The developers of Linux and any other GPL'd software released their code under the GPL knowing this. The GPL is a deal between the Linux developers and those who put Linux in their devices.

Re:Dish Network (1)

the angry liberal (825035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330745)

I didn't say they had too. That wasn't my point.

I am just saying they SHOULD do more.

Re:Dish Network (2, Interesting)

dj245 (732906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330448)

Is there a source that lists known hacks/mods available for them?

I doubt it, considering that they download updates all the time. I recently got an autoupdate that added DishPass (Like Tivo SeasonPass I guess, I don't have a Tivo) and 3 new recording functions for my Dishplayer 522 (proclaimed by many to be the best value PVR at a piddling $5 a month and no one-time fee). Its good to see companies give us some value for our monthly fees in the form of new features. But it probably breaks any modding anyone would hope to do with all the integration with the central servers.

Not for long, sucka's! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330090)

Meet your master [apple.com] .

In Soviet Russia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330123)

The PVR records you!

Locked in for updates (1)

Copperhead (187748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330156)

I've been looking into building my own MythTV box from scratch, but now I'm considering waiting for this to come out. My concern is that ESG is going to modify the MythTV code enough that you'll be forced to get updates through them, as oppose to using the binaries from their site.

As an aside, does anyone know where I can a document on how to connect a MythTV box to a Comcast High-definition cable box?

Re:Locked in for updates (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330565)

I've been putting together a MythTV box. I don't know the answers, but get involved in the mailing lists. (See the bottom of this page http://www.mythtv.org/modules.php?name=MythInfo [mythtv.org] .)

Other useful references:
http://www.mythtv.info/ [mythtv.info] (MythTV wiki)
http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/users / [gossamer-threads.com] (mailing list archive)
http://www.mythtv.org/ [mythtv.org]

Microsoft and Tivo (1)

oddbudman (599695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330169)

Didn't Microsoft just recently team up with TIVO?
http://uk.biz.yahoo.com/050106/323/f9t5b.html [yahoo.com]
Anyone have any thoughts on how this will effect TIVOs choice of Linux as their OS?

Re:Microsoft and Tivo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330264)

If they teamed up with MS, there will be no choice.

"To Name a Few" is right (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330173)



"To Name a Few" is right. There are tens of thousands of embedded devices, and to name a few as if that means "Linux is moving" is sort of like saying the kid pissing in the pool is making a tsunami.

Another one (2, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330176)

I heard there's some hacked together thing called Teevough (sp??) that uses it as well? Anyone heard of this Teavoe?

Tey Veaux?

Re:Another one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330391)

http://www.tivo.com

I just have to say.. (0)

Pivot (4465) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330212)

The king of Linux DVRs is not MythTV, but VDR. VDR is a complete Tivo replacement, with built in simultaneously multichannel recording, TV guide, etc. http://www.cadsoft.de/vdr/

Re:I just have to say.. (3, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330413)

.. which mythtv doesn't then have? because that's what you're implying by the way you're puffing them.

looking at the features, mythtv looks like it does more, a LOT more.

including stuff like picture in picture, multi card support - and get this, transparent multi machine support: "Distributed architecture allowing multiple recording machines and multiple playback machines on the same network, completely transparent to the user.", rss, mpeg4, mpeg2 decoders/encoders and a whole lot of other stuff.

maybe mythtv gets mentioned more often because it does more and is prettier? anyhow, if you say that one thing is better why not back it up with features the other doesn't have

Make it, I'll buy it (4, Interesting)

pchan- (118053) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330224)

Someone out there make a streamlined tivo-like box (using the reference board above), having the following properties:

1) Slick design. Not a computer in a funny case, something with a home electronics feel. Fanless!
2) Good remote control.
3) Hardware MPEG4 encoding/decoding
4) Open source tivo-like software (not mythtv, something usable).
5) Quality TV output and sound hookups.
6) Open firmware (no DRM, no proprietary files, no restrictions, hardware documentation provided).
7) Ethernet and/or wifi and/or USB.

I'll buy it. I'll buy two, one for my parents. It should work out of the box like a tivo, but be hackable by anyone that desires to do so. Make your money selling the hardware, not subscriptions. The community will take care of improving the software (which will make your hardware even more attractive).

Re:Make it, I'll buy it (3, Interesting)

BikeRacer (810473) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330374)

How about a mac mini? It's pretty close on points 1, 4, and 7.

Re:Make it, I'll buy it (1)

pchan- (118053) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330474)

How about a mac mini? It's pretty close on points 1, 4, and 7

That's a damn good example. In fact, it's a DVD player too, as an added bonus. The primary thing that is lacking is a coax cable input and RCA outputs. A USB/firewire video capture device takes care of the first part (this would also cover the hardware encoding part of it). A DVI to RCA would do the other end, but I'd be a little worried about signal quality (then again, I should probably get a TV with DVI). So it's pretty close. Though now we're at about 800 USD, and we haven't even bought the upgraded hard drive yet. A good integrated product should cost half of this (though it still may be worth doing with the mac).

Re:Make it, I'll buy it (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330687)

The Mac Mini has a dongle to convert DVI to RCA composite.

Re:Make it, I'll buy it (1)

Augusto (12068) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331152)

It's missing an optical audio out.

It's also missing a lot of other stuff, but at least things like an IR receiver can be added by USB. The only thing that sucks about that is to have "dangling" devices that should be integrated into the box in the first place.

Now, maybe if you had a bluetooth remote control ...

Re:Make it, I'll buy it (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330955)

Some MythTV developers are working on an OS X port.

When I first saw the mac mini, the first thing I thought was it would make a sweet Myth frontend.

What do you want, exactly? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330408)

I have a problem with #3.

I can understand the philosophical reasons for #4 and #6, and I can understand the practicalities of everything else.

But why not, say, hardware Theora encoding/decoding?

Why not software encoding/decoding, if it was just as fast?

Let me add a couple more things I want:

8) Upgradable. (buy upgrades from newegg.com and download them through bittorrent)

I don't care how big the hard drive, I want to be able to add a bigger one later. I care much more about whether I can upgrade the software on it than how good the software already is that it comes with.

No firmware except for boot. In fact, go ahead, knock yourself out, use a Linux-based BIOS, but after you figure out how big my new Linux hard drive is, boot off that. I want my 2.6 kernel.

DVD drive, ability to boot off of said DVD drive. Maybe I want to install a brand new Gentoo Linux with Reiser4, without having to bootstrap through some fruity Flash-based Spawn of Hell menu. Let me.

9) No reliance on proprietary/Windows stuff.

A receiver my father bought came with some sort of Internet Radio feature. It allowed to play exclusively mp3's from exclusively Windows computers. I want to be able to use all of the features of the unmodified box, even though you know I'll modify it later, without having to reboot.

And btw, how do you get the content of subscriptions, without the subscription?

Re:What do you want, exactly? (3, Informative)

pchan- (118053) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330671)

But why not, say, hardware Theora encoding/decoding?

Because hardware that encodes/decodes Theora does not exist to the best of my knowledge. that, and MPEG 4 (and its varients) is widely supported by many systems/devices now (it's the video equivalent of mp3).

Why not software encoding/decoding, if it was just as fast?

Okay. I'm not fundamentally opposed to this, especially on the decoding side. A hardware encoder gives you the opportunity to use a much lower power (ie, no fans needed, lower power consumption) general purpose processor. This also generally brings the cost of the hardware down (which any embedded systems engineer like myself is obsessed with).

8) Upgradable
I thought harddrive upgrading was implicit in 6, but might as well make it explicit. In fact, sell it to me without a harddrive, just an image of the firmware on a CD. Further, since the firmware is entirely open, you can boot whatever you wish.

9) No reliance on proprietary/Windows stuff.
Absolutely.

And btw, how do you get the content of subscriptions, without the subscription?

Easy: you buy a subscription, but not from the hardware manufacturer. Instead of trying to make the money back on loss-leading hardware, the hardware people are out of the picture now. I can buy a subscription at a super-low rate from anyone who will sell it to me (competition), scrape it from a website, type it in myself. And when I stop paying my subscription, my device doesn't stop working.

Re:Make it, I'll buy it (1, Troll)

killjoe (766577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330645)

Looks like a perfect job for the new mac.

Re:Make it, I'll buy it (1, Offtopic)

amgqmp1 (847642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330956)

It exists...check out the MediaPortal project (http://mediaportal.sourceforge.net/). Well, this is everything but #1...but as a Slashdot reader I'm sure you have no qualms about putting together an elegant little box. If you want to drop some real cash...check out cases from the german manufacturer "Hush". They're awesome.

Re:Make it, I'll buy it (3, Interesting)

FunFactor100 (848822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331005)

Make money from the hardware and not subscriptions? Where's the content going to come from? Free downloads? Look at what happened with mp3's....companies tried to make money selling mp3 players for our free music....the music industry tained the P2P networks...and then apple introduces the ipod and itunes.....now they're making money hand over fist with itunes. Why go through the hassle of bad mp3's, viruses, popups, spyware when you can pay a reasonable amount for just the songs you want. The same will happen with movies and tv...it's innevitable. I predict some big company will make a kick-ass set top box that allows you to pay for each show you want to watch....whenever you want to watch it. Sure they already have video on demand....but it's only a fraction of the content out there that's available. With a secure pay based P2P network all the movies ever made can be hosted and delivered accross the network of set top boxes. Bye bye DVD's and Blockbuster Video. I'd be doing this myself, if only I had movie industry connections. Sorry dude, but the shows won't get made unless someone pays for more than just the hardware.

Re:Make it, I'll buy it (1)

tayhimself (791184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331275)

http://www.hushtechnologies.net/ [hushtechnologies.net] has some excellent boxes. Theyre not cheap though, but very good and silent at around ~21 dB @ 1 meter. Google for reviews if youre interested.

Re:Make it, I'll buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11331353)

Sure, that's great, but the problem is you CAN'T make money off of the hardware alone. Building something with all of these features requires a LOT of initial development cost, so it would require either a huge volume, or a huge margin. "Hackability" is definitely not a volume feature. "Open" is not a margin feature for software, either - companies like Tivo make money (well, what little they have made) on the subscription, NOT the hardware. Doesn't work if you let someone replace your software. This is why the only flexible open solutions are things like MythTV, which cost $$$ to build an entire x86 PC.

Re:Make it, I'll buy it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11331515)

In other words, you want a TiVo.

You want a TiVo, but you don't want to pay for it, and you don't want it to have a viable business model.

And you are expecting someone to produce this miracle box, when, exactly..........?

Interact-TV Telly (1)

opusuno (556963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330250)

I am curious, has anyone here ever seen, used, bought a Telly from Interact-TV? If so, what was your experience? Good - Bad - Ugly?

Re:Interact-TV Telly (1)

Macgyver7017 (629825) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331439)

My dad bought one of these, and I have played with it a bit. Its pretty cool, but it is a little "buggy". Sometimes there are glitches in video playback, once in a while the unit just "freezes". You can ssh into it and poke around, but everything is pretty obfuscated and certainly not trivial to figure out enough to know whats wrong with it.

In general, its pretty neat, but not quite good enough to "just work" like you want a set top box to. Nothings worse than having your geeky toy screw up movie night for your friends that just want to watch the movie.

I've used mythtv myself, and mythtv wins hands down for functionality, but you have to fiddle with it to get it to work right. If this new box uses mythtv, and does it well could be very cool indeed.

If you have more questions, I'd be glad to answer them, just shoot me an email.

Don't forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330278)

Digeo's Moxi [moxi.com] - they employ Andrew Morton too

Paralysed by FUD... (2, Funny)

rbrander (73222) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330307)

Dang. I was on the brink of either getting a Telly or building my own MythTV using a Shuttle box with Intel. Now I see that there are six other products besides the Telly, and more coming.

My plans are starting to look like "early adopter impatience"...yes, yes, there's always a better system coming out, ut's never the perfect time to buy in, yada yada. But! I don't want to buy JUST before the cost/benefit curve goes through an elbow.

I'm getting a feeling that 2005 is the Year of the Elbow for DVRs.

I just don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330340)

Linux is basically the establishment now.

Linux just isn't special anymore.

It's still a lot of fun and great OS but it's just not exciting any more to hear blahblah company is making some Linux product.

Ouch! Bill must be upset (3, Insightful)

Ridgelift (228977) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330342)

Over the last 5 years Microsoft and their cronies have been crowing about who's going to "own the livingroom". The idea has been to get away from the PC and onto the TV.

I'm sure Linux making such deep inroads isn't going to sit well with Gates and Ballmer. I'm also sure they will attack Linux with all their legal and marketing muscle. Expect to see a bloodbath over this one.

Re:Ouch! Bill must be upset (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11331259)

I think the most appropriate comment from television and satellite companies to Microsoft would be "Your reputation precedes you."

HP aint cool (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330387)

Yep, as I look at the full page ad by HP in this PC magazine that says "Windows XP is the best choice for your home media needs" I really don't think HP is your friend. It's one thing to whole heartedly support open source (IBM), it's another to support it as a sideline.

Re:HP aint cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330437)

Carly Fiorina must go. She ain't cool.

Re:HP aint cool (1)

SunFan (845761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330594)


HP is a whore like IBM. They'll sell anything to get your money. They don't care if it's Windows, Linux, UNIX, x86, RISC, mainframe, whatever. If it sends bucks their way, it'll be in their catalog.

open source hardware (2, Informative)

m0llusk (789903) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330402)

A potentially interesting example not mentioned is Street Fire Sound [streetfiresound.com] which has an open source hardware offering.

nobody cares, linux is dying (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330425)

nobody cares about this. next!

if TiVo uses Linux, where's the source? (1)

ghee22 (781277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330492)

Does Tivo make the changes to their source available? I'd like to see it and any interesting ideas be merged into the CVS of MythTv. Does anyone know what license is being used by TiVo?

I'm an idiot (1)

ghee22 (781277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330522)

here's the source: http://www.tivo.com/linux/linux.asp

Give Back (1)

kdekorte (8768) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330498)

Well I hope with all these companies using open source applications that they give back to the community. Either by funding some of the developers or donating to project.

It would be unfortunate to see companies taking the results and making a profit, but not giving back to those that put the time in to make the product.

Re:Give Back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330823)

but they shouldn't have to (or even pressured into) if they don't want to.

DREAMBOX is AWESOME (4, Interesting)

cRueLio (679516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330504)

I have a Dreambox and let's just say that it has some *ahem* special capabilities when it comes to satellite television. And of course, it runs Linux (currently an unpatched 2.6.9-rc1 ppc kernel). Good stuff.
It's DVR capabilities are also improving daily, thanks to an active CVS repository where Enigma, (which is like MythTV) is being developed by people all over the world.
Visit my forum Open Dreambox North America [afraid.org] for specific info for usage in the states and canada :)

Re:DREAMBOX is AWESOME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330831)

Too bad it doesn't support HDTV.

Re:DREAMBOX is AWESOME (1)

cRueLio (679516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330990)

Actually, if you have an extra computer, it can stream HDTV DVB feeds to the computer over the network, and you can watch them with VLC or mplayer, for example. Now THAT's cool!

Why not VIA (3, Insightful)

SunFan (845761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330511)


Some of VIA's CPUs have built-in compression and encryption hardware that would seem perfect for a DVR.

My TV runs Linux (3, Interesting)

timbck2 (233967) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330521)

Seriously. I bought a Sony HDTV LCD projection TV for Christmas, and was surprised to see that it came with a GPL. It's running one of the real-time embedded Linux platforms (I forget which one).

Re:My TV runs Linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11330944)

I call bullshit. Which model is then TV? Give us a link.

Neat, but in violation of patent laws.. ie illegal (5, Informative)

oblique303 (848812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330534)

This reference design is neat, but any commercial implementation would be in violation of international patent law.

MythTV currently relies on libavcodec on the backend to do video compression/decompression. The libavcodec library implements the various MPEG compression algorithms, which are *very* vigerously protected by the LA MPEG patent pool group.

Any commercial implementation of a DVR using MythTV would be at extreme risk of prosecution by the LA MPEG group for unauthorized usage of the MPEG patents.

It would be very nice to see MythTV transitioned to use the Theora (www.theora.org) video codec, as this is a patent-free video compression / decompression library.

Re:Neat, but in violation of patent laws.. ie ille (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11331419)

any commercial implementation would be in violation of international patent law.

Unless, of course, the commercial company simply paid for a license for the patents!

Re:Neat, but in violation of patent laws.. ie ille (1)

bfree (113420) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331539)

Or they come from a part of the world where these alleged patents have no validity (and they don't do any business in any such part of the world). So who thinks they can make one in the EU and who doesn't :-)

Re:Neat, but in violation of patent laws.. ie ille (5, Informative)

dtperik (695891) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331491)

MythTV currently relies on libavcodec on the backend to do video compression/decompression.
Unless you use a card that does encoding/decoding in hardware, no? Then MythTV is just dumping the MPEG data stream back and forth from the HD. Like the system I'm building using the Hauppage PVR-350.

Is 0.18 out for Myth? (1)

whitetrashprogrammer (848813) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330588)

As a long time user of myth, I kind of resent a company coming in and slapping some hardware together and selling it for the small fact that a lot of people have spent a lot of time making sure Myth works for a wide variety of hardware (hauppage pci, pvr 250/350, matrox g200, etc.). Although we do need a fanless option. Tivo is not even fanless. The project's soul tends to be a very good frontend to video frames coming off a v4l/2 hardware card.

Re:Is 0.18 out for Myth? (2, Informative)

Frying Ferret (557022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330753)

No, it is still on .16
CVS is quite stable righ now as well, so I would expect .17 to comeout sometime soon, but there isn't a .18, the article is wrong (shocking I know)

Re:Is 0.18 out for Myth? (1)

fwitness (195565) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330785)

I didn't know .17 came out yet, to tell the truth. I love my Mythbox (it's my favorite box to tinker with) but documentation is still a bit on the shy side. Mythtv.info is Ok, but the main site is pretty drag.

Having to read through a commits archive to see what's coming and when is still rough.

and still no ATI AIW support (0)

Mr. Cancelled (572486) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330589)

I've had a Windows-based PVR for a couple of years now, and while I'd love to check out MythTV, I'm unable due to them not supporting any of the ATI All-In-Wonder cards. I run an ATI 8500DV for my PVR currently.

I'm a big Linux supporter, but it is frustrating that there's still problems with drivers for popular hardware, as the lack of AIW support illustrates. Blame's really pointless at this point also. The hardware companies are losing potential sales by not (fully) supporting Linux yet, much less porting drivers, and/or releasing specs for older product, and Linux is losing potential users due to pre-existing hardware setups.

I'm surprised hardware support hasn't kicked in more than it has yet, really... The AIW's have been around, in version or another, for quite some time now, and evidently the entire line's not supported [mythtv.org] yet. Things are starting to get better [sourceforge.net] , but the 8500's been out a long time now. At the rate driver progress is advancing, I have a better chance of running a BeOS clone before using my 8500DV with MythTV. 8(

I actually considered purchasing a Hauppage 350 when my PVR box went down last month (lost a drive), but it's easier to justify spending much less on the ultra-cool MediaMVP [hauppauge.com] and sticking with Windows than buying a rather expensing dedicated mpeg encoder just to try out some of the Linux solutions. With the MediaMVP, I can relocate my PVR box entirly out of the living room, and dedicate a headless box to recording, and playback somewhere. The biggest (and only) drawback I can come up with doing this is not being able to have Mame and other games on my PVR box. Perhaps with bluetooth control's though, one could even achieve that with the MVP.

For that matter, I'm seriously considering spending a little more down the road, and getting a completely silent, PPC-based box [apple.com] , with HD capabilities [slashdot.org] . My only concern is how the DRM will impact this when the FCC's broadcast biut kicks in this summer.

Re:and still no ATI AIW support (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331076)

Blame ATI. Hauppage supports Linux. I don't know if they write the drivers, or if they just tell people what they need to know, but the drivers are there.

Your beef is with ATI. I have an All-In-Wonder 3D Pro AGP 8mb card. This is from when AGP was first introduced. Pentium II era. There is STILL no decent TV input support that I could even find under Linux. It was a ton of hacking and messing around with beta/cvs drivers the last time I looked (a few months ago). If ATI would make the drivers so you could use your card, things would be fine. They make bianary closed source drivers so you can use 3D, why can't they do it for TV input too? Ask 'em, I'd like to know the answer. They also refuse to tell people what they need to know to make the apropriate video capture drivers, let alone 3D and such.

The solution? Buy video capture stuff from Hauppage, or anyone else who supports Linux. Buy 3D stuff from nVidia (who at least gives great 3D support for all their cards) or someone else who supports their cards well under Linux (Matrox has good Linux drivers, don't they?).

In short: DON'T BUY ATI FOR LINUX USE. It's that simple.

Re:and still no ATI AIW support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11331598)

ATI is not that horrible. I have ATI AIW Radeon and the card works without much problems in Linux. I had to install the mythTV libraries for accessing the TV-in, but right now I'm playing my XBox on my Linux desktop. (I don't own a TV)

Re:and still no ATI AIW support (2, Interesting)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331122)

Couple thoughts
1) if you have a beefy enough computer, hardware encoding is not really necessary, especially if you just want to "try out some of the linux solutions". Buy any number of the BT878-based TV cards and try with that. I know the TV Wonder VE used to go for about $30. Granted, it's mono, but I'm sure there's other stuff, cheaper. I remember Isaac mentioning that a 1700mhz machine was almost enough to record two streams and play one simultaneously.

2) The idea for your "ppc-based" box makes a lot of sense, too, and I'm curious to see what people will do with it, PVR-wise.

3) MediaMVP - you might want to look at the PrismIQ. I know the GUI is a lot better, and I think it has some features the MVP doesn't. Unfortunately, I believe both require some software running on another computer. (And neither supports MPEG4 natively, the prismiq uses the server computer to transcode). Oh, and the big annoyance on both - NO PCM AUDIO. Means that iMovie-based DVDs can't be ripped and played - you need to convert them to something else. Not a huge deal, but a deal nonetheless.

Comcast PVR (2, Interesting)

CmdrSanity (531251) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330927)

The one problem I have had \w PVRs is getting the digital channels to work correctly. My old tivo wouldnt do this (maybe series 2 does?).

Anyways, I recently joined the beta program for the Comcast PVR. [detnews.com] It is actually running a stripped-down version of windows media center. Now, I hate comcast, but I have to admit this device solves all the problems I had \w my Tivo. 1) the digital channels work 2) the recommendations are less silly 3) it only cost 4 dollars a month extra. I would *much* rather give my money to tivo, but comcast will have them beat once this device goes public.

Re:Comcast PVR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11331405)

OK first of all, your link didn't work so I just asume you are talking about the DVR/HDTV box that Comcast are pushing at the moment.
Second, Digital channels, i can get more over the air HD channels than they are currently providing.
Third, this think has severly bad interference, makes my AMP hum, and you can see it on the TV.
Fourth, the software doesn't do what it says it will, ie tell it to only record new episodes, and it records them all, argh.
The piece of junk is going back as soon as i get myself a TV tuner card, didn't want to get one as i am moving back to UK, but this thing ain't even worth the few bucks a month they charge.

Why so special? (2, Insightful)

BobSutan (467781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11330981)

Wht do manufacturers keep coming up with special names and looks for their PVR/DVRs? Why not take the approach that made VCRs ubiqutous and have a general design that everyone knows and will not be afraid to buy. If everytime someone walks into a store and sees 10 different versions of what are essentially the same device, they're going to inevitably get confused. Its already tough enough getting folks to shed their VCRs for a digital replacement so why compound the issue? In my opinion commodidty and simplicity is what will drive the DVR/PVR market to the levels of market penetration (or saturation if you will) that VCRs have already achieved. Whenever something whiz-bang enters the market this always seems to happen and is eventually later "fixed" by the companies that make it simple enough for Joe Sixpack to own and operate, which is a point I hope we're quickly approaching. Until then the standalone DVR/PVRs will be a fractured market fighting to stay alive. Don't get me wrong, I love the ability to space & time-shift my stuff in a digial format, but too many options/features can lead to a divergence in the selling points that may end up killing any advanced funtionality they offer (assuming costs don't do the trick beforehand).

Fpj coc4 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11331316)

the latest Netcraft performing.' Even BSD 4as always the longest or at death's door clearly. There and suggesting

You forgot one (2, Informative)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331432)

You forgot the Prismiq media player, and the soon to be launched Prismiq media center. http://www.prismiq.com/ [prismiq.com] http://www.prismiq.org/ [prismiq.org]

It's the interface, stupid! (1)

sunspot42 (455706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331545)

The problem with most of these devices is their interface - too complex for grandma. It's like the blinking VCR clock to the n'th degree. People don't quite understand what it is these expensive boxes do in the first place, and the frequently cruddy interfaces are just one more hurdle to overcome.

Until someone comes along who can successfully explain what these DVR gadgets do to John Q. Public and slap an easy to use interface on them the average NASCAR fan can navigate, they're going nowhere fast in the marketplace.

Maybe Apple will convert the new Mac mini into a home media server at some point down the road. The form factor is certainly right. Slap in better video abilities (maybe some dedicated MPEG encoding and decoding hardware), a larger hard drive and even built in wireless and you'd have a killer home media center capable of accessing not only video, but also a ripped CD collection or iTunes purchases and streams. Throw in an iPod-like remote and they could market this device as an iPod for your home theater. Consumers might actually get that angle, and Apple has already proven they can design user interfaces that just work.

And the important part (0, Flamebait)

Daedalon (848458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331582)

So does this Royal Linux OS need all the forecoming kernel patches pre-applied? I'd hate to have to recompile the kernel to be safe enough to watch the DVD / Blu-ray / whatever I just bought without random goatse popups appearing in the middle of the movie.

I HATE NERDS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11331635)

i hate americans

Must have software for satellite fanatics (2, Informative)

Linuxathome (242573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11331706)

Those of you who'd rather watch satellite programming, don't forget to check out VDR [cadsoft.de] . Add a cheap PCI card [newegg.com] to your PC and you can be time-shifting satellite programming in no time.

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