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Viiv 1.5 May End Traditional Media PCs

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the don't-trust-things-with-two-i's dept.

263

An anonymous reader writes "CNET.com.au makes an interesting case for why the next revision of Viiv will kill off living room PCs as we know them. Instead, we'll be streaming content to digital media adapters from a PC in our home office. From the article: 'The existence of digital media adapters will totally remove the need to have a media centre PC taking up space in your living room, unless you're one of the few users that finds it practical to do anything other than passively soak up multimedia content whilst relaxing on the couch.'"

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Not The Big Box (-1)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010060)

Instead, we'll be streaming content to digital media adapters from a PC in our home office.

No we wont. I'll be back on the couch as he describes, and certainly not walking into the "home office" to queue up my next piece of media.

Somewhere between a small laptop and a PDA / phone to transmit input via WiFi maybe, but replacing a home stereo component with a traditional PC will not catch-on.

Re:Not The Big Box (1)

bombadillo (706765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010127)

Somewhere between a small laptop and a PDA / phone to transmit input via WiFi maybe, but replacing a home stereo component with a traditional PC will not catch-on.

Sounds like you are validating what the article said....

You're right, it's a small box (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010183)

Imagine your entire CD/DVD collection available at the touch of a remote. No fiddling with hundreds of cases, finding the one you're looking for. No limit of shuffling songs on only 5 CDs. Instant access to everything you own. The ability to make instant playlists of whatever songs you like, or the ability to dynamically change the potential of a song to be played.

All in a box smaller than your current DVD player, and, coincidently, able to play CD/DVDs as well. (OK, so the drives that store all this are located remotely, cuts down on sound and size of the box in your living room)

Re:You're right, it's a small box (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010214)

Imagine your entire CD/DVD collection available at the touch of a remote.

Imagine it? I can already remember it...

Re:You're right, it's a small box (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010491)

But obviously the GP can't. :)

Re:You're right, it's a small box (1)

madman101 (571954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010216)

Between my Tivo and my Sony 400 disk DVD jukebox, I do this now. What's the big deal?

Re:You're right, it's a small box (4, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010323)

Oh my, how much will the 401th disk will cost you...

When a 300GB HDD costs less than 100Eur, the PC is the obvious solution, not mentionning it serves as a backup as well. All my DVDs, CDs, home movies, pictures, ... everything on a couple of HDDs. Backup is trivial (for pics and home movies, the rest still has its original media).

There is NO MATCH to that as of today, anywhere.

Re:You're right, it's a small box (1)

madman101 (571954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010447)

Fine, but the Tivo can access the files on my PC. So I can play the media files on my PC, and the Jukebox covers all my DVD's. I could convert the DVD's to a computer format and access through the network with the Tivo, but with the jukebox costing around $250.00, why bother?

Re:You're right, it's a small box (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010513)

Because the jukebox is a HUGE box, unlike the PC solution. 400 discs takes up space, no matter how you stack them.

You could fit the entire PC based multiple HD receivers/DVR/Audio/DVD solution into the space of that jukebox alone!

Re:You're right, it's a small box (2, Informative)

whoop (194) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010601)

KnoppMyth [mysettopbox.tv] is perfect for this. Just pick hardware that is known compatible if you aren't familiar with compiling kernels and such to get them working.

Re:You're right, it's a small box (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010469)

Wecome to 2001

Re:You're right, it's a small box (2, Insightful)

sambowagner (147714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010521)

Imagine your entire CD/DVD collection available at the touch of a remote. No fiddling with hundreds of cases, finding the one you're looking for. No limit of shuffling songs on only 5 CDs. Instant access to everything you own. The ability to make instant playlists of whatever songs you like, or the ability to dynamically change the potential of a song to be played.

All in a box smaller than your current DVD player, and, coincidently, able to play CD/DVDs as well. (OK, so the drives that store all this are located remotely, cuts down on sound and size of the box in your living room)

Connect a Mac Mini (with whatever storage hardware you need) to your plasma and your stereo system. Sit on the couch with a Bluetooth mouse. This isn't new.

Re:You're right, it's a small box (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010542)

That's what I was thinking, but I didn't say it. You have to couch my post in context of the GP. Evidently he couldn't imagine it.

Re:You're right, it's a small box (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010639)

Why a mouse? A mouse is not a home theater device. Why another input device at all? Do you know how many freaking remotes I have right now? I'm in the process of ripping my dvd collection so I can just use my Show Center remote and be done with all the others. Besides, when you start adding the storage you will need for the Mac Mini and the redundancy so you don't have to rip your stuff all over again, your little Mac Mini is a full blown setup better suited for an office not a living room.

Re:Not The Big Box (2, Informative)

beisbol (173766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010196)

It already has caught on in a big way for some. I use XBMC [xboxmediacenter.com] to stream audio and video from a media server, and there are other devices out there built to do the same, like MediaMVP, [hauppauge.com] Avel LinkPlayer, [iodata.com] D-link DSM-520, [dlink.com] and many others. Heck, there's even an entire forum [avsforum.com] dedicated to such devices over at avsforum.

Re:Not The Big Box (5, Insightful)

MrFlibbs (945469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010230)

You're missing the point. The idea is to use the PC to manage all your digital content but to control it remotely. Nobody is talking about the user having to walk into another room to queue things up. In fact, the whole point is *NOT* to do this. Instead, the user will use a handheld remote control device that wirelessly accesses content on your PC (where ever it may be) and streams the content to your home theater system. The goal is to let you do this from your couch.

As TFA points out, all of the existing solutions have drawbacks (too bulky, too loud, too inconvenient). A more elegant solution is to harness the power and disk space of your PC to store and manage your digital media but wirelessly feed them into your theater system with a simple interface. That's what the new VIIV products claim to do. How well they do so remains to be seen, but if they can pull this off it could be a great product.

Re:Not The Big Box (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010483)

Viiv isn't the first; it's more like the 8th but with over 300 million bucks for buying "reviews".

Re:Not The Big Box (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010652)

who else does this? I have been looking for something like this. Ok, I haven't been looking too hard. :)

Exactly. Here's why I still think VIIV will fail: (1)

isolationism (782170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010748)

They're essentially talking about making a Squeezebox device that plays video, it's that simple. The problem -- at least, what I perceive is the priblem -- with the current generation of products out there (that have already been doing this for years now) is: vendor lock-in.

For example, D-Link's media players are little slim pizza boxes (nowhere near as small or light-weight as a Squeezebox, sadly) that would seem to be a great fit for a media viewer and relatively inexpensive -- until you find out that they only support modern Windows installations as the file server. (That I later learned you can effectively hack up an NFS server on *nix is in this case irrelevant; it's not supported and apparently doesn't work very well anyway).

Being one of those crazy nerds who actually has a 1.6TB RAID5 in a dual Opteron rack-mount box under the stairs (which isn't running Windows, it may shock you to learn) means I actually care about the quality of the software offering of the media server in question because it isn't going to be yet another TSR to crash Explorer on my Windows desktop; If the hardware vendor says, "You have to run Windows on that server to use our media player," or better yet, "You need to have an Intel VIIV processor in that server," I'll be glad to tell them where to stick their media player platform.

I mentioned SqueezeBox before and their perl-based "SlimServer" app. The implementation isn't airtight (the player still hangs occasionally on a very small number of mp3s for some reason I haven't divined yet), but they got my money because the server platform is written in Perl and because it's open-source, with all of the benefits that implies. Slim Devices also donates 10% of their net profit to the EFF to help protect our rights to fair use, which is more than any other vendor in the market is doing, to my knowledge. The hardware is also, incidentally, awesome compared to any competitor in the same ballpark -- but you can find out about that for yourself if you're interested.

When the folks at Slim Devices announce that they have a new device available that plays video as well as music I'll be the first in line to take the plunge; Until that day my Freevo-running EPIA-M will do just dandy, thanks.

Other vendors like D-Link and Intel are going to be left out in the cold (from this house, at least) until they can come close to making a similar offering across the board -- not just a lower price point nor being able to walk into a big-box store to go into debt over such a device on 18% interest store credit.

Re:Not The Big Box (1)

aesiamun (862627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010456)

The Xbox 360 has a built in Media Center Extender. You never have to get up and walk into the office in order to queue up data. Instead, it offers an on screen guide of all artists, albums, movies, etc and you choose from there.

Re:Not The Big Box (1)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010595)

Instead, we'll be streaming content to digital media adapters from a PC in our home office.

No we wont. I'll be back on the couch as he describes, and certainly not walking into the "home office" to queue up my next piece of media.

Somewhere between a small laptop and a PDA / phone to transmit input via WiFi maybe, but replacing a home stereo component with a traditional PC will not catch-on.


*sigh* You don't have to do this (get up and change media) NOW. You can have full control over your "office" located media server and stream it to a network client near your TV and control it all from your couch with a regular remote control.

Here's an old article from my site where you have an office PC, a pvr x50 card, and a MediaMVP [byopvr.com] to make a budget network streaming PVR that's controllable from your couch/remote control.

It's not like network adapters and media "clients" are new ideas/technology. I'm sure several people will point to using lightweight/quiet mini-itx mythtv client boxes, or modded xbox's w/XBMC as clients to some media store in a closet somewhere.

Viiv is the "centrino" branding of new DRM lockdown...

*sigh*

e.

So can anyone recommend (1)

mediabunny (25035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010075)

a media adaptor that doesn't suck or require so much effort with the server software that it takes longer to set up then building a pc by hand does.

Apart from the squeezebox I cannot think of any adaptor that is even bearably useable.

Re:So can anyone recommend (5, Informative)

marc_gerges (561641) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010098)

Hauppauge's MediaMVP.

I use three of them as my Mythtv frontends using http://mvpmc.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] . Low energy consumption, boots Linux over the LAN from my Mythtv server and supports slimserver's protocol for listening to music.

Re:So can anyone recommend (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010231)

I like the idea of the MediaMVP, but I'd really like to have a full MythFrontend, which it appears not to offer.

Re:So can anyone recommend (2, Informative)

quis (737516) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010532)

XBMC [xboxmediacenter.com] . The Xbox may be a PC a heart, but everything about it, from the (fairly inconspicous) case to the interface, remote control support, instant-on, low noise and 5-minute setup tell a different story. The best part is that it plays fair with protocols and standards, so you can stream from Mac/Win/Linux over Samba pretty much any format of video or audio you care to choose. Only downside is having to softmod the Xbox in the first place.

Re:So can anyone recommend (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010592)

Easy. Anything based on the SigmaTel chipsets. Pinnacle Showcenter (pretty cheap for an unopened model 1000 on ebay) is what I use but every vendor has a device based on it now. Here's the short list:

Iodata LinkPlayer2, Buffalo LT, Pinnacle SHowcenter, Momitsu V880N, Kiss, Bravo

The newer chipset model (Showcenter 200) can actually play Windows DRM files but I don't have any so I don't need it.

advert (4, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010092)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

"Viiv is a platform marketing initiative from Intel "...
(bolding mine)

Nothing else needs to be added...

Re:advert (1)

AnonymousPrick (956548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010118)

...why the next revision of Viiv will kill off living room PCs

As soon as I saw that, I knew it was some sort of marketing hype. Your post confirmed it.

It's an advertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010210)

It's an advertisement.... which is why this article was so light on details; they are not doing any critical thinking. It reads almost like it came straight from a press release.

I would have been more interested to read numbers on the media PC market. Is it really failing or is it that people ARE just plunking down regular computers in their living rooms because it IS good enough?

Re:advert (3, Interesting)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010267)

It may take off, but I doubt it will be revolutionary. I think there's an Airport capable of this, and it really hasn't been that huge either. The article doesn't understand the media PC _at all_. They assume you're putting a full fledged ugly grey cased PC next to your TV. I don't know a single person who's actually ever done that. More likely you've got a Mini itx box with a big laptop hard drive and maybe a TV-in card (if you want a DVR). Have you seen the Mini itx cases out there? They look better than most of the components I have next to my stereo.

For about 350-400 bucks you can have a box that:
Can watch and burn dual layer DVD's
Can listen to and burn CD's and internet radio (and basically any other audio content)
Load full of emulators and Gametap and play games on
Browse the web
And a low power always on media file server that people coming over to your house can grab media from

Like I said, I'm sure there's a market for people who just want to play MP3's over their stereo. But there are already much better solutions that can do more that aren't tied so closely with DRM.

From the Sales Floor (2, Informative)

mfh (56) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010283)

I sell HP Media systems. Most computer users that come in have no idea that something like a Linksys Media Extender [tmcnet.com] even exists, and the price shocks some of them (and others the idea of moving the plasma *anywhere* in their living room is a delightful one).

I love to do PK (product knowledge) and in my search for info about Viiv... I didn't find anything that would make it stand out above and beyond any other HP Media system.

To summarize -- cool things can now happen in your living room. Users that come in talking about Viiv -- I always remind them that it's a catagory, not an actual product, feature or specific technology -- to me it's more of a brand standard.

Re:From the Sales Floor (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010429)

Viiv is just Intel's attempt to become the defacto HTPC by throwing Millions of dollars into marketing. Meanwhile as you pointed out there is absolutely nothing unique about it. But that won't stop Intel from flooding every magazine and website with Viiv marketing spam.

Re:From the Sales Floor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010617)

Meanwhile as you pointed out there is absolutely nothing unique about it.

Not true- Intel has signed over 70 agreements with media companies to be the exclusive (read: unique) distributor of their media electronically.

Re:advert (1)

0x20 (546659) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010288)

I'd like to believe that, but the story sort of advocates having less Intel hardware around. Also CNET does not really have a reputation for being any sort of Intel mouthpiece.

Re:advert (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010433)

VIIV is hardware based DRM that is closely tied to Intel's Trusted Computing initiative (although they desperately don't want to have the two linked in the media). They claim they will have Linux support, but no-one actually believes that since VIIV is intended to be used within a rigidly controlled operating system which is an almost completely locked down and DRMed media system (cough... Windows Vista...cough). If it does end up with Linux support, you can sure as shit bet that the access to DRMed content will not be allowed unless all the software in the chain (including, I guess the Kernel) has the correct digital signatures (ie... hasn't been recompiled) and has been signed off as "not doing anything we don't want it to."

As I said... fits in with Microsoft and their mandatory driver signing and other control freakery coming in Vista. Doesn't fit in with Linux.

Done. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010096)

MythTV box in the basement with terrabytes of storage. Mac Mini on top of the TV acting as a client to the MythTV box with an IR receiver for remote control.

Of course there is still one major sticking point. Price! MythTV box plus Mac Mini = $Thousands versus DVR rental from your cable company $10/mnth. Sure the rented DVR will cost more in the long run but, people won't see that. All they'll see is $2,500 starting cost, forget MythTV.

Re:Done. (2, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010211)

Isn't it good to know that Intel is about to validate what we've been doing for some time, now. I felt so terribly exposed with my MythTV backend up in the study, streaming video to MythFrontends elsewhere in the house, until it became "Strategic." Of course I'm sure MythTV isn't "strategic" to Viiv.

As for cost, there's a PC up in the study, anyway. It's just a bit more powerful, has a bigger hard drive, and has a capture card to make it a MythTV backend. Yes, there's cost. But it's not a whole PC's worth of cost, just the additional stuff.

Nonsense (2, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010100)

Not everyone has a 'home office'

The future of the home media center is the mac mini (perhaps with viiv chips in future)

A simple to setup, simple to use feature filled vertically integrated experience is what people want - and Apple is the company to deliver!

Re:Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010164)

vertically integrated experience

Is that the new "Apple name" for vendor lock-in?

Re:Nonsense (1)

aesiamun (862627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010496)

nonsense is right. The mac mini is a great computer, it's small, cleanly designed and not right for the living room.

It has a hard drive, it's got moving parts, it's a computer. What is needed is something like the Linksys media center extender, which is just a simple extension to the Microsoft Media Center. That can be anywhere, and then you have a computer that can be upgraded, changed out, have raid attached, whatever you want.

Sure it's a Microsoft solution but it works, and it works well for me so far.

Re:Nonsense (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010656)

It has a hard drive, it's got moving parts, it's a computer. What is needed is something like the Linksys media center extender,

Guess what? The Linksys media center extender is a computer!!

Sure, it's purpose-built, but definitely it's a computer.

A LAN-bootable Mini-ITX machine would probably do the same tasks.

Who need any of them? (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010101)

Isn't long cables to you elsewhere placed computer enough?

Re:Who need any of them? (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010531)

It's difficult and relatively expensive to install cabling to a machine in another room, for all that that does. It stops anyone else using the computer at the same time as you, and there is a loss of signal quality over analogue cables of any significant length.

Re:Who need any of them? (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010549)

Exactly. Together with a wireless PC remote (~$20), you don't need anything else.

Microsoft Word (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010648)

Isn't long cables to you elsewhere placed computer enough?

(Fragment) Consider revising.

hardly an article, more of an advert (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010103)

commentary The forthcoming update to Intel's Viiv will see the media centre PC move from the living room to the home office. Asher Moses explains why.

Before anyone mentions it, no, we haven't been smoking any particularly potent herbal products lately, nor were we repeatedly beaten over the head with a two by four on the way to work this morning. Hear me out.

Thus far, every play to bring the PC into the living room has revolved around plonking an entire machine down in the lounge, right next to your existing home theatre equipment. In our opinion, this method was doomed from the outset.

The only moderate success of Windows Media Center-equipped PCs has highlighted the fact that most consumers aren't interested in having an all-singing, all-dancing computer in their lounge room. We're not interested in editing word documents, manipulating spreadsheets, browsing the Web or playing games in a three metre interface from the couch (as opposed to sitting directly in front of the screen like we normally do when interacting with a PC). Rather, we'd simply like to watch/record TV, view DVDs and play other audio/video files on-demand through a simple, intuitive interface.

This is where the genius of Viiv comes in. Shortly, Intel will release a range of "digital media adapters", which connect to your existing home theatre components (e.g. your TV, stereo system, etc) and can stream content wirelessly from any Viiv-certified PC. Bingo!

The existence of digital media adapters will totally remove the need to have a media centre PC taking up space in your living room, unless you're one of the few users that finds it practical to do anything other than passively soak up multimedia content whilst relaxing on the couch.

As a result, the PC in your home office will likely act as a digital media hub, distributing content wirelessly throughout your house to various media adapters. And since the Windows Media Center Edition operating system used by all Viiv-enabled machines is virtually identical to Windows XP when it's not in media centre mode, you can go about your regular office-related tasks -- word processing, web browsing, etc -- while others are seamlessly streaming content in the lounge.

Such multi-tasking makes dual-core processors a necessity, which explains why Intel requires all vendors of Viiv machines to adopt a dual-core processor before gaining certification.

Suddenly, the logic surrounding some manufacturers' decisions to offer Viiv machines in an office-like tower form factor -- for example, the Acer Aspire e650 -- is beginning to make sense.

What do you think? Will the PC pull out of the lounge room, leaving your home office machine to act as both a media hub and a productivity workhorse? Have your say below!

Re:hardly an article, more of an advert (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010637)

Too right it's a marketing puff piece. All that chatter about viewing media in the living room, and no mention of Linux HTPC solutions, MythTV etc. Not that I expected it in this dross. "Viiv-certified PC" - sounds ominous. Say, do they want us to upgrade all our hardware so that they can slip in DRM unnoticed? No thanks, I'll stick with open solutions. Plus, what's this about "most consumers aren't interested in ... playing games [in their lounge rooms]"? I bet they would if they knew they could do it. That was the second reason why I built a mythbox - the first being access to media.

Media linux (1, Funny)

raffe (28595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010110)

Does linux support the viiv spec?
Will I be able to run a cutom built "media linux"?

I like xbmc so I am thinking of doing something like that with linux....ohh, it must exist already...no?

Dual core *required* ? (3, Interesting)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010113)

FTFA : "Such multi-tasking makes dual-core processors a necessity"

Hahaha ! What about requiring a good scheduler ? Multitasking has nothing to do with multi cores...

Marketing push or simply cluelessness ?

Re:Dual core *required* ? (1)

Attrition_cp (888039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010209)

Judging by the arvert styled article, its marketing. "You NEED multi-cores to speed up that system!". etc.

Re:Dual core *required* ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010252)

I completely agree.
Processor is not the bottleneck here. I have a wireless setup with a multimedia server throughout the house, and I never have a processor problem, unless the server does something at 100%, and even then the processor speed won't matter. It will still take 100%, but just take a shorter time.
Its about drive speed and wireless bandwidth.
The wireless connection can't take more than about 5 streaming connections, and the same with the drive.
But since this is sponsored by a processor company, its all about speed.
We stopped needing processor upgrades for even high end games about 2 years ago, but they have to create the demand for upgrades, to sell thier latest processors.

Don't be stupid (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010115)

You're going to end up with a DVR device that can record video, play DVDs, play VHS tapes, and play music CDs. You're not going to download torrents of movies from the web and then play them back from your PC.

You're going to be like everyone else and rent or buy DVDs and live with the warnings and advertisements in them. Viiv isn't going to change anything.

That's not really a VIIV thing... (4, Interesting)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010116)

The whole home theater industry has been moving in that direction for quite some time. You have a home media storage "furnace" that serves up video and then a small client box for your TV.

You see that already with the XBox hacks, XBox 360 and Windows Media Center, and networked DVD players

Now VIIV may help that along but the technology has already been in existence (and in use) for years.

Well... except for maybe the DRM controls that VIIV will provide...

media adapter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010132)

you mean.. a pc in a box with a wireless nic running RSVP or some propriatary intel protocol, that isn't a pc?

umm.. no thanks.. i'll stick with mythTV on a notebook.. about the same size.. still plugs into the TV.. is wireless and well.. does everything i need a remote to do.. and when i don't want it to stream tv.. it can function as well.. a notebook..

Also nothing new.. d-link media lounge does the same damn thing..

More Marketing, Less Innovation (3, Insightful)

MLopat (848735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010145)

Just like the Media Center PC's from Microsoft, that have gained "less than favourable traction" since their release, Intel's brand of Viv marketing to bring digital content to the living room is lacking the user friendly features that the average consumer is looking for.

The idea of building a server to house your media collection is fascinating to the nerds out there, but for the average movie fanatic, the thought of mixing the right hardware and software on a file server that resides else where in the house is not appealing. Further, like any other home computer, this server will require maintenance. The last thing most consumers want when they come home after sitting in front of their office computer for 10 hours is to have to retreat to the home office, patch their server, download their favorite shows, etc. etc. just so they can finally veg out.

More Media, Less Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010192)

That's what you think [inteset.com]

Re:More Marketing, Less Innovation (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010304)


I gave up on Windows Media Center because of stability issues, as well as usability (what do you mean, the only way to sort my mp3s is either alphabetically or with ID3 tags!?! Sort them by directory! That's why I put them in genre/artist/album/ directory structure and named them artist-album-##-songtitle!!) It was a neat idea, but just poorly executed. Myth TV does some things better and a lot of things worse.

Then, I got tivo, and I saw the light. No joke; if you don't have tivo, it will change your life. And I'm not affiliated with them in any way other than I own one.

So now I have a simple computer that's quiet and quasi-powerful attached to my receiver. Whenever I want to watch downloaded TV / listen to music, I flip over to "VCR" on my receiver (don't have one of those, tossed it when i got tivo), and then I use a wireless mouse to pick what i want to watch, and double click it. It's not complicated, and a gyroscopic mouse-remote would make it even better.

That computer yes does have to be maintained; but it never contacts the internet aside from AVGFree updates and windows updates; so it never gets infected, and the hardware has proven to be quite reliable.

~W

Re:More Marketing, Less Innovation (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010438)

Okay. So you use TiVo for your PVR stuff, and a small/quiet PC for other media. You said you gave up on MCE and aren't too pleased with Myth. So what are you running on the PC? Or do you just not use a designed-for-TV-use interface on it?

Re:More Marketing, Less Innovation (1)

singularity (2031) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010624)

Yeah, all of those people out there using iTunes music streaming are constantly complaining about the difficulty in getting it set up.

Simply put, it can be done well enough (using technologies such as ZeroConf) that it really requires almost no effort on the part of the end-user.

It makes a lot of sense to me. I am a Mac user, and I have an iMac with about 500 gigabytes of storage attached in my bedroom. I keep thinking about picking up a cheap Mac mini for my living room. Everyone keeps talking about throwing in bigger hard drives into the mini, or adding more RAM. A minimal HD and RAM is enough to stream off of the iMac.

Now I just need to convince the roommates we need a bigger television...

Re:More Marketing, Less Innovation (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010645)

That is the problem. It shouldn't need maintence (unless your hardware fails). It is not (or should not be) open to an insecure network, the requisites don't change often, and it should have standard software. Why maintence? (answer: because of DRM)

Steamed to my TV.. but not from my PC (5, Informative)

DuncanE (35734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010147)

I dont want a "Media Centre PC". I dont want to have a PC with GB's of movies and TV shows. I want to be someone else to sort, manage them and back them up. I don't want a set top box that connects to my PC so I can watch this massive collection.

I want video on demand. I want my local video store or cable company or telco to manage all the GB's of TV shows and movies. But when I want to watch a movie, be it the latest flick staring Angelina Jolie, some old movie a friend recommended or a movie I've watch 50 times, I just want to select it from a list, pay my 50c (or maybe 4.95 for a new release?) and watch it (pause it, rewind it and maybe see some "making of" style doco).

Re:Steamed to my TV.. but not from my PC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010449)

Exactly. Mod parent up.

Cheapest way (5, Interesting)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010155)

I have a soft modded xbox that has samba access to the Ubuntu pc in my bedroom, plus NAT access to the net. Trivial, and all it cost was a 2nd hand xbox.

Re:Cheapest way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010200)

why would you use samba between two linux boxes?

Re:Cheapest way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010222)

xbox media center isn't linux... google xbmc

No kidding. It's about divergence. (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010161)

The computer industry seems to have this idea that we want to combine all our gadgetry into a single box. There's always bee this assumption. The fact is, people prefer separate dedicated equipment.

Just because somethign can be used for several purposes doesn't mean people want it to. They have a dedicated TV for a games console, and generally don't even use a DVD player as a CD player. If a device has a single dedicated purpose, it becomes a lot easier to use, and usualy does the job its designed to do a lot better.

Re:No kidding. It's about divergence. (5, Interesting)

shotgunefx (239460) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010314)

Good point. I think I used my DVD player once to play a CD (my stereo was apart).

Maybe at some point convergence works, but right now you get things that are so-so at a lot of things and excellent at none. Cell phones are a good example.

I don't want or need a shitty camera built in. What's the point? The quality sucks, bad resolution, bad picture quality, maybe an LED for a shitty flash. I rather carry my small digital camera instead. Having one company as your gate keeper is perilous too. Take the cell phone example. I got a LG PM-325 from Sprint. I used the camera twice before realizing unless I paid X dollars a month for "Picture Mail", there was absolutely no way to retrieve them from the phone.

The future downside is that if they every do make the ultimate device that does everything, you're fscked if it get's stolen. There goes your media, your pictures and probably tons of other stuff that you wouldn't want other people to have access to. Carrying your life in your pocket might be convienent, but also dangerous.

Re:No kidding. It's about divergence. (1, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010515)

Bingo.

A few years ago I remember someone telling me about a Sears Roebuck catalog he'd seen from the early 1900's. One of the more expensive items was an electric motor which came with a variety of specialized tools and adapters. The idea was you would take a drill, saw, whatever, plug it into this motor to draw power (mechanical power, I mean; probably incredibly dangerous, to judge by similar setups on modern farm equipment, but presumably it worked), do the job, unhook the tool, and then fit the next weird adapter to the next tool.

And in those days, when electric motors were fairly expensive all by themselves and had a low power-to-weight ratio, it probably made sense. These days, of course, every power tool has its own motor, and that's how people prefer it.

Considering that most TV's and DVD players and stereos and, hell, microwave ovens now have more computational power than the average user had on his desktop a couple of decades ago, I see no reason to assume that the trend toward divergence isn't continuing into the present day.

Re:No kidding. It's about divergence. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010586)

I think it is more that people like things that are easier to use, and seperate devices tend to be easier for newer technologies.

My mom really likes her TV/VCR combo. She bought a second one when the first one broke. It was a perfect second TV.

Convergence is a secondary reason why people buy laptops, it's one box instead of three or four(primary reason is portability).

Plenty of people use thier Xbox or PS2 as DVD players.

Some people might like seperate equipment, but I don't think everybody does. Nobody likes crappy combined stuff, but if one box does two things as well as two seperate boxes, I'm gonna buy it.

Re:No kidding. It's about divergence. (1)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010613)

Not everyone has the room for all those gadgets. The PS2 was brilliant in the fact I was able to ditch my DVD player, and that it stands up on its end. When it goes out (or when I get the money) I'll replace it with a Mac Mini.

Re:No kidding. It's about divergence. (1)

Kopretinka (97408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010698)

Well, if I already have a computer, and am able to use it, it will be easy for me to use the same computer as a TV, right? I mean, of course a TV microwave would have a weird interface, but we're talking about going from computers where we are used to having multiple simple interfaces (think browser, mp3 player).

I, for one, would appreciate if my laptop could do so much more than it currently does, including TV and radio.

Why the next big thing article will be wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010225)

Feel free to add to the list:

1. Media hoars need money too and will do anything to encite crowds into viewing their clickage.
2. Self-absorbed pontificating asses never think anyone wouldn't want to hear them.
3. We don't trust the manufacturers. They've tried to swindle, corral, trick, and change laws to make our consumption subject to our continual feeding of money to lease rather than own.

Dude! (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010653)

Excellent wordage.

What the hell is a hoar though?

Can you say Airport Express? (2, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010228)

Doesn't Apple's Airport Express [apple.com] do this already for audio, with video capability soon to be released?

Sort of a doomed idea anyway (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010259)

Most media center PCs were too expensive to be mass market items anyway. What they should have done instead is come up with a very low end PC that costs $200-$300 that focuses everything it has on serving up high quality content instead. BeOS would have been great for that. They could then sell add ons like home NAS devices that would have been automatically detected and added so that you could just keep expanding your home media collection painless by buying a new device and plugging it in.

Today, most families don't have the money to spend on another $1500-$2500 PC that is basically a TiVO and DVD player with a few little wizbang features thrown in. The dollar has been shot in the head thanks to Clinton (yay for the most corrupt SEC in decades!) and Bush (deficit spending out his ass), many good jobs have left the country and so quite simply, the media PC was about as useful and affordable for many families as a $60,000 luxury car for its size and role among electronics.

I already do that. (2, Informative)

Griffinart (957548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010301)

The household PC is in the kitchen for general use with an XBox 360 in the living room streaming live TV and recorded media to the TV over my wireless network. Win MCE 2005 and Extenders have allowed this for a while now without Viiv.

Handy Tech (2, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010310)

I can see the benefit of this sort of setup to a degree. I run something similar, with streaming media devices in various rooms, all streaming from a centralized machines. It is quite nice to have your entire media library available from any location.

A friend of mine discovered a cheap, low tech solution for pushing audio as well, using playlists and a small FM transmitter. Basically, you run your own custom radio station. No remote control, but available throughout the house and yard, and no streaming devices required.

Alternative (1)

3CRanch (804861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010319)

Microsoft...Intel...Microsoft...Intel...sounds like yet another advertisement.

To meet all the prerequisites listed in the article, how about: mini-itx form factor, linux, mythtv. Bingo. No full sized pc needed, it'll record your shows like a Tivo box, it'll play your mp3's, it'll play your dvd's, it'll let you burn off your shows to dvd, and everything else you might need.

And it'll be cheaper to boot!

Oh, but gee...it won't be Windows or Intel certified...shucks!

Streaming?!? (-1, Offtopic)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010333)

I hope free internet connection with real IP address would be included. Otherwise - count me out.

Mac Mini (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010334)

We basically need a VCR/DVD player sized component that can do everything. A Mac Mini would be a good start, small, quiet, and has enough power to do most PVR like features. It could be made twice as wide (lets hope not too much higher) and probably be able to do everything we need for the living room.

Opportunity for Apple? (1)

reverend_rodger (879863) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010348)

Apple's Airport Express already does this, and I believe soon it's going to be able to stream video also. Is it possible for Apple to gain a Viiv certification? And if so, would this be an opportunity for Apple to really start gaining market share from Windows? With the latest Vista Delay (tm), Apple may have a real chance, if they use their legendary ability to stir up the market, to create the livingroom presence that Windows has been trying to get. Apple already has the technology (or I imagine they will soon), they just need to make the necessary marketing push to get the ball rolling.

Relaxing on the couch... (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010355)

unless you're one of the few users that finds it practical to do anything other than passively soak up multimedia content whilst relaxing on the couch.

Ever since I got a bright, hi-rez projector (Dell 5100MP [dell.com] 1440x1050), my couch is where I do everything except programming. It is great for email, web-browsing, IM, video-phone, games and yes, even the occasional TV show or DVD.

I highly recommend using an 8 foot wide screen with a wireless keyboard - it is amazingly comfortable to sit back in the laz-e-boy and use the entire wall as a monitor.

Re:Relaxing on the couch... (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010567)

Hehe yea, an 8 foot screen makes your photo slideshows look really cool, too.

whatever (1)

scronline (829910) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010364)

Intel is just trying to make themselves appear the only way to work with media, you know...marketing. Basically they're riding on coattails here. Viiv isn't ANY different than an AMD system similarly equipt. It's only "certified" to be able to do what they say it will. AMD could do the same thing, but they don't try forcing vendors to buy into their CRAP.

Oh, and no, I don't like Intel. I've been lied to enough by that company over the years.

Between the lines (4, Insightful)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010387)

I'm thinking this product means two things.
  1. License fees to Intel, so no Linux support.
  2. DRM.

Pick Your Flavor... (5, Insightful)

u16084 (832406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010388)

I dont know about going to extremes saying it will REPLACE traditional PCs...

I get my work frustrations out with gaming. During the last 14 days, I came to the conclusion that gaming on the PC is "for more expandable then any console" but The maintenance involved is just not worth it. It SHOULD just work(tm?) I deal with machines problems at work, nothing fancy just your usual monkey help desk. So in theory, You just reformatted your pc, reinstalled windows, and started the painful restoration. (blockers) virus,spam,firewalls,blah blah blah. Once that is completed, you begin to reinstall your game lineups. And if you're a gamer, you got 10+ titles . Within a week you begin to feel a "sluggish" response. You click on the Yellow Shield in your task bar, and get the latest critical updates. Couple days later, your game begins to stutter. Even tho You/I took ALL the precautions, Not running IE,using (virus/spam) scanners etc etc... Within 2 months your Gaming RIG is now crawling. Drink a 12 pack, and back Step 1. Am I wrong in saying IF YOU ARE a daily, heavy windows users (downloading, running various apps, gaming) Your WINDOWS machine has about a 1 year lifespan before some thing critical begins to happen. Whats my point? I packed up my PC and got a console. It just works. Now, for the conclusion, since im sure you're already sick of reading this, and are preparing to mod me down, What if i had a so called MEDIA PC. TONS AND TONS of crap, movies, music etc etc. DO you actually think that user is going to backup 250-500 megs of shit? Do you really think that windows based machine will run smoothly? When will the next life saving critical patch come out and screach your system to a hault? For a media PC to work, it has to have uptime reliability. One of my web severs has been up for over 2 years. No, it doesnt run windows. This whole Microsoft Media PC is just a marketing ploy. Sure it works out of the box... but for how long?

This is new? (1)

smoor (961352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010402)

Maybe I'm missing something. I've got a DSM-320 media player sitting right on top of my DVD player. While it could certainly be improved (its like 2 years old - so I'm sure they have), its a hell of a lot better than having a PC sucking up all the air in my family room. PC's are a PIA, fixed purpose hardware is the way to go. I've got 20 Gigs of music and video on a PC in the basement that does just fine with streaming and automatically refreshes the catalog every 30 minutes if I download or rip something new.

Per usual, the CNET article doesn't really say much new or interesting, just kind of glosses over a subject to try to make it sound new and exciting.

A Upnp DVD player that rips and plays DVD's and streaming media and memory cards is the way to go. Why have a $1000+ "Media Center" PC dedicated to your television when you can have a $300 Media Appliance (adapter)?

This is really just Intel propaganda.... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010408)

I'm amazed that an otherwise erstwhile publication could get so sucked in. There are numerous other form factors and ideas for 'media centers'. No one has offered the model that will have a high-uptake by the public so far, and many have (and are) trying to capture the public's fancy. The early success of Tivo was an inspiration, but the Tivo model has numerous problems, well-documented in this very forum.

Integral electronics, set-top boxes, media center PCs, WiFi-controlled media centers, home IDFs, and other schemes have all been tried, and none have caught the public's fancy. The Viiv chipsets and DRM methods are costly and aren't particularly inspiring.

It's one more attempt to try to gain mindshare-before-marketshare that may have some success, but it's far too early to tell how home configurations in 2009 will look. The HDTV signaling standards are barelly inked (and more will likely be added to ATSC) before it's all over. The DRM methodologies aren't settled. The inter-device media sharing methods aren't finished; the content isn't locally cached yet.... there's lots of work to do.

And so, fie.

Dupe (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010415)

I remember this story from a couple of months ago. Precisely the same submission.

horsepower and bandwidth (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010448)

This is the client/server versus desktop argument. Is it better to have a central server that can be easily maintained, or a distributed system. As we have seen, a distributed system can be cheaper because the reliability of the compenent can be orders of magnitude less reliable than a server, and reliability often increase price non linearly.

In addition, we do not always have sufficient runs of network cables. This means that we may be talking about a wireless solution, which will be fine for audio, but is not yet enough for good video.

In the end, we will probably see that a central solution is significantly more expensive than a distributed solution, without the advantages of reliability and power.

Re:horsepower and bandwidth (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010674)

.. a wireless solution (...) is not yet enough for good video..

That's because you're still using ethernet.
My home media centre has Mbone Wifi®.

Been saying this for a while... (5, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010459)

The current concept of HTPC can't last. The average home has multiple TVs and even more viewers...a decentralized entertainment system makes no sense at all.

I envision (using existing methods and technology) a "server" with massive amounts of storage and six or so TV decoders. It will handle all the requests for media, from live TV to DVDs (in a carousel? since they don't want us copying them) to recorded TV to music and stream those out to what amounts to a thin client connected to the TV.

Microsoft is starting to do this with the XBOX 360 and its connectivity with MCE, but the problem there is that the 360 doesn't really extend the functions; as I understand it, it only has limited playback abilities. Imagine if the 360 could connect to MCE, select a channel, and display it...or schedule a show to be recorded by the server while you continue gaming.

We're just scratching the surface of how networking is going to affect the way we distribute and view television and movies.

Re:Been saying this for a while... (1)

Utopia (149375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010518)

Imagine if the 360 could connect to MCE, select a channel, and display it...or schedule a show to be recorded by the server while you continue gaming

The 360 already does that.

I agree (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010507)

Here's the thing people. Most users already have computers in the home office somewhere. To tell them they have to buy a $500 or $1000 dollar media center pc that is louder than any of the other components and larger to boot kills most purchases.

I've had been debating a media center pc for over a year. Finally I heard about the devices based around the SigmaTel media chipset. I bought a Pinnacle Showcenter 1000 for about $100. IT handles all the movie files I have (excluding the DRM ones which I don't have any of). All you have to do is install the media server software on your PC.

Now that's the typical end user. My rig is actually different. I run Oxyl Box for the streaming server portion on a my Linux server that has a 800GB RAID 5 under it for storing all of my media. What happens the first time the Media center PC has a drive failure from cooling issues? Now you have to have a redundant setup on the media center which increases heat and noise. Joe Blow isn't going to rerip his ENTIRE DVD and CD collection the second time around.

The Showcenter even includes wireless. Now what's easier for the "typical" home user? Installing a media center PC with all its warts or being able to move 2 devices and have your media in any room you want? All you need is a power outlet. You don't even need a cable connection. Your PC can do all the recording and streaming of live TV (with a TV tuner of course) and you need your streaming appliance and an output.

I imagine that some smart vendor will eventually integrate these into the TV itself. I can see my next TV being one with either Wireless or Ethernet out the back and software installed on the PC I already have.

Failz80rs (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010562)

their hand...s4E

"Funny" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15010573)

Man, it's hard to be "Funny" on such a freakin' boring topic.

(Yawn) (1)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010582)

OK, the first obvious question is, how do you "end" something that never got started? How many people do you know that have HTPC's? Zero? That's what I thought.

Viiv is just another solution to a problem that nobody has, or even cares about.

The Dbox Rocks! (2, Informative)

ami-in-hamburg (917802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010629)

I'm doing this already I guess.

The DboxII will connect to your PC (Suse 10 in my case), show your pics, play your movies via VLC, record with commercial skipping, play your mp3 files, check your email, receive news feeds, check the weather......blah blah blah

Oh yeah, it also receives Cable or Sat TV too!

Couch Surfing (2, Insightful)

Len (89493) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010668)

The existence of digital media adapters will totally remove the need to have a media centre PC taking up space in your living room, unless you're one of the few users that finds it practical to do anything other than passively soak up multimedia content whilst relaxing on the couch.
Since I got my media PC, I find that I can't watch TV or movies without periodically consulting IMDB and Google. Not sure if that's a good thing or not, but it's a habit now.

What the hell is Viiv? (1)

Jack Johnson (836341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15010708)

Another Intel marketing term masquerading as unique technology like Centrino?
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