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AMD's All-in-One Media Machine

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the kitchen-sink-not-included dept.

121

Drakewolf writes to tell us that despite the many failed attempts to bridge the gap between the PC and home entertainment systems, AMD has released several new products at CES under their LIVE! brand. The centerpiece was the AMD LIVE! Home Cinema, an all-in-one device that combines a set-top cable box, stereo receiver, DVD player, digital video recorder, and a PC.

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121 comments

Speechless (1)

jrwr00 (1035020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511004)

*droll* I wonder, will i need a loan just to buy one?

Re:Speechless (2, Funny)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511670)

I think I'll wait until after Microsoft sues the pants off of AMD for using "Live!" for the name of an online service combiner.

Re:Speechless (2, Informative)

thebdj (768618) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511868)

It won't happen for a few reasons. 1) Microsoft doesn't hold a trademark on "Live!", sort of makes it hard to sue for that, 2) The trademark they have is for "XBox Live", 3) The people with the closes trademark ("Live!") is actually Creative Labs.

Re:Speechless (2, Interesting)

MojoStan (776183) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512652)

Also, one of the requirements of AMD LIVE! [amd.com] is Windows Media Center Edition, so it's obvious AMD created this spec in cooperation/partnership with Microsoft.

I'm pretty sure the GP was joking, though, about MS suing AMD for using the word "Live."

Re:Speechless (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17514950)

It's not a great name, no matter the outcome of a possible lawsuit.

Why not calling it the

Any (or All)
Media
Device

(ok, I don't really expect those guys in marketing to like geeky recursive acronyms, nevermind :P)

Re:Speechless (2, Funny)

brusk (135896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512134)

Sir or madam,

I find your remark barely humorous, not rising to the level of "droll."

failed attempts? (4, Insightful)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511020)

Drakewolf writes to tell us that despite the many failed attempts to bridge the gap between the PC and home entertainment systems

You mean like the xbox360? or the macmini running frontrow?

Re:failed attempts? (2, Interesting)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511206)

I have Media Center running on my laptop hooked up to a 24" monitor, which doubles as my TV. I can watch DVDs, slide shows, live TV, and recorded TV, it's simple. I can drop recorded shows into a directory which automatically converts them and puts them on my iPod. Even Media Center is not a failed attempt as far as I'm concerned.

Re:failed attempts? (5, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512060)

Then you don't understand what they mean by "failed attempt." There are a number of products out there that do the job well. There are none that have gotten consumers to buy them in large numbers. Just because the products work well and have been delivered and sold doesn't make them a success. All have fallen short of their sales goals, so all of them are failures. You own a failure. That isn't a personal attack, it is a statement of fact. It works well. But it is a failure because your neighbors don't have it, don't want it, and probably don't know what it is.

Re:failed attempts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17513434)

But it is a failure because your neighbors don't have it, don't want it, and probably don't know what it is.

Kind of like any Apple product besides the iPod?

Re:failed attempts? (2, Interesting)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513986)

Once HD can be recorded off another output device (component/HDMI) then I'm interested.
Otherwise, it's a failure.

Cablecard and HD-DVR's are failures at this point. Equipment for cablecards doesn't meet spec for cablecards and vice versa.
Your TV takes a cablecard but PPV doesn't work or any other extra that the crappy STB does.

HD-DVR's have nothing but bad news on all the forums I've read and people I've talked to - constantly rebooting, loss of recorded shows, noisy.

High end TV's now have a warm up time longer than a 25" TV did in the 1970s but that should get better in time as with most things electronic.

I want to be able to stream media to any TV in my home. I have F-connector and Cat5e jacks everywhere in my house as well as a centralized management center for the cabling.
MythTV seems to be the only solution at this point to meet that need however the HD recorded is OTA only of which I only have access to 13 channels where 4 channels are 1080i.

I'd like to be able to have a PVR record HD and stream to any TV but I don't want to be tied to an expensive and buggy proprietary solution (DirecTV HD-DVR/Cox HD) for one TV just to have the ability to record ANY HD channel.

Re:failed attempts? (3, Insightful)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17514448)

You mean like the xbox360? or the macmini running frontrow?

How about five years of Windows XP Media Center Edition?

Granted, a huge number of OEM PCs today are shipped with MCE pre-installed, because TV tuner cards got really cheap and the OS license is hardly different than XP Pro or Home. But how many of those end up hooked up to the TV in the living room?

I hate all-in-one devices (5, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511056)

All-in-One devices (of any sort) tend to do all of these related things, but none of them particularly well. On top of it, if one of it's functions quits on you, you generally have to replace the entire thing, since the all-in-one device will typically not integrate with anything external.

I understand why they continue to gain popularity (takes less space, you get all the functions for one price, uses less power, etc.), but in general you can always seem to do better from a functionality and features standpoint from individual components than from any integrated 'all-in-one' device.

Re:I hate all-in-one devices (3, Interesting)

Umbrel (1040414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511138)

Most likely we would be better with just USB stackable (wireless?) devices for physical media inputs (VHS, DVD, etc) and a really good software to handle it, or USB a hardware panel. Something like a all(you want)-in-one modular kit.

Re:I hate all-in-one devices (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511726)

replace usb with firewire or e-sata

Re:I hate all-in-one devices (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512074)

Or Ethernet a la Silicon Dust's HDHomeRun HDTV tuner.

RF in, transport stream over Ethernet out. :)

BTW, from all I've seen of the ATI OCUR (most likely the Cable STB aspect of this system), it's just a USB device (there are provisions for one variant to be mounted internally but it's fundamentally USB still). Of course, thanks to CableLabs it's effectively an "all in one" thing as it's locked in with Vista's DRM (May never be supported by MythTV sadly due to this) and at least now will only be sold with new systems that are "CableLabs Certified".

Re:I hate all-in-one devices (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511446)

It's not that simple. Do you have an add-on Ethernet card in your PC? Aren't you afraid the built-in one will quit on you? How about a PCMCIA wireless card for your laptop?

Re:I hate all-in-one devices (1)

css-hack (1038154) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511806)

I don't know about you, but I do.

The on-board ethernet did quit on me, and in my laptop I use a PCMCIA card for compatibility with my school's wireless network (which is newer than my laptop).

Re:I hate all-in-one devices (2, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511588)

Looks like this "AMD LIVE" is a generic PC that comes with a bunch of Free software.
http://www2.amdlive.com/us-en/free_downloads.aspx [amdlive.com]

^^ Note some of this is truly free software, most of it is only free with the "AMD LIVE" PC.
Though it does look like once you have a subscription you can install most of it on other computers to share your Media Center experience across the household.

Re:I hate all-in-one devices (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512082)

You seem to think this device was built for consumers.

This device is build for DRM and Copyright owners. It's designed to control you and what you watch.

in that regard it is the perfect device.

Re:I hate all-in-one devices (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512898)

This device is build for DRM and Copyright owners. It's designed to control you and what you watch.

It's designed to control what you can do with the media they send down the pipe. Insofar as it will be used to circumvent your fair use (and other) rights, that is a bad thing. On the other hand, it doesn't have to be used in the wrong way. It just will be :P

In terms of actually preventing you from doing things, it doesn't really change anything. There will still (for the foreseeable future) be an analog output that you can use to record television, and the DVRs that the cable company provides are presumably DRM'd up the yin-yang, or will be soon enough.

Indeed, we already have All-in-one Devices... (1)

massysett (910130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512462)

...they are called Windows Media Center PCs, or Linux PCs running MythTV.

These have not caught on because they are too complicated. Mapping all these functions onto one box leads to a hard-to-use box. That makes little sense these days, when PCs are CHEAP! The mainframe days, when one box NEEDED to do many things because the box was expensive, are over. Instead we get little specialized boxes that are good at doing one thing. Home routers, TiVos, and iPods are all devices packed with a ton of computing power, and they do one thing well. The PVRs you get from your cable system are another example.

Even geeks are figuring this out, as they are building their own specialized MythTV boxes. Yes, the box can do anything, but why bother when one can have the box just for MythTV? Plus, installing KnoppMyth, which is specialized for this purpose, is easier than installing Ubuntu and getting Myth working on it.

The jack-of-all-trades PC will always have a place. It will be used for things we can't even foresee yet. But all-in-one entertainment boxes will remain a niche, as it's so much easier to get a few specialized boxes to do the same thing.

Re:I hate all-in-one devices (2, Insightful)

melstav (174456) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512500)

I understand why they continue to gain popularity (takes less space, you get all the functions for one price, uses less power, etc.), but in general you can always seem to do better from a functionality and features standpoint from individual components than from any integrated 'all-in-one' device.
Yes, you can almost always get "better" from discrete components than you can from an "all-in-one". And some discrete components give you better results (and likely cost more) than others. I can build a home entertainment center from discrete components for well under $1K. Or I can spend $20K.

When you're dealing with a consumer market, there is a point at which the "goodness level" becomes "good enough", and this point varies on a consumer-by-consumer basis.

Many people want the higher quality achieved by purchasing multiple discrete components and assembling them into a system. Many others look at the integrated "all-in-one" and say "That's good enough for me."

Re:I hate all-in-one devices (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512934)

None of these all in one devices seem to handle video in / out very well, or make good remotes. For all the example hardware they have listed for AMD Live, it's just a regular computer w/ a dvd burner and some special software.

yeah, I get it. (5, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511068)

The centerpiece was the AMD LIVE! Home Cinema, an all-in-one device that combines a set-top cable box, stereo receiver, DVD player, digital video recorder, and a PC.

This device is to computing what the spork is to silverware.

Re:yeah, I get it. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17511126)

You mean... Awesome?

Re:yeah, I get it. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511218)

This device is to computing what the spork is to silverware.

A metal spork is a wonderful thing to take camping.

This device provides all the functionality most people need!

Sooner or later all cable boxes will be replaced with cable modem set top boxes which perform the set-top box functionality, the cable modem functionality, have an ethernet out to your real PC or your network, and which have the DVR functions built in. Most of them probably will be DVD players. Most of them will not have an FM receiver; why would you need it when you have cable? It was just cheap and easy to add so they did it to add a bullet point.

Re:yeah, I get it. (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512416)

new cable boxes have cable modem build in to them they even get there own IP.
also you don't not what to force people buy cable internet net with cable tv.
I have cable tv and dsl.

A tad overpriced? (2, Insightful)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511124)

...an all-in-one device that combines a set-top cable box, stereo receiver, DVD player, digital video recorder and PC.

    Let's see, at Fry's a cable box is about $50, on Craig's List a stereo is about $30, at Best Buy a DVD player is about $39, a digital camcorder is about $250, and a PC on the web at PriceWatch is about $400.

    So AMD is selling the whole package at about $3000? Jeez, such a deal. What does AMD stand for anyway? Advanced Money Disease?

    You Know that is going nowhere. They didn't even mention what amazing new DRM that they'll be throwing in for free!

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511232)

From TFA:
With all that technology in one box, it won't be cheap. Feen said the starting price for Home Cinema will be $1,000 and can go up to $3,000, depending on options.

Also you forgot to mention what your times worth....

Re:A tad overpriced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17511294)

A Digital video recorder is basically tivo or mythtv, not a camcorder. The price for these is far lower than 250$.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

ByeLaw (186453) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511302)

DRM!! Exactly! Hopefully consumers will get wize to this DRM infested crap and steer well away.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511354)

it starts at $1000, which given it's also a decently powerful modern computer (something you forgot to add to the list), isn't too bad.

and given that some of the stuff amounts to high end computers, like the notebook listed, the $3000 piece isn't too unreasonable.

Still, if I want to make a multimedia machine, I'll go Intel. Actually, if I want anything right now, I'd go Intel. Was an AMD fan starting at the K6-III and ending with the Core 2, but... well, the Core 2 just owns. Actually even a P4 would have tempted me over AMD for a multimedia machine.

Re:A tad overpriced? (5, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511750)

it starts at $1000, which given it's also a decently powerful modern computer

However, I doubt that most people would actually use it as a computer. A couple of years ago I put together a MythTV box, and I had the idea that as a bonus it would be handy to have a computer system in my living room. It turns out that even though it's a perfectly fine computer, I rarely if ever use it as anything other than a PVR. Even though it's directly hooked to an HDTV monitor with an HDMI cable, the resolution still isn't very good for reading text. Somehow it's a lot worse at showing high-contrast details than the equivalent pixel-count computer monitor would be; TV electronics just don't seem to be designed with text in mind.

Sitting way back on the couch makes matters worse, and using a wireless keyboard on my lap is incredibly clumsy and frustrating. Just browsing the web feels klunky, and doing any kind of serious work is out of the question. Even a lot of PC games seem to be written assuming that you're sitting upright in a chair with both a mouse and a full 104-key keyboard on a stable surface in front of you. It seems to me that investing in a high-end system for the living room would be a waste of money for most people.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

PoconoPCDoctor (912001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513126)

Way out of my budget - especially since I had an old PIV 2.26 system with 2 100 gig drives taking up space in the basement. It's been neglected more and more since I bought a Mac Book Pro last year.

I am in the middle of putting my old motherboard in a "media-case" from Antec. I was looking at Myth TV, but I'm getting a DVR from the cable company. I also read where it took a certified Red Hat engineer 30 hours to get everything working right. I just don't have to time to fiddle - I need it to work, so adios Myth TV.

If surfing the web from the couch is not the way to go, I'll guess I'll just put all my CD's on it and use it for music playback, with occasional surfing, since I have an old wireless card I can use.

Vista Ultimate, which includes the revamped Windows Media Center software, is also a tad too much for me at this point in time. If I can find a discounted OEM WMC 2005 out there, I might pony up for a capture card.

Re:A tad overpriced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17515888)

What the hell are you on about? This reads like an email to your mom or something.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17516234)

I was looking at Myth TV, but I'm getting a DVR from the cable company. I also read where it took a certified Red Hat engineer 30 hours to get everything working right. I just don't have to time to fiddle - I need it to work, so adios Myth TV.

30 hours is a bit much, it's not nearly that bad, as long as you have well-supported hardware.

It will be more work than the DVR, but it will also *do* a lot more than the DVR, which is why many people find it worth the bother.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

PoconoPCDoctor (912001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17516510)

I have d/l the first 2 iso's of Fedora Core 6, so I haven't totally ruled it out. I'll get the rest tonight probably. I have a linux guru at my job, he prefers SUSE. I have no real preference for any distro, but would like it to work without a lot of hassle. It's also true that I would learn a lot if I went the Myth TV route, and there's something to be said for honing my skills.

I currently commute about 5 hours each day, so there's not a whole lot of time left in the day when I get home.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

flaw (71168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17516544)

My mythtv box makes a good file server and wireless router, but you're right I almost never work directly on it.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511754)

With amd the lowend starts with a good video card with intel you get GMA 950

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511834)

UGH, I would sport the extra $50 to get a GeForce ?200 or ?300 card over the GMA... The price isn't that big of a difference at that range.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

Phu5ion (838043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511982)

Actually even a P4 would have tempted me over AMD for a multimedia machine.

Yeah, and with that P4 it would also function as a space-heater. Now that's an all-in-one device.

Re:A tad overpriced? (2, Funny)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512620)

Hey! Just because it violates thermodynamics by producing more energy in heat than it takes in via electricity...

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

PoconoPCDoctor (912001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513206)

I putting Zalman quiet CPU cooler on my old system. I hope it'll keep the heat down. I think the 50 inch Vizio HD plasma will put out more heat.

B-)

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511388)

Forgetting for the moment that this starts at $1000, not $3000, and that for $400 you get a truly barebones PC - can you integrate all those devices seamlessly, with minimal cables, and so on?

I believe the Mac has done well with some integrated products (and not so well on others) that were priced more than the sum of the parts alone. People pay for a seamless experience.

I'm not asserting that AMD will deliver on those promises though.

Re:A tad overpriced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17511422)

So you're saying that by shopping around for the best price for individual components, you can spend less than buying a fully assembled unit at full retail price? Shocking. And you conveniently left out the fact that $3000 is at the top end of the price range and presumably gets you a much more powerful system that your $400 PC.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511842)

a digital camcorder is about $250
You plan on taping TV shows with a camcorder?

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512978)

You plan on taping TV shows with a camcorder?

Not only can you do that with any camcorder with a video input, but if that camcorder is a MiniDV camera with video input and the ability to act as a bridge - which even some $500 MiniDV camcorders will do - you can use it to stream DV to your PC for recording.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513542)

You plan on taping TV shows with a camcorder?
Not only can you do that with any camcorder with a video input, but if that camcorder is a MiniDV camera with video input and the ability to act as a bridge - which even some $500 MiniDV camcorders will do - you can use it to stream DV to your PC for recording.
Yeah, because paying $500 for a camcorder as a video capture device for your PVR is so much more economical than a $60 Hauppage card... [newegg.com]

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513576)

Not only can you do that with any camcorder with a video input, but if that camcorder is a MiniDV camera with video input and the ability to act as a bridge - which even some $500 MiniDV camcorders will do - you can use it to stream DV to your PC for recording.
Yeah, because paying $500 for a camcorder as a video capture device for your PVR is so much more economical than a $60 Hauppage card...

Please try not to be an ass. That Hauppage card doesn't have a camera with a decent zoom lens, nor does it have a MiniDV tape for recording video while the PC is turned off.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17514602)

That Hauppage card doesn't have a camera with a decent zoom lens, nor does it have a MiniDV tape for recording video while the PC is turned off.

Look, I'm sick of you're all-in-one fanboyism.

If I want a digital video capture device, I should not be compelled to buy a bundled camera and zoom lens that I may not want, nor a MiniDV tape drive.

Bring back the good old days, when a video camera was a shoulder-mounted behemoth that weighed sixty pounds and you still needed to feed its signal into a separate VCR in order to record anything. Now THAT was modularity at its finest.

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17516202)

The original question [slashdot.org]:
You plan on taping TV shows with a camcorder?
referenced the fact that the camcorder was being mixed up with a Media Center/MythTV/Tivo type of DVR for recording tv shows. Of course a camcorder is useful as a camcorder, but a camcorder as a camcorder is not useful or efficient or economical in a PVR solution. Of course you can use it as a PVR and as a camcorder, but if you're going to use it while you're on vacation or while you're at your cousin's wedding or wherever else, you can't use it as a PVR back at home at the same time to record the episodes of Mythbusters that you're missing because of the vacation/wedding/whatever. And by the way, the Media PC/Tivo/Mythbox doesn't get turned off. It's supposed to be an appliance mixed with a PC, ready to record at whatever time in the night your favorite episode of whatever show happens to be on.

The point of spending a bunch of money on a Media PC is that it will be able to handle your media no matter where you are or what you're doing. You made a fine point that the camcorder can be used to capture video. But it doesn't really fit into the topic of the Media PC very well. Sorry that hurt your feelings. I'll try to be more sensitive for you in the future. ;)

Re:A tad overpriced? (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513238)

You plan on taping TV shows with a camcorder?

You got to admit, this would bypass any DRM restrictions.

Two Problems for Convergence Still (5, Insightful)

chia_monkey (593501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511358)

Everyone continues to talk about the digital convergence, yet we're still seeing two big problems. The first, which is evident here...is price. We're not going to see widespread adoption of new media hardware (and software) with pricepoints like this. Only the rich (and geeky) will shell out that kind of dough for something so cutting edge right now. Second, we're still in early-adopter stage for many of these devices and the average consumer still isn't "trained" to use these devices. Remember when Tivo came out? It was mostly the technically savvy people that bought it. This device still resembles a computer too much to be adopted and placed in the living room of the common household. Some day though...

Re:Two Problems for Convergence Still (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512616)

Also, until the entire thing is cheap enough, or owned by my cable company that I rent from them, I'll recommend against people buying it. I know lots of people with combination TVs (TV/DVD/VCR). They think it's great, up until something breaks. When the VCR doesn't record anymore, but will still play, do you spend more than the cost of a new VCR to have someone look at it, not even knowing if it will be fixable? Do you hook up an external VCR to your TV with a VCR? You can record TV with it, but you can't play through it (Macrovision will kill playback of a DVD or VCR through a VRC equipped TV). And if the DVD tray then breaks, you can't hook up an external DVD to it. The Macrovision will kill the external playback. So, do you throw out the working TV because some features don't work anymore? Or do you limp along with a broken setup?

Because of the cost of the combo TVs, most of the people I know with broken equipment limp along, cursing it. For me, with all separate components, I switch individual compenents whenever I want. VCRs being the least reliable, followed by the DVD players, followed by the CD players, followed by the TV, PVR, cable box and A/V receiver tied for most reliable.

If you merge the PVR, VCR, DVD, and cable box into a single device, it had better be under $100 or with an in-home 24 hour replacement waranty, or I'm not going to be interested. I would rather pay $800 for all individual componenets than a $500 all-in-one box. Most consumers might not, but certainly the ones I get my hands on.

Re:Two Problems for Convergence Still (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512992)

You'll note you used the word "Macrovision" about a half-dozen times. This is the other problem with digital convergence - the newer DRM schemes make Macrovision seem quite friendly indeed. I'm reading lots of recent mythtv emails from people whose firewire feeds are now being encrypted and they're now up the creek.

Pretty soon people will be selling TV-mods to add firewire outputs to them. They already make them for tuner boxes but they are pricey (and I'm not sure how they handle DRMed content).

And yet once all this fancy DRM becomes standard, how much impact do you think it will have on thepiratebay? All the mythtv users will be flocking there to download their HD shows since all the legit sites won't work...

Re:Two Problems for Convergence Still (2, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513080)

This device still resembles a computer too much to be adopted and placed in the living room of the common household. Some day though...

I don't know what TiVo you're talking about but both my standalone TiVo and my DirecTiVo look pretty much like my DVD players.

The reason that TiVo has a low adoption rate is the fact that it costs $14/month to use it (standalone) and most people can't see the point of paying $14 to disrupt their lives being disrupted by TV show programming times. It has nothing to do w/how it looks.

Photos? (0, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511384)

Why is it that we almost never see photos or pictures in articles anymore?

Re:Photos? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511608)

Here you go! [channelcart.com]

Re:Photos? (1)

collinong (529255) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511874)

the pc in that pic is using a standard off-the-shelf HTPC case from Silverstone:
http://www.silverstonetek.com/products-lc16m.htm [silverstonetek.com]

nice case (I use one) but not exactly total innovation if that's really what they're using.

Re:Photos? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513106)

Well, given that "AMD LIVE! systems are feature-rich, multimedia PCs with advanced configurations. Requirements include AMD64 dual-core technology (Socket AM2), Microsoft ® Windows ® Media Center Edition ( Windows ® Vista(TM) Premium or Ultimate when they become available), the latest in video and audio, as well as 1GB memory. A TV Tuner and remote control are optional.", I could have chosen any of these.

AMD LIVE! seems to be more of a set of approved hardware and software rather than a specific all-in-one device.

! is the "Extreme" of punctuation (4, Insightful)

straponego (521991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511552)

Have you ever noticed that any product with "!" in the name... well, there's no delicate way to put this... sucks?

Re:! is the "Extreme" of punctuation (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17511684)

Look, for $1000, a "home entertainment machine" that sucks is probably going to be a big seller, but for $3000, this thing better swallow.

(Hmmmm...probably should post AC on this)

Re:! is the "Extreme" of punctuation (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511946)

I assume you're thinking along the lines of Microsoft Plus! (you know the extra desktop themes you could pay extra for).

I agree, adding an exclamation point on the end of your product name is one of the gayest naming conventions out there (Top of the Muffin TO YOU!), but you can't forget about some at least decent products carrying that flaming point of exclamation...

Yahoo!
Creative Sound Blaster Live!

While I prefer Google over Yahoo!, (notice awkward punctuation) it's still a very popular search engine with a lot of other tools available. I've always felt that Creative made pretty good sound cards, so no complaints for the Sound Blaster Live!.

Faster Processor for Streaming File Server? (4, Interesting)

stu42j (304634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511644)

"They can't stream content if you want video. The connection isn't the problem, the problem is NAS isn't fast enough to get content on the wire," he said. With a faster processor in its Media Server, data can now be streamed off a server, either wireless or wired.


WTF? I stream videos off my 400mhz K6 fileserver and have never had problems with CPU load. Are NAS devices seriously that slow?

Re:Faster Processor for Streaming File Server? (1)

jubei (89485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512700)

I think lots of media server programs do transcoding on the fly to minimize network and client CPU requirements.

Transcoding (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513750)

I think lots of media server programs do transcoding on the fly to minimize network and client CPU requirements.

I know that's supposed to be one of the big advantages of have an Intel Viiv PC... It's supposed to let you transcode and stream any video format to your XBox/Media Center Extender, instead of being limited to .wmv files. But I don't understand why this has to be tied to a specific brand like Intel Viiv or AMD Live!... Why can't the Media Center software handle it?

Media Center PCs have almost always been spec'd out as higher-end systems anyway... It really seems to me that Microsoft and Intel are making up artifical reasons to sell us new hardware (I know, welcome to marketing, but still...), instead of getting better use out of what we already have. What was the quote Jack Handy gave us? "In think instead of building bigger and newer Weapons of Mass Destruction, we should be finding ways to get more use out of the ones we already have." [Paraphrased and updated for the 21st century]

Re:Transcoding (1)

stu42j (304634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513856)

If you are streaming over wireless and your original files are large (mpeg2 perhaps) then transcoding on the fly would make sense. And certainly would require a fast CPU.

Re:Transcoding (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17516304)

I agree that the transcoding is important and would require some serious CPU power. I just don't understand why it requires the Viiv or the AMD Live! brands. If I have a top-of-the-line Core2Duo system with several GB of RAM, why can't the Media Center software handle the transcoding? Do the Viiv and Live! branded systems include special hardware transcoders? (I wouldn't think so, because then how would they deal with all the different codecs out there?) If they have their own special software, then why wouldn't the purchase of a $1000 Core 2 Extreme processor qualify me to get that software?

I'm sure there are MCE PC's out there that wouldn't meet the specs for the transcoding functionality, but if Vista can downgrade my Aero UI because my graphics card sucks, why can't Media Center remove my transcoding functionality if my CPU sucks? Why are Viiv and Live! special?Why can't we just have the functionality without the otherwise uselessness of having AMD's or Intel's latest marketing gimmick get a new stamp on the box?

Re:Transcoding (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17516794)

Do the Viiv and Live! branded systems include special hardware transcoders? (I wouldn't think so, because then how would they deal with all the different codecs out there?
I do not know that actual answer, but one solution to allow hardware support is to have a reasonably sized FPGA with vector capability and loading the codec into the FPGA as needed. Sure teh codecs would have to be optimized in VHDL for the FPGA, but that really isn't an issue as they would likely be all rolled up into a driver.
-nB

Re:Faster Processor for Streaming File Server? (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17514796)

"They can't stream content if you want video. The connection isn't the problem, the problem is NAS isn't fast enough to get content on the wire," he said. With a faster processor in its Media Server, data can now be streamed off a server, either wireless or wired.

WTF? I stream videos off my 400mhz K6 fileserver and have never had problems with CPU load. Are NAS devices seriously that slow?


No, they aren't. But, they are trying to convince everybody to do it wrong in order to sell more hardware. I think they want to have a smart server that transcodes video in real time to deliver it to the front end. Personally, I think that's generally pretty stupid. I mean, I probably downloaded the video off the internet anyway, so it was most likely compressed reasonably small for internet transport. If I try to recompress it on the fly, then I will probably just make bigger uglier artifacts in the video.

Sure, there are occasionally files that are not well compressed that live on my server and I want to play wirelessly on a front end machine. It might be reasonable to have the front end try to play something, realise it can't, and then volunteer to download locally in the background (if there is local storage), and also give the option of transcoding and playing the result. But, I find that such things are pretty rare. I've even played raw DVD files (MPEG-2) off my server w/ 802.11g without problems. The minimally compressed files that I do tend to have that actually wouldn't play over wireless are either funny scinetific simulation videos that I have downloaded, or my own work-in progress stuff that I'm not ready to compress yet. Neither case is common enough for a home user to need to worry about it in the Mom and Pop media server.

Of course... I use an Alpha Server as my home media storage box, so I guess I can't really complain about people using more machine than they need... :)

So what, I've had all this on Linux for years! (0)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511686)

This has to be said, simply because I'm a Linux user :-)

I have an AMD Athlon PC in my living room connected through my stereo via digital signal from the sound card. To the TV through s-video from the display card (via Stereo). I have an Infrared keyboard. A Haupauge TV Card. I recently upgraded the data hard disk to 250G. I've had this system for years. I have ripped every single CD I own onto the disk. The system has a DVD drive as well.

So, what, I ask, does this system from AMD give me that $700 worth of parts and Linux does not. OK, at a wopping $1000 for my or someone's time to setup, and it is still about half.

I don't get it.

Spend the money on hard drives (2, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512526)

And then rip and transcode the DVD's too. Tease your friends about the lameness of their set top box.

That would be fun. Any of the content you own, without getting up from the sofa, and the Internet too.

Re:Spend the money on hard drives (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513270)

And then rip and transcode the DVD's too. Tease your friends about the lameness of their set top box.

It's funny that you mention that. DVDs aren't really worth it because of the media is usable, but i did use the TV card and my VCR to record some classics for my kids, grammar rock, etc.

also, I am able to watch the latest internet movies on my living room TV.

Re:Spend the money on hard drives (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17514160)

If you rip the DVDs you can watch the video from any device that can play the video format. That means you can start a DVD in the living room, and finish it in the bedroom -- an issue that arises quite often with me as with kids I can't devote two whole hours of an evening to watching a movie. And there's no danger of the DVD getting scratched or lost if it stays in the box.

Also, most video game consoles now can play reasonably encoded video.

And you can take your videos with you on your portable media player, or in your laptop.

And since DVDs are normally higher quality video than will play on a standard definition TV, you can use the transcoded video to playback on a HDTV without some fancy upsampling DVD player.

And a lot of other stuff...

You can store about 500 hours of video on one 500GB hard drive that costs $140, at a cost of about $0.70 a movie.

Re:Spend the money on hard drives (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17516268)

DVDs aren't really worth it because of the media is usable

Until your kids scratch it to hell. Also, you underestimate the convenience of being able to pick your movie from a menu, rather than having to find the DVD on the shelf. The more movies you have, the bigger the difference is, too.

live! and let live! (1)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511702)

Ok, so now in addition to Creative's Live! line of sound products, XBOX Live!, and MS' Live.com search, we have AMD's Live! home media PC.

Yeah, sounds like the boys over in marketing really worked hard on that one.

Re:live! and let live! (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17515486)

Actually, there's no "!" on Xbox Live. It's just "Xbox Live". Not like it makes a difference, this whole "Live" suffix on every new product is just lame (as opposed to the MP3 encoder lame, which is really not lame).

For anything other than Mathematica (1)

Browzer (17971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511956)

I will stay away from AMD. Still angry after wasting 3 days trying to get rid off audio stuttering on an AMD3200x64/Hauppauge dedicated PVR system which murders a XEON2.8x2 in Mathematica.

Sound card or RAID card PCI bus is the issue (1)

charnov (183495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512200)

There are known issues with a few sound cards and RAID or SCSI cards eating up the bandwidth of the PCI bus that cause this. I have an AMD 3000+ running three simultaneous high def streams and no stutter.

Re:For anything other than Mathematica (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512250)

Were you using onboard audio in both cases?

In that case, it's the motherboard manufacturer's fault, not AMD's. Some motherboards have junk onboard audio (like my ASUS A7V8X-X), others have very good onboard audio. (Intel has a VERY heavy push towards requiring motherboard manufacturers to meet certain minimum specifications in order to get their "High Definition Audio" certification, I think AMD has similar requirements for Live!)

Get a decent sound card. MythTV works great for me:
Backend is an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ with a Hauppauge PVR-500 for analog and an external Silicon Dust HDHomeRun for unencrypted digital cable (basically local OTA retransmissions)
Frontend is an Athlon XP 2800+, no audio stuttering when I put in an Audigy 4 (which I would not reccommend if you have any plans for digital audio output, AC3 passthrough doesn't work with new Audigy variants under ALSA.) I couldn't reccommend a current good soundcard for you. I believe the Chaintech AV-710 is part of some sort of "KnoppMyth Reference Platform". I did have massive audio problems (including stuttering) with its onboard sound. This includes using the frontend for HDTV playback (XvMC needed for deinterlaced playback with a piddly Athlon XP 2800 though)

My initial take (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511962)

I tend not to like "all in one" type units, especially the first generation of them, as they tend to be not very reliable, nor any easier to use. They definitely aren't any cheaper than separate components.

The time when "all in one" starts to make sense, is when the combining the components makes the aggregate easier to use, and is cost comparible or even cheaper to buy than the separate components, with reliability nearly equal to or surpassing the separate component versions.

The point of "all in one" on some things makes sense. Printer/scanner/fax units makes sense, even before they met the requirements I outlined above, namely because all those features have something in common, and I don't lose much by having it "all in one"

An example of something that doesn't quite make sense is the MP3/camara/Cellphone/PDA/GPS/Kitchen Sink. I have one of these and yet I still use stand alone components (Camara, iPod, Computer, Map) rather than the crappy versions on my cell phone. So the "all in one" features go unused or only when I leave one of the others behind, and I need a camara in a pinch or just goofing off.

Now, getting to the idea of a Media Center, as long as the them is "media" and not "all in one" for the sake of "all in one" then I'm sure that something will eventually make sense, being related. If I can plug in a camara, edit the video, splice it with a movie (PVR) or sound file(MP3), and dump it to a DVD so that I can watch it anytime, then woo hoo, that makes sense. Making it a telephone, computer, email and toaster oven too, doesn't necessarily make sense.

I suspect that Apple will do it best first, and everyone will try to copy it, including Microsoft. Though there is a chance that someone like Sony might get there first. (not that I will ever buy a Sony Product again).

Oh, and if any of the BIG MEDIA corps are watching, DRM sucks and doesn't prevent anything you want to prevent. It only prevents people from enjoying that which you supposedly produce for people to enjoy. Give the people paying for a product what they want and you'll make plenty of money. Make it hard for them to pay for it, or overtly expensive, then don't expect any customers.

Re:My initial take (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512950)

An example of something that doesn't quite make sense is the MP3/camara/Cellphone/PDA/GPS/Kitchen Sink.

Says you. All of those things but the sink make absolute sense in a single device because they're all devices you want to carry with you, in fact they are all devices that derive all of their usefulness from being on your person. ALL OF IT. NO EXCEPTIONS. So why would you not want to carry all these things at once?

I wish that you luddites who don't understand the purpose behind convergence - to help you carry all the things you want without carrying ten items, all of which have to communicate though potentially insecure wireless links, because they ARE convergence devices. If you can't see the utility of (for example) a phone with a GPS and a flux compass, that can take pictures with a position and a heading and then mail them to a remote location, well, you are a bear of very little brain at all.

Re:My initial take (1)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513394)

The biggest problem I have with a MP3/camara/Cellphone/PDA/GPS is the form factor. Cellphones need to have an appropriate shape and size to be held by hand to your ear and mouth. PDA's and GPS's benefit from big screens. If you make a cellphone with a big enough screen to be a useful PDA and GPS it is cumbersome to use as a phone, and visa versa. The MP3 player and camera also might add size and cost to the phone (particularly if you want 30 GB of space for your music), but this will decrease with time.

My other issue with these convergence devices is that the companies design the devices to squeeze money out of you, rather than making the devices you really want. For instance, my wife's phone can take pictures, but you need to email the pictures to get them off the phone, (and it'll cost you). Similarly, with other phones, they want you to buy music (again) just to put it on your phone. (My wife's phone doesn't have mp3 capabilities). Maybe some of the devices don't squeeze you like this, but I haven't got the time or the interest to figure out which is which.

Re:My initial take (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513530)

The biggest problem I have with a MP3/camara/Cellphone/PDA/GPS is the form factor. Cellphones need to have an appropriate shape and size to be held by hand to your ear and mouth. PDA's and GPS's benefit from big screens. If you make a cellphone with a big enough screen to be a useful PDA and GPS it is cumbersome to use as a phone, and visa versa.

Of course, if it has bluetooth and/or a headphone jack, it is no longer cumbersome to use as a phone (and you don't have to hold it up to your head, either.)

My other issue with these convergence devices is that the companies design the devices to squeeze money out of you, rather than making the devices you really want.

That is an issue with specific devices, not with the concept of convergence devices.

I have a RAZR V3i. It's not a PDA, although it does have organizer functionality like practically every phone on the market today, and in fact I use that functionality because I've found that a full PDA is overkill for me for most situations. (I do have an iPAQ, but its only purpose in life these days is to be a map interface to my bluetooth GPS.) It's got a MicroSD slot and supports 1GB cards or smaller - I have a 512MB. It's also got a megapixel camera, which makes it worth using (1280x960). If it had GPS it would have no battery life at all, but a phone like this with GPS would be heaven. I'd settle for my telco doing position fixes with TDOA and showing me a map, but I'd have to have internet for that anyway, and the coked-out mofos at Edge Wireless want $50/mo for unlimited EDGE GPRS.

Re:My initial take (1)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17514696)

Of course, if it has bluetooth and/or a headphone jack, it is no longer cumbersome to use as a phone (and you don't have to hold it up to your head, either.)

Ah, but if you are carrying around a headset, you are carrying two devices. (And the whole point of this convergence thing is to have one device do everything).

Your phone sounds pretty nice. Can you play music from the uSD card, or is the memory only used for storing pictures?

the coked-out mofos at Edge Wireless want $50/mo for unlimited EDGE GPRS.

See, as I was saying, they're always going to try to find a way to squeeze you. In this case it's the GPS instead of the camera that's suboptimum unless you fork over the $$$$.

You also bring up another problem with convergence devices: battery life.

I do agree that eventually it'll make sense to have one device do all of these things. As you point out, most people don't need a full fledged PDA (or GPS), so a smaller screen isn't a big deal. Eventually, memory will get small enough that 30 GB will easily fit in a phone. Battery life can probably be made good enough that you can listen to music all day without draining your phone. And hopefully, competition will force the phone companies to give us a phone that doesn't make us pay outrageous rates to use its features.

Re:My initial take (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17516288)

Ah, but if you are carrying around a headset, you are carrying two devices. (And the whole point of this convergence thing is to have one device do everything).

There's such a thing as going too far. Besides, using a bluetooth headset is a feature because your phone can sit in your pocket where it belongs, but you don't NEED to use it.

Your phone sounds pretty nice. Can you play music from the uSD card, or is the memory only used for storing pictures?

I can play music from it, or store videos to it. They're low res (like 144x96 or something) but with a little SEEM hacking I got it to record videos of essentially arbitrary length and the audio quality is pretty good (uses AMR IIRC.)

The phone not only works in motorola mode, where it behaves like a modem, but it also has a USB mass storage device mode. This mode is very slow (the transfer rate is okay but there's a lot of latency on operations) but it works without any nonstandard drivers. And of course I can take the uSD card out and put it into the adapter and into a card reader. And the connector on the phone is Mini-USB.

See, as I was saying, they're always going to try to find a way to squeeze you. In this case it's the GPS instead of the camera that's suboptimum unless you fork over the $$$$.

While this is true, the fact is that these devices do a lot more for a lot less money today than, say, when Sprint PCS was the only digital game in town. Back then I paid $200 for a sony/qualcomm phone that did little more than make phone calls. I paid $140 for my RAZR V3i.

You also bring up another problem with convergence devices: battery life.

To me this is the biggest problem. Of course, this is getting better all the time; power saving is getting better, devices are requiring less power to operate in general, and batteries are getting more energy-dense.

I do agree that eventually it'll make sense to have one device do all of these things.

Perhaps it makes sense to leave SOME of the functionality in other devices today; but I think it's pretty clear that devices ARE converging, and while some of the convergence is for the sake of convergence, some of it makes a great deal of sense and the trend will continue to be towards convergence.

Re:My initial take (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17514814)

1.3 MP camera that has no focus, sucks compared to the other "real" one I have. Besides the fact that the camara SUCKS big time even by 5 year old standards, I can't seem to get them off my phone easily.

The MP3 Player SUCKS compared to my iPod Nano. It sucks power faster than anything else I do with the phone, making it useless beyond the occasional whatever. Not that I've ever really used it, because it SUCKS so much. Besides the fact that it SUCKS, I can't seem to get it to sync any MP3 stuff with my computer, at all.

I'm not a freaking Luddite, standing in the way of convergence. I simply refuse to compromise quality and ease of use just so that I don't have to carry around 4 or 5 items, most of which I don't use more than occasionally, and when I do use them, I want them to be fully functional for the purposes I use them for.

A McDonalds Hamburger is fine in a pinch, but if you rather have them than real home made burgers because you are too lazy to cook your own, fine by me. But don't tell me that a McDonalds Hamburger is the same as my homemade one, because they are not even close.

"If you can't see the utility of (for example) a phone with a GPS and a flux compass, that can take pictures with a position and a heading and then mail them to a remote location, well, you are a bear of very little brain at all."

Stupidest thing I've ever read on slashdot. Give me one good reason why I would need to do such a thing, when I could do it all with 1) higher quality photographs 2) not using high cost, propriatary wireless email services 3)Making notes (mental or otherwise). Convenience? Time for that McDonalds hamburger huh? Brain, its what is used when things aren't convenient, like knowing how to cook a burger. McDonalds may be covenient, and that is all you can see as hamburgers, rather than experience the joy of creating your own, then I feel sorry for you.

Re:My initial take (1)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513184)

Computers are already all-in-one devices, so this does make some sense. After all, a computer has all the pieces of a DVD player (or a HD player with the right drive), a PVR (if you have a TV card), a mp3 jukebox, and a front end for media stored anywhere (including the web), and perhaps a game machine. So, if you are going to make a computer based set-top box, you might as well include all these things. (For the games, downloadable retro games or similar are probably all you should attempt, though).

This box proposed by AMD does go a bit too far in that the box also functions as a receiver. Most people are probably going to prefer to be able to buy/use their own receiver which this box feeds.

One thing that is notable about this box is that it also functions as a cable box. If there is a true and useful cable card built into the box (Does such a thing exist?), then this is a good thing, and actually quite necessary for the PVR part of the box to be useful. Unfortunately, those evil letters you mentioned (DRM) are certainly going to rear their heads here, and probably neuter the box to the point of uselessness.

The issues facing any of these boxes are cost, existance of a market, and, as you point out, ease of use. The ease of use thing could be tackled, but no one has done it properly, yet. (Like you, I'd have the biggest faith in Apple for this part). Cost is a serious issue. As TiVo is finding out, the cable companies can subsidize their boxes, and then you can't compete on cost. As far as the market goes, most people will only want to use this box as PVR and maybe a jukebox. PVR's are already being supplied (cheaply) by the cable companies. As far as a jukebox goes, people already have their ipods. True Geeks like myself, will just build our own (at least until HD and DRM kills us). So, yes, this product is going to go nowhere.

If I can plug in a camara, edit the video, splice it with a movie (PVR) or sound file(MP3), and dump it to a DVD so that I can watch it anytime, then woo hoo, that makes sense.

I disagree here. Although it might be nice to easily plug in a camera to show friends pictures on the TV, I'd rather do any video editting on a PC at a desk. It would be great if the box they are selling will allow me to transfer videos to a PC, but again those ugly three letters (DRM) are probably going to rear their heads.

Re:My initial take (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17515048)

Computers are programmable muti-devices, agreed. But they are limited by design. Just look at this statement of yours ....

"After all, a computer has all the pieces of a DVD player (or a HD player with the right drive), a PVR (if you have a TV card), a mp3 jukebox, and a front end for media stored anywhere (including the web), and perhaps a game machine."

If it has, if it has, if it has. Sure, most computers are coming with options to include or already includes items that make it Multimedia, however, most computers do not come with the software to tie all the pieces together seamlessly, and easily. And, unless you get the right item, the software may or may not work right with the devices you have, or use.

There are inherent differences between all-in-one devices and general purpose computing devices, in that the all-in-one are designed for limited tasks. Those tasks need to be coordinated and symbiotic or they don't make sense in a all-in-one.

I like the KISS approach to understanding what a All-in-one media device should be. Simple, Elegant, Easy. If grandma can't use it, then it is almost worthless. That blinking 12:00 on the VCR is a clue that setting up a VCR is beyond many, but the newer ones all have automatic, or easy to see menus for setting the clock. Truly, the All-in-One device should strive towards that level of simplicity.

Still haven't figured out what Viiv is... (1)

superangrybrit (600375) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512152)

I bet AMD Live! is pretty much the same: repackaged stuff passing as a marketing gimmick.

It's just a modern TV set. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17512472)

I don't see this as an "all in one" device. It's really just a TV set for today. Inputs are an Internet connection, a cable TV connection, a 5.25" drive for optical media, and a remote control. Outputs are a screen and speakers. You can select various sources and view them. No big deal.

If it weren't for digital rights management, this would be straightforward. But the DRM on the cable signals, the streaming media, and the discs complicates the problem.

Doesn't sound true at all (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17513102)

AMD has released several new products at CES

Excuse me but...has AMD actually released anything? Can I go to my local AMD store/website and actually buy these systems from them. I doubt they've released anything except some reference designs for other manufacturers using AMD produced components and branding.

It's a question of UIs (2, Insightful)

gatesvp (957062) | more than 7 years ago | (#17514124)

So basically, AMD came out with Live! as a marketing tool (a la VIIV) and now they have actual integrated devices. That's fine, this is nothing new. But all TFA talks about is the hardware and hardware is not the issue, UI is the issue.

If you're selling an integrated box, it needs to be truly integrated. You need a bundled remote, a well-designed 15-foot UI, a bundled wireless keyboard and mouse. You need the system to be pre-configured to support a "media output" (TV) and a small monitor if the user has one.

Of course, TFA makes no mention of any of this stuff. I think that Mac and its Mini are best positioned to actually make this market, but their stuff is still very first gen, a 5-button remote won't cut it. So if AMD wants this market, they need to do much more than just a specially-designed rig.

For this HTPC concept to really work, we need a much better set of integrated tools, but we're legally limited in those respects. I want to do more than just "play" the DVD, I want an option to "rip" the DVD and store it. But you can't bundle that right now (legal issues). I want to play music, rip music, download music and podcasts and connect to subscription services all in one. But this stuff is still independent from the services that play movies.

And for the second generation, I want to hook up a second PC in the basement and have it talk to the first PC upstairs. And then I want these guys to share a media library. I want multiple output option so that I can stream music to different rooms via the same remote. But this is still in the dreamer and prototype stage.

MS is trying to do this (Media Centre, Media Player, XBox 360), but it's not really there and this article does nothing to elucidate how AMD is taking this any further.

Pioneer is the all-in-one media machine (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 7 years ago | (#17514328)

The all-in-one media machine is the Pioneer BD player. Everyone else is still low def.

How is this something new? (3, Interesting)

felonious (636719) | more than 7 years ago | (#17515446)

This is nothing new and it seems to be all hype. If you have digital cable, in my area, you get a free cable box w/PVR built in. I have multiple DVD players, HD-DVD at that, 7.1 SS Home theater setup, an a HTPC(not store bought).

The biggest issue I have with these premade, pieces of shit, is they are way over-priced.
You could build much better, with multiple form factors, depending on preference, much cheaper.
Most of the hardware that goes into these things is generic crap.
Cheap hardware+SFF=Profit!!
The $1000 version is probably Celeron based with minimal RAM. It probably lacks what's needed period and is only listed so they can say they have a cheaper model. It's just like the cheaper versions of the 360/PS3 which nobody wants.

For my next HTPC I've bought a mac mini, which I'm going to dual boot in XP. Parallel looks ok but I'm told it's not that great. Mojopac shows a lot of promise, but I have to learn more about it. Anyway, running XP on a mac mini gives me great SFF, but lacks some things. I can make it all work depending on how much I will use said function. They make external drives that match the mini so storage won't be an issue and the SFF can't be beat. This will be my first mac, but it's only for the SFF not the OS, as I'll be running XP to get the HTPC stuff going.

For those wanting to build there own you can do so with top notch components for way under $1500.
When I was looking at doing this I built multiple versions on Newegg. Below I've listed specs off of memory...
Shuttle XPC case/mobo/ps(need to upgrade) $169 after 20 rebate
AMD64 4200X2 - $169
1GB Corsair XMS DDR2@800mhz - $130
SATA 320GB HD - $95
Win MCE 2k5 - $109
Haupage dual TV tuner (PCI) $130ish
GeForce 7950 gt or gs (can't remember) $189
DVD Drive $30
That's the bulk of it and it's $1021

$3k can kiss my ass and so can $2k, it's a rip and generic hardware.
$1021 plus an hour or so piecing it together=priceless!

Is this a 'Reference Design'? (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17516240)

I am curious about wether or not this is AMD's 'Reference Design' that they hope to get vendors interested in badging and selling. If not, it's a clear instance of AMD deciding to compete against their customers.

That isn't a wise thing to do. A significant part of the reason that IBM's OS/2 failed was that they were competitors in the hardware market with other PC resellers. If, say, Compaq sold a machine with OS/2, they selling a competitor's product in parallel with their own, and in fact in some instances IBM would make more on the Compaq sale that Compaq themselves.

Other system integrators like Dell and Gateway will think twice about buying AMD processors if they know they're directly competing with AMD for retail shelf space.

AMD LIVE! brand (2, Funny)

Sodki (621717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17516552)

Yeah, I have one of those old AMD cards. It was called Sound Blaster Live!.
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