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Television Media

Linux TV 126

Stealth Dave writes "ZDNet has an article about a new television from Sylvania which is basically a Linux box with a 27" monitor and TV tuner (800x600 resolution, even)! It runs a Geode single-chip solution and is broadband capable. Lots of cool features, and is designed to support a hard drive as well. The ZDNet article has a surprising amount of details without being too technical to lose their broader audience." This "news story" reads a lot more like an advertisement, but take it for what it's worth.
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Linux TV

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  • At 900 bucks a pop? That's not what I call "cheap"
  • What is this? No firewire port? If they put USB ports on the thing, why not Firewire?

  • How much for just the remote? I want one.
  • Maybe you should read the entire article. They go on to say that the "Ch. 1 platform also supports an internal hard disk option, presumably to add the feature of video recording and storage." It's not a guarantee for video recording support, but maybe they're not into making vaporware statements. With flash memory you'll probably be allowed to make the upgrade if it's released.
  • The difficulty with such a tv isn't with the software, it's with the screen.

    TV screens usually have longer persistence phosphors, brighter, non-interlaced, slower refresh, and lower resolution. Computers screens have shorter persistence, dimmer, interlaced, faster refresh, and higher resolution.

    That's because a computer user typically sits two feet away from the screen and a tv watcher sits twelve feet away. Computer users need to read very small text, tv watchers don't read lots of info off the screen. Using the wrong kind of screen for the job would be annoying for any one of the reasons listed above. Try to compromise at a point in between, and you end up with an image that's too dim or bright, too flickery or with trails behind moving objects, or too blurry.

    The requirements for the two types of screens are very different, and each has specially designed displays. It's certainly true that it's not economical to make a CRT screen that does both of these jobs well. Are there flat LCD (or other technology) screens that do both well? Maybe some day, but not yet in the mass market price range.

  • by bahtama ( 252146 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @02:58PM (#373089) Homepage
    It seems everyone these days is going to Linux stuff like people were going to dot-coms a few years ago. I think too many companies are trying to capitalize on the increasing popularity of Linux to try and sell more products. Just because someone slaps Linux in a blender doesn't mean it will work better or that everyone will rush out to buy it.

    Companies should analyze whether putting Linux in their products will actually be useful after the excitement is over. I think there are too many paper pushers out there that read an article on Linux and wet themselves, convinced that putting it in everything will be a great idea.


  • I already have a PAL compliant TV. Oh, wait, now I don't have to buy a NTSC compliant TV if I enter the states. Still no solution for the NTSC vhs tapes I get all the time..

  • If you look around at some of the embedded Linux pages out there it becomes clear that Linux is fast becoming

    Errr, if you go to linux pages looking for linux info...that is what you will see.

    BSD has all the benefits for the embedded world but doesn't have the FORCED 'sharing' of the GPL.
  • A television with a network connection. I can see it now.

    Kiddie 1: "D00d! 1 r00t3d tH1s pH@t t3l3v1s10n!!"
    Kiddie 2: "L33t! J00 0wnZ!"

    I better go firm up my firewall...

  • What exactly is the harm posed to Tivo by the need to release their Linux kernel source?

    Note that they need not release anything else, including the "family jewels".

    You are indulging in the sort of FUD on only worthy of a WinDOS lemming.
  • I wouldn't expect DVCR at all.

    Recording involves a *lot* more then plugging in a HD; it means hardware built to suport this this (a fast processor / hw assist video system / sound generations / etc.) If it was trivial every linux box out there would be happly DVCRing away.

    Since possible DVCR not in the announcement then I don't expect it in this model.

    Indeed I wouldn't be suprised if the IDE port is simply a leftover from whatever design they licensed. Perhaps they have an internal goal of a DVCR in v.2 or something but dollars to donuts it won't be possible in what they've got listed now.

  • FOX News just had a story about the "All your base are belong to us" web site!!!!!

    We are famouse!!!!
  • by Ded Mike ( 89353 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @03:57PM (#373096) Homepage
    ....I mean, TV fer chrissakes!!!

    The answer to the "why Linux?" questions typical of mainstream media was telling and amounted to "Because it was there, and we didn't have to license it!" Once the reporters begin to understand what the GPL REALLY means, the lid will be off and we will all be mainstream.

    REPORTER: Why Linux?

    SAVVY ENTREPRENEUR: Because we already owned it and held the license for it. So do you. So does everybody. We DID contribute to the Linux International organization, but we didn't have to. We already owned the software and system. So do you.

    REPORTER: Huh???!!!

    SE: (continuing) Yeah. The GPL meant that we could build on work already done by others, take that work for free, extend it and give the stuff we paid people to do back to the community/source. For free. We the spent our investors' money in making the idea consumer-friendly and affordable. Because we didn't HAVE to take on or license a partner or partners' technology, we have a better chance of survival. Our business model works BECAUSE OF THE GPL. We can be assured that, from the standpoint of the operating system and hardware drivers, at least, we don't have exposure to intellectual-property or copyright issues...There may be patent issues on the terms of the interface, or the functions of the system, but we wrote that into the business plan and are funded to either license or defend against Gemstar. We were prepared for that when we made the decision to enter the space.

    REPORTER: But...but...but...you didin't pay for the software......!!!!!!!! That's STEEEEEALING!!!! (begins to swoon)

    SE: No, it's not. You can't steal something you already own. More importantly, we paid people to extend the work others did and then gave that work back to the community to be further extended by those same people...That gave us another tremendous advantage. Because we set the project up on a publicly accessible project hosting platform, we can look at those people continuing to volunteer to improve the project and extend it's functionality and get to know them and perhaps hire the best of them based on work they have already done and that has proved a valuable extension and great fit for our business. It makes the problem of finding the personnel resources necessary to grow our business faster than the competition that much easier; thereby further ensuring the success of our business. We concentrate on the consumer. We made a TV behave and receive data like a computer...It's still a TV...simple to operate. Inexpensive. That's our business: to extend the TV as an appliance and add some computer functionality to it. Because we own the base platform the technology is built on, we're free to extend it or allow the community to do so while we continue to make it cheaper and easier to use. Understand?


    SE: Ummmm...I think maybe you better read the first paragraph of the GPL. I think that concludes the interview. Thanks.

    Questions from the audience:

    1. How long befor Gemstar goes after these guys?

    2. What's the next great embedded Linux platform/idea?

    3. How long befor CE REALLY is dead?

    4. Does J2ME have a chance without Sun GPL'ing the whole J2 package?

  • Money is for nothing....Linux for free

    That ain't crashin'; no, that's the way you do it. Money is for nothing, Linux for free.
  • The monitor sounds a lot like the Arcadia Series Presentation Displays from Princeton Graphics [princetongraphics.com]. I purchased one of these 27 inch monitors a few years ago. It is essentially a 14 inch monitor turned into a giant 27 inch display. It's maximum res is 800x600, but the video bandwidth is 30 to 38 MHz, which allows only 60 Hz refresh at 800x600. The flicker wasn't so bad for games, but the monitor was basically unusable for any "normal" desktop applications. For a while I had a PC hooked up to it, but a 27 inch monitor at low res in the living room (sitting several feet away) isn't nearly as entertaining for games as a 21 inch hi-res monitor at the computer desk, where I sit about 18 inches away from the screen. I do like the princeton monitor for watching videos, as it has a line doubler that's always on. My ears are quite sensitive to the 15 kHz sound that's associated with all normal TVs. My girlfriend sometimes watches TV, like that survivor show, and it's nice to be able to walk around the house without the high-pitch pressure of 15 kHz on my eardrums. Not getting hearaches anymore was well worth the rather expensive price tag. It does make for an excellent picture watching video. The novelty of a such a large screen for a PC display wore off very quickly, even for games.
  • This is simply bullshit.

    There's quite a bit they can add without any need to publish their source. You're just spreading misinformation.

    OTOH, by pointing out Microsoft as the prime example of the BSDl you demonstrate the key failing of that licence.

    A Microsoft is free to use public sweat as corporate welfare in order to quickly deploy "embrace and extend" like Winsock.

    Winsock: The ultimate counter-argument to the BSDl.

    OTOH, Copyleft only requires you to provide source for what you CHANGE and then distribute. This is why suitable counterarguments to your rant can be found in abundance. These include the Linux versions of Oracle 8i, Maya, Bentley Microstation, Quake 3 and Corel Draw.

    All of those are built on top of GNU software.
  • Yes, but to people who don't have the money (considering there are still many households without a PC), this might be a very interesting solution.

  • $200 is cheap for a 27" TV set. At $800 you are getting close to the top of the line in conventional tube TV's and starting to overlap the lower end of conventional projection TVs.
  • Why did they choose Linux?

    Oh, I don't know. ever hear of video4linux?

    There is no BSD counterpart to video4linux.

    Ok, time to dispell BSD vs. GPL myths.

    1. You can write proprietary applications on top of linux. TiVO seems to be doing pretty well. I don't think they're too bothered about the GPL... Hmm....
    2. It costs nothing to distribute source code in the internet age. Face it. This is not a burden to GPL anymore.
    3. BSD software is only free software when you get it from the developer. Saying "why dont they use FreeBSD" is equivelent to saying "why dont they just roll their own OS and never let anyone get close to the source". BSD license doesnt protect software from proprietization.
    4. The BSD license seems to encourage fragmentation, which is bad for the community, and dare I say, bad for BSD businesses. this is just my observation, I can't back this up theoretically.

    So summing up, I would encourage GPL usage over BSDl usage, but that's all I can do. The choice is yours. But as linux is showing, the GPL might in the end be better for business than the BSDl.
  • by Adnans ( 2862 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @04:51PM (#373103) Homepage Journal

    • Athlon 900 (workstation). A Celery 500 might have trouble doing realtime compression. It does have MMX right? No offense, but Celery's suck ;)
    • BT848 Hauppauge (old)
    • 7200RPM IDE disk, UDMA, unmasked IRQ (mp1e 1.80-something
    • V4L2 [sourceforge.net] which is much better at capturing data than the standard V4L1 stuff

    I would reccommend capturing at 640x480 or 320x240 if you are going to playback on a TV, you'll save a lot of space/cpu without losing anything. Use xawtv for tuning your card, v4lctl or plain xawtv. Then you do something like this:

    $ mp1e -G 640x480 -b 4.0 > some_file.mpeg

    Experiment with the bitrate and picture size for best results. I haven't tried playing back these captured streams on the DXR3 but I'm sure it's possible. Something to try over the weekend :)

    Good luck...

  • I've got an old 31 inch Gateway Destination PC also running at 800x600. Not exactly the perfect monitor for doing elaborate CAD work, but it works great with a wireless keyboard/mouse for websurfing on a couch across the room. it's huge .75 (or something like that) dot pitch is very noticable up close, but it's good enough that I can read e-mail from across the room.

    I wish these guys the best of luck with their new product. Gateway apparently had trouble selling their Destination computers because I don't think consumers were ready back in early 1997. But now with DVD players, broadband access, cheap hardware, and better software, I think the time for a product like this has finally come.
  • by brad3378 ( 155304 ) on Saturday March 10, 2001 @12:59PM (#373105)

    Maybe I'm missing something very obvious here,
    So I'll ask, What would you do differently?

    I'm no expert, but IMHO, Joe Consumer will likely pick the linux television over the windows version just due to the fact that it's going to be roughly $100 less. If they plan on hiding the OS from the consumer anyway, what difference does it make besides the price?

    It's difficult to shave off $100 worth of hardware,
    but it's a lot easier to shave off $100 worth of licence agreements.
  • This is just what our fearless leader BillG predicted in his visionary book "The Road Ahead" (revised and updated edition), way back in 1995:

    Interactive Television is the "Next Big Thing! (tm)

    (Bill, 5:108 - "From Internet to Highway")
  • Debian is a very nice quality distro. So is caldera BTW.
  • Depending on how tied to their service you are and how hackable it is.

    Finally! A reason to hack my tivos to have Ethernet! Can you imagine, a tivo or two connected to your home ethernet, then a few of these PC's around your house? YOU COULD WATCH YOUR TIVO FROM ANYWHERE!

    At least, that's what I want to do...
  • As for Ch.1, yeah, no guarantees it'll stay around.
    Regarding Tivo functionality,

    "The Ch.1 Platform also supports an internal hard disk option, presumably to add the feature of video recording and storage"
    which isn't a guarantee, but I can't imagine including hard drive support without plans for using it for recording.

    Also, my personal experience is that standard 27" TV's aren't generally capable of displaying 800*600 resolution without looking like fuzzy ass, and I wasn't aware of a WebTV that supported Ethernet (I didn't say it doesn't exist, just that I wasn't aware of it).

  • For a 27 inch HDTV, it's pretty damn cheap. Who cares about the imbedded WebTV crap. I'd get one just for the monitor.
  • I submitted this weeks ago... but the gods at Slashdot didn't think it was newsworthy enough... NadaPC is offering the same device with a different subscription model. Check it out here [nadapc.com].
  • Not mine. I bought a Sony because I wanted to make damn sure my TV was made in Japan.
  • This is funny.
  • This is really funny.
  • OK, now put in a hard drive and give it personal video recorder capabilities, but without having to subscribe to some monthly service. Now there's a market.

    In fact, there's a simple, obvious market. TV with pause. Forget the "record a specific show" feature, which nobody uses on VCRs anyway. Just concentrate on offering pause/fast forward/rewind for whatever you're watching. This requires a modest hard drive, and a trivial user interface. And you can sell it to Joe Sixpack.

  • I wish the article mentioned how open or closed this is going to be. Will we be able to tweak linux and run programs other than the ones preinstalled? If so, I imagine many of us could use one if the price is right. If not, it doesn't really matter as someone will hack it within a month or so. So I guess either way, it'll be somewhat open. I just hope they let people do with it what they want (and not be like the makers of cueCat)
  • Wow, this is funny.
  • by Adnans ( 2862 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @03:08PM (#373118) Homepage Journal
    I've been running my own doityourself Linux TV typing thing for a couple of months now. Photo's of the actual TV, click here (1) [alsaplayer.org] and here (2) [alsaplayer.org]. The setup supports everything from basic text, mp3 playback, gnapster'ing all the way to fullscreen DVD viewing.

    • Sony PAL TV with s-video and dual SCART input (G4xx supports both PAL and NTSC output)
    • AMD Athlon 700
    • Matrox G400 MAX (any G4xx dualhead will do)
    • Hollywood+ / DXR3 MPEG decoder card
    • Trident 4DWave NX
    • Wireless SK7100 keyboard (full Linux support using 'hotkeys')
    • Logitech wireless mouse (PS/2)

    • Linux 2.4.0-XFS [sgi.com] (80Gig *bloody fast*, journalled XFS data partition)
    • Debian Woody (the best :)
    • XFree 4.0.2 + Matrox mga.o binary with HAL
    • WMaker 0.60.4, for proper Xinerama support
    • aviplay + plaympeg for fullscreeen DivX ;-) / MPEG2 playback
    • AlsaPlayer [alsaplayer.org] for music *grin*
    • ROX [sourceforge.net] for cool desktop icons and File browsing
    • Anything else that runs OK at 640x480 or 800x600

    The TV..erh..Linux box automatically boots up in KDM so logging in is as simply as switching to the "X Win" channel and typing your user/login :) Unfortunately KDE2 (still) doesn't support Xinerama properly so running it on the TV-out screen :0.1 is tricky at best, impossible for newbies. The Trident NX card, using ALSA, is also hooked up to my Dolby Digital / DTS amp through the S/PDIF which gets me full 5.1 digital audio out.

    Latest addition to the software list is MP3sb [mp3sb.org] which catalogs all your MP3's and has provides you with multiple views of your colection. Konqueror displaying the PHP3 client [alsaplayer.org]. Anyway, lots of fun hacking this stuff...

  • They wouldn't want you to be recording any of the TV shows now would they?
    =\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\= \=\=\=\
  • I used to detect commercials by detecting the fade to black editing when the station switched from the program to the commercials. There's a quick fade to black on the picture signal.

    I had an old Zentith television that had a capacitor go bad and did the same thing. It was the only thing that ever broke on a television that I really appreciated. To bad it didn't blank the sound --the most annoying part of commercials.
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @03:12PM (#373121) Journal
    Indeed! [zdnet.com]
  • c00l.

    n0w EyE can r00t yer tv and watch yer pr0n
  • This isn't meant as flamebait, but I'm honestly interested in WHY anybody would want this? Buy this, and you get a smallish, clunky TV, and a tiny, underpowered, immobile computer. Why would I want to use this, when I can watch my 36" TV with a satellite from my couch, with my P800 laptop computer on my lap with a DSL connection? What benefits does this provide outside that most geeks don't already have?

  • Hmm... This is either "they" from "that's what they say" or an insider.

    More to the point, even if there were some sort of copy protection built in, consider how easy it would be to undermine. Software can be played with (especially LINUX), and hardware can be re placed/moved.

  • Since when do you call 800*600 High Definition? It's basicaly the digital equivalent of the PAL System used in most of western Europe (France now the only exception as far as I know. Next you'll be saying DVDs are High Definition media, which is only true if you compare them to VHS. Aahrgh!!!
  • by enrico_suave ( 179651 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @03:18PM (#373126) Homepage
    All your TV are belong to Linus!

    www.randomdrivel.com [randomdrivel.com] -- All that is NOT fit to link to
  • VCRs are dirtcheap these days. If you already have a TV or computer capable of understading the other signal standard, there really isn't much excuse to not get one if you're really being innundated by foreign format video tapes.
  • FUD?

    (points to the Virgin Webplayer)

    See that? It was shipped with Linux, YET the license it came with said I can't even disassemble the source.

    And they won't give up the code.

    No FUD at all. I just don't have the same blind faith you seem to have is all.
  • Why would I want to use this, when I can watch my 36" TV with a satellite from my couch, with my P800 laptop computer on my lap with a DSL connection?

    - 36" TV . $1200
    - p800 laptop . $3000
    - DSL . $50/month

    - Ch.1 WebTV . $899

    perhaps that's why?

  • PicoBSD [freebsd.org]
  • Actually, most of the problems currently facing HDTV are directly related to the fact that old TV's are purely hardware based solutions. Make TV's a bit more upgradeable and modular and you solve quite a bit of the headache of moving from one video format to another.
  • I thought the big issue with DVCR was the filesystem (ie. the part that Tivo said they didn't want people to try to reverse engineer).

    I agree though, that thats probably not the hard drives idea. I think they might be planning to use it to cache the program guide, so they only need to send updates, and would allow you to scan as far ahead as they have data. Although a DVCR does seem like something they are probably pursuing.
  • I dont think you understand the rules of this little game. MS has already been mentioned in the thread and by mentioning it again you are endangering slashdot through recursion. Stop it.
  • I know that the Tivo drive hack is very quick, so it's not that bnig a waste of time. In fact for the OS, I would try to go with Windows 2000 if I could, so make it $350.

    By all means, post an alternative, if you like. That's what discussion forums are for. Heck, you might even convince me into building one and not going for the Tivo.

  • It's only because you aren't part of the tight-knit little clique of the first quarter of a million to get accounts here.
  • Well, this new one is a Zenith and according to you they've already figured out an easy way to do it.

    Zenith. The penguin goes in before the name goes on.

    • When's your IPO? ;)
    • Since you're using ROX anyway, why bother with KDE?


  • Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of these!


  • Yes, that's the way it works. They call 800x600 resolution high resolution TV monitors. Ridiculous a that sounds to someone who knows anything about computer displays.

    The really sad part of this is that you can put together a nice TV/computer/DVD player/Digital VCR box using something like ATI's Radeon All-in-Wonder, with really high-res monitors - but the software drivers that are needed to perform these functions are all available for MS Windows but not Linux...
  • since the TV is billed as a "high resolution HDTV-ready monitor with a built-in conventional TV tuner," i'm sure we'll hear about some sort of HDTV copy prevention built into it. seems like an interesting little ploy, to me - i don't care if the internet appliance *is* linux, i'm not going anywhere near HDTV until i know it has no inherent/embedded copy prevention.

  • How do you know? Did you see the code? Which functions exactly? Which hardware platforms/IOS releases?
    • Hehehe :)
    • The KFM part of Konqueror is just too heavyweight for TV File browsing. ROX simply feels better. On the other hand Konqueror has a WEB browser rocks!
  • Oh I dunno... I find 800x600 HUGE. I'm sure I could read it from the couch on a screen that size.

  • I think we'll see that Linux will recieve the similar amount of hype here that it did during the surrection of Tivo: absolutely nothing. Remember Linux scares the masses like Nightmare on Elm Street wished it ever could.
  • A remote telephone, or a telephone function in the TV's remote, would allow muting to take place. It might give a boost to interest in Linux Telephony support too.
  • It'll be interesting to see whether they'll trumpet "linux inside" when they market the device.
    • On the one hand, Linux is still a buzzword and there are people who'll buy a linux device just for the sake of it or hoping to play with its innards.
    • On the other hand, tv/net appliances are not a market linux geeks are likely to consume in.
    It's nice to see embedded linux getting some work, but does this have any effects broader than mere novelty value (as far as we're concerned)?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why did they choose Linux? Had they chosen FreeBSD or something they could save face and not have to tell anyone how they did it. With the GPL, any hard work or software magic they do has to be open source too.

    Ever hear of a company called MicroSoft? They use tons of BSD code, and they don't have to show it to you.
  • Who do you think is making this stuff, the Keebler elves?

    In all seriousness, I wouldn't worry about it. ;)
  • by krich ( 161944 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @02:22PM (#373150)
    "A box like that could be a great little inexpensive MP3 server or something."
  • youre a dumbass...the value you get from those 3 seperate items FAR FAR exceeds the value derived from the TVmabob. Jesus christ, its not a hard concept. Buying individual generic devices can be, and usually is more efficient(costwise) than buying specialized goods.
  • ok, pause and rewind I understand... but a fast forward? how's that gonna work?
  • >First killer app: commercial skipper

    I'm sorry but I already got a VCR with that function. At the end of the show it's recording, the VCR rewinds at the beginning of the program and mark all the commercials.

    What would be the new feature here, is that we could watch the show without the commercial even before the show is over
  • Uh.

    The extent of the 'HDTV-ready'-ness of this television is the VGA input on the back. It is no more susceptable to copy protection than the monitor at which you're staring.

    Please understand at least a -hint- of what you're talking about, before spreading FUD. Thanks.
  • hmm, i'm not sure why, but this sounds a little familiar [lowendmac.com] to me... let's hope that the marketing is a little better this time around.

  • No one's replied to my post. All the other posts have repliers. What's wrong? Is it something I did. I feel so lonely and unloved.

  • Let's be honest, when ZDTV started it was M$. As it goes, TechTV is still centered more on Windows and Macintosh.
    Why not have our own? PNP! You can see it now: Open Magazine Daily Edition. Think Geek Sunday Auction. Linux Newbies Morning Edition. The Six O'Clock World According To Slashdot.
    I'm willing to be five dollars says Ted Turner, who, by the way, is a dothead, though not quite an addict, yet, might find that to be an intriguing concept.
    see Harlan Ellison for more details;-)
    Just putting it out there, dotheads welcome to sound off. I like this idea. I don't think much of the box, but this...this I like.
  • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @02:44PM (#373158) Journal
    More Technical Specs can be found here [nadapc.com].
  • The Oracle Ad was extremely annoying. There it was right in the middle of the page and so large that it obscures most of the beginning of the article. Not to mention that it didn't get removed by my filtering software. Not good. Not good at all.

    Freakin hideous, isn't it? I already complained to ZDNet a week ago about this new "in your face" advertising tactic. Revolting.

  • by BlowCat ( 216402 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @04:12PM (#373160)
    This "news story" reads a lot more like an advertisement
    Actually it is. I'm going to patent a new method of advertizing in Internet by inserting the word "Linux" into the ad and submitting it to slashdot editors.
  • No, but it's as simple as adding a BT8[47]8/etc card to the box and using something like VCR [stack.nl] or mp1e for Linux. I've had quite good results with mp1e and V4L2 recording ST: Voyager episodes at 768x576 @ 25fps on my other box. Broadcast 2000 had a little trouble with the resulting mpeg but the latest version should work fine. You will have to handedit the stream to get rid of the commercials. Bottom line: since it's a whitebox PC you can add functionality as you like, given enough funds / spare time :)

  • I believe line doublers start around $800, so you really are getting a deal.
  • Because of the death of the general purpose PC! [slashdot.org] The industry is moving to special purpose devices, right? I read it in Slashdot so it must be true...
  • It looks like a pretty cool device, and quite flexible, but one thing I find odd is that it doesn't have any component video (Y, Cr, Cb) inputs. Without component video, this TV will never be taken seriously by true home theatre aficionados.
  • Hi, can you give me the specs on your box. I've got a DXR3 and I've been trying to do the exact same thing - use mp1e to encode stuff from my BTTV for future viewing. When recorded at 768x576 I should get no quality loss whatsoever when spitting the MPEG video back out on my tv (NTSC is 768x576 isn't it?) I don't think my Celery 500 can handle doing that realtime though and I'm considering an upgrade. What kind of processor usage are you seeing and what are your specs. Thanks!

  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @05:56PM (#373168) Journal
    Why did they choose Linux? Had they chosen FreeBSD or something they could save face and not have to tell anyone how they did it. With the GPL, any hard work or software magic they do has to be open source too

    But they don't WANT to close it up. They're licensing the hardware to other manufacturers, so there's nothing to be gained (and a lot to be lost - like willingness of other manufacturers to buy) by closing the software.

    Also: They apparently want to sell to early-adopters, who have been asking for Linux.

    If nothing else, I bet the customers don't want their TV crashing constantly, script-kiddies changing their channels or turning it on at 3 AM, the boss finding out what porn they're watching, and the movie companies showing up to bust them for viewing homemade copies of rented movies.

    If your TV's on the net with closed-source appware how do you know it's not open to all of the above?
  • The good thing about this is that most video cards adjust automatically for ntsc and pal format. This way you won't have to buy a pal compliant TV if you leave the states. At least if they did it right.

  • ObSlashdotStupidity: Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of... oh, never mind. :-)

    Actually, I can.

    I imagine it doing a wall-of-monitors bigscreen, in software, in real-time.

  • That was after they revised and updated it to include the internet, right?

    Actually (proprietary) interactive television has been the "Next Big Thing!"(tm) almost as long as the videophone.

  • by Srin Tuar ( 147269 ) <zeroday26@yahoo.com> on Friday March 09, 2001 @02:23PM (#373172)
    I'd consider one worthwhile if it had Tivo-like recording/playback of video.

    Even better would be an API, so that I could make applets for them and load them into flash. I could imagine trading these online.

    First killer app: commercial skipper. Record a show beforehand, or start watching it late and it automatically trims commercials from the show. People might be surprised how short their favorite shows really are.

    Of course advertisers would become more wary, and we may need to patch our video-spam killers now and then...

  • I agree about Konqueror. Its rendering engine still needs some work, but even so it's my Linux web browser of choice.

    But Konqueror runs fine under other desktops and window managers. You just need to have the KDE libraries installed. So you can also use the ROX desktop (which I will have to give a spin when I have time). Or if you want a real TVesque desktop, there's Englightenment...


  • by grappler ( 14976 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @02:23PM (#373174) Homepage
    Truely we live in a bold new age [theonion.com] of incredible technology...
  • If you look around at some of the embedded Linux pages out there it becomes clear that Linux is fast becoming the standard for things like this and they are doing it because it is free both beer and speech. They like the cost. They also like having the right to make it do exactly what they want it to do. If you read up on it a bit it quickly becomes clear that dispite what many posters here will say that Linux just makes sense for these types of things.
  • Now *this* is an internet appliance as it should be. I was at first skeptical, expecting that there would be a >$1.5k price tag attached to this 'rather small' TV. But I am quite pleased to see a $899 price on it.

    I'd like to see what sort of price for similar features but on a 60" model.

    BTW... ain't Linux just *cuuuuuuuuuuute* all dolled up like that? :-)

  • by martyb ( 196687 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @02:45PM (#373177)

    Seems like this would be a great tool for people whose vision is impaired. Let's face it, 800x600 on a 27-inch monitor provides large fonts, and enough space to be useful.

    One downside, though. There would not be much space left over if you had one of these on your desk. I mean, really, wouldn't you just HAVE to hook it up to a PSX2, too? ;)

  • The revolution is here at last! Full-screen streaming video content, available for free over the airwaves? Truly, this was Linux's calling.
  • This is not an HDTV set, at 800x600 this is an Standard PAL TV. (like we all have here in europe)

  • No DXR3 is definitely backward compatible with MPEG1; this much I've verified. I've got a huge hard disk and I figure with the proper processor upgrade & a couple days of hacking I'll whip something up to pause live TV. DIY Tivo :)

  • Tivo
    A Tivo costs about $399 for the cheap model, into which you put a $100 drive to hack the Tivo into using and then buy a $200 lifetime subscription.

    Computer equivalent
    $100 Soundblaster Live (need the SPDIF)
    $200 PIII 700
    $25 Linksys ethernet card
    $100 mobo for it
    $30 case
    $15 floppy
    $100 hard drive
    $300 ATI All In Wonder Radeon
    no TV Guide show directory
    Geekfactor - priceless
    - And you're inevitably going to want to add a wireless keyboard and mouse, a DVD drive, CDROM drive etc etc

    Seriously, the Tivo above is cheaper and I won't have to throw it into the project box after getting sick of it continually crashing. You might cheap out on a few of these parts, but then your just fudging the numbers, and not really by all that much. My time is worth too freaking much to play with these parts anymore. I want to watch the shows, not do work to get to watching them. I have stuff to do! Buy the Tivo and sit down. You'll be able to use the spare time to think about some real ground breaking projects instead of reinventing the wheel.

  • The good news is it's computers people are going to be able to use. The bad news is when are software engineers going to be relagated to the Maytag repair man?
  • The concept is very cool. Execution looks fine, too, to me.

    But hey now, I'm going to spend $8.95 per month for what exactly? Do I really need to access the TV station's web site in PIP while I watch the program? I do not.

    This is the way of things, and I guess I understand. If you got the bare-bones Ch.1 service at $8.95 per month, you'd have to use the TV for more than 8 years to have the service cost overtake the hardware cost. Lucky if the hardware lasts that long (let alone Ch.1).

    Still, given that they're using a free operating system I can obtain elsewhere, and a Web connection I can maintain (and must pay for) elsewhere, I'm not that excited to have an online TV guide for nine bucks a month. At least with OnStar in the car, I'm getting service I can't duplicate on my own.

    Of course, I may not be the target audience. I don't own a television. I watch movies on the monitor that came with my first IBM PC: An Amdek with RCA in (only)...

  • by maggard ( 5579 ) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Friday March 09, 2001 @02:28PM (#373206) Homepage Journal
    A 27" TV with what's basically a WebTV built into it.

    So why not just buy any other 27" TV with line-doubling and plug in a cheapie home PC? It'll do more and be easier to upgrade in the future. I dunno 'bout you but I expect my TV sets to last at least 10 years, anyone here expect Ch.1 Inc. to last that long or to coninue supporting this product?

    Indeed it apparently can't even do Digital-VCR functions. Give me TiVo + router + firewall + webcaching + light fileserving + telephone + HDTV (& not via some damn 3rd-party add-on but integrated & used throughout) + in-house streaming and I'll buy. Otherwise it's just another TV with yet-another fancy channel guide & some pre-set "portal" crap.

  • So it's a TV with WebTV built in - BFD (exactly my point.) except of course at least webTV has some sort of show ie-ins and this is just a plain browser.

    If it was somehow different / more / groundbreaking (like any of the items I listed) then it might be worth attention. Without that it's just a TV with WebTV built in (and just 'cause it's Linux-based doesn't make it any less a yawner.)

    So would you let a friend buy something that's so clearly going to outlive it's usefulness?

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.