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Television Media

New Linux-based PVR from Sony: Cocoon 134

jivany writes "Linux based set-top box being offered by Sony that has a broadband internet connection and may offer the option of being programmed from a cell phone." Japan-only for now. There's an article in Japanese with assorted photos and screenshots.
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New Linux-based PVR from Sony: Cocoon

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  • who cares about pictures of a STB dont they look like a box....

    what matters is what running inside is it a shoddy x86 or a nice MIPS/ARM chip


    John Jones
    • its the ATI chip (Score:4, Informative)

      by johnjones ( 14274 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2002 @10:06AM (#4194843) Homepage Journal
      its the ATI Xillion a STB on a chip, nice pice of kit

      so sony didnt do anything to produce this except rejig the opening sceen and maybe some other fairly easy things

      what I would like to know is can I have the sound server source and does it work (-;
      (because the ATI supplied stuff sure does not)


      John Jones
      • A chip is not a system. My laptop is "just a Pentium, a calculator on a chip", but not surprisingly, IBM had to do quite a bit of work to turn it into the A31 IBM Thinkpad from heat management to bus architecture to software integration to external I/O management to... well, there's quite a lot.
      • How does this post get +4 Informative?

        I can hardly understand what the guy is saying? Is it just me?

        its the ATI Xillion a STB on a chip, nice pice of kit

        Did ATI make a chip with STB? Some sort of kit?

        I need the universal translator.
    • Re:Whats Inside (Score:3, Informative)

      by xirtam_work ( 560625 )
      The CPU is a MIPS 350MHz, with Linux OS - according to the blurb
  • I just got a pvr (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I just got a pvr with my dishnetwork, it is great.

    It's almost what I wanted in 1980. I'm a dreamer.
    • The Dish Network PVR is exactly what I was looking for. The DirectTiVo does a D/A conversion of the signal coming from the receiver, then a A/D conversion to store the picture on the hard disk. Sure that lets you select different quality levels, but with the size of drives these days...

      On the other hand the Dish Network PVRs (which also run Linux) store the raw encrypted satalite stream to disk, then pass it to the decoder when you go to watch it just like it was coming off the air. The two units I've seen offered by Dish also have a 30 second skip button right on the remote. Sure they don't have all the features of the ReplayTV, but there are USB ports on the Dish box, and people have gotten USB-to-Ethernet adaptors to work on them with a hacked box.
      • Um, not quite. What is usually refered to as the DirecTivo box does no D/A-A/D coversion until sending a signal (MPEG decode) out to the TV. It records the raw MPEG 2 stream as it is received from the dish just as you described for the Dish PVR. DirecTivo has no quality level choices and records the audio that is provided by the dish (PCM, DD 5.1, etc.) Actually, it has two DirecTV tuners allowing you to record two shows while watching a pre-recorded third.

        You are probably already aware of the extensive hacking that can be done to the Tivos so I won't go into the broadband options available.

        What you are probably refering to is the standalone Tivo.

        Not saying it is better or worse than the Dish PVR that you bought (which I'm not that familiar with).
        • Wish I had known that. The person I talked to was saying exactly what I repeated. Seemed right as I knew the Tivo encoded MPEG2 from the cable tuner.

          How about this, do you have to pay for the Tivo service on top of the satalite service?

          That is one thing the DishPVR stores the normal program guide that comes from the sat service. But it isn't limited to being stored in RAM like most sat tuners (I know the Tivo stores it's guide on disk), so there is always 7 days of data available.

          The DishPVR 721 has two tuners, so can do the same thing, record two shows, while watching another from the disk. I think the drive is 120MB, it is about 90 hours of total recording time.

          As someone else said, the DishPVR doesn't have an encoder at all, so no recording of off-the-air, or cable. But there are no off-the-air stations around me, and I got the dish so I wouldn't have to deal with the horrid cable company (who's service goes down each month, as the price goes up). So I didn't even consider that feature.

          Also the DishPVR has a feature to control a VCR to automaticly dump recorded programs to tape. I also don't have a VCR so I didn't care about that feature.

          They seem to be about the same. All in all, I'm happy so I guess it doesn't matter.
          • Tivo service, as of Nov 1, 2002, is $4.99/month on top of your DirecTV service, unless you have their high-end programming package, then it is free.

            Tivo stores program guide data from sat too (10 days of data). Two tuners, but no mpeg encoder. Tivo also has a save-to-VCR feature.

            The new DirecTV-tivo box (due out this month) will be $199, 40 GB drive (about 35 hours), USB 2.0.

            I'm not familiar with the DishPVR but it does sound very similar to Tivo. Tivo's best feature in my opinion is the Season Pass, which records every episode of a particular show on a particular channel, so you never have to miss your favorite show even if they change the time on you.

      • The DirectTiVo does a D/A conversion of the signal coming from the receiver, then a A/D conversion to store the picture on the hard disk.

        No, the DirectTivo stores the incoming VBR MPEG-2 stream directly. It doesn't even have an encoder.
      • Re:I just got a pvr (Score:5, Informative)

        by sessamoid ( 165542 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2002 @11:11AM (#4195180)
        The DirectTiVo does a D/A conversion of the signal coming from the receiver, then a A/D conversion to store the picture on the hard disk
        Incorrect. The DirectTivo's directly record the DirecTV mpeg2 stream directly to the hard drive. There is no mpeg2 encoder in the Directivo box, which is why you can record cable or OTA broadcasts using the DirectTivo. Get informed before you start spreading misinformation.
      • The DirectTiVo does a D/A conversion of the signal coming from the receiver, then a A/D conversion to store the picture on the hard disk. Sure that lets you select different quality levels, but with the size of drives these days...
        Nope, DirecTiVo records the stream directly, with no quality options at all. The only way to have what you're describing happen is if you have a seperate DirecTV receiver and TiVo.
  • New Linux-based PVR from Sony

    This makes it sound like Cocoon is the first Linux based PVR, or the fact that it is Linux makes it newsworthy (this may not be the case, but its how I percieved it).
    TiVo [] is a linux-based PVR.
    • This makes it sound like Cocoon is the first Linux based PVR

      Never got that impression from the snippet. After all, it is new, and it's Linux based, and it's from Sony. How else would you word it?
  • The US market will not accept this. It is great for us geeks, but the average Joe off the street won't buy it. If they did, then thinkgeek would be rolling in the money, and microsoft's PVR/webtv crap would be selling.

    Just because it has linux as it's OS doesn't mean it will do well, especially in the US, where there isn't a market for it.
    • That's true, linux cannot be the only selling factor for a device and expect it to do well.

      Then again, it can be an added bonus if the other features are done well, the Sharp Zaurus [] being a great example. I don't own one just because it runs linux (there are a number of other linux-driven pda's), but the fact that it has a CF slot, MMC/SD slot, and a built in keyboard, all for around $350, ~and~ it's running linux all combine to make one great product.
      • I don't think that making it Linux to sell more was Sony's intention. I think, as the article mentions, it was to make the profit margins better by avoiding hefty MS licensing fees. Having to pay MS a fee per box sold would cut too deep. I'm guessing that, as already mentioned, they just tweak and repackaged TiVo, that TiVo's licensing fee was OK with Sony.

        I really don't think Sony has a particular pro- or anti-Linux bent, its just about the $$.
    • Have you heard of something called Tivo?

    • Errr...Tivo runs Linux, and is a PVR, and that has certainly been "accepted by the US market".
  • from the article:

    "Cocoon" line of products that aim to become an alternative to the PC for accessing Internet content.

    The Cocoon line sounds interesting, but as for this product, I didn't see much difference between it and the Replay4000.

    Not that it is a bad thing, maybe now I will be able to afford upgrading to a 4k.

    • Well, this thing costs 130,000 yen (around $US1000)... how much is the Reply4000?
      • It has already happened.

        Old price: $1249.99

        New price: $899.99 (but the service price is broken out. even if you want to add the up-front cost back in, it is still $100.00 cheaper than is was last week. This price is for an equal (160 hour) system. You can get the smallest one (40) for $350.00 now.

        Here is the price page []

        competition is GOOD.

  • I could have sworn I've used a PVR [] that does most of this and also connects to a broadband connection, as well.
    • The point is that a major manufacturer has now endorsed the concept of connected pvr's (and Sony of all people). No one said that Sony has discovered fire, just that they've done something that currently no other major CE manufacturer has done.
  • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <{valuation} {at} {}> on Wednesday September 04, 2002 @10:08AM (#4194860)
    A Linux (good) PVR made by Sony (evil)? I haven't been this ambivalent about liking or hating something since Jean Luc Picard became a Borg.

    I think I need to lie down for a while.
  • who cares about pictures of a STB dont they look like a box....
    what matters is what running inside is it a shoddy x86 or a nice MIPS/ARM chip

    "Cocoon uses the freely available Linux operating system and a microprocessor based on reduced instruction-set computing technology developed by MIPS Technology Inc" []
  • Soon all the porn on the net will be automatically downloaded onto you new Sony PVR while you sleep...
    Sounds good to me


  • The 160GB HDD video recorder of SONY and D1 output equipment
    - Ethernet built-in, tuner and MPEG-2 encoder 2 systematic loading

    November 1st sale
    Standard price: Open price

    Ahead communicating: Customer consultation center
    Tel.0570-00-3311 (Nabi dial)
    Tel.03-5448-3311 (portable telephone * PHS)

    SONY loaded 2 systems of the ground wave tuner and the MPEG-2 encoder, Ethernet built-in 160GB HDD video recorder " CSV-E77 " is sold on November 1st. Price is open price, but as for shop front expectation price the possibility of 13 ten thousand Yen. The monthly output quantity has planned 5 thousand units.

    The CSV-E77 foam/home AV gateway product group " CoCoon " of regular connection type network functional loading which the same company lectures (the C$onnected Community ON Network) becomes the 1st feature product. In addition, the 80GB HDD and HDD which is sold in May video recorder " CSV-S55 " which builds in 56kbps modem (the channel server) it is the superior model. Because of that, term of endearment has become the " channel server ".

    2 systems of the ground wave tuner and the MPEG-2 encoder it had to load the largest strengthening point as a hardware. Because of this, even while videotaping it views the program of the channel which is different, reservation video recording while executing, it is possible to videotape the program which is in the midst of viewing.

    In addition, the program which is reserved by hand and, entrust 2 programs repeating the program of thing and the same time zone which videotape the program of video recording simultaneously by hand, estimate it is possible also to omit. However, unless when starting the video recording it has entered stand-by state, reservation of 2 programs is not executed simultaneously. Furthermore, there is no ghost reduction function, does not load the BS analog tuner.

    (160GB) (Reference)
    Mode HQ/SP/EP SP/LP/EP
    Bit rate 9mbps/6mbps/3mbps 6.0Mbps/3.7mbps/2.8mbps
    Video recording time Approximately 35/50/100 hour Approximately 25/40/55 hour
    Video recording mode joins from the SP/LP/EP of the CSV-S55, the HQ, the LP is shaved and 3 types of HQ/SP/EP are prepared.

    Bit rate was pulled up with the 9mbps/6mbps/3mbps respectively. Furthermore, compilation function this time is not loaded.

    Already, as for one big strengthening point, network interface, from 56kbps modem, had to be modified to the Ethernet. Because of that, network function is utilized, regular connected environment becomes prerequisite.

    As a network function, the CSV-S55 in the same way the channel server user private home page " ???! The my caster " is used. With this sight, " @ (at) video recording reservation " service and, " for record 2 keyword renewal service is offered entrusts * roundly ". Furthermore, it is possible also to renew the firmware by way of the network, also functional addition and the like is planned.

    When " @ video recording reservation is used (at)", the portable telephone ahead going out (I mode, the J-SKY and EZweb correspondence) and, from the personal computer video recording reservation becomes possible. In the private page which is on the WEB log in it does by the personal computer, or the portable telephone registers program reservation.

    As for service plan, free " BASIC plan " and, 300 Yen / 2 types of month " economy plan " are prepared. As for difference of both @ with only video recording reservation, " @ the video recording reservation LE ", economy plan " @ video recording reservation SE " can utilize BASIC plan. As for the difference of the LE and DX, at the frequency which connects to the reservation server, as for the LE 1 day 2 time, with DX 1 time, connecting to the server in shortest 10 minutes, you verify reservation.

    In addition, directly from the CSV-E77 the ???! It reached the point where the home page of the my caster can be perused. Then, the contents of news and the forecasting et cetera are planned.

    With the software, it is feature of the channel server, " entrusts * roundly record ", to " was strengthened record 2 entrusts * roundly ". Entrusts * roundly record program genre of the taste, just sets keyword and one time time zone, the program chart (the EPG) from to do searching the program which is based on condition, the function which it keeps videotaping automatically.

    Until recently calling keyword from program information of the program which is in the midst of viewing, in addition to the keyword of 44 types which SONY prepares in the same way, besides the fact that it can set, it corresponded to also the manual input by the software keyboard. Furthermore, whether or not the male is completed program liked, question is done, in the taste, you say the program where to that also information of reservation video recording and elimination protection is added, from is videotaped also " the male be completed it loads algorithm ".

    Furthermore, keyword of 44 types 1 time is renewed in 1 month by way of network. At present the Ethenet the ???! Functioning has done in only connection to the my caster, it does not modify direct setting from the personal computer outside, does not look at image and/or with cannot say.

    As a playback function, " multiple loop view " was loaded. It classifies the program which was videotaped into 9 categories such as movie, music and sport automatically. It adds there, the program which is in the midst of broadcasting as one category, just like the channel of the television, changing, it can see.

    View mode, while looking at the playback picture, can select program " normal view mode ", plays back image " high-speed preview mode ", can look through program name has 3 types of " list view " with 360 time speed.

    Furthermore, the ground wave EPG is not modified with the G guide system which the gem star developed from the CSV-S55, also announcement indication is done. In addition, it loads " TV pause function & flash " function. Continuing from the scene which it stops at one time even with the program which presently is broadcasted, after cancellation it has stopped, it is possible to view. Furthermore, the scene which the program which is in the midst of broadcasting overlooks, whenever the flash key of remote control (minus) you push, going back time $dm 15 seconds, playing back it is possible. Furthermore, list function of the audio attachment of 1.5 times and 2 times et cetera does not have.

    The 160GB HDD increasing, also the service which it makes the 320GB is planned, but start time, both price undecided. Furthermore, channel server similar, " user itself as for conversion doing the impossibility (the same company) with is the HDD first ".

    As for the output terminal the D1 terminal to be added 1 system, composite 2 systems and S image 2 system, analog (the L/R) audio 2 system. The input terminal composite 2 systems and S image 1 system, analog (the L/R) has audio 2 system.

    As for the CPU with the MIPS 350MHz, as for the OS the Linux is adopted. As for external size 430×360×79mm (width x depth x height), weight approximately 6.5kg. Because it can select the remote control cord/code from 3 types, it can use properly the plural stands.

    At the same company, there is the respective merit demerits " in the HDD and the record type DVD this time, concerning the reason which does not load the record type DVD. Proper thing you think future line-up development. But, still HDD video recording it is splendid, you thought under the present conditions which are not acknowledged, it informs about that thoroughly and the ? wants this time made only the HDD ", it has explained.

    Video recording system: MPEG-2
    Sound recording system: MPEG-1 (LAYER2)
    HDD capacity: 160GB (when increasing 180GB)
    Maximum video recording time: HQ approximately 35 hours, SP approximately 50 hours, the EP approximately 100 hour
    Reception channel: VHF 1 - 12ch and UHF 13 - 62ch, CATV C13 - C38
    Output terminal: 1 system, composite 2 systems and S image 2 system of D1 terminal, analog (L/R) sound 2 system
    Input terminal: Composite 2 systems and S image 1 system, analog (L/R) sound 2 system
    Electric power consumption: 39w
    Maximum external size (width x depth x height): 430×360×79mm
    Base machine mass: Approximately 6.5kg
  • Everyone seems to be forgetting the fact that this means that Sony does not condone PVRs.

    I think that is a big step for a company that has a huge stake in the 'entertainment' industry (recording, producing, whatever).

    They are sending a clear message that its ok with someone as big as them for the business to change. Its a good thing.

    my 2 cents
    • I really don't think it's a "big step", I think it just reveals how big and ponderous that corporation is. On the other hand, I'd bet this hardware is set up to recognize all kinds of "broadcast flags" and other such nonsense.
      • Sony, of course, are in the interesting position of potentially making a profit from "copyright" sales and from devices that enable users to do things that rights holders don't like.

        Last year they made profits on music film and games and losses on technology.

        However the market size for the latter is at least an Order of Magnitude bigger. Sony can't be unaware that DRM technologies are likely to stifle the growth of these devices (and could lead to lower revenues on sales of film and music in the bargain).

        How they try to resolve the problem, economically and organisationally, is going to be interesting to watch.

        • They're probably playing this game like DuPont did with the '
          bulletproof []' Kevlar vests. First they came out with these awesome vests made of their patented material. All the cops got them. Then a while later, special Teflon-coated bullets hit the streets that could penetrate the vests. Know who makes Teflon? DuPont []. But somehow Ice-T got in trouble for just singing a song called CopKiller [] while DuPont profits off the actual technology of killing cops.
      • I think it just reveals how big and ponderous that corporation is

        Hardly, they sell cd-rw, dvd-r, vcr's as well. What's so new about this. They tout the ability to copy mp3's off the net onto their mini disc players. This is nothing new from a corp. position standpoint. They are first and foremost a CE company, having the content means that they yield more leverage in the CE space overall. They are constantly playing both sides of the court when it comes to IP, and yes, they often times compromise more on their hardware because of it (PS2 being the perfect example).
    • Everyone seems to be forgetting the fact that this means that Sony does not condone PVRs.
      Actually, it means that Sony does not condemn PVRs.

      You've suceeded in saying exactly the opposite of what you mean. (Or you're really, really, really confused)

      Damn the Emperor!
    • They are sending a clear message that its ok with someone as big as them for the business to change.

      They are sending a clear message that it is okay to buy a PVR, if the money goes to SONY, but that it is NOT okay to commit the crime of using a PVR.

      I see no official change of policy from SONY. Therefore, I believe the previous sentence to be exactly right. Yes, I know I'll get modded all to #*!$ for this.
  • Try this article from Reuters [] instead!

  • by Zaknafein500 ( 303608 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2002 @10:25AM (#4194950) Homepage
    This box is actually based on the TiVo software, it just doesn't use the TiVo service. TiVoPony has said that there is a possibility this box could be released in the States, where TiVo service is available.

    Here [] is a link to a discussion of this box on the TiVo Community Forum.
  • I was shocked at the price (~1,100$ US). Who is willing to pay that much to watch TV. I dont watch much TV, and even if I did, I wouldnt pay that much damn money! Why purchase something like this when you can get DVDs for around 10$ a piece. Seems like an overpriced dust collector to me.
    • I keep struggling with the cost of Tivo+Service since I don't watch much TV and am generally disgusted with what I see when I channel surf.

      However, I'm drawn to the idea that 10% or so of what's on TV is actually worth watching or is worth watching with the ability to FF through idiotic content or commercials.

      Having some of that 10% available to me when the idea of watching TV is appealing intrigues me enough that I might actually get one when my coin can gets full.
    • Umm... it stores HDTV. That's why.
  • It's all Flash animation, which means I can't run it through babelfish, but ... []

    Can someone who reads Japanese click on the "My Net Communication" and translate the text? Looks like it's programmable through the net (cool).

    Also, what is this image [] all about? That's a weird looking GUI for a channel guide!

    • >Looks like it's programmable through the
      > net (cool).

      YES. At least Sony is claiming the device
      is accessible from outside through PC or
      Mobile Phone to record TV program.

      And the image was just silly marketing
      powerpoing slide.
  • I think the interesting part of that article is that they mention that future models may include DVD recording... this from a company who's pushing copy protection and DRM in the music world... guess it's because Sony doesn't produce as much TV content.
  • The way most things are going they should allow you to have a secured web interface on the PVR to allow you to configure it from the internet or using a direct dialin connection. I also haven't seen any pictures but if it is expandable to 320GB it's probably not going to fit on a tv.

    Just becuase it runs on a version of linux doesn't make it special, now if they gave you the option to install whatever os you wanted and set it up the way you want, that would be different.
    • I also haven't seen any pictures but if it is expandable to 320GB it's probably not going to fit on a tv.

      Yeah, 'cuz a box that holds two hard drives is going to be HUGE man!!!

      Sorry, bud, but there are already PVR's out there with that much capacity sitting on top of poeple's TVs.
    • Just becuase it runs on a version of linux doesn't make it special, now if they gave you the option to install whatever os you wanted and set it up the way you want, that would be different.
      This is obviously a troll, but on the off chance you actually don't understand what the word embedded means, I'll fill you in.

      Sony isn't selling you a PC. They're selling a set top box. They didn't choose Linux because they hate MS (what OS comes preinstalled on VAIO?) they chose Linux because of technical and financial considerations. If they sold you a box and said, "Ok, now go install your OS and your PVR software," then no one would buy it.

      Obviously you can hack the device and put on whatever OS you want. But that's not Sony's concern.

  • DVR prison (Score:2, Insightful)

    by joesknnr ( 604741 )
    I can't wait to see the fine print on this and other future Sony PVRs.

    "Sony retains the right to update firmware automaticaly, replace it with Windows without disclosure if it so pleases, track your information for Sony's marketing departments, and limit number of downloads that are not paid purchases of Sony digital media. If Sony wishes to change this agreement in any way, you are to praise them for protecting you from the true axis of evil: yourself."

    I fail to see the benefit in buying PCs from media moguls.
  • linux: nice cuddley penguins.. symbol of all that is good.

    sony: major proponent of the **aa's .. evil incarnate

    owwww my head hurts now!
    • Funny you should mention that. I have a buddy (actually my gf's best friend) who works for Sony and we hung out over labor day. The Sony TiVo came up because I was thinking of buying from him since he gets a NICE employee discount.

      Anyways, he suggested I hold off because Sony still isn't sure about the Tivo idea. Maybe this is why? They want to make a Sony version and just license the tech from TiVo.

      The other thing he mentioned is that with a company the size of Sony, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing half the time. I have a feeling this is the case. One business unit can make money with a tivo whilst it may directly compete with another business unit.

      I'm quite sure this is the case with most largish global umbrella companies.
  • What looks like a fan is clearly visible in the photo of the back of the unit here [].

    I'll be interesting to see how noisy the box is -I for one wouldn't want to fork out $1000 if it sounds like a vacuum cleaner.

    Even if it it reasonably quiet, it can't be silent. Surely the future is in solutions that network home appliances like this to a box with lots of hard disks and fans that can sit making as much noise as it likes, so long as it's not in the living room where I want to listen to my music? It would make the prices of things drop significantly, too.
    • It's based on existing Tivo hardware.

      I've got a Tivo at home, and replaced the drive inside with a larger one, and added a second large drive. (both Western Digital 5400RPM drives.)

      By design, Tivo is always recording *something* so both drives are always going, and there's a 3" fan in the back.


      The fan in the back spins slowly, so you don't get the "whirr" like you do with a standard PC fan. The brackets for the HDs are pretty well isolated with rubber grommits so the drives' vibrations don't transfer to the chassis.

      Seriously, my TV on mute makes more noise than the Tivo does.

      This thing is designed for A/V setups. Ambient noise(or vibration) is not a problem.

      My Tivo is currentally in my bedroom, and I have no problems sleeping with the thing whirring away. I can't say that about my PC, or even my laptop.
  • by af_robot ( 553885 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2002 @10:57AM (#4195112)
    It is time to start porting windows on it!

    Just imagine, we will able to run your favorite Windows application on it and use it as expensive PC!

    I'm quite sure that if we buy many Cocoons and then don't run their linux software, they have lost money!!!

    That will surely be the cruel punishment for evil Sony corporation!
  • It apologises if the user rejects its selections.

    I really dunno if I could deal with this. Part of the reason I live away from my family/parents is so that I don't have to deal with them causing guilt trips for things they've done/bought for me. And anyway, I end up dealing with it every christmas, birthday, et cetera.

    "I'm sorry you didn't like the Britney Spears revue Dave. But what has the DVD player ever done for you?"

  • What? Just a story about a new Tivo? Old news.

    The headline being Japan, I figured it would be about a Tivo that would pipe recorded video to your cell phone so you could watch on the subway while going to work! Aren't they supposed to be years ahead of us? :)
  • This could indicate Sony takes stock in rumors that Microsoft will eventually charge exorbinant fees to encode digital media for their future "screw the little man" secure OSes

    Brain fart.
  • I knew I shouldn't have told all my friends how groovy Tivo is...

    This will lead to lots of publicity for pvr but more visibility for pvr's is not necessarily a Good Thing. Why? Because one thing that has prevented Them from cracking down is that the installed user base is so small.

    But rest assured They will if Sony is successful, either by trying to ban pvr's as we know them outright, legislating for restrictive technology on the insides, or splattering movies, sports events, news, etc with commericals during the actual broadcast.

    Assuming they actually do broadcast commercial announcements at, say, the bottom of the screen, the only way to fight back will be to mask off the screen with cardboard or some similar material.

    I suspect there will be a change of biz model to a pay per use and it will happen so fast our heads will spin. So we'll end up paying for the cable and also paying for all content.And then it's only a matter of time until they add commercials to the content you've already paid for.

    I'm going back to books.

    • Would it be absurd to imagine broadcast companies cushioning the blow of hdtv recording equip by inserting ads on the sides of the screen for 16:9 viewers on a 4:3 program?
      • Would it be absurd to imagine broadcast companies cushioning the blow of hdtv recording equip by inserting ads on the sides of the screen for 16:9 viewers on a 4:3 program?

        That's actually a pretty good idea (good in the sense of creative and neat, not good in the sense of, well, good), but it'd be absurdly expensive. Wanna know why?

        Regular old analog SDTV programs get upconverted to HDTV with a box that takes SDI* in and outputs HD-SDI at 1080i (or 720p). It's a fairly simple box, usually one rack unit high. Snell & Wilcox makes several models.

        To upconvert a composited picture, though, would be a much more complex task. The device would have to take in SDI for the main picture, like it does now, and also a number of additional SDI inputs for the ad windows. The upconverter would have to scale and position the ad windows on the unused part of a 704 x 480 raster, then upconvert the whole thing. That's a much harder job than just upconverting 640 x 480 to 1920 x 1080, meaning the upconverters would have to be much more expensive, offsetting any revenue gains to be had from selling the new ads.

        So I wouldn't worry about it too much.

        *SDI = Serial Digital Interface, a digital signal standard for SDTV. HD-SDI is the same thing, basically, but for HD. Both are uncompressed and run over coaxial cables.
      • > Would it be absurd to imagine broadcast companies cushioning the blow of hdtv recording equip by inserting ads on the sides of the screen for 16:9 viewers on a 4:3 program?

        1) Great disincentive for anyone to buy a 16:9 TV.

        2) You think that once they started, they'd ever stop?

        3) The slow adoption of 16:9 would even give them an excuse to continue broadcasting 4:3 with ads forever. "Well, we can't leave all those 4:3 folks in the dirt by broadcasting in 16:9 - better to broadcast in 4:3 for another 20 years and sell more sidebanner-ads!"

        Creative idea, yes. Horrible and intruive for the conumer, yes. Probability of it happening: E_UNDEFINED.

        (Media executives are unlikely to come up with creative solutions, but highly likely to come up with horrible intrusive ones. Probability is therefore, umm, divide-by-fish and carry the fnord?)

  • Linux PVR is nothing new but look at the unit's plethora of input and output ports. I can't read japanese but from the pics it looks like it has 2 HD ports, 2 component video outs and 2 ins, optical audio out, ethernet and normal svideo and audio io. If I am not mistaken, you can access the box via web browser...I would love to connect to it from work and schedule "tapings" of programs. (I usually find out about good shows on tv from my coworkers and friends and it would be nice to bookmark them before I forget)
  • by Quarters ( 18322 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2002 @11:24AM (#4195235)
    It's called a T*I*V*O. They've been out for a few years now.

    What is the news story here?
  • "Besides the fact that 2 tuners are loaded, the 10Base-T it has". Use the force, Luke.
    from the bablefish translation. []
  • "...and may offer the option of being programmed from a cell phone."

    If it runs linux, isn't it generally assumed it's programmable in by any conceivable method?

  • When, oh, wen will they make a PVR that will let me burn programs onto DVD (or even VCD!) so I can archive them and watch them at my liesure.

    For all of the failings of VHS, I can archive a LOT of materail for years.
    • panasonic (i think its panasonic, dont remember precisely) makes one in japan. at least i see it advertised on the JR lines all the time: record to hard disk or burn to dvd, and accepts digital pictures through compact flash pc card adapter, too.
  • Will I be able to play my PS2 games on it?
  • by pozzy1 ( 542099 )
    They give a quote for how many hours it can record of HDTV. But it gives no info of how the unit deals with it. Does it stay digital, does it get converted back and forth, and does this thing have any fricken copy prevention crap.
  • by -tji ( 139690 )
    The great thing about this one is support for HDTV. There are severl "roll your own" options for HDTV PVR's. But, this will be the first off the shelf version (assuming it beats The Dish Network's HD PVR to market in the U.S.).

    If it supports satellite TV reception, I will be first in line for one of these things.

    If not, I will probably stick with my HDTV PCI card, homebrew PVR. Even though it's Windows based, it is an open usage system, which allows more flexibility than a closed system that I assume Sony would provide.
  • As others have noted, ReplayTV can already do most if not all of this. I believe ReplayTV even allows you to program recordings/manage it over the web (and therefore from a PDA or phone ...). Furthermore, they do not impose unnecessary restrictions on their users -- they allow program sharing over the broadband connection and automatic commercial skipping.

    Why isn't ReplayTV more of a player? They seem a distant second to TiVo ... or any new PVR that another company puts out. Are people afraid that they won't last against the possible legal litigation? Are they just too expensive (my excuse ... for now)? Is the mandatory broadband connection holding them back?

    I would think ReplayTV would be the darling of Slashdot. Are they not running Linux on their boxes or what? ;)
  • It's a PVR that Isaac Richards has been working on for a while now

    I've been thinking about setting this up as soon as I have a TV card to go into my spare box.

  • Well here comes Sony again. Do we trust them and their proprietary formats? Is this system going to be open to playing/tweaking. Tivo doesn't officially encourage it but they don't stop you either. Sony's interest lie in content protection as many of the coments from the article [] will attest to. If you slashdotters are serious in promoting their "fair use" rights then they shouldn't forget them just becasue a company that disagrees with them comes out with a new toy.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.