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DVD Player as 802.11b Peripheral 199

sysadmn writes "Instead of building a PVR from a computer, why not let your DVD player access the computer you already have? That's the thinking behind Sonicblue's new Go-Video D2730. The just-announced DVD player will use an 802.11b (Wi-Fi) wireless network connection to access content on PCs, such as photos, music and videos. The player is aggressively priced at about $250 US and is due out in first quarter 2003. Full details are on CNET."
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DVD Player as 802.11b Peripheral

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  • Every product that I've ever bought from SonicBlue has been malformed and returned to sender.

    The technology sounds cool, but I'll probably wait until it's available from another vendor.
    • I have a Rio Volt (which is made by SonicBlue unless I'm mistaken) and I've had no problems with it whatsoever. Maybe I was just lucky?
      • Those are actually made by iRiver [].


      • I have and rio volt and the baclight died right before the warranty expired. The anti-skip protection is pretty crappy too. The meshanism is just too susceptible to skips, I have to keep my walking under a certain speed, hold it in my hand, or learn to walk like some sort of ninja.
        Other than that it's been a very good device. Good battery life, and the new rom offered major improvements over the orignal one too (It boots twice as fast as it used to). Note: Your backlight probably hasn't died because now the backlight defaults to always off unless you press a button. When mine shipped, the backlight defaulted to aways one whenever the unit was plugged into a wall outlet/car adaptor. I don't know if they ever reall did fix this design flaw with the rio volt or if they are just relying on their software workaround to make sure the backlight doesn't die before the warranty expires.
        Another side note, the rio volt is actually made by another company. When it came out, the AVC Soul which was availible at was the exact same thing for $10 less.
    • I've had good luck with four Rio / SonicBlue items -- three Rio Receivers (MP3/ethernet/stereo components) and a Rio Riot (20G portable MP3 player).

      Plus, a lot of what they do is linux based, so this might be hackable. If so, and if this avoids a noisy fan, it might be a great set-top box "terminal" for a centralized PVR system. Maybe. (I haven't read the article yet).
    • I've never had a problem with my ReplayTV. Perhaps you've had incredibly back luck?
      • What's your experience with your Replay tv? I have a Tivo, and the Replay is tempting to me because of the extra features. But... I've heard that Replay is not very good about always recording season passes.

        Does your Replay record what you want it to record? Is it convenient to find new programs to record and set them up?
        • ReplayTV (Score:3, Interesting)

          by crow ( 16139 )
          I love my ReplayTV. There are two priority levels: Non-guaranteed and Guaranteed. If you guarantee a recording, it will reserve hard drive space for the show and it will record it. It won't let you set two guaranteed shows for the same timeslot. The only time you run into problems is when the network shifts the schedule slightly so that two shows overlap when they normally wouldn't.

          As to finding new shows, you can do a search fairly easily, and you can browse the guide. It's trivial to tell it to record something, and also trivial to change the settings on something already scheduled.

          What Replay lacks is a to-do list. So if you have a bunch of non-guaranteed things (like my wife's "Shakespeare" theme or my "Stargate" theme), it will pick the one to record using a fairly cryptic algorithm (which one starts first; which one is on a lower channel; which theme was create first).
        • THe only time I have any trouble is when a show is preempted for basketball. Even then, with the show being relocated to Saturday afternoon, the Replay usually catches it. I have no trouble finding shows either through browsing the listings, or by using the search function. I don't make much use of the Replay Channels feature, but I can see where it would be useful. Very satisfied with it, over all.
    • by yelloh99 ( 619315 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:26PM (#4923835)
      I agree, I bought a cd player with 30 seconds of memory. So now when I hit a bump I hear the skip 30 seconds later.
  • Fast enough? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gzsfrk ( 519324 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:06PM (#4923673)
    I notice on home home 802.11b network that the 11mbps connection between my den PC and upstairs office PC is nowhere near fast enough to stream high quality compressed digital video (e.g. DivX). How is this player going to be able to pull it off?
    • Re:Fast enough? (Score:5, Informative)

      by phurley ( 65499 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:11PM (#4923715) Homepage
      802.11b is plenty fast to stream DivX. Now as some point you could have too many players (and other 802.11b devices) in a home (possibly a bigger problem in apartment buildings?) trying to share the same bandwidth.

      • The player probably isn't fast enough to decode the divX anyway, it takes about a 600mhz PC to play divX smoothly. All it will be able to handle is vcd and svcd like every other player on the market.

        I'd rather see a divX player for the (modded) XBox.
        • That's because the decoder for DivX is software based rather than dedicated hardware. Give the player a dedicated chip and it'd be easy... kinda the same way they all handle the MPEG-2 on DVDs.
    • Re:Fast enough? (Score:5, Informative)

      by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:15PM (#4923753) Homepage

      A DVD quality SVCD runs at arounf 3000 kbps (around 3 Mbps), and a simmilar quality DivX around 1500 kbps (1.5 Mbps). So I don't know what you are doing at your place, but a 11 Mbps conneciton should handle them just fine. In face, my 10 Mbps nic can play a SVCD over the LAN perfectly.

      • Re:Fast enough? (Score:4, Informative)

        by afidel ( 530433 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:31PM (#4923882)
        11Mbps is the through the air "wire" speed that is the maximum speed that all data is being sent. The amount of usefull data on even the best .11b equipment is about 6.3Mbps or ~700KB/s which should be more then enough for DivX and even most MPEG2 streams but some could theoretically be 9.8Mbps but average 4.7 Mbps typical rate for movie on single layer with 3 multichannel audio tracks.
      • Re:Fast enough? (Score:4, Informative)

        by genka ( 148122 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:35PM (#4923904) Homepage Journal
        11Mbps is a "marketing number". The protocol has a lot of overhead- data that is transmitted for servicing the connection. When it comes to speed 802.11B is moving your data (payload), it is about 3-4 MBps, shared between two directions.
        • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @02:52PM (#4924555)

          However, I stream video from my desktop (with TV tuner card) to a laptop (with TV-out) under the TV over 802.11b. I do this by mounting an NFS volume over a VPN I establish from the laptop to the desktop. My datarate is set so 1 hr of video will just fit on a 700 MB CD (in case I see a show I want to keep). I'm also running an ad-hoc (rather than access point) network, if that makes any difference. The laptop and desktop are fairly close together, but there are a few walls.

          Under these conditions, I can just eek out enough bandwidth. There's more room for error if I stream over HTTP, but then I can't seek within the stream, so I stick with NFS.

          Very occasionally for no apparent reason I'm unable to use the player - interference from something, I assume.

    • Re:Fast enough? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hayzeus ( 596826 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:19PM (#4923782) Homepage
      11MBPS is probably fast enough; however, it's worth pointing out that 11MBPS isn't guaranteed by 802.11B. In fact, the connection speed can fall back to fairly slow speeds in the presence of a less than perfect RF link. I can't recall the bottom end off hand (1MBPS?).

      It may be that you are seeing partial signal blockage or reflectance problems between your office and den. Try using something to benchmark the actual connection speed (if you haven't done so already).

    • by tswinzig ( 210999 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:26PM (#4923834) Journal
      Are your floors or ceilings made of metal, per chance?
    • 11 Mps may be fast enough to stream a high quality divx movie, but not if you're using your network for anything else. I stream movies all the time from one room to another over 80.11b, and it usually works ok. However, if I'm d/ling from IRC or Kazaa or something, it begins to get quite choppy, and usually desynchronizes the sound. If you have a second computer pulling the stream, it becomes unwatchable on both. If you ever have gotten 11Mbps over 802.11b than you're as cool as the guy that always connects at 56.7Kpbs. My experience shows that ~9Mpbs is average, and anything above 10Mps flat is excellent.
    • Re:Fast enough? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Bopper ( 47004 )

      Check out the press release: []

      The D2730 works with either a PCMCIA Ethernet Adapter (included) or an optional PCMCIA 802.11b Wireless Network Card and can stream MPEG1 and MPEG2 video files that are compressed at bitrates up to 3 Mbps.

      So, it will work on a good 802.11b wireless link, as long as the connection speed doesn't fall back to below 3 Mbps (the 802.11b standard says the fallback rates are 5.5, 2, and 1 Mbps). WEP, if its there, can lower the rate as well by 20-50%.

      There is no mention of DivX or other formats in the press release, so you can assume anything other than MPEG1/2 is not supported. I would assume that even the MPEG file has to be VCD/SVCD/XVCD compliant.

  • by CommieLib ( 468883 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:07PM (#4923679) Homepage
    But how does this relate to PVR? Allowing my DVD player to access PC content doesn't allow me to PVR, as far as I can tell. The article mentioned plans to network to Replay TV, but that's not what you're saying here.

    Did I miss something?
    • That was my first reaction; I thought I'd misread something.

      But maybe what they're suggesting is that if you use your PC (with a tuner card) to record digital content, and then can access that through your DVD player. Which effectively lets you use your PC as a PVR, without the hassle of burning DVDs or VCDs to play on your DVD player. You can also download or trade shows over the internet with your PC.

      That'd be cool.
      • But maybe what they're suggesting is that if you use your PC (with a tuner card) to record digital content, and then can access that through your DVD player.

        Yeah, I think have overlooked something. Like if you have a PC-based PVR, you probably can output the signal directly to the TV anyway.

        You can also download or trade shows over the internet with your PC.

        Ok, like you can't do this already with a PC-PVR.

        That'd be cool.

        No, other than the wireless connetion, it's rather useless.

  • "The player is aggressively priced at about $250 US and is due out in first quarter 2003."

    Or you could just buy a DVD player for $50 at WalMart. Is the geek-factor really worth the additional $200?

    • It's more a replacement for a DVD burner.The idea is to stream your pirated DivX movies from your PC to your televsion.
      • that's why i pirate all my DVD's to VCD (mpeg2?) format so I CAN watch them in my dvd player or on the pc. divx was nice until i found a much older technology laying around that provided more flexability.
        • VCD is MPEG1, SVCD is MPEG2. VCDs hold an hour, and SVCDs can vary but are usually around forty minutes... long enough for a TV show with the commercials cut out. DVD is MPEG2 as well, but since the disks hold 4 gigs (single layer/ double layer stuff applies that I'm not going to go into), they can have a much longer, higher quality stream.

          Satellites also bounce TV shows to the affilitate stations using MPEG2. AFAIK, that's why the format was originally developed. MP3s are the third "layer" from the MPEG2 standard - the audio layer.

          Correct at will, I'm sure about the beginning, and have picked up the second paragraph from here and there.


    • I agree, it's a nice idea, but hardly "agressively priced". I would much rather see them just stick a cheap 10/100 ethernet port on the back of the unit and not charge me for the wireless technology. Such a product (more agressively priced) would appeal to more users - those who want to direct connect to their network could; those who want to go wireless could use an external device.
      • I would much rather see them just stick a cheap 10/100 ethernet port on the back of the unit and not charge me for the wireless technology.
        Read the article. The player comes bundled with an Ethernet port. The 802.11b adapter must be purchased separately.

    • Or you could just buy a DVD player for $50 at WalMart. Is the geek-factor really worth the additional $200
      Is modding down ACs "offtopic" really a worthwhile use of your points?

      No but modding down people who didn't read the article probably is :-)

      The DVD player is a regular dvd player which also has an 802.11b interface to access your network with in order to play music, videos and show pictures.

      Also, the /. post is pretty misleading, leading you to believe this has something to do with PVR, which it doesn't (except a possible interface to a ReplayTV unit in the future).
      • Oh I read the article... and I still couldn't find anything to justify paying $250 for this. I mean, was there really that much demand for such a device?

        I would even go so far as to suggest that the people this is marketed towards prefer using their computers for their multimedia needs... something that they can already do without having to spend $250 for what only amounts to a neat gadget.

      • No but modding down people who didn't read the article probably is :-)

        The DVD player is a regular dvd player which also has an 802.11b interface to access your network with in order to play music, videos and show pictures.
        You have no idea how tempting it was to mod you down for not reading the article ;)

        The device comes bundled with a standard Ehternet port. The 802.11b access is extra. =)
  • Too bad I never got around to actually do anything.

    Check out Rubik [] by Mosaik. Oh so lush.
  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:07PM (#4923686) Homepage Journal
    The posting is misleading. The item comes with an ethernet port, but support for 802.11b will require an additional piece of hardware. I'm not clear from the information available if it will just use a PCMCIA slot or something else.
    • by stevel ( 64802 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:14PM (#4923750) Homepage
      It's even more misleading than it first appears - the article discusses a DVD player that allows display of content from your networked PC. The only reference to PVRs is a mention that ReplayTV boxes from the same company also offer network connectivity. There's nothing PVR-related in this announcement at all.

      Don't people actually read the articles they point to before posting here?
      • Some (all?) of the editors don't even read the front page before posting news... how can they be expected to read the article?
      • As the poster, I'd like to point out I did read the article. The PVR comment comes from the fact that I know of at least 4 OSS PVR suites under development, and 2-3 Windows commercial effort. If you're not smart enough to look at a PC and say, "You could make a PVR out of that", why are you reading Slashdot?
        • Perhaps because I'm smart enough to look at a PC and realize that it would make a lousy PVR. I know what a real PVR is like (I own two TiVos), and a power-hungry PC operating off a generic program guide isn't it. A good PVR is so much more than a hard-disk VCR, but it's hard to explain to someone who hasn't lived with a good PVR such as TiVo.

          So we're looking here at a DVD player that can fetch pictures and music off of a PC. Fine. What makes this any kind of step towards a PC-based PVR? All I have to do is run the video output from the graphics card to the A/V input of my receiver, and then futz with the kludgy remote control solutions, to play video from the PC to the TV. You don't need a DVD player for that. Oh, you want wireless? There are plenty of wireless audio/video transmitter devices around.

          Yes, there have been a lot of attempts to turn a PC into a PVR. All of them have failed miserably so far - they're expensive, fragile, and don't come anywhere near the simplicity of use of a good purpose-built PVR with a service behind it. I'm sure that one of these efforts will come up with something that demos well, but I doubt it will appeal to a larger audience.

          Yes, a PVR is full of recognizeable bits of a PC - there's a processor, a hard disk or two, video encoders and decoders, and some software. But this doesn't mean that a PC would make a good PVR, any more than a PC would make a good bedside alarm clock.

          There's a lot more to a PVR than just these bits - multiple inputs and outputs, control of cable and satellite boxes, a quiet, low-power box that can sit next to your TV and doesn't cost a lot and can be dedicated to its purpose.

          A PC-based video recorder has its uses. But a PVR it's not.
  • I wonder... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    if it could access my favorite websites like Slashdot [] and theBubbler [].

    Now that would make it worth while investing in.
  • So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:08PM (#4923691)
    Instead, why not just spend $50 bucks and do this on your Playstation 2?

    Q Cast Player []

    This thing rocks, by the way.
    • You forgot to mention that you need to buy the 'official' ps2 ethernet adapter also. It wouldn't be a big deal but originally Qcast said that you could use a usb adaptor. I allready have a usb nic for ps2's madden 2003 and it works great. I refuse to replace it just because Qcast is too cheap to buy the development kit!
    • Check out the . It does everything that Qcast does, and more - you can play homebrew games, emulators, etc. as well. It also supports more codecs (it uses the mplayer engine), and is updated regularly with new features and bugfixes.

      The total cost of a modchip for xbox is less than that of the ethernet adapter and Qcast for PS2.

      • Yeah, but the total cost of an Xbox plus modchip > PS2 ethernet + Qcast... after all, Xbox costs $200 + 1 soul ;-)

        Seriously though, for PS2 owners and people that aren't into the modchip scene, Qcast looks quite nice.
    • You can buy Playstation 2's for $50 now? Network ready?

      Sign me up!
  • by JasonMaggini ( 190142 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:10PM (#4923708)
    All you have to do is make a Pringles-can antenna and drive around for a while...
  • Perfect... (Score:4, Funny)

    by cybermace5 ( 446439 ) <> on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:11PM (#4923713) Homepage Journal
    This is wonderful. Now, in addition to DDOS attacks and hacking by the RIAA, we can have wardriving by the MPAA!
  • That's a pretty cool idea, but especially for (downloaded) movies and the like, wouldn't image scaling be a bit of an issue? Blowing a 640x480 (or often much smaller) picture to fit on even, say, a 27" TV seems like it'd make the image awfully grainy.

    Also, wouldn't it be theoretically possible to take over someone else's DVD player if they don't set up decent security? Definitely interesting idea, but it's sure to have its issues.

    • I could be wrong, but I think the native resolution of a standard television is 640x480. It is only on HDTV that you begin to get resolutions similar to computer monitors
    • interlaced

    • Actually, any image with a resolution higher than 640x480 would be wasted on most TV's... I forgot the exact resolution that a standard TV signal is, but it is approximately 640x480(in addition to being only 30hz interlaced...) Now, the more recent HDTV's and such are a different story, one I'm not very familiar with... but your standard TV wouldn't need any improvement to the image provided to it.
    • NTSC has 525 scanlines (vertical), 25 of which are during the vertical blanking interleave, and the horizontal resolution isn't really defined. PAL has 625 scanlines. Both standards interlace scanlines. Since NTSC is an analog standard, the horizontal resolution doesn't need to be defined, and televisions and broadcasters can vary the signal as fast as they want to to add more horizontal resolution, as long as the equipment supports it. VCR's have an effective horizontal resolution somewhere below 320 pixels, though it doesn't look pixelated because it kind of smears the values (it's analog, and stored as a wave, not discrete pixels).

      DVD's are 352x240, 352x480, 704x480, or 720x480 in NTSC, x576 in PAL. I've never encountered an NTSC DVD that wasn't 720x480, and I'm not sure if players even support the other resolutions (someone please correct me if I got those resolutions wrong). 4:3 aspect ratio movies are typically displayed unscaled, with 720 pixels horizontal resolution in the analog signal (if it's a good decoder and NTSC signal generator), while 16:9 movies fields are typically shrunk vertically and reinterlaced. On an HDTV or projector with a DVD player that has built-in scaling or using a line quadroupler/deinterlacer, the resolution is scaled from 720x480 to whatever the HDTV or projector uses. Some projectors can sync at resolutions up to 3500x3500, though they cost tens of thousands of dollars.

  • by jridley ( 9305 )
    It just says you can "access media" from your PC. No word on what it supports. MPG-1, certainly. WMV, maybe. DivX3, almost certainly not. OGM/XviD, again, probably not.

    Also, thankfully the default is ethernet, 802.11 is an option (that I'm not interested in - too slow)

    I'm still going to build a PC for my entertainment center - then I can play what I want including FUTURE formats.
  • Illegal? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ottffssent ( 18387 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:15PM (#4923754)
    I could have sworn it was illegal (or at least against some shrinkwrap EULA mumbo-jumbo) to play a DVD over any sort of wireless link. It came up during Microsoft's massively ill-conceived tablet PC thing, I believe.
    • Re:Illegal? (Score:3, Informative)

      by afidel ( 530433 )
      Not illegal, more against the liscense from the DVD Forum that companies have to sign to get a valid CSS decryption key. There are technologies that the DVD Forum does not think can be properly secured so they do not want content going across them. Besides this is for reading data off a pc through the DVD player to the TV, not for transfering the DVD data to the PC. This thing is basically a DVD player with a network jack that allows the same kind of multimedia features as some of the current players that can play SVCD's, mp3 cd's and have CF and MMC readers so they can display jpegs from your digital camera. Basically an all in one media center that uses the tv for a display. Since my pc is already in the living room and hooked up to the S-Video port on the tv this does nothing for me personally but some people don't have the pc in the living room and want to keep it that way so this would allow them to access all that stuff off the pc upstairs (with a 802.11b wireless bridge attached to the network port I would assume).
  • Is really what's going on here. I saw lots've guys at comdex showing off new DVD players / etc that do new things. They seem to think that the average shmo will want to use their remote control rather than learning how to do the equivalent with their PC.

    I think they're dead wrong; look at the device this article mentions.

    "The Go-Video D2730 player's software will let consumers view content on their television that's stored on their PC using a remote control for navigation. The customer will be able to stream music files and other content on the DVD player. "

    Hmm, what protocol does it use for filesharing? Netbios on a WiFi network? Will it play my ogg files? My DivX? My png photos? You can put together a shuttle SV-24 with a dvd player and a 6 channel sound card for about the same price they're quoting; that's what I use at home and I'm quite happy with it (except for the fact my TV won't do more than 640x480). If I were a gambling man, I'd sell sonicblue's stock [] short and profit from their stupidity.

    • Will it play my ogg files? My DivX? My png photos?

      Yeah, people are going to be pissed when they discover the tunes they so easily ripped from their CD's via WMP won't work through the SonicBlue DVD player because it doesn't have a license for them..

  • Most video cards with TV-out are cheaper than this. GF4 for example - via S-video, with optional conversion to RCA-style connector, and a booster to bypass Macrovision issues if connected to a VCR (or in my case, an old BETA machine). Combined with a PC DVD-ROM and you can play everything just fine.

    Granted, wireless is pretty cool, but this seems to be not-entirely-useful in a comparative aspect... unless your computer is beyond TV proximity.

    Nice thing about computers though - people may biatch about the cost, the the addons sometimes replace home electronics more cheaply. PC DVD-ROM's were a helluva lot cheaper than console ones for a loooong time, and you can play around with them more.
  • Its nice, I guess, but the PC connectivity features don't seem to leverage off the DVD player at all. The only connection I see is that a DVD player is something that you are going to want in your home theater anyway, so at least you don't need another box in your system.
  • by jdludlow ( 316515 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:19PM (#4923785)
    But honey, I swear that the DVD player just started pumping out pron on its own!
  • This certainly isn't the first integration of PC and TV in a consumer product. I own a SliMP3 and the Qcast Tuner software for PS2.

    I wonder how long it will be before these types of devices which play media files from your PC onto your TV/stereo system are considered "mainstream".?

    I think that the more of these enabling (sorry to use that cheesy buzword) media technologies there are, the better. I doubt however that the MPAA and RIAA share that view. They're bound to step in with heavy handed tactics sooner or later. Just look at how they responded to DeCSS - software which allows consumers to watch DVD's on platforms that they do not control. Seems like this is right up their litigation alley.

    Just my two cents.
  • by asv108 ( 141455 ) <.asv. .at.> on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:22PM (#4923811) Homepage Journal
    From the Article

    Sonicblue's DVD player will be able to connect to networks via an Ethernet connection. Consumers will be able to purchase 802.11b PC cards to connect the player to a PC using wireless networking

  • by 4/3PI*R^3 ( 102276 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:23PM (#4923814)
    From the Sonic Blue web page:
    SONICblue reserves the right to automatically add, modify, or disable any features in the operating software when your ReplayTV 5000 connects to our server.

    We will sell you this box with a list of features you want but once the *AA gets congress to pass favorable laws, wins a court battle, or becomes a major shareholder in our business we will promptly castrate your box without sending you one penny in refund.

  • 802.11b too slow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MentlFlos ( 7345 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:29PM (#4923862)
    Ok, now put your calculators away here... I'm going to talk about how things look like and how they feel, not if a link can mathmaticly support bitrate X.

    I've found that trying to stream anything worthwild over a .11b link is just too iffy. I often stream video files from my server to whereever I am sitting with the laptop. With the netgear card reporting a full speed connect at ~60% signal strength and 100% quality it is kind-of jerky at times. I know I'm pushing the limits of what that little wireless connect can do.

    Now I can deal with it for now because I'm not expecting it to perform perfectly. However, what is going to happen when Joe Consumer picks one of these up, hooks in the wireless part and tries to stream his DVD rip collection and it gets .3FPS?

    Answer: You get one very unhappy Joe Consumer.

    I believe that people will expect this thing to do more then it can, and I doubt that sonic will be up front and tell people about this limitation.

    Makes me think of a car dealer trying to sell a car for use on interstate highways but the car can only go 45MPH. Sure it works, but it isn't quite what you expected now is it?

  • by asv108 ( 141455 ) <.asv. .at.> on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:32PM (#4923889) Homepage Journal
    Sonicblue has a history of trying to add cool features to unrefined products. The title is misleading since 802.11b requires an additional purchase. Last month I decided to get a PVR. Sonicblue's replay tv 5000 had some real cool features, but the interface sucked. Interface is extremly important in consumer applications such as a cell phone or PVR. I ended up getting a tivo after i learned that you can use usb ethernet adaptors with the series 2. Anyway, my point is sonicblue has a history of sticking some cool features in a completely unrefined product.
  • by 4/3PI*R^3 ( 102276 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:33PM (#4923896)
    Who wants to bet the SSID will be hard coded and it probably won't support WEP (and if it does support WEP the key will be hard coded) beceause most l^Husers won't be able to figure out how to make this work.

    So all I need is a laptop with an 802.11b card and a couple of people in my neigborhood with HBO and an penchant for "The Sopranos"!!!!

  • If it was a dvd writer that would be different, but remember the "R" in PVR stands for Recorder, not player. I think this would be a great idea for a DVD-R, and I'd snatch it up! Unfotunately it's not, it's not even that useful as is. 11 Mb/s is awfully slow to be streaming video, but the ethernet could be an option. However, if you were going to go that route (ie running wires), it'd still be cheaper and more effective just to buy a Tuner card and send whatever to your TV via Composite or Svideo.

    I think this product relies more on it's "cool" factor than it's usability. DVD Player competition is tight, and they seem to be really reaching for new features. Next I'm sure we'll start seeing dvd in Custom translucent color cases, or come with Madonna's signature for an extra $50..
    • However, if you were going to go that route (ie running wires), it'd still be cheaper and more effective just to buy a Tuner card and send whatever to your TV via Composite or Svideo.

      One problem with running composite video cables, distance. I was looking at doing something like this a while back. I have a GForce4, with the TV-Out port. And I was thinking that if I would do a cable run from my computer room to the TV, I could call up the movie files on my PC and watch them on the TV. I did a rough guesstemate on the distance, and figureed that for a proper run (up the wall, across the attic, and back down the wall next to the TV) I would need between 150 to 200 feet. Probably towards the 200 end just to have some slack, and to provide for extra cable in case the cats chewed on one of the ends. Of course, knowing that distance can be a killer in networking, I assumed that video signals might have a problem in that area too. After some research, I discovered that anything over 30' for a composite signal was pushing it. There were some really nice low impedence cables for sale that were 100' but the prices were astonomical. In the end I just let the idea go.
      Now, with this sort of box comming out, I have hope for the project once again, though its still not quite what I would want. This type of thing would be great if they would integrate a record function with it. I imagine that we will eventually see a set-top box capable of playing media off a PC, though a network connection (doesn't need to be wireless, I don't mind doing a CAT-5 run) and being able to turn around and record a show directly to your PC, again through a network link.

  • by beest ( 200570 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:41PM (#4923938)
    From tests I've done in the past with DVD quality streaming, wireless networks such as 802.11b can not support the throughput required. I've had DVD's max out at 13 MB/s. 802.11b can only send 11 Mb/s not including overhead which is greater than 802.3 in the first place...
    • Did you read the article?

      It wasn't designed to display dvd's played from your dvd set-top on your pc, but to play music / video files FROM your pc on your DVD/TV. Now if you store multiple mpeg2 streams at greater than 11Mb/s on your HD then well i guess you will have to deal with the CAT5 connection instead of the wifi (option).
  • Now I can get my DVD player hacked by wise guys.
  • Better plan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RealBeanDip ( 26604 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @01:53PM (#4924032)
    Actually every "media" device in your house should have this capability. There should be such a thing as "storage" (i.e. hard drive) and everything from your video game console to your stereo to your video playback device and your computer should access it.

    Put the "consoles" in their proper perspective; computers will be great for surfing the net and ordering content. Your video playback console is great for playing back your videos, and your stereo console is great for playing back music.

    The point I'm making here is everything should be contected together, but accessed in with the console that makes sense. IMO, playing tunes and watching downloaded videos on a computer stinks. Playing video games on the TV rocks, but video game consoles with their own storage devices sucks.

    If 802.11b wireless is the link that ties all these together, great, but it should be seamless and painless to the user to set it up.

    Oh yeah, it needs to be secure too. ;)
  • What I really need is a DVD player that can stream data to my wireless computers. It would be nice to be able to continue watching a movie on my PDA when I need to take a bathroom break (slightly lower quality video would be ok)
  • Susan Kevorkian, an analyst with research firm IDC

    I hear she can get you a KILLER deal on one of these!

  • Your DVD player is in a fixed location in your house.

    Your home PC is in a fixed location in your house.

    I can't imagine why, other than the geekiness factor, wireless data transmission would be needed to have the DVD player and the PC communicate.

    I'd run 100BaseT between the two devices and get better data throughput for less money.

    • Simple:

      Wireless is good so that you can watch porn straight from your neighbor's PC from the comfort of your couch, without all the hassle of maxing both cable connections, stringing Cat5, or even notifying him...
    • I can't imagine why, other than the geekiness factor, wireless data transmission would be needed to have the DVD player and the PC communicate.

      well, there would be one less cord to trip over...
  • for $250 I can buy a DVD player from a company that, admittedly, is not a huge consumer electronics corporation. And at $250, that DVD player is significantly more expensive than similarly specced (excluding the networking) players from companies like Sony, Toshiba, or Panasonic. It's only saving grace: the ability to play back video over a network.


    For $199 (after the two $50 rebates []), I can get the 40 hour replay TV (granted, subscription required) which IS a PVR. Many of the name brand DVD players nowadays will support SVCD if you're dying to watch your MPEG-4/DiVX movies on your television. My other question: with as many different flavors of DiVX, and as many different takes on encoding the audio there-in (MP3, WMA, OGG, standard AC3), I don't really trust a hardware-based player to be able to handle any old DiVX file without some tinkering. Once I get to the point where I'm decompressing the audio and other similar exploits, I'm not as interested.
  • This seems like an OK idea, but I'd rather have wires in my house, rather than wireless, for this sort of device.

    What *I* want is an Mp3 player head unit for my car that reads CD-RW / DVD-RW, has a 10+GB hard drive and [b]a wireless network adaptor[/b]. That way I can park my car in the garadge and dump file to it from my computer without having to move any hardware around. According to Apple, a 10gb drive holds 2,000 songs - that's pretty darn good (:
  • Last I knew, DVD Players didn't have tuners or timers in them... hence I still need a tuner card in my PC, and I still need scheduling software to use it... and capture software to record... and possibly post-processing software to put it into a format the "DVD Player" would recognize. Sounds like a DVD Player than can play media produced by a PVR to me.
  • While this does sound very cool, for $200 + a mod chip, you can run XBoxMediaPlayer and do the same. The media player has the ability to play local content (i.e. DVDs, hard drive, etc) + the ability to play networked content via server software you install (I believe it runs on Windows and Linux at least).

    Not only is this cool for playing MP3s, MPEGs, etc, but it also will play DIVX content, show album art, use playlists, etc.

    The Xbox can have component video + optical outputs so the quality should be fairly decent.

    Personally, I like the idea of a more "extensible" appliance that develops new features as I go..

    Of course modding an Xbox and installing software on it is more complicated then buying a DVD player... but I figure any device that is supposed to stream content from your computer, use 802.11b, etc is probably targetting a geek audience that could figure out the Xbox stuff just as well..

    Oh.. and did I mention.. it also plays games! :)

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead