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Wireless Networking Hardware

Linksys DVD player w/ WiFi and ethernet 338

An anonymous reader writes "Linksys has announced a progressive scan DVD player with 802.11g and ethernet. Users can stream MPEG2, MPEG4, DivX, MP3, WMA, and other formats from their PC to the TV. Sure I can do this cobbling together other tools, but this is a self contained box even newbies can use. Think how many people could install and config a router and an AP, versus the number of people that can plug in one of the self-contained wireless routers? "
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Linksys DVD player w/ WiFi and ethernet

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  • by Benwick (203287) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:50PM (#7918895) Journal
    I can't wait to find out which kinds of porn my neighbors prefer...
  • by Triumph The Insult C (586706) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:51PM (#7918902) Homepage Journal
    here ya go []. my boss has been eyeing one

    and epson just came out with a whoopass hdtv. something like 72", built in photo printer, etc. $4k
    • by galaxy300 (111408) <daltonrooney&gmail,com> on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:54PM (#7918974) Homepage
      Yeah, but the wireless Gateway model only supports 802.11b. I hear that streaming videos suck. The Linksys is exactly what I've been waiting for...if it's under $300 and will play DVD+RW, I'll get it the day it's released.
    • Gateway's, although technically inferior has been out for about 5-6 months now.

    • built in photo printer, etc.

      Photo printer? The last thing I expected to see in my lifetime was an "out of ink" prompt on my TV.
    • I'm already doing this (minus the wireless) on my xbox. When I first read the article I started to wonder if I could get a wireless adapter to work with my xbox/xbox media player, but then I realized that I haven't actually moved my tv since it was purchased.

      Still, I wonder if this will be cheaper than an xbox...
    • by -tji (139690) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:52PM (#7920039) Journal

      The Gateway product is weak at best..

      It requires proprietary streaming server software, which is only available for Windows. That server software has many restrictions on what it will allow to be sent to the player. For example, it would not allow me to stream my home movies exported to DVD format (or the native Mini-DV, or any other export I tried). It won't import any video with a rate that is > 3Mbps. So, you can basically only do poor quality internet downloaded thumbnail videos.

      The MP3 streaming was okay, but not great. The GUI needs a lot of help. It also requires you to use the streaming server, so any exising song/playlist management you have is useless.

      The JPEG playback was okay, but could be better. It only supported resolution up to 480p, no HD display. It did not allow MP3 playback during the slideshow - only silence. Of course, you had to import your images into the crappy server software.

      A more interesting product is the Roku HD streaming device. [] Linux based, open architecture, developers kit & API's, access content via samba (works with Windows, Linux, MacOS), JPEG display at HDTV resolutions, MP3 playback. They had a beta release that supported streaming of HDTV captures.. I'm not sure if that is released yet, or if they support DVD VOBs yet.
  • missing stuff (Score:3, Informative)

    by proj_2501 (78149) <> on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:51PM (#7918925) Journal
    No HDCD playing, and no SACD playing. Blarg!
    • No HDCD playing, and no SACD playing. Blarg!

      And no Ogg Vorbis support! How dare they not conform to the whims of techno-elitists.

    • No HDCD playing, and no SACD playing. Blarg!

      1. Wait till *SDDA [Super Duper Disk Audio] gets hacked
      2. Buy disks, decode to PCM / WAV... Stream to device
      3. Profit? Or rather, enjoy the damn disk you payed money for.

      *SDDA is a generic term that applies to all disc media that supplies audio content above and beyond the specificications of normal CD.
    • Re:missing stuff (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NanoGator (522640)
      "No HDCD playing, and no SACD playing. Blarg! "

      No Midi or RealMedia support either, BLARG!
  • WEP (Score:5, Funny)

    by wally mean monkey (739201) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:52PM (#7918933)
    Do I get in trouble for watching pornography if the neighbor kid hijacks my wireless?
    • Re:WEP (Score:2, Interesting)

      by damohasi (538874)
      Seems no real hijacking needed. Can't imagine whey will switch on WEP or even IPSEC by default. So finally we can start hacking all those little tools or neighbors recently ordered.

      But maybe this starts a new era of "going to the movies". You can ask your neighbour what he's going to watch this eve...
    • Re:WEP (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jhoffoss (73895) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:55PM (#7920075) Journal
      Even better, can we hijack someone else's stream and force them to watch what we pump to their box? Imagine forcing someone to watch barney all the time? Then when they get near death from barney, they'll throw the new toy away for some peace and quiet and then nab it from the curb. Voila, free wireless AP/PVR/streaming server!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:52PM (#7918944)
    New meme: War Viewing

    You heard it here first kids.

    • by tbase (666607)
      I may have heard it here first, but it was quite a while ago in an article showing how to configure a backpack and small LCD screen so you could walk around and view wireless cameras. Had nothing to do with 802.11x

      Some guy bought one of those wireless camera/receiver combos and hooked the receiver up in his backpack with a little LCD screen. Then he walked around a big city and interecepted security cams and such. I think his conclusion was it was really boring. :-)

      At least with one of these you might
    • In the case of pr0n. . .

  • place your bets... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SuperBanana (662181)

    Anyone want to place bets on how long before ____Insert OSS project here____ finds their work on it?

    Take your pick- busybox, mplayer...the linux kernel(with modified drivers based on GPL of course)...

  • Useful... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:53PM (#7918953) Homepage Journal
    Users can stream MPEG2, MPEG4, DivX, MP3, WMA, and other formats from their PC to the TV. Sure I can do this cobbling together other tools, but this is a self contained box even newbies can use. Think how many people could install and config a router and an AP, versus the number of people that can plug in one of the self-contained wireless routers? "

    Pilot: There's that movie playing on the HUD again.

    Co Pilot: It's the *&%#$ Matrix: Revolutions, again.

    Pilot: Let's do a barrel roll and see if we can lose that geeks DVD player, buckle up.

  • At Last! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jobsagoodun (669748) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:53PM (#7918964)
    Now I can stream Ratchet and Clank from my PS2 through my Happauage BTTV card, grab it with Mplayer, out of my PC 'cross the network to my wireless access point and on to my TV!! Its the missing link I've been waiting for!
    • Re:At Last! (Score:2, Funny)

      by KE1LR (206175)
      "from my PS2 through my Happauage BTTV card, grab it with Mplayer, out of my PC 'cross the network to my wireless access point and on to my TV"

      ... and nothing but net!

      Sorry, couldn't resist.

    • Now I can stream Ratchet and Clank from my PS2 through my Happauage BTTV card, grab it with Mplayer, out of my PC 'cross the network to my wireless access point and on to my TV!! Its the missing link I've been waiting for!

      With a wireless RF controller or two, this actually might be a good thing, as long as you don't want to play a different game very often :D
  • Ouch (Score:4, Funny)

    by tbase (666607) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:54PM (#7918972)
    Think how many people could install and config a router and an AP, versus the number of people that can plug in one of the self-contained wireless routers? "

    That sentence makes my head hurt. What does this have to do with the Press Release? Nobody configures these things anyhow. Is LinkSys still publishing a warning in their WAP docs not to change the default security settings? It's like if Schlage put a warning on their door locks not to lock the door, or you might not be able to get in your house. I bet it cuts down on the support calls. :-)
  • by soluzar22 (219097) * <> on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:56PM (#7919024)
    I'm well aware that I'm in the minority, but I believe that convergence in the form which the megacorps are currently attempting to foist upon us is a dead horse which they are attempting to flog.

    This on the other hand is my idea of the future. A single, well thought-out component of a larger, modular system. Having a PC with a nice screen instead of a telly is one thing. Having all the media files that are on your PC availible across a wireless network through this handy little gizmo is quite another. Where can I get one? When can I get one? This could cut down on just so of the many (frankly worrying) chunks of wire spaghetti that currently run between PC and TC/HiFi.
    • by tbase (666607)
      Just get a PisimiQ - they've been out for months. ThinkGeek carries them, and you can surf the web and e-mail with it too. Or you could get Lite-On's DVD player that plays DivX from Data DVD-R/+R's. I agree it's a good concept, but I think they're a little late. And personally, I'd rather have the "spaghetti" of a single ethernet cable rather than worry about the MicroWave on the other side of the wall screwing up my movie when I'm nuking a bag of popcorn - not to mention what happens when your next door ne
      • 1. I've heard the prismiq is pretty awful.. just looking at their support forums shows that people are having trouble getting even the basic functionality of the box to work without crashing. It looks as though the people that have one now are essentially beta testing the product for them... even though it shipping.

        2. you'd better hope your neighbor is using a cantenna... since that's a directional antenna, you shouldn't have any problems unless he's pointing it at your TV. :D

        3. The bandwidth required t
  • Users can stream ...videos ...from their PC to the TV. This feature is ideal for subscribers of internet movie services.

    Yeaaaaah, that's their market. I'm willing to bet that every penny lost by the RIAA/MPAA due to *piracy* has been made up tenfold by companies that make ripping movies and music even easier and more convenient. Just like Sony Music screaming about dropping cd sales while Sony Electronics cashes in on portable MP3 Players.

  • by skidoo2 (650483) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:57PM (#7919054)
    There's a growing segment of the Joe Electronics Consumer population that's currently leapfrogging right over it. Most plasma TVs these days have an RGB input (standard VGA plug).

    My 42" Samsung knockoff can do 1024x768, no problems. Even text looks great from the couch. The PC is tucked incospicuously out of the way. Although I have a regular progressive scan Sony DVD Player hooked directly to the TV, the PC of course has a DVD player, in addition to an 802.11g connection, an ATI AIW TV tuner card, and a giant hard drive.

    Granted, the price point is a little higher, but the feature set is a LOT higher.
    • I'm interested in one as well, but I have a 27" cheapo TV. I'm not really interested in having a TV that ownz my living room, but I'd kind of like to be able to watch some DivX's from there. This'll be sweet for that.
      It'd be silly for me to hook a computer up with a 320x240 res 27" TV as its only output. So this player hits a real need for me.
  • Region free? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AtariAmarok (451306) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:58PM (#7919072)
    Will this thing do "region-free" with a few menu commands? That's a must for me. "Turn off macrovison" is nice, but less crucual.
    • Re:Region free? (Score:3, Informative)

      by interiot (50685)
      If you have a laptop with TV-out already, just buy the 802.11g stuff, and buy this [] that hacks most current PC DVD software to be region-free, macrovision-free, yadda yadda yadda, and there you go... If you have a modern laptop already, it's 1) probably cheaper than buying a separate DVD player, and 2) just as small and quiet.
      • (plus it obviously supports Ogg/divx/everything, has winamp and all your favorite players, and has a non-sucky UI including a real file explorer with mouse input, etc...)
  • Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tambo (310170) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @02:59PM (#7919096)
    A progressive-scan player that takes input from your computer? Hmm... storing a lot of home-theatre-quality, progressive-scan video with 6.1 sound on a hard drive doesn't fit today's drive capacities or wireless speeds. Won't be feasible without drives hit the terabyte range and gigabit wireless.

    What would be much more useful would be a DVD player that hooks up to your TV, but can DIVX encode video (from DVD or any other video source) and stream over 802.11g to another TV, or to your computer for archiving and storage. That way, your TV gets a perfect picture from your DVD player, and your computer can receive and save streams of lower-quality video for any purpose.

    - David Stein

    • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by skidoo2 (650483)
      But why would you stream the encoded DVD **FROM** the TV to a computer (for storage)?? Why wouldn't you just put the DVD directly into the DVD player on the computer? It might be a little more useful to stream an encoded TV broadcast to an arbitrary computer, but even that is of limited practical value, since we now have the magic combination of 802.11g and powerful, inexpensive TV tuner cards (and related software).
    • i think the idea is that it does proscan dvd (which is essentially standard equipment anymore) and it can stream other data from a wireless network to your tv.

      basically, a dvd player with built-in 'view your pron on your big screen' functionality.

      which in marketing speak translates to:
      'share pictures of your loving wife and children'...
      with a slideshow feature for convenience...
      and mpg support for ... vacation movies... ;p
  • by pla (258480) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:03PM (#7919172) Journal
    As far as I can tell, this would save me exactly one S-Video cable, from my livingroom PC to the TV - And I'd just need to replace that with an ethernet cable.

    Assuming they sell this at a price comparable to a typical standalone DVD player, it does nothing more than choose one box over another, with the added "bonus" of using quite a bit of your LAN's bandwidth while reducing overall flexibility of content (Can it play flash? My PC can, and dumps it out to the TV. Can it play "Fred's obscure and proprietary video encoding format"? If it exists, my PC can, and dumps it out to the TV.).

    I suppose one could argue that this means you wouldn't need a livingroom PC at all - But I strongly suspect that such an argument automatically excludes 99% of the potential market for such a product.

    Have I missed any cool features of this which might make it more useful? As I understand it, it does nothing I can't already do.
  • The article and a quick google could not reveal any pricing information.

    Anyone have any idea what kind of pricing we're talking about here?
  • I can understand the lack of support for .shn files (losslessly compressed audio), but to not support .wav files is a travesty: I have all my music stored as .shn files (and would consider either .wav or a real-time converting server), on my home server. Given the fidelity of my stereo system, the losses associated with MP3 compression are unacceptable to me (and yes, I'm happy with requiring 16-12 times or so the disk space on the server).

    These kind of devices should have a standard architecture that sup

  • by jea6 (117959) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:05PM (#7919216)
    By my reading, this thing won't stream your DVDs out. It will only take incoming media and output it to your TV/Stereo.

    Bleh. Too bad.
  • by Mike Bridge (8663) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:07PM (#7919240) Homepage
    you could get the new unit [] from momitsu (the v880n) which does all that, and has DVI output for your HD set (so you can actually appreciate the progressive scan), and supports ogg.
    • Thanks for the link, you just made my week! This sounds perfect. Plays MP3/MP4/AAC/OGG/WMA, plus all the cool video formats! Any idea how much this will cost?
  • Sould I even bother? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rworne (538610) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:08PM (#7919266) Homepage
    While I was eyeing the recent flood of media players that hook up to the TV, I was also disappointed that just about every solution I find on the local shelves all require Windows 2000 or Windows XP.

    Thinking that they just put that there because it required a Windows share to hook up to was overly optimisitc, it needs to run software on the PC as well.

    That rules out OS X and Linux users. I would also hazard a guess that this one will do the same, since their other similar media product [] has these restrictions.
    • "just about every solution I find on the local shelves all require Windows 2000 or Windows XP"

      Is it just wording, or have you found something out there that doesn't (or by chance has drivers for OS X)?

      Yes, looking for a compatible player as well, can't really see a reason for one not being out since all it needs to do is copy (ok stream) the file from the computer to the device.
    • While I was eyeing the recent flood of media players that hook up to the TV, I was also disappointed that just about every solution I find on the local shelves all require Windows 2000 or Windows XP.

      FYI, what used to be called QCast tuner (before GameShark bought them out) used a Java app, and was out of the box compatible with a variety of host systems.

      Cost is a little steep, though not overly so:

      PS2: $179
      Wireless Adapter: $59
      QCast Tuner: $50

      Total: $288

      Or about $90 more expensive than Gateway's simil
  • This sounds like it was created to stream movies designed for a comptuer screen onto a TV set. Can you imagine trying to play a 640x480 movie on a 60 inch plasma TV? Talk about looking like shit.

    They also didn't say how the media gets from the comptuer to the DVD player? Is there software I have to install? Is there a *NIX version? A Mac version? Do I have to pay for seperate licenses for each installation?
    I'm not going to hold my breath on this one.
    • When I read the press release this morning (along with MSFT's announcement of a similar product []), I gave a heavy sigh and said to myself that while it may be something that I would personally use, these will not gain broad acceptance by Joe Average anytime soon.

      PS2: the BroadQ system requires the Network Adapter and installation of software on the PC. Allows streaming of music and DivX. Supposedly licensed to one of the myriad of PS2 third-party suppliers to also try to sell.

      XBox: The Xbox Music Mix

    • by slim (1652) <john&hartnup,net> on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:46PM (#7919914) Homepage
      This sounds like it was created to stream movies designed for a comptuer screen onto a TV set. Can you imagine trying to play a 640x480 movie on a 60 inch plasma TV? Talk about looking like shit.

      NTSC DV is usually 720 x 480: just because Plasmas are big, doesn't mean they're high resolution.

      You do know VGA monitors are better than TVs, right?

  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel&johnhummel,net> on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:09PM (#7919296) Homepage
    Or can I stream anything? I've got several fansubbed anime titles I'd like to watch stored on my PowerMac, and it would be nicer to see them on the TV than even on my laptop.

    Is *any* OS supported via some sort of file share (http/ftp/samba), or will Linksys require some special streaming client?

    I didn't see the details from the press release, but if it's just looking for a SMB fileshare you specify though a web interface (which would make the most sense in my mind), that would be the best and most open solution.
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:10PM (#7919313)
    In the press release there is a section called Pricing and Availability where they don't tell you the prive and do tell you that the thing is not available.

    They say it plays DVDs and VCDs. They say it will play Divx from your PC. But will it play a Divx CD (and if not, why the hell not?)? Will it play SVCD (from the media)? The press release is damn poor, leaving such obvious points unaddressed, does not reflect well on the product.

    • If it's not available, it generally won't have a price now will it? Sure they can estimate a price but they're better off not to in case they determine they have to charge more. Then it doesn't reflect poorly.

      "But will it play a Divx CD (and if not, why the hell not?)? Will it play SVCD (from the media)?"

      The general consumer doesn't give a rat's *** about whether it can do these things. If it plays DVDs then they are ready. Sure it can be argued that such a product is "obviously geared towards techies
  • I'm going to beam goatse to the house next door where that guy won't stop playing rap all night long at volume levels normally reserved for movie theatre sound commercials.
  • As I understand the description, this thing is a DVD player, and also, I can send one of the four mentioned file formats to it over the network.

    So, I can pop a DVD into the drive on my laptop, and stream the encrypted data directly out via the network to the player, which will then decrypt it and send it to the TV.

    I wonder if the firmware on this thing can be flashed to play other formats...

  • What I don't understand is the DVD part. Most people have DVD players -- even on their computer. Too bad they don't offer it as an option. (And I pray they have it in black instead of that ugly faux aluminum which has been popular the past few years) I also wonder how the data is shared. Is it in some directory? Will the device work with Linux and OSX? Or is it some custom Windows only setup?

    Over at El Gato they have a similar product that does work with OSX. El Gato Eye Home []. There are numerous

    • Well, most people want to be able to play back media that they haven't yet copied to their home server, or don't want to (rented DvDs, for example). So, there is a demand for SOME kind of DVD/CD player in the family/media/living room.

      Most DVD players are sufficiently cheap that this can qualify as an "upgrade", leaving the old one for the kids. That way, you get additional funcitonality without yet another box.

  • I'll keep my Myth box thank you. But this sounds like a nice product heading in the right direction. Of course aside from the geek factor of the Myth box I've got myself a multimedia Swiss Army knife, with PVR, commercial detection/skip, database, movies browsable by cover/name, CD ripping, weather forcasts, RSS feeds and of course a funtioning Linux box I can use from the couch.

    But this still sounds interesting.
  • Great (Score:2, Funny)

    by radoni (267396)
    another product to infringe on multiple GPL'ed projects.

    this is a troll
  • Looks great, except that I would only be interested if it supported lossless FLAC or uncompressed WAV streams.

  • Now imagine a beowulf cluster of them. You could play all those DVDs at the same time....
  • Too bad this is nothing new.

    There's software called Qcast Tuner [] which uses your Playstation2 as a media player. You stream music or movies or photos from your PC to your PS/2 and it plays them on your TV.

    You obviously need a PS2 with LAN adapter (and optionally a wireless adapter), but it gives you the functionality. This new linksys is nice though because it's all together in one purpose-made package.

  • This seems like a product that utterly failed to go through any strategic analysis. Some pertinent questions might be:

    1) Why would I want my DVD player somewhere other than by the Television that it plays on?

    2) Why would I want to pay more for a streaming device like this when I can buy a DVD player for like $50?

    3) Why would I want to play my music (MP3, WMA, etc.) through the speakers on my television, or route said signal through my television?

    It seems to me the segment for this kind of home media pl
  • by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:29PM (#7919633) Homepage Journal
    I've been using Qcast on my PS2 todo this for years.

    Plus Qcast will let me use a whole bunch of different formats this can't.
  • how about being able to play PAL dvds. Or at least have no region encoding.
  • by Eberlin (570874) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:34PM (#7919708) Homepage
    It seems a scary inevitability that entertainment and your home computer network are going to merge one way or another. I first noticed it with TiVo (really, a HD that records TV for you). Ever since then, people have created their own version, as well as other PC->entertainment hookups with features that include streaming music from PC's over to entertainment systems.

    You can even hook up your PS2 to your DSL line via a router to trash talk online. This new device would be just another step in that seemingly inevitable integration process.

    The best part about this is that there are many players in this game. Thankfully, it's not just an MS Media Center PC dominating the category.
  • "but this is a self contained box even newbies can use. "

    I know people that can't work a VCR, and they're supposed to be able to setup a _safe_ wireless, networked DVD player?!!

    Awesome idea, maybe not quite intended for your average newb though
  • ...telling me about another cool gadget my girlfriend won't let me buy. :o(
  • Devices like this are getting more and more common - the basic functionality is all there, but you can't select audio content without turning on your TV for the UI.

    It's not clear from the article whether that's the case with this product, but since it's not bragging about the front panel display, I'm not optimistic.

    That's hassle I don't want when putting on music. Picking a CD off the shelf and putting it into a tray is less trouble.

    Me, I'm saving up for a Squeezebox.
  • by rebel (27002) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:38PM (#7919789)
    I have a Kiss [] DP500 [] which does all this and more (except for built-in wireless) available in the US at $300 []. The DP500 is available worldwide and is well supported with on-going firmware updates providing new features. It is part of a line of products including some with internal HD.

    The DP500 is open source based (uCLinux) and works well with Linux hosts (there are several projects supporting it on SourceForge).

    ...just a satisfied customer.

    • I was considering buying one of those a few weeks ago, but Kiss technologies is apparently violatinn the GPL. Their player uses a verion (or at least parts) of MPlayer [] and they have ignored severel requests by the MPlayer team to release the source to their version. (follow the link for an email-by-email account of the whole story) I'm waiting to see how that gets resolved before I buy one. If they come clean and release the source I'll probably buy, but if they try to stonewall or litigate their way out
  • by -tji (139690) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:43PM (#7919865) Journal
    We have all seen the reports of the various PC manufacturers trying to get a bigger piece of the home entertainment pie. Dell and Gateway being the most obvious.. Also Microsoft, with their weak XP Media Center, and more interesting X-Box tie-ins.

    Now, we've got the dominant producer of Internet infrastructure jumping in with a networked DVD player. Interesting... I wonder if this was one of the major reasons for buying Linksys, and we me see more from them.

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has no gills. -- Ambrose Bierce