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Are Streaming Media Players a Passing Fad 367

Posted by samzenpus
from the here-today-gone-tomorrow dept.
DeviceGuru writes "In-Stat is questioning whether dedicated streaming media players like the Roku player, Boxee Box, and Google TV boxes will be around for long. The reason, says In-Stat, is that IP-streamed video is becoming a standard feature of TVs and Blu-ray players. Passing fad? Not according to this blog post at DeviceGuru, which argues that we're talking about a disruptive market, not a mature one, and that TVs and Blu-ray players can't possibly provide the flexibility to serve as the platform for delivering rapidly evolving technologies to the early adopters who represent the testbed for all this innovation."
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Are Streaming Media Players a Passing Fad

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apparently ending questions with a question mark is also a passing fad.

  • by blair1q (305137)

    next question

    • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iamhassi (659463) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @02:49PM (#36243044) Journal
      You are correct, but only because these streaming features are now expected from Blu-Ray players and modern game consoles. Streaming was new when this generation of game consoles came out in 2006, before Hulu existed [wikipedia.org] and Netflix began offering streaming [wikipedia.org], I have a feeling next generation consoles will do a much better job of streaming.

      Consumers will not spend $100-$300 on a streaming media player when their next gen game console already streams everything they could want and offers mature hardware and software that is updated often by major manufactures like Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony.

      I expect sales of streaming media players to remain strong for the next few years until new game systems are released and sales will eventually taper off and cease when the game systems become cheaper than the media players.
      • by kent_eh (543303)

        I expect sales of streaming media players to remain strong for the next few years until new game systems are released and sales will eventually taper off and cease when the game systems become cheaper than the media players.

        Assuming someone actually wants a new gaming console.
        I don't have a personal need for a game console. When I want to get my game on, I prefer to use my PC.

        I'm happy with a standalone streaming player. Or at least I will be when the WD-TV live and Netflix.ca get it together and start co-operating.

        • Sure—but if it's cheaper, why not pick up the extra functionality?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Jarryd98 (1677746)
            Well, certain manufacturers believe it's their right to remove/prohibit 'extra functionality' following release (even when devices are purchased on the premise of said 'extra functionality'). There is that.
            In an ideal world...
          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            Actually...this is exactly what I did.

            This past Xmas, I bought myself a gift due to the good deals out there.

            I bought a PS3. I bought it because (in order):

            1. It is a 3D blu ray player

            2. It streams Netflix

            3. Oh yes...apparently, it happens to play games too (and if network gaming, no extra charge).

            Honestly, since I've had it...I tried playing Red Dead Redemption about twice on it...man, game controls are much more complex than back in the day..I keep getting killed.

            I've tried maybe a couple of other

        • I don't have a personal need for a game console. When I want to get my game on, I prefer to use my PC.

          What do you do when you happen to have friends over at your place and you all want to get your game on?

          • by Binestar (28861)

            What do you do when you happen to have friends over at your place and you all want to get your game on?

            We head to the nightclub.

          • by CCarrot (1562079)

            I don't have a personal need for a game console. When I want to get my game on, I prefer to use my PC.

            What do you do when you happen to have friends over at your place and you all want to get your game on?

            That's what the board games are for...ahhh, Iron Dragon...yes, my friends enjoy colouring with crayons as much as I do....

            On the plus side, we don't end up with Wiimotes through the LCD, just crayons in the carpet.

          • by smelch (1988698)
            LAN party like a real man. I have three computers at my place for SC2, 1 360 for dev and streaming and 1 boxee box for streaming. The remeaining 360 has no purpose and I stopped using as soon as I got my Boxee. When the next generation comes out I will likely only buy one for my room and leave the Boxee downstairs. When a new Boxee-like comes out I will probably buy that because it will be cheaper than an Xbox 720 I would only use for streaming.
          • by jburroug (45317)

            I don't have a personal need for a game console. When I want to get my game on, I prefer to use my PC.

            What do you do when you happen to have friends over at your place and you all want to get your game on?

            I can't speak for the OP but I'm just not that into group/party/social video games, or console style games in general for that matter. When people are over we're usually to busy eating and drinking and bullshitting with each other to bother with a game. If anyone feels like playing a something, board games and card games are a lot more fun (for me) at a party than video games.

            When I feel like playing video games I just prefer to reboot my PC into windows and find something in steam to play on my own. For me

        • by CCarrot (1562079)

          I'm happy with a standalone streaming player. Or at least I will be when the WD-TV live and Netflix.ca get it together and start co-operating.

          Looks like they are [wdc.com]...for the WD HDTV Live Plus anyways... I don't think they are planning on supporting the regular WD HDTV Live for Netflix Canada, but I could be wrong.

          Haven't rigged mine in to Netflix yet, will be doing so soon. Want to know if it works when I do? (it's a Plus)

          • by nhaines (622289)

            The WD TV Live HD Media Player does not contain the necessary hardware to support Netflix and some other commercial content providers, unfortunately. Happily, most of the other features of the WD TV Live Plus and even the WD TV Live Hub in many cases have been brought back to the WD TV Live where possible. As for Netflix Canada support on the WD TV Live Plus and WD TV Live Hub, this is supported and should be fully operational.

            Western Digital KB 6612: NetFlix support in Canada for the WD TV Live Plus and [custhelp.com]

          • even after they allow it will it stream HD? There are still precious few devices on their list that can stream what they call HD. It doesn't bother me...but it's not the prettiest HD picture.
        • by Dr.Zong (584494)
          WD TV Live Plus and Netflix.ca do work as of two firmware revisions ago. Just had Dora streaming for the little one an hour ago!
        • I have a WD-TV live...and had it for months....then I got the cheapest roku just for netflix and think that it was worth it. I use them both. Watch movies/tv shows I get on the net on the WD and stream netflix for stuff I don't care to download or have a copy of.

          If I could just start not liking sports I could cancel the TV part of the cable.
      • by tepples (727027)

        Consumers will not spend $100-$300 on a streaming media player when their next gen game console already streams everything they could want and offers mature hardware and software that is updated often by major manufactures like Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony.

        They will if they don't game. Or if the game consoles can't stream the specific site that people want to watch. Does Hulu Plus work on Wii yet? Does MSNBC? Does C-SPAN? Does ESPN3?

      • by Hatta (162192)

        It's worth pointing out that the best streaming media player around got its start on the original Xbox console. Convergence of streaming media and game consoles is natural.

        Does that mean that streaming media players are a passing fad? Not any more than game consoles are a passing fad.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I got my Roku for $80. Was checking out a game console to stream Netflix, and the Wii became an option when it got the app, but it was still too expensive to justify it. I don't watch Blu-Ray discs (why bother when you can stream it in HD, Amazon Video OnDemand offers all the new stuff, so I don't want to hear about having to wait...that's BS), I absolutely friggin hate playing good games on a console, because they're better on a PC in my opinion (I've never understood how a whole keyboard worth of button

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          I don't watch Blu-Ray discs (why bother when you can stream it in HD, Amazon Video OnDemand offers all the new stuff, so I don't want to hear about having to wait...that's BS)

          Well, here's the thing. I do like the convenience for streaming, but I generally only stream older non-HD content, but for newer stuff.....I want the highest quality I can get, which you just can't get on streaming content.

          I didn't buy a new, expensive HD tv just to run inferior content on it, you know?

          Then again, likely it is me.

        • The one weakness of these boxes is no Web surfing, IMO.
      • I have a feeling that the game consoles will be integrated within the TV soon also. The Sony TV remote already looks like a game controller. With Android become the standard, your TV's speed might start mattering as much as the picture quality.

  • by NortySpock (1966236) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @02:26PM (#36242694)
    If ISPs keep capping the amount you can pull per [time unit], yeah, they will become a passing fad.
    • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @02:35PM (#36242882) Homepage

      This point exactly. Before I headed overseas I switched my ISP from Rogers to Teksavvy, which means I went from a $49/mo plan, with 60gb @10/1 to a $42/mo plan with 300gb @ 15/1. Canada sucks for the internet, the US seems to be trying to catch up to Canada. It's quickly coming to a point where as much as I hate it, the last mile should be regulated and publicly owned, like in other countries which can provide dirt cheap internet services.

    • by Ichijo (607641)

      If ISPs keep capping the amount you can pull per [time unit], yeah, they will become a passing fad.

      And if people stop streaming, bandwidth caps will become a passing fad. So I think we'll find an equilibrium somewhere.

  • My Blu-Ray player displaced my Roku (which I sent to a family member for use with Netflix). The only thing I used the Roku for was Netflix, and since my Blu-Ray player does Netflix (and Pandora) there was no need for the Roku.

    If I had a second TV and wanted a cheap streaming device, I might look at Roku again, but at $70 for a Roku-HD versus $99 for a Blu-Ray player with Netflix, I'd probably go for the Blu-Ray player so I can play disks too.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      If I had a second TV and wanted a cheap streaming device, I might look at Roku again, but at $70 for a Roku-HD versus $99 for a Blu-Ray player with Netflix, I'd probably go for the Blu-Ray player so I can play disks too.

      "Disk"? Is that the round thing with the hole in the middle? I haven't seen one of those in a long while. I didn't know people still used them.

      • by hawguy (1600213)

        Until the movie studios come around to allowing streaming for all of their content, DVD's and Blu-rays will still continue to exist. I'm not (yet) willing to download pirated movies, so for some movies the only way I can see them is to get a physical DVD from Netflix. And for movies that I think I'll watch multiple times, it's hard to beat a used disk from Amazon, most are under $10 including shipping, many are under $6 including shipping.

        The movie industry may hate their diminished revenue from streaming

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        Just curious... do you watch any new release (to home market) movies? If so, how do you watch them? (VOD service, bittorrent download, etc)

        If you don't care to watch new releases - well, nothing wrong with that, but that doesn't mean others don't either..

    • by CCarrot (1562079)

      but at $70 for a Roku-HD versus $99 for a Blu-Ray player with Netflix, I'd probably go for the Blu-Ray player so I can play disks too.

      Lucky. Blu-Ray players that support Netflix are a bit more rare in Canada (and pricier). Even if the box advertises 'Netflix capable', doesn't mean it supports Netflix Canada, or ever will...

      I bought my Samsung BluRay before Netflix came to Canada partly because it advertised itself as Netflix compatible, and I knew Netflix was coming to Canada soon, so... Unfortunately, my particular model is not on the planned list for Netflix Canada support, although I hear it works just lovely for Netflix south of the

      • by hawguy (1600213)

        Lucky. Blu-Ray players that support Netflix are a bit more rare in Canada (and pricier). Even if the box advertises 'Netflix capable', doesn't mean it supports Netflix Canada, or ever will...

        Blame the movie studios for that. I'm sure Netflix would be more than happy to open their catalogue up to the world, but they are bound by content distribution agreements that limit where they can provide their content. Of course in Canada you also face tiny monthly download limits that forces Netflix to use lower quality streams for Canadian viewers. It appears that the USA is heading that way too.

  • if a linux computer can be packed into a unit the size of an overlarge usb key

    the same functionality can be flashed into a bluray player or tv to change the standard/interface/codec/whatever is required.

    New IP stack? New Codec? New flash based website with it's own API? these can all be written into an amazingly small bit of flash that can reside inside any disc player or television.

    will the makers WANT to write such firmware on a per model basis? that's the real question... they'd much rather sell you a

  • Let me explain. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blair1q (305137) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @02:28PM (#36242724) Journal

    Your new TV set contains a computer that performs the functions provided by the external box. The firmware for that computer can be reprogrammed. The external box is there only for TVs that can't do that. Soon, all TVs being sold will be able to do that. The boxes will exist only for people who want the function without buying a new TV. Has that business ever been a growth market for any industry where it happens? No.

    Ergo, the external box that provides functions that any new TV can provide is not a growth market and is likely a doomed market.

    Next question, please.

    • Re:Let me explain. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vondo (303621) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @02:39PM (#36242938)

      I'm not at all sure of this. A TV has a lifespan of many years and is quite expensive. These boxes are cheap. I picked up a WD box for $100. Sure, my next TV will probably do everything this box does. But where will I be 2-3 years after my next TV. Will the TV have the processing power to keep up? Will the manufacturer keep putting out new versions of the software for 10 years after I bought the TV? Doubtful.

      So a few years down the road I will be buying a new external box to keep up with the latest formats, online services, etc. And I won't care, because the box will cost me $100 instead of $1000+ for a TV.

      • I'm not at all sure of this. A TV has a lifespan of many years and is quite expensive. These boxes are cheap. I picked up a WD box for $100. Sure, my next TV will probably do everything this box does. But where will I be 2-3 years after my next TV. Will the TV have the processing power to keep up? Will the manufacturer keep putting out new versions of the software for 10 years after I bought the TV? Doubtful.

        No but you'll be able to buy a "Blu-Ray" player which is updated. How often you use the blu-ray functionality vs the Netflix functionality has yet to be seen but the Blu-Ray player makers will offer something Roku can't: Blu Rays.

    • Now, I have configured my TV with all of my streaming settings and preferences. I go out and buy a new TV, how do I transfer those settings to the new TV?

      This is not an insurmountable problem, but it is not one that people are used to thinking about and could cause some serious dissatisfaction with TVs that have this functionality built in.

      Your interpretation of the situation has a lot of merit, but there are some issues that make that not a sure thing.
    • by wytcld (179112)

      Remember when your Osborne computer had the screen and the computer all in one box. Wow, that was the way of the future, man!

      Or was it? Remember when your record player had the amplifier and speaker under the turntable? Wow, that was the way of the future, mam!

      Or was it? Could it be possible that the future is, you know, modular?

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Yes, now my computer and stereo are all the same piece of equipment

        Modular? Nope. Putting it all in one convenient piece is the wave of the future.

    • by iamhassi (659463)
      "Your new TV set contains a computer that performs the functions provided by the external box... Soon, all TVs being sold will be able to do that. The boxes will exist only for people who want the function without buying a new TV."

      True, but that's like saying DVD and Blu-Ray players are no longer necessary because you can buy a TV with a DVD or BD player [amazon.com] built-in.

      I have a HDTV with built-in DVD player but I still have a DVD player connected to it because built-in DVD players have always been junk in m
    • by Hatta (162192)

      It's a doomed market because commercial offerings can't compete with what we can do for free. XBMC isn't going anywhere.

    • Ok, playing a prophet here. My take: both TVs and the little boxes are fads. 10 years from now, everybody will be using a slim pad with 2K-4K resolution, in your hands, just like iPad but much faster, with better sensing, cameras etc., all your data/books/files in the cloud and Netflix-like video and audio on demand in it.. (effectively replacing static TV programming). You will also be able to beam the image to the wall if you might have the need for a big movie-like picture. The large screen rigs with bet
    • by Kjella (173770)

      Your new TV set contains a computer that performs the functions provided by the external box. The firmware for that computer can be reprogrammed.

      Yes, but will they really? Or will they essentially lock you to one or two particular services? I think they'll continue to ship boxes and if not boxes then essentially the same in a CAM-like module, except it practically takes control of the TV. I doubt you'll get all TV providers to give you the support you'd need to rely on them and their firmware. Not unless you'd essentially install and update your own software on their TVs, but I don't see every TV manufacturer playing along with that. Anyway, screens

    • Re:Let me explain. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hey (83763) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @03:29PM (#36243478) Journal

      What if I want $goodbrandofserver functionality and my $tvbrand attempts to lock me into $evilserver functionality but is otherwise a very nice TV.
       

  • by cjonslashdot (904508) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @02:29PM (#36242760)
    I have a Roku and an Apple TV. I will not be surprised if these things become a commodity at some point; but we are not there yet by any means. These boxes have quite different portfolios of available content, and very different styles of operation. I like them both. I like having both. I find them far superior to the on-demand services offered by my cable provider (Comcast). I never, ever watch broadcast cable anymore: I obtain all of my content via these external boxes, and always commercial free.
    • by Dahamma (304068)

      Not sure exactly what you mean by "commodity", but Roku seems pretty close now... (ie, it's cheap, and will soon have a huge amount of competition from similarly cheap boxes from companies like WD, Iomega, Asus, etc)

  • "In-Stat is questioning whether dedicated streaming media players like the Roku player, Boxee Box, and Google TV boxes will be around for long. The reason, says In-Stat, is that IP-streamed video is becoming a standard feature of TVs and Blu-ray players. Passing fad?

    Ummm derr? Streaming video is just software. There is nothing magical about the box that plays these. Of course it'll all end up in one box.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      The only way that I can imagine them going away is if the media companies or ISPs kill them. Other than that, as long as it's not feasible to have every copy of every bit of media possible on site, streaming will continue. And in practical terms, I don't see why one would want to do that, unless one was running an archive and we don't need billions of those. A few hundred would likely suffice.

      • The article isn't about killing streaming, it's about putting the set-top box functionality into the TV. The Slashdot headline, as usual, was misleading.

        • it's about putting the set-top box functionality into the TV.

          I know it's off topic, but I find it humorous that we still call anything a "set-top box" I would guess it's been many years since anyone on /. has purchased a TV that you could place much of a box on top of. I think the last floor model console type CRT I had was over 20 years ago.

  • What if you could write software for your TV [yahoo.com]? I started learning Javascript because I have a TV that can be programmed with it, and I want to be able to stream music from my fileserver to it, instead of having to hook up a separate box. The TV already plays Netflix just fine, and has apps avaiable (although I haven't used them) for Hulu, Amazon, Blockbuster, Vudu, Vimeo, etc, etc. As far as I can tell, the TV is basically a display with a builtin Linux computer that runs apps written in Javascript.

    Yahoo is [google.com]

  • by paulsnx2 (453081) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @02:32PM (#36242828)

    I'd say dedicated devices for video (i.e. T.V. and blueray players). Set top boxes are also somewhat silly and limited. What we really need are small computer systems for entertainment that use gestures and a Minority Report-like UI. All of this needs to be open source, so we don't have to suck on idiotic interfaces and features sets that cow tow to the entertainment industry's idea of a great set of features (i.e. no time shifting, no space shifting, and pay through the nose).

  • TVs and Blu-ray players can't possibly provide the flexibility to serve as the platform for delivering rapidly evolving technologies

    They could if they ran something like Linux under the hood.
  • One problem I've long had with the idea that this functionality will migrate into TVs is that traditionally TV firmware has been next to impossible to update.

    IPTV protocols are numerous and evolving fast -- there is not now, nor do we really expect there to be any time soon, a hard-and-fast standard for it. If you don't have the ability to easily update the software then it will stop working within a few years.

    Now, my TVs have mostly been paragons of reliability, but one thing I cannot say about the TV manufacturers is that they are any good at all at complex software. Or even the very simplest software for that matter; even with the very limited software functionality in a modern TV the configuration and display of information is almost universally lousy.

    And it's not just TVs. Most of these consumer electronics guys also make phones, and look what their software looks like when they do it themselves. It just sucks.

    Worse, their dedication to ongoing support of hardware that has already sold is damn near zero (there is, after all, no incentive whatsoever once the warrantee periods expire). Ever see an Android phone that cannot be upgraded to the most recent Android, even if the hardware is capable? That is not only common, it is *typical*. And that is pretty much the rule across most consumer electronics. For instance: My first Blu-Ray player had one firmware update a year or so after the model was introduced, and nothing since. The player no longer works on BR discs that use certain new copy protection schemes and there will never be a fix for that, so it became a boat anchor in just two years.

    These things are only a mild annoyance for a product that costs perhaps $200. For a nice TV at $2000ish it's a huge problem. Maybe some years hence when there is a real IPTV standard it will stop mattering so much, but that is not going to happen any time soon. Until it does it will be much more cost effective to buy cheap little boxes to attach to the TV.

    • by The Moof (859402)
      Game consoles already solve this problem pretty nicely. Sony (yea, yea, boo and all that jazz) tends to release updates for the PS3 pretty consistently and keeps the Blu-Ray spec up to date. All 3 consoles have updated their software to incorporate Netflix, and PS3/360 have both also added various other streaming services long after their initial release. They don't run into the lack of ROI problem since they seem to be selling consoles on a pretty consistent basis, compounded with the residual income fr
  • "TVs and Blu-ray players can't possibly provide the flexibility to serve as the platform for delivering rapidly evolving technologies to the early adopters who represent the testbed for all this innovation."

    WTF does that even mean? A TV that can make an IP connection to the Internet can play streaming video just as well as any other device.

  • by gblues (90260) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @02:43PM (#36242990)

    I know for myself, that between an OTA antenna, Netflix Instant, and Hulu, I have everything I need. My Netflix sub is the closest I have ever come to paying for TV.

    As more and more ISPs implement caps, I think the next step is going to be a home caching server. I.e. for Netflix, you could set your monthly cap and tell it what % to use, then it would download shows from your Instant Queue to the cache server during off-peak hours. Then, streaming devices would get the data over your LAN rather than across the Internet. The only traffic generated during viewing would be the DRM exchanges to ensure you are authorized.

    However, if ISPs were honest (ha!) they would exempt content that is delivered via CDN (i.e. Akamai) because the only bandwidth used is "last mile" bandwidth--the bandwidth between the CDN server and the Internet is already paid for by the CDN provider!

    • Or Netflix will work with the ISPs like NBC did for the Olympics and setup caches in the ISP server room.

      • by gblues (90260)

        Netflix already does this. Or rather, they contract with companies who do this (that's what a CDN is -- Content Delivery Network). The problem is that, in implementing the caps, ISPs are lumping in last-mile bandwidth that has almost no marginal cost with actual Internet-bound traffic that does have a marginal cost via upstream provider bandwidth charges.

  • by snsh (968808) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @02:44PM (#36242998)

    Using that logic, we should all be buying souped-up computer monitors that have computers built into them, as opposed to buying the monitor as an accessory to your computer.

    My story: bought a Samsung TV at exactly the wrong time (early 2010). It had DLNA capability built in (which is buggy) and a framework for Yahoo gadgets. As soon as Samsung's new 2010 models came out, they stopped supporting the 2009 models (no fixes for buggy DLNA). They changed their app framework, so the Yahoo gadget ecosystem is now dead. I learned from the experience that it's really dumb to buy a TV for it's media-player functionality. You're better off buying a dumb TV and using a STB like a Playstation that has broader support.

    • Computer hardware requirements continually change. Better graphics, more RAM etc etc...

      A Blu-Ray player decodes 1080p streams of h264 or AVC. That's incidentally exactly all that a streaming movie player needs to do as well.

      Unless the TV magically upgrades to 4k or a streaming service uses a codec that is far more intensive than H264 or AVC it should have all the hardware it'll ever need.

  • The next kindle is supposed to sport a quad core processor. What's preventing them from tossing in an nvidia chipset out of a netbook and an HDMI port, and allowing you to play back streaming video from the amazon.com video store on your TV? Most every 36"+ flatscreen TV has an HDMI port or two on the side for just this sort of thing.

    Why buy a roku box when you can get an identical device that you can take with you and read books on, too? Not practical for the living room where a dedicated device is

  • Roku's nice and all, but they did a couple of things that really turned me off: First, they make it a mandatory to sign up an online account with them on-line in order to just use the device. Yet another account, sigh. I do not understand why I need to do this if the only thing I am using my Roku player for is streaming from my Netflix account. Next, they required collecting my credit card info as part of signing up with their online account. The credit card info gets used for purchasing content throug

    • Say what you will about Sony, my Bluray player presented no hassles getting Netflix set up. Wish it had Hulu support, and better Youtube navigation, but for the most part I'm pretty happy with it.
    • by wed128 (722152)

      Don't know if that was true at some point, but i've been using a roku since december, and i never gave them a credit card number...

      It's possible that policy has changed.

  • At $.99/GB (which it'll eventually become), who will want to stream media? Give me a local streaming server any day...
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @02:56PM (#36243130)

    I looked at stand alone players late last year, but went with a Blu-Ray player because it did pretty much the same things, and also up-scaled my lower res videos to 1080p, and played Blu-Ray discs and up-scaled DVDs. And at pretty much the same cost as all but the worst stand alone units.

    What I got was a compromise. It will play many format files, but will not play ISO files. It will stream from a few paces on the web, but far from all that I would wish, and it will not access other computers on the local network to play their files (using sneaker-net to get around that).

    The thing is, I have not found any TV, Blu-ray player or stand alone box that will do everything that I want. Even the over priced and over hyped Google TV will not access as much as I would want, it can't even play back basic non-subscription Hulu for example! So I came to understand that to get the normal full web on my new HDTV I would have to actually build a computer based appliance of my own. And will want to find a player that will upscale well to 1080p when given lower quality input. But with the absurd mindset of the content holders claiming that Hulu can stream to a PC and then to my TV, but for some insane reason it would be evil if it streamed to a Blu-ray player, a stand alone media player, or Google TV and then to my same television set, I see no good solution for what I want than to build up my own system, which looks like it will cost about the same or less than the Logitech Google TV gelded offering..

    So my advice to /. readers is don't get caught up in the stand-alone appliance or built in to a TV or Blu-ray argument, that is the wrong thing to consider. Consider building your own, which will be able to access Hulu and other things currently locked out of ALL the retail offerings.

    One thing worth mentioning here is that I have realized that while my Blu-Ray player can stream from a very very limited set of sites, one of those it can stream from is YouTube. And it has the ability to select from a couple of dozen of different national YouTube countries, as well as a global choice. I eventually realized that if I intercepted the DNS query for one of the less desirable national YouTube sites, I could return the URL of a local machine. And If I were to write a YouTube emulator to run on that machine then it could pretend to be YouTube to the Blu-Ray player and let me stream from a local computer. This is all still theory, but I'm wondering if any Slashdot users have taken it any farther. The DNS look-up should not be too tricky. Just a DNS "server" on a local system that looks up all requests except the YouTube target and passes the result back. then point the router to use that local machine as the DNS server. The YouTube emulation seems to be a bit more work, I'm wondering if anyone has done anything like this or knows of any existing package that would do it. Thanks.

    • on an old laptop, and for me it just wasn't worth the hassle compared to a $99 DVD player(including remote!) that boots in a matter of seconds. No, it won't do Hulu and that sucks, but compared to the expense and ongoing hassle of using a PC, the convenience is worth it.
      • by Hatta (162192)

        What expense? We all have a decommissioned PC that's plenty capable of running XBMC.

        What ongoing hassle? I'll grant you that setup can be a bit of a hassle, but you only have to do it once.

        I wouldn't give up my XBMC box for any streaming box on the market.

      • on an old laptop....

        An old laptop is going to preform like an old laptop. Yea, I've used one too, but that's far from an optimum solution. Good for watching a show on Hulu, but even then can be a bit of a pain. A dedicated box would seem to be a better idea, and hook it up with a wireless keyboard and mouse and even a remote control (If you object to yet another remote control you likely already have or soon will have a universal remote like the Harmony that can treat the computer like another device to remote control). As to

    • by DarkOx (621550)

      Well the problem you are most likely to have is SSL. I suspect these devices pull at least some resources via SSL and expect a valid certificate for *.youtube.com. Before you spend any more time on this break out wireshark and make sure its all sent in the clear.

  • I have WD TV boxes. They can stream online content, but can do more which I think no TV or Blu Ray device can. I can stream media from any uPnP stream, from any network share, and can plug in hard drives to it. As far as I can tell, TV's and whatnot can only stream internet content.

    • I can plug in a hard drive to my Blu-Ray player. And it will automatically upscale the content. While I have not had a chance to do a side by side comparison, my research on the WD device indicated that it did not play several formats that my Blu-ray player will (and, in the interest of full disclosure, the Blu-ray player will not play directly from ISO files of DVDs, which I wish it would (as I already have at least one DVD that will no longer play from simple use)). The Blu-Ray players big failing is not

  • by drb226 (1938360)
    Giving an answer with a question mark is a lot less annoying than asking a question without one.
  • I agree that the market is still very much developing. The day Sony and other vendors start actually supporting a wider range of native media formats on their respective devices through their half-ass "DLNA" support which is near useless, rather than forcing me to convert file formats constantly and burn power/CPU time, I will look at this as a sign of real maturity. Sony won't ever do this as far as I can tell due to conflicting interests, similar with many other BluRay and TV type hardware vendors.

    Unt
  • Standalone streaming media players probably are a fad much like PDAs and dedicated MP3 players are/were fads. They'll eventually be integrated into other devices with additional features. Many of the bigger HDTVs already have the ability to tap streaming services (like Netflix) without a separate box. The streaming players will integrate into PCs, Bluray, or Xbox/Playstation/Wii or even into the TV itself. Heck, you may even see it integrate with smartphones. The streaming technology is still pretty yo

  • by Riceballsan (816702) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @03:25PM (#36243424)
    Tivo had a brilliant idea, first to release first to implement and revolutionize the concept of DVR, and despite being better then the setups that the cable networks bundled in almost every category, got completely crushed by falsely claimed free offerings offered by the cable and satellite companies.
  • In the short run, I'd be damned surprised: Disk players have been shoehorning 'value-add' features in at least since the first DVD player or video-CD player made a vague attempt at decoding a data disk full of JPEGs with an interface that wasn't wholly unusable. Such pack-in features have largely been appallingly badly executed and(since they aren't the primary advertised features, and models change all the time) there wasn't much in the way of informed-consumer pressure to make them better. I'd be rather s
  • Streaming media is here to stay. I think that streaming media player sales will decline as more people purchase TVs, game consoles, and other devices that have streaming media capabilities built-in, but they won't totally be obsolete anytime soon. A standalone streaming media player will almost always be cheaper than a game console, and some people simply don't care about games. Often, a streaming media player also offers a better user experience than a TV/Bluray player/game console app because the manufact
  • ...take over.

    we're already there for some systems. an asus ion(1) atom system is 100% fanless and is 'bedroom/livingroom quiet'. I really insisted on no fans for a media player.

    first gen, I used popcorn hour streamers. the pc's back then (3 yrs ago or more) were not fanless and it was 'hard' to do even SD video well on a pc (compared to the clock-perfect hardware based players).

    now, even an atom an ion (needs ion for video speed on HD) can do 99% of the job of the sigma based media boxes. and I have mor

  • Can anyone please tell me how to stream my music collection (mostly mp3) from my Linux PC (Kubuntu) to my Android phone. Two years ago I did an extensive search without finding a conclusive solution (there were some very complex music radio servers that I didn't figure out how to install and configure). But I see passing references to people who do just that, so please enlighten me.
  • The very question is retarded, as it has been asked over and over and over about just about every audio, video, and computer technology to ever come along...and purpose use devices are still going along nicely.

    Sure, find me a TV that is infinitely upgradeable for all future as yet unimagined technologies, and that will put a nail in the set top box coffin...but since that's fantasy land, it's not gonna happen. It's NICE when you buy a device to do one thing, and it also does other useful things as well,
  • We have recently seen a transition for cable systems in the US to to neighborhood nodes connected by fiber to the head end also known as FTTN. This has allowed a huge expansion in the bandwidth allowed to the home - and similarly a huge expansion in the bandwidth being consumed. DSL has gotten somewhat better as well, although with most of the US still having quite a bit of very old copper lines there is a very distinct limit as to how far DSL can go.

    The problem is that the bandwidth increase took maybe 1

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