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AMD's All-in-One Media Machine 121

Drakewolf writes to tell us that despite the many failed attempts to bridge the gap between the PC and home entertainment systems, AMD has released several new products at CES under their LIVE! brand. The centerpiece was the AMD LIVE! Home Cinema, an all-in-one device that combines a set-top cable box, stereo receiver, DVD player, digital video recorder, and a PC.
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AMD's All-in-One Media Machine

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  • failed attempts? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macadamia_harold ( 947445 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:08PM (#17511020) Homepage
    Drakewolf writes to tell us that despite the many failed attempts to bridge the gap between the PC and home entertainment systems

    You mean like the xbox360? or the macmini running frontrow?
  • A tad overpriced? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:14PM (#17511124) all-in-one device that combines a set-top cable box, stereo receiver, DVD player, digital video recorder and PC.

        Let's see, at Fry's a cable box is about $50, on Craig's List a stereo is about $30, at Best Buy a DVD player is about $39, a digital camcorder is about $250, and a PC on the web at PriceWatch is about $400.

        So AMD is selling the whole package at about $3000? Jeez, such a deal. What does AMD stand for anyway? Advanced Money Disease?

        You Know that is going nowhere. They didn't even mention what amazing new DRM that they'll be throwing in for free!
  • by chia_monkey ( 593501 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:29PM (#17511358) Journal
    Everyone continues to talk about the digital convergence, yet we're still seeing two big problems. The first, which is evident price. We're not going to see widespread adoption of new media hardware (and software) with pricepoints like this. Only the rich (and geeky) will shell out that kind of dough for something so cutting edge right now. Second, we're still in early-adopter stage for many of these devices and the average consumer still isn't "trained" to use these devices. Remember when Tivo came out? It was mostly the technically savvy people that bought it. This device still resembles a computer too much to be adopted and placed in the living room of the common household. Some day though...
  • by straponego ( 521991 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:41PM (#17511552)
    Have you ever noticed that any product with "!" in the name... well, there's no delicate way to put this... sucks?
  • by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <> on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:43PM (#17511588) Journal
    Looks like this "AMD LIVE" is a generic PC that comes with a bunch of Free software. []

    ^^ Note some of this is truly free software, most of it is only free with the "AMD LIVE" PC.
    Though it does look like once you have a subscription you can install most of it on other computers to share your Media Center experience across the household.
  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:54PM (#17511750)
    it starts at $1000, which given it's also a decently powerful modern computer

    However, I doubt that most people would actually use it as a computer. A couple of years ago I put together a MythTV box, and I had the idea that as a bonus it would be handy to have a computer system in my living room. It turns out that even though it's a perfectly fine computer, I rarely if ever use it as anything other than a PVR. Even though it's directly hooked to an HDTV monitor with an HDMI cable, the resolution still isn't very good for reading text. Somehow it's a lot worse at showing high-contrast details than the equivalent pixel-count computer monitor would be; TV electronics just don't seem to be designed with text in mind.

    Sitting way back on the couch makes matters worse, and using a wireless keyboard on my lap is incredibly clumsy and frustrating. Just browsing the web feels klunky, and doing any kind of serious work is out of the question. Even a lot of PC games seem to be written assuming that you're sitting upright in a chair with both a mouse and a full 104-key keyboard on a stable surface in front of you. It seems to me that investing in a high-end system for the living room would be a waste of money for most people.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @03:13PM (#17512060)
    Then you don't understand what they mean by "failed attempt." There are a number of products out there that do the job well. There are none that have gotten consumers to buy them in large numbers. Just because the products work well and have been delivered and sold doesn't make them a success. All have fallen short of their sales goals, so all of them are failures. You own a failure. That isn't a personal attack, it is a statement of fact. It works well. But it is a failure because your neighbors don't have it, don't want it, and probably don't know what it is.
  • by melstav ( 174456 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @03:43PM (#17512500)

    I understand why they continue to gain popularity (takes less space, you get all the functions for one price, uses less power, etc.), but in general you can always seem to do better from a functionality and features standpoint from individual components than from any integrated 'all-in-one' device.
    Yes, you can almost always get "better" from discrete components than you can from an "all-in-one". And some discrete components give you better results (and likely cost more) than others. I can build a home entertainment center from discrete components for well under $1K. Or I can spend $20K.

    When you're dealing with a consumer market, there is a point at which the "goodness level" becomes "good enough", and this point varies on a consumer-by-consumer basis.

    Many people want the higher quality achieved by purchasing multiple discrete components and assembling them into a system. Many others look at the integrated "all-in-one" and say "That's good enough for me."
  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @03:44PM (#17512526) Journal
    And then rip and transcode the DVD's too. Tease your friends about the lameness of their set top box.

    That would be fun. Any of the content you own, without getting up from the sofa, and the Internet too.

  • by gatesvp ( 957062 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @05:18PM (#17514124)

    So basically, AMD came out with Live! as a marketing tool (a la VIIV) and now they have actual integrated devices. That's fine, this is nothing new. But all TFA talks about is the hardware and hardware is not the issue, UI is the issue.

    If you're selling an integrated box, it needs to be truly integrated. You need a bundled remote, a well-designed 15-foot UI, a bundled wireless keyboard and mouse. You need the system to be pre-configured to support a "media output" (TV) and a small monitor if the user has one.

    Of course, TFA makes no mention of any of this stuff. I think that Mac and its Mini are best positioned to actually make this market, but their stuff is still very first gen, a 5-button remote won't cut it. So if AMD wants this market, they need to do much more than just a specially-designed rig.

    For this HTPC concept to really work, we need a much better set of integrated tools, but we're legally limited in those respects. I want to do more than just "play" the DVD, I want an option to "rip" the DVD and store it. But you can't bundle that right now (legal issues). I want to play music, rip music, download music and podcasts and connect to subscription services all in one. But this stuff is still independent from the services that play movies.

    And for the second generation, I want to hook up a second PC in the basement and have it talk to the first PC upstairs. And then I want these guys to share a media library. I want multiple output option so that I can stream music to different rooms via the same remote. But this is still in the dreamer and prototype stage.

    MS is trying to do this (Media Centre, Media Player, XBox 360), but it's not really there and this article does nothing to elucidate how AMD is taking this any further.

  • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @05:38PM (#17514448)
    You mean like the xbox360? or the macmini running frontrow?

    How about five years of Windows XP Media Center Edition?

    Granted, a huge number of OEM PCs today are shipped with MCE pre-installed, because TV tuner cards got really cheap and the OS license is hardly different than XP Pro or Home. But how many of those end up hooked up to the TV in the living room?

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"