* Posts by kentindell

2 posts • joined 19 Jul 2010

YouTube, iPlayer on a TV? Simples


All the other web sites

Go and have a look at SeeSaw. There's some really good content there. Or 4oD, which has a huge free back catalogue (e.g. every episode of Father Ted).


A few misconceptions

The crucial difference is that the current systems are one-off bits of content source engineered by a box maker and a few selected content providers, using a variety of proprietary interfaces to offer up raw video in specific codec formats. This has resulted in a profusion of standards: Panasomic has one for its TVs called Vieracast, Samsung has one, Sony has one, Microsoft has one for the X-Box, and there are literally dozens more. Needless to day the choice of content is very limited.

The approach Vidiactive has taken is to concentrate on browser technology: using the open web and building software that can present a video page - and, crucially, control it - in a TV-like way. This is technically new - no-one else has an approach that browses all the open web, puts the video full-screen and controls playback (play, pause, seek, etc.) from a simple remote control. You can think of it more like a video version of the Safari Reader function, with more control.

If you want to do this yourself today using a media PC you need a quiet PC, a wireless keyboard, mouse, and a keen eye and steady hand (incompatible with sitting back with a few beers, note). Even then the playback of video won't be HD if you're using Mac OS or Linux and don't have a fast-hot CPU (see past coverage of Flash Wars on El Reg for background). Even after alcohol-abstention and DIY (you didn't need to get NDIS wrappers for your WiFi drivers did you?) you're left with a power-hungry and expensive setup. Definitely not mainstream. On the other hand, a standalone box containing the Vidiactive software should come in at under £100 retail and even be able to do HD video. Or if you want to wait for a next-gen HDTV box using the new media silicon emerging then the Vidiactive software can fit comfortably in the existing hardware resource.


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