Some want set-top box killed
Verizon is the latest company to join a movement that wants the television set-top box eliminated.
The RVU Alliance is a non-profit group comprised of DirectTV, BroadCom, Samsung, Cisco and now Verizon. In a rapidly-changing media environment, you’d expect this kind of collaboration to be sinister, but it’s actually a pretty cool initiative.
RVU wants all set-top boxes replaced with one single server that feeds content to all home televisions, PCs and media players. Doing so would allow movies, music and television to be shared across any device in the home, with one common interface. It would even allow users to start watching a show on one television and then resume playback on another. For consumers, this also means less clutter in the entertainment center.
The group, which formed in early August, wants to create standards that make this interconnectivity possible. While Broadcom’s and Cisco’s support, as providers of network solutions, is obvious, the inclusion of content service providers such as Verizon and DirectTV is crucial. (There is, of course, the ulterior motive of taking business away from TiVo and other third-party boxes, but the end results looks positive to me.)
My only concern is how these integrated units will play with online content, such as streaming video from Hulu and Netflix. If this initiative is just a way to keep more people hooked up to cable, it’s less attractive than a device that can pass all kinds of media around the house. I’d like to see the same support for Internet widgets that you currently get from a TiVo box.
Even then, RVA will likely face some strong opposition. For starters, a device that easily sends TV content to PCs and other devices seems to directly compete with TV Everywhere, an initiative by Time Warner and Comcast to stream subscription cable on computers. I can’t imagine that cable companies will abandon TV Everywhere just because a better idea has come along.
Then, there are the content providers — Hollywood studios and TV networks, specifically. So far, they’ve fought tooth-and-nail to control how consumers can watch movies and television. If RVA devices do include ways to watch Hulu and other Internet content, this push for a standardized media server could turn into a big mess.
8 Comments on Some want set-top box killed
- Posts: 883
- Posted on: 04 Sep 09 00:37
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- Posted on: 04 Sep 09 03:41
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- Posted on: 04 Sep 09 06:56
- Posts: 19888
- Posted on: 04 Sep 09 10:04
This then makes it possible to force-feed people advertisements they don't want, and remove saved content after a while to prevent people from saving it "forever", in the hope people will then buy it on DRM-ray or as download instead, and prevent certain shows/movies from being saved at all (broadcast flag).
- Posts: 1776
- Posted on: 04 Sep 09 20:51
Comcast just got a waiver allowing them to give out "free" DTA boxes so they can then eventually scramble ALL of their channels above analog 31 becuase the boxes can decode the new system but only output SD on channel 3 RF so no HD at all but anyone can use them on any TV satisfying the must carry and be able to watch rules for some channels.
That means people who now don't rent a box but use QAM tuner equipped devices to get the clear QAM SD and HD channels will no longer be able to do so soon if they enable the scrambling.
So why would they want to do this new idea when they are trying to force people to use a box now, knowing that most will get frustrated by the lack of any HD content and upgrade to a HD box and service, thus making them even more money and forcing us to use their gear to do anything...
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I have not rented any of their gear in 20 years, I don't want to pay extra and I do use many QAM equipped devices to pick up and record the in the clear SD and HD things they pipe in.
I might keep them if the new thing is able to be used and bought by customers and freely used, I will not if it's just yet another box you rent and pay extra for.
I have thousands of dollars worth of gear I paid for that may be useless soon, being able to get new gear that does the same might help
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- Posted on: 05 Sep 09 02:21
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- Posted on: 09 Sep 09 13:24
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- Posted on: 07 Oct 09 19:37
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