Over the top

Stacey Higginbotham has done a short writeup of Christos Lagomichos’ comments on standalone set top boxes.

Getting content from the web to your TV is driving the release of several new set-top boxes such as the Roku, Apple TV and ZeeVee. And yet one of the top chipmakers in the set-top box market doesn’t see those types of appliances winning out over the set-top boxes you get from video service providers (cable, telco, satellite, etc.) anytime soon.

I both agree and disagree with the comments, and the angle. No, it’s not fence-sitting, it’s a case of “different horses for different courses”.

A highly-evolved set top box needs to earn its place in the livingroom of today. Most consumers I talk with, from all walks of life, have a good understanding of what they want, and what might be possible, for a “converged TV” experience.

The carriers and TV companies want to you go into their very vertical, tightly-controlled product lineups: and stay there! The independents, or meta-TV operators, would like you to pick their particular flavour of vertical, tightly-controlled product range.

And the hackers have to stand alone, or find a provider for the in-between. “What if,” they say, “I could have a box that works with my chosen TV bouquet, yet can see and use all the media in my home, and can give me some options for having-it-my-way?”.

For your chance to win a CD, make a sensible, helpful, decent comment on this post, which might help a fellow reader with a tried-and-tested-and-not-made-of-Unobtanium answer. The subjectively-best/most creative answer before midnight AEDST wins two CDs. Continue reading

mplayer on Mac OS X compilation errors

I had a very unpleasant time this morning compiling mplayer, with LIVE555 support, for Mac OS X Intel (Leopard, 10.5.4).

LIVE555 compiled fine, with

./genmakefiles macosx

and I moved it into /opt/local/lib/live to “co””exist” with some macports libraries.

But mplayer refused to play nicely, until I built it with

./configure --disable-gui --disable-mencoder --disable-xinerama --disable-xv --disable-x11 --enable-largefiles --enable-macosx-finder-support --enable-menu --with-freetype-config=/usr/X11R6/bin/freetype-config --with-extraincdir=/opt/local/lib/live/ --with-extralibdir=/opt/local/lib

Yeah…right…I totally should have known that off the top of my head. At least now the binary is built, so I could Bonjour it to a coworker for his MacBook and he could start using it straight away.

mplayer (totally cool version with LIVE555 support) (Intel) (Mac OS X) (zip. 2.9mbyte file, HTTP download)

Please understand that this is being provided without any expressed warranty or merchantability statement. It is virus- and malicious code- free. I claim no rights of any kind for compiling open-source codebases into this binary.

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Epic random DHCP failure

My iPhone (Classic) was failing to get DHCP via one of the WiFi networks in the office. Some convoluted Googling later, I found that perhaps the clash is due to the Billion DHCP server implementation not liking the AirPort Extreme IPv6 Tunneling option being enabled.

Change the IPv6 configuration in your AirPort Extreme to:



And the basestation reboots by itself, which left me with working DHCP.

Yes, I have the WiFi basestation(s) as bridges onto the DHCP-serving router.

Sydney Apple Store opening

Front of the line in Sydney

I wandered down to the Sydney Apple Store opening queue. Yes, there’s only 4 hours to go now before people get their chance to walk the polished boards, gaze outwards from the steel-bracketed glass facade, and to ask premature questions about iPhone 3G.

I lent @decryption my spare MacBook Pro 15″ battery: he’s number 8 in the queue, which means he’s had a large number of cold hours sitting on a foldout chair.

Second part of the queue at the Sydney Apple Store opening.

The second part of the queue heads west up King Street, and probably takes the number of people well over 50.

The store looks great. I’m from a family of architects and designers, and I feel the building’s remodeling has a nice 2007/2008 feel, with some French/German modern glass-and-steel aesthetic thrown in. Being directly opposite the Telstra T-Life store is a masterstroke for design, town planning, marketing and sale potential.

The TV crews are there, just cooling their heels inbetween breakfast TV live crosses, and small magazine-style pieces about the type of geek who would camp out for a t-shirt and the chance to perhaps see Mr. Jobs who is rumoured to appear. Yes, it’s most surely just a rumour right now. If he steps off his jet this morning and appears at the ExecuJet terminal, I’ll try to let you know.

I chatted to a a few people while I sarcastically wore my ten-year-old Rhapsody Developer t-shirt: everyone was in great spirits, including the security staff.

BIVL to Swivel twixt TV and Net

I tried to not go too far with the headline pun.

Extending from The Way Of Sony, the manufacturer has announced “real, actual” availability of BIVL.

BIVL image

BRAVIAâ„¢ Internet Video Link clips onto the back of selected TVs, and brings the content linking/downloading scenario of The Sony full-circle.

I was shown the design for a similar concept, whereby an entire HD IPTV Set Top Box and PVR could be slid in, as a board, to a manufacturer’s LCD panels. Not released yet, of course…

And I still have not seen Neotion’s enabler hardware.

Take yesterday’s comments on how to make “New TV”, and add the BIVL, and you might have a real, actual platform. As long as it’s not a closed, Sony-only platform.

[Via engadgetHD]