Apple TV hackers called to create open source set-top
You have nothing to lose but your CableCards
Neuros Technology has called on Apple TV hackers to join it and develop a next-generation open source set-top box to prevent IPTV falling into the hands of the Man.
Neuros launched its Linux-based OSD last autumn. It's a media centre that can digitise video content to connected storage - either a locally fitted USB drive or memory card; via the unit's LAN port to a networked computer or NAS box; or to an iPod, PSP or other portable media player.
Like other Neuros hardware, the OSD is largley based on open source software - though some elements, thanks to the need to use third-party components, remain closed - and the company encourages its customers to hack the code and share their work with other owners. The upshot, it reckons, is improved functionality and support for more digital content formats.
Which is, of course, one reason why so many folk are hacking Apple's Apple TV, for example adding new codecs to allow the $299 'Mac Nano' to play DivX files.
This, says Neuros CEO Joe Born in an open letter to Apple TV coders, is to be encouraged if the vested interests - content providers and the hardware manufacturers who have stakes in them - seek to lock down what consumers can watch, where and when.
To prevent that happening, he believes, the world needs not only open hardware - Neuros, after all, is already producing that - but also and crucially major momentum behind the software development work that allows the hardware to support more devices and more formats, thus making it relevant to more consumers.
Of course, Neuros benefits from all this financially, by selling more hardware, an activity threatened by Apple TV, particularly given its hackability, but Born clearly hopes to free the company from the proprietary technologies even the OSD has to contain, in part by using clever code to do the same job on more open components.
It's not for the mainstream, perhaps, but there's something to be said for truly opening access to IPTV and preventing the greedheads dominating a new televisual medium and eroding the audience's viewing rights. And that has to be a better goal than simply making one platform slightly less proprietary than it currently is.
It works! firmware is updated weekly sometimes
Great story. My hat's off to El REG for publishing it.
I have owned the OSD for about a year and it went from barely usable alpha to a nice working unit, almost "ready to be released", with the latest firmware.
To me, the OSD is a great video recorder, I can plug one of those 8GB microdrives or my 4GB SD card, whatever I have handy. And if I don't have anything handy, I tell it to record to my shared SimpleShare networked hard disk.
A piece of cake!!.
It works as a digital video recorder, digital video player, mp3 player, What else do you want? "oh it looks ugly" (because it's black? spray paint it white you Apple zealot snobs!). I'm sick and tired of the Mac Zealotry attitude. OSD runs circles around anything Mac. Why? Because it runs Linux. Anybody with a Linux PC can create add-ons or tinker with it, extending its functionality, whereas on AppletTV you have to wait for the Church of Cupertino to vacuum your bank account every year first, before getting the "next OS".
Get a grip.
It's not vapourware
Definately not vapourware. Been sat in my livingroom for the past two weeks. For a cheapo gadget it's been a surprisingly good buy.
Records from telly and DVD no problems to my NAS. Plays all my mp3's and wma's faultlessley. Plays most of my AVI files and mpegs. New firmware out every few weeks so looking forward to all the new features.
Oh yeah, it's ugly but it's only about 6 x 4 inches so I've just sat it behind the DVD player.
Good to see that Joe Born has time to punch out those open letters, just a pity they don't have time to finish their products.
Neuros announced their open source Neuros 3 digital audio player in Oct 2005 (this article just jogged my memory of that long forgotten project - well in my mind at least). Just had a quick check on their roadmap page (http://wiki.neurostechnology.com/index.php/Category_Roadmap:Neuros_III) and it is showing that 'it will be released some time after the new 442's projected release date in Q1 2006'. Hmmm, that was a year ago...
Sounds to me like this set-top could just be another excellent vaporware project to add to their arsenal... But at least it's sufficiently 'now' enough in terms of consumer wants and industry buzz talk to impress a few people.
That in my livingroom?
I can't see my wife allowing that ugly bit of kit anywhere in our house, let alone the 'girl zone' living room or bed room.
Just what I wanted. . .
A set top box that runs on an uber s-video connection instead of Py/Pb/Pr or HDMI. Excellent choice.