Panasonic to bring IPTV into the mainstream
IFA Panasonic today pledged to bring IPTV to the masses: it's going to build net-delivered video right into its HD TVs.
Dubbed VieraCast, the system's an on-screen menu page that presents Panasonic partners' content that can be selected and set to play straight from the TV's remote control. Think of an AppleTV built into a TV.
Panasonic's VieraCast: IPTV in your TV
Partners listed today include EuroSport, Bloomberg, Google's Picassa and, of course, YouTube. More will come, the Japanese giant said.
Panasonic promised the content will be free and not require registration - only the purchase on a VieraCast-equipped HD TV. Programming will be localised for each nation and language.
TVs with VieraCast are set to go on sale in the spring of 2009, and the company pledged to extend the service with exclusive content the following year.
IFA 2008 complete coverage
all a man needs
is teh bigg blonde bouncing bunnie and the discovery channels. not crappy youturd
The concept is great - "one stop shop" or rather "one set shop"
What's required is modularity. Panasonic, please build a nice display device with the required interfaces. Also build DTT / Freesat / IPTV / PVR modules which can be purchased or not with the set. Others will build comparable modules to do the same - in fact, Sony will make the PS3 an all-in-one box I'm sure - however, consumers will have the choice of what to buy.
I have a Panasonic DTT TV and the UI is dire. I can't change it but I can get round this by buying a nice PVR (I'm waiting for a new set of PVRs to be launched which will export from their HDDs to a UBS2 key so I can share/receive content).
The display will last years, consumers will want to upgrade the other components more frequently. IPTV will evolve greatly, Panasonic are not a software company, I'd not want to be tied in to their software or content sources.
Re: home servers
The Pioneer TV I have already will browse to a home server. Using DNLA (a version of UPNP).
Although this is advertised to work with things like Windows Media Server you can also use any of a selection of Unix-compatible freeware DNLA servers to serve vanilla movie files i.e. no special lock-in. Happily saving the cost of an AppleTV like box.
I agree with the Viera free content being not that exciting.
BT QoS ??? For HD ???
Is there an industry-wide minimum bit rate required to deliver decent quality HD TV? Iirc the Freeview folks have been talking about 8Mbit per HD channel, does that sound realistic?
What is the maximum "guaranteed" bit rate which BTwholesale will support? Even in BT's much-overhyped 21CN, afaict (according to the QoS service specification in SIN483 at www.sinet.bt.com), the maximum guaranteed bit rate is 2Mbit. Same maximum as in today's IPstream (pre-21CN) product, in fact (see why 21CN is over-hyped?).
HDTV? 2Mbit? It's a joke, just like most of BT, and 21CN in particular.
And that's just the technical aspect. There's the economics of content to think about as well.
If Panasonic are providing this service for "free" (ie included in the price of the set), they're not going to have much of a budget for "content", are they? And as we've been told many times by the MPAA, HD content is extremely valuable and extremely expensive (that's why Vista exists, to provide the MPAA with a trusted HD content delivery platform).
Summary: the bandwidth limit won't matter because there'll be no worthwhile content.
Other than that though, I do actually like the idea, so long as the user interface is easier to cope with than on my Panasonic DVD Recorder, which is actually worse than most PC software I've used!
Actually browsing round on my Vierra LCD tv I found a copy of the GPL so it looks like there may be some open source in there.
In which case it's possible that these new ones will have the same bits in.
If so I'm sure they will be hacked to run linux fairly soon after launch :-)
Afterall with a HC/SD card for storage and infrared for input, once you add a NIC they will have all the bits you need.