3 Responses

  1. MegaZone
    MegaZone May 16, 2008 at 2:02 am |

    It is more than a software issue, the TiVo boxes don’t have the hardware to do what the Slingbox does. You really, really don’t want to stream MPEG2 across the Internet, even if portable devices could really handle it. And if you’ve recorded HD content you really can’t stream it as is.

    So you need to transcode things into a better format – like WMV or H.264. And adjust the resolution. For example, by default Slingbox uses 320×240 for Internet streaming (640×480 on the LAN). But the resolution can be adjusted for the device. And the bitrate is dynamically adjusted to handle the available bandwidth and device resources. Slingbox uses dedicated encoding hardware to do that – hardware that is not in the TiVo.

    OK, so do it in software and use the CPU, right? On a PC, maybe, but a TiVo’s CPU is pretty weak. You’re talking about a max of about a 300MHz MIPS core, and that goes down to 166MHz on early Series2 boxes. And the CPU has to do other tasks so you don’t have even close to the full power to use, so it is worse than the raw stats would indicate.

    I think that do add place-shifting TiVo would have to add hardware – either dedicated hardware for place-shifting, or make the CPU more powerful to be able to do it in software. (The hardware approach is probably most cost effective, but the general purpose power in the CPU could possibly be used for other new features as well.) And adding this hardware would increase the unit costs. Place-shifting is still a very niche market, so it would be hard to justify building it into all of the TiVos and either eating into their (slim, even negative) margins or raising prices for the small percentage of users who would use it.

    Maybe an add-on – via USB perhaps – which would offload the transcoding work and then the users who want it could by the capability. (Neater would be something like a PCMCIA slot so the hardware could be slotted into the chassis.)

    On another subject, do you have any advice on where to find Symbian UIQ users to beta test our new SlingPlayer Mobile client? 🙂

  2. Christopher Price
    Christopher Price May 16, 2008 at 3:55 am |

    Well, yes, it would be a stretch even on a S3 unit, I was thinking that when in “sling mode” that the TiVo could put other functionality into standby (not user friendly, but do-able).

    Elgato has H.264 encoders on a USB stick already, so that route is definitely a more viable option.

    As to UIQ users… you’re off to Europe. The main reason is that no UIQ vendor has released a 3G phone with American UMTS frequencies. As such, the users that would be interested in them over here (tech savvy users), know to avoid it.

    UIQ is much more popular in Europe… which is why Sony Ericsson concentrates its sales there of UIQ phones exclusively.

    My personal advice would be to do a public beta… UIQ is close enough to S60 that bugs should be minimal, and you’ll get sufficient feedback that route.

  3. Brian Sechrest
    Brian Sechrest May 21, 2008 at 9:46 am |

    Heh, that’s funny. I camped for something like 11 hours in the cold at a Best Buy in 2006 for that Westinghouse TV as well. Still works great — I ended up passing it on to the fiancee so I could blow a bunch of money on a Sharp Aquos 46″ 1080p set that my buddy got me on some ridiculous close-out discount.

    Penryn MacBook Pros, Westinghouse TVs, HTC Moguls, and Slingboxes… we’re really not so different, you and me. 🙂


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