How Long Before TiVo Drops Flash?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by atmuscarella, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. ShinySteelRobot

    ShinySteelRobot Member

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    Right, my point was that both Android phones and TiVos (both of which have "slow-ish" CPUs) run Linux, but Google went with Java for the UI layer, whereas TiVo bet on a different horse (Flash).
     
  2. morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

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    Actually the CPU on most modern cell phones (600 MHz to 1 Ghz) is much faster than the CPU on the Premiere (400 MHz). Also phones barely have any "disk" activity if at all.
     
  3. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    Android has never been praised by their decision to go with Java. That is hardly a ringing endorsement. It is also a much different case because TiVo's UI doesn't necessarily need to be very flexible since it is much more limited in scope. And afaik, the chips TiVo uses from broadcom don't support native java.
     
  4. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    And show me the tools for Android that make it easy to build UIs? Adobe has professional tools that make building UIs for flash much easier than trying to code for Android.
     
  5. ShinySteelRobot

    ShinySteelRobot Member

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    Yep, that's true. My point was that the CPUs in both the TiVo and mobile phones are "slow-ish", since a 400MHz TiVo and a 800 MHz mobile phone (like iPhone 4) are both significantly slower than my 3.5 GHz desktop computer. Even a very slow computer from a store these days is going to have > 2 GHz. Relatively speaking both TiVo and mobile phones have slow CPUs.
     
  6. morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

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    My iPhone 4S has a dual-core 1 GHz (underclocked to 800 MHz). I used to have a iPhone 3GS which has a 620 MHz (underclocked to 412 MHz). Comparing the speeds between the two is like night and day. The 3GS felt bogged down frequently, which I don't get on the 4S, though that could have something to do with the amount of RAM (128 MB vs 512 MB).

    The TiVo Premiere has the about the same CPU speed as an iPhone 3GS (albiet a dual core processor) with 512 MB of RAM. So speed wise it would probably be slightly faster than an iPhone 3GS, but about half as slow as an iPhone 4(/4S). That's assuming the Premiere was a phone, which it's not.
     
  7. ShinySteelRobot

    ShinySteelRobot Member

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    Actually a lot of developers where ecstatic about Google's decision to go with Java for Android. That meant that they could use the skills they already had (i.e., Java development). After all, Java is the most popular programming language in the world.

    Google employs a huge group of the smartest engineers on Earth with access to some of the highest technology in the world. IMHO, I don't think they'd bet the farm for their mobile platform on Java+Linux if they hadn't given it careful consideration.

    Furthermore, the incredible adoption rate of Android phones (and its Java infrastructure) indicates that consumers have voted in favor of Android with their wallets.

    In all, that's 32 million ringing endorsements.
    (And Android phones literally do "ring". :) )

    If Flash is so flexible, why are half the menu screens on my TiVo still standard definition menus instead of Flash-based high def menus? ;)

    I kid, I kid. But honestly I'd say that Flash and Java are about equally flexible when it comes to creating UIs. The reason I know this is because I wrote Flash/ActionScript UIs professionally at IBM for 2 years and Java based UIs for 1 year. Both are pretty flexible, both have their pros and cons. Also one of my best friends is an Android developer, so I hear in-depths stories about Java-based UI development on Android from him, like every day at lunch. :)

    AFAIK there are no chips that support "native Java". Java runs on a virtual machine which has a "compatibility layer" on top of the underlying OS (in TiVo and Android's case that's Linux). To run Java on any hardware and OS, all you have to do is port Java's compatibility layer to run on top of that OS. Java has been running on Linux for over a decade so it's not an issue.

    To put it another way--and this is a bit of a simplification but conveys the gist of it--it goes like this:
    1. Build Broadcom chip based TiVo
    2. Port Linux OS to run on top of Broadcom chips (easy since Linux is designed to be portable)
    3. Port Java VM to run on top of Linux OS (actually that's already done)

    Laying out your UI in Android is very similar to what you'd do with Flash/Flex/ActionScript, i.e., it's based on XML whereas Flash/Flex use MXML. Both have tools that allow you to preview and tweak your UI. AFAICT, Android improves on this by not embedding lots of source code directly in the same XML file, as is common with Adobe's approach.

    Believe me, Google wants Android to crush its competition, and therefore has gone the extra mile to provide good development tools, and that includes UI layout techniques.
     
  8. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    You are assuming TiVo has 20 Java developers on staff. In fact, very little of the TiVo OS uses Java. Why would they spend resources trying to convert to a platform they don't understand? Broadcom's chip performs well for what they need it to do. Flash was definitively the easier choice for them at the time.
     
  9. ShinySteelRobot

    ShinySteelRobot Member

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    No argument there. But about 3 or 4 years ago (I'm estimating) the development team at TiVo had to make a decision whether to build their new HD menu system on Flash, Java, or other UI framework. TiVo bet on Flash, which, while not dead yet, is a platform that's beginning to sputter.

    I'm simply saying that TiVo may have bet on the wrong horse.

    Well, my guess is that 4 years ago when they chose to go with Flash vs Java vs "other" that they maybe had a guy or two on staff who already knew Flash, so they went in that direction.

    BTW I'm not advocating TiVo alter course right now, but they should probably plan for a Flash-free future within the next 2-3 years, IMHO.

    Ya, probably so. I just think they weren't considering Flash's long-term prospects vs competitive platforms.
     
  10. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

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  11. MikeAndrews

    MikeAndrews Registered abuser

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    Tivo is writing software?
     

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