My First Day at CES 2006

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by lee espinoza, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. Jan 7, 2006 #1 of 35
    lee espinoza

    lee espinoza some guy

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    So I spent most of my day yesterday afternoon at the Microsoft booth. I got to talk to Matt Goyer a bit about some of the recent Microsoft announcements. Matt seemed very optimistic that we would in fact see HDTV via DirecTV for the Media Center sometime next year with Vista. This is the most exciting thing I've heard come out of CES yet. I was super excited when I heard that we would finally be getting premium HDTV with Media Center a few monts back but I'm even more excited about the possibility of things with DirecTV. DirecTV has recently launched a bunch of satellites and promises to bring much more HD content in the future. I really think that DirecTV will be positioned to be the king of HD content delivery next year and to see that they are now working with Microsoft and that we will see an HDTV DirecTV combo for Media Center is huge.

    I am not as optimistic, though, about the control that you are going to have with your content going forward. One Microsoft rep that I spoke with today told me that in terms of what you will be able to do with the content in Media Center that this is going to be left up to the content providers. He told me that in fact even in MCE 2005 that some broadcasts were already being copy restricted and that you could not even make a single PVR copy on Media Center. I think he is wrong on this fact as I've never seen anything in MCE 2005 that I couldn't record or even that I couldn't copy over to my laptop. I hope he's wrong. I do think though that the scenario that we will probably see in Vista is that we will be able to record anything once on a single machine (similar to what you can do with a closed box DirecTV HDTV TiVo right now), but that the content will not be able to be moved to a second machine including unfortunately your laptop. I do think that you will be able to move it to "approved" portable devices, meaning devices that things can't be copied off of. Nobody that I talked to at Microsoft seemed to have a real firm grasp of how the content will be handled in the new HDTV world.

    Also, I was not very impressed with the quality of the HDTV that Microsoft was demoing using a new Dell HDTV tuner that is coming out for Vista. It really did not look good at all and even the Microsoft rep commented on how poor the picture quality was. I'm sure that this was probably due to the fact that the software is still in beta but I was hoping to see something really crystal clear like I see on my HDTV TiVo and I did not see that today.

    In terms of my large media library issues I still have concerns there as well, although Matt did tell me today that Microsoft had actually tested the new Vista Media Center with a million songs in it and that it could still perform. What I saw today was slow load times still for music libraries. The Vista software was very buggy too of course, but that should be expected as it is in beta. I'm sure more will come out on this in the future and we will see more definitively on how Vista is going to handle large digital libraries.

    I also spent some time playing around with the new photos features in Vista and really like them. I particulary like the fact that you can advance forward and back in full frame view from within the photo app and that basic editing functionality including cropping, contrast, saturation, etc. are all included. It's certainly not something to replace Photoshop but for on the fly stuff it will be useful. It kind of reminded me of Picasa a little bit. I did convey to the Microsoft rep who showed me the photo stuff that it would be cool if they could make sure and work with Flickr to have Flickr automatically tag your photos when you tag them in Vista already. She thought that since all tagging in Vista is is an easy way to edit the EXIF data that this might work. I would think the owness would be on Flickr on this one to ensure that they mapped the EXIF data that Microsoft is now going to let you edit through Vista to the tag fields in Flickr. Shouldn't be too difficult but it would be good for Flickr to look at this now.

    I'll try and spend some more time over at the Microsoft station today to speak with their Windows Media Player expert. Matt wasn't sure if you could get just WMP11 in beta without Vista or not but I'd love to be able to test WMP11 alone out some more.

    Overall Vista Media Center looks amazing. The design work is especially strong and aesthetically it is super pleasing. It was real buggy still because it's beta of course but it looks really slick. I particularly liked the fact that in My Pictures in Media Center you can now sort and show by date. I think this will be super helpful.

    I also spent some time with the MTV guy looking at Overdrive and talking about the new things they are doing with Comedy Central in Online Spotlight and their services are starting to grow on me a bit more. I particularly liked how extensive a library they are going to give you to watch. 15 to 30 second commercials are going to be inserted between every two videos that you choose to watch (and you can even build video playlists). The archive was really extensive and they will have a similar archive from Comedy Central of commedians. This is video on demand here and now today and that is cool. It's a great way for them to monetize a bunch of old content (yes even inluding AHA videos from the 80s) and it's a fairly extensive library for us to choose from. I asked the MTV rep about the possibility of high def content from Comedy Central or MTV and he was not optimistic. He told me that MTV has only recently even begun filming in HDTV and that the content providers will not let them allow us the ability to download the high def stuff but only stream it. He felt that streaming it was still too bandwidth intensive. Hopefully this changes soon.

    Speaking of high def. CES 2006 is ALL about high def. Everywhere you go you are bombarded with it. More than any other thing at the convention high def is being pushed big time. My favorite high def TV set so far? The Sharp Aquos LC-65D90U 65 inch LC-TV. The set claims to be the world's largest available LC-TV with 1920x1080 full spec 1080p HDTV resolution and comes digital CableCARD ready. This folks, is a beauty. A stunning picture better than any other I've yet to see at CES yet.

    Next stop: TiVo, DirecTV, Yahoo!, Google, and what ever other cool things I can find.

    http://www.ehomeupgrade.com/entry/1933/my_first_day
     
  2. Jan 7, 2006 #2 of 35
    tbeckner

    tbeckner TiVo Fan

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    Thanks for the report Lee!

    I can't talk for Earl, but for myself it appears that the whole MCE DirecTV announcement is at the very least a year or two away. And for me even then they need to do something about the feeds to clients, which at this point will require an XBOX 360 at each TV.

    I agree with you and the Microsoft Rep, DRM is going to be a big problem in the future and the restrictions are going to be painful.

    Vista, now that is going to be another problem all together.
     
  3. Jan 7, 2006 #3 of 35
    ebonovic

    ebonovic has gone his way...

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    Tinley...
    :) Wait... how did I get dragged into this one... by name.... :D

    DRM is always going to be a pain... sadly it is there as an attempt to stop those that try to make a buck... Where as it is just hampering the "general" public from fully utilizing technology.

    Anyway..... I do think basic MCE and DirecTV DVR communication (probably via DirecTV 2GO) is probably with in the year (year of 2006).

    But do agree that the actual DirecTV Tuner for MCE is longer then that... (I would LOVE to be prove wrong though).

    Vista... Hmmm.... I am looking forward to it... Might even just buy a new computer for it, instead of trying to force it onto an existing system.
     
  4. Jan 7, 2006 #4 of 35
    DTV TiVo Dealer

    DTV TiVo Dealer Snr. Member/Retailer

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    Transferring R15 recorded programs to a portable MCE enabled device is a few months away. Moving R15 programs to your Windows PC is 6-9 months away. All will be done through the R15's USB port.

    -Robert
     
  5. Jan 7, 2006 #5 of 35
    Billy66

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

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    Thanks Robert!! You are taunting me to call you aren't you. :D
     
  6. Jan 7, 2006 #6 of 35
    lee espinoza

    lee espinoza some guy

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    Had a good day at CES Day Two. Started out with lunch with Ian Dixon from the Media Center Show and his wife Kim along with Microsoft's Sean Alexander. It was interesting hearing from Sean about what he's been up to. Sean recently changed jobs at Microsoft and is now working with the Windows Digital Media Division. This is the group at Microsoft responsible for Windows Media Player among other things. Windows Media Player is one of my favorite applications that Microsoft makes and it's great to see Sean back on that team. Sean reiterated to me that the performance with Windows Media Player has improved dramatically in Vista and corrected my previous statement that Microsoft had tested Windows Media Player with one million songs, but told me that they've actually tested it with two million.

    Windows Media Player according to Sean has had a pretty serious overhaul in the performance area and this is something that I'm really looking forward to seeing. Apparently the only way to get Windows Media Player 11, at least at present in beta form, is with Vista. I'm not sure whether you will be required to upgrade to Vista to get it when the product is complete.

    Ian is hitting the convention hard and has already met with and interviewed a number of different people for the Windows Media Center show. Most interesting is probably that he scored an interview with Joe Belfiore head of the eHome Group for Windows. Joe was able to give Ian a lot of time and the interview sounds like it will be pretty good. Look to Ian's show for this interview in the next few weeks.

    I talked alot at lunch with Sean about the problem of getting more HDTV content on a video on demand basis. According to Sean one of the problems with getting us more high def content on a downloadable basis is the cost of the bandwidth. Although less of a cost for a major bandwidth buyer like Microsoft, for many smaller companies the bandwidth cost of downloading high def content is still an issue. Sean thought though that we would begin to see more high def downloadable content in the future in places where it had an economic or marketing value. Sean mentioned movie trailers as being prime candidates for these kinds of downloads where their would be a marketing value to the content.

    We talked about Viiv a little bit and the improvements that this might bring for Media Center functionality. We talked about some of the things that MTV is doing and Urge and the good news from DirecTV and Microsoft about their collaboration to offer you HDTV on Media Center. At first I was super surprised about hearing about Murdoch agreeing to offer up his content through Media Center but the more I think about it the less surprised I am. Certainly with the CableCARD announcement by Microsoft DirecTV's hand was most likely forced. At present I subscribe to DirecTV. If though Media Center had CableCARD and I could get HDTV through it I would cancel my DirecTV subscription and instead get cable so that I could get my HDTV content through Media Center. The more I think about this the more I think that this is just pure solid defense on DirecTV's part. This way they get to keep me as a customer and all the others who are aching for HDTV on Media Center.

    HDTV through Vista either with CableCARD or DirecTV is super exciting. I know that I am looking foward to *finally* upgrading my orignal HP 873N (the very first and original MCE machine) once I find a good Vista machine as they begin to come out late next year. I think a lot of people like me are probably waiting and holding out for a Vista machine which I'm sure makes things tough for some of the OEMs in trying to build volume and will only get worse as we get closer to Vista launch.

    Another thing that I'd been wondering about was with Microsoft's strategy with the XBox 360 as an extender unit. In the past I've wondered about people who are big Media Center fanatics but non gamers. Particularly as Media Center takes off in the next two years and people begin buying multiple XBox 360s as extender units for their homes my thinking was that Microsoft very well could take a loss on sales to people who buy XBox 360s as extender units. Microsoft basically loses money on the hardware for every XBox 360 they sell. Estimates are that each XBox costs Microsoft as much as $715 per box to make. If, as a non gamer, I were to buy three or four for my home as extender units and never buy any games or online services it would seem to be a bad deal for Microsoft who makes up the hardware loss by selling you games and services with your XBox.

    Sean said that this was not as bad as I might suspect though as there are many casual gamers out there. Sean also talked about ways that Microsoft could appeal to these casual gamers by offering things like legacy games that would strike a chord with games they played in their youth as well as the idea of introducing more non gamer type games like board games online. At Christmas my family and I played Trivial Pursuit as we do just about every Christmas. One problem we had was that we were using an edition from about 15 years ago. The questions are hopelessly outdated. I think it would be very cool for us to be able to either buy, or even on a one time pay per view basis, play Trivial Pursuit in our living room through our XBox extender. I think Sean is right and that as people begin to buy XBox 360s as extender units that Microsoft does find ways to market to the casual gamer. There certainly will be a select few that never do anything with their XBox 360s except use it as an extender box but these folks are just part of the cost of doing business.

    I haven't played games in many years but I imagine when I finally do get an XBox that I also may become a bit more of a gamer as certainly the graphics and play seems exciting. There are lines every day at the Microsoft booth with people waiting to play their XBoxes.
     
  7. Jan 7, 2006 #7 of 35
    tomo_kun

    tomo_kun DJT0M0.

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    And why is DirecTV not bothering with ANY Macintosh intergration whatsoever?
     
  8. Jan 7, 2006 #8 of 35
    lee espinoza

    lee espinoza some guy

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    You could ask Tivo the Same Thing.
     
  9. Jan 7, 2006 #9 of 35
    DTV TiVo Dealer

    DTV TiVo Dealer Snr. Member/Retailer

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    As I understand the deal, Microsoft and DIRECTV are working very close on the development and I believe Microsoft approached DIRECTV first. So we need to pus Macintosh to partner with some of the multi-channel video suppliers.

    In fact, Bill Gates pulled a Toshiba portable device out of his pocket during his key note speech, where he announced his partnership with DIRECTV.

    -Robert
     
  10. Billy66

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

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    Because they want to partner with the big boys, not the also rans. :)
     
  11. FourDoor

    FourDoor I Tivo!

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    Oct 25, 2002
    Thanks for posting your impressions on Vista and what you've found out about the DTV support in Vista.

    One of the other reports I had read was that the cable card and DTV cards announced do not have any specific CPU or chipset requirements. This means that current MCE 2k5 owners like myself may actually have the opportunity to upgrade in the future to a Vista MCE machine with a DTV sat card. :D
     
  12. bidger

    bidger Active Member

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    Maybe you should ask Apple about that.
     
  13. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

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    Philadelphia...
    I don't want viruses on my DVR. Screw Microsoft.
     
  14. tomo_kun

    tomo_kun DJT0M0.

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    Yeah, especially with TiVo making a Mac compatable version of TiVo desktop (albeit pre-alpha) that supports TiVoToGo
    Ah yes, I forgot about that from the microsoft keynote coverage on engadget. Its a dissapointment that ill be left out, but im sure there will be *maybe* a compromise or some sort of software support for us mac users.

    Oh and arcady, here here. Its painful enough for me to post this from my room computer, which happens to be my old virus filled PC.. *shudder*.
     
  15. Billy66

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

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    Then stick with what you have. I enjoy transferring shows and I'm really not too afraid of viruses.

    {billy knocks on wood} I don't even run any virus software on my PC and I've never had a virus issue. Not to say that I won't, but if I do, and it's bad, it will take me about 20 minutes to restore the image of my drive and my latest backup. {/knock}

    I'm not a Mac hater and I don't know if you're a MS basher or if you were just responding to what you felt was an attack on Mac by me. But none of that matters. As a course of business, you want to partner with the company that owns the most customers and regardless of how anyone feels about their relative quality or security, that is indisputably Microsoft.
     
  16. tbeckner

    tbeckner TiVo Fan

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    I wouldn't worry about getting a virus from a Microsoft box on your Linux DVR. Highly unlikely, I would bet you would have a better chance of becoming THE POPE that this happening.
     
  17. Billy66

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

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    He wasn't serious tbeckner, he just felt a need to take a swipe at MS to validate his preference of Mac.
     
  18. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

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    Philadelphia...
    Uh, I'm not talking about getting a virus on my TiVo. This thread is "MCE this, MCE that." Windows is what gets the viruses, not my TiVos or my Macs.
     
  19. Billy66

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

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    Uhhh, first you said this:


    Twelve hours later you say this:

    What exactly did you mean? If you were just taking uninformed shots at MS or the DTV's DVR, just say so.
     
  20. HiDefGator

    HiDefGator New Member

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    The only reason you don't have virus's on your Tivo or Mac is because the virus writers focus on the largest target platform which is Windows. So bragging about there not being virus's for your Tivo or Mac is like admitting you're are using a less popular platform. The harder Microsoft makes Windows for virus writers the sooner they will turn to the Mac as a target. Neither the Mac nor the Tivo are immune.
     

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