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Microsoft rumored to respond to new Apple TV with Xbox-based service

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
Microsoft is reportedly planning to take on Apple TV and Google TV with a new subscription service that will be delivered through the company's popular Xbox 360 game console.

Two anonymous people familiar with the company's plans told Reuters that Microsoft is in early talks with content providers to become a "virtual cable operator." The service would reportedly come with a monthly fee, and would allow owners of the Xbox 360 game console to stream TV.

Microsoft is also reportedly pursuing a lesser option, which would allow existing cable subscribers to watch and interact with content via the Xbox, similar to how providers offer streaming services over the Web. The Redmond, Wash., software giant could also allow individual channel subscriptions, for networks such as HBO or Showtime.

Microsoft is looking to counter new products that launched this fall from Apple and Google in the set top box market. However, Microsoft's plans are said to be at least 12 months away, people familiar with the talks reportedly said.

In September, Apple introduced its new cloud-centric Apple TV, which sells for just $99. The device has limited internal storage and allows streaming of high-definition TV shows from Fox and ABC for 99 cents.

Apple had more ambitious plans for its new product, and pitched to TV networks a $30-per-month unlimited subscription plan. But networks allegedly rejected that idea, leading Apple to push for 99 cent TV rentals. And even that plan was rejected by major networks like CBS and NBC.

Google has faced its own share of problems with newly launched Google TV products running the Android operating system. While devices with Google TV initially had access to streaming Web content from network stations, many of those networks made efforts to block Google TV devices.
post #2 of 67
Makes sense. The new Apple TV is rather awesome. Used one for the first time over Thanksgiving and it adds another dimension onto any television it's attached to. Many televisions have the services increasingly built-in, though, so I'm not sure how long the third-party market for this stuff will last.
post #3 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Microsoft is reportedly planning to take on Apple TV and Google TV with a new subscription service that will be delivered through the company's popular Xbox 360 game console.

Two anonymous people familiar with the company's plans told Reuters that Microsoft is in early talks with content providers to become a "virtual cable operator." The service would reportedly come with a monthly fee, and would allow owners of the Xbox 360 game console to stream TV.

Microsoft is also reportedly pursuing a lesser option, which would allow existing cable subscribers to watch and interact with content via the Xbox, similar to how providers offer streaming services over the Web. The Redmond, Wash., software giant could also allow individual channel subscriptions, for networks such as HBO or Showtime.

Microsoft is looking to counter new products that launched this fall from Apple and Google in the set top box market. However, Microsoft's plans are said to be at least 12 months away, people familiar with the talks reportedly said.

In September, Apple introduced its new cloud-centric Apple TV, which sells for just $99. The device has limited internal storage and allows streaming of high-definition TV shows from Fox and ABC for 99 cents.

Apple had more ambitious plans for its new product, and pitched to TV networks a $30-per-month unlimited subscription plan. But networks allegedly rejected that idea, leading Apple to push for 99 cent TV rentals. And even that plan was rejected by major networks like CBS and NBC.

Google has faced its own share of problems with newly launched Google TV products running the Android operating system. While devices with Google TV initially had access to streaming Web content from network stations, many of those networks made efforts to block Google TV devices.

if not for the fact that IE sucks....i would say put a full blown browser on it, let me control it with kinect rather than a remote, and you have a winner.
post #4 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Microsoft is reportedly planning to take on Apple TV and Google TV with a new subscription service that will be delivered through the company's popular Xbox 360 game console.



Big. deal. Microsoft just loses money with the XBOX, more and more.
post #5 of 67
Weren't WebTV and MSNBC supposed to solve this a decade ago? How did that pan out?
post #6 of 67
I wonder if Ballmer ever gets tired of always feeling like he's a day late and a dollar short. Microsoft is always playing catch up to Apple in every aspect of its business. \

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post #7 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockarollr View Post

Microsoft is always playing catch up to Apple in every aspect of its business. \

Actually, other than grafting a GUI on top of DOS back in the 80s Microsoft has been more or less in parity with Apple in terms of innovation and first-to-market. The big difference is Microsoft used to release all sorts of unusuable crap as a pre-emptive strike against competition because their customer base would buy it first. Coupled with well-applied Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt they would establish a market toe-hold and take it from there.

Since around 2000 (the Ballmer Decade), however, this formula has been failing Microsoft. Microsoft beat Apple to touch interface, smart-phones, tablets, home entertainment --give or take one's definition of same-- but the public wasn't buying. Meanwhile, Apple adopted the policy of only releasing refined products that actually work, while keeping the development secret. Obviously this strategy has worked well, and Apple has the technical proficiency to pull it off.

Microsoft still beats Apple handily in a number of areas --office apps, game console, server software, development tools, mapping and search, to name a few-- but other than with the Xbox they simply cannot muster decent consumer products. In that area Ballmer has a black thumb and simply doesn't get it.
post #8 of 67
I'm glad Apple TV never launched a subscription service. The new Apple TV seems to be having a hard enough time keeping up with streaming rentals as it is. It always stalls and freezes when I try to rent a movie or TV show on weekend nights - in contrast my laptop can download the same content from iTunes over wi-fi just fine. I would be far less tolerant of paying a monthly subscription fee only to have the same streaming problems.
post #9 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... a new subscription service that will be delivered through the company's popular Xbox 360 game console..... Microsoft's plans are said to be at least 12 months away, people familiar with the talks reportedly said.

Foxtel is our big cable/satellite provider in Australia.

Foxtel+Microsoft started offering Foxtel on Xbox (a suscription service) in the last month. Apparently it works quite well.
http://www.foxtel.com.au/xbox/default.htm

There are options to set the streaming quality (low/medium/high), while on-demand content is a download file (which plays while downloading). For streaming channels it has to cache 5-10 seconds before it starts or changes channel, to handle the vagaries of inconsistent internet. The base package has 10 "live" (streaming) channels. Extra packs have a combination of streaming & on demand (catch-up TV) channels.

http://www.cnet.com.au/foxtel-on-xbo...-339306661.htm

Biggest problem is that we have quota allowances here. So at about 800MB/hr (I think) you have to be careful or get a big plan.

I guess Microsoft is testing the technology here?
post #10 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Makes sense. The new Apple TV is rather awesome. Used one for the first time over Thanksgiving and it adds another dimension onto any television it's attached to. Many televisions have the services increasingly built-in, though, so I'm not sure how long the third-party market for this stuff will last.

what does apple TV do that x-box and PS3 don't do? youtube is better on the apple tv than the PS3, but that is going to change soon.

my point is that devices that have netflix and youtube already have installed bases in the tens of millions. the only people buying apple TV are those without a game console and/or internet enabled blu ray player or TV

i have 3 iphones in the house and planning to buy into the ipad 2 next year, but everything else apple does seems to be a niche market
post #11 of 67
What Steve Ballmer and the rest of Microsoft do not realize is that not everyone is a gamer. Having an AppleTV like approach to the Xbox will not appeal to the non gamer generation. Apple on the other hand made the AppleTV appeal to everyone with the addition of apps and games to be forthcoming, thus making it more of a platform of choice for everyone.
post #12 of 67
Xbox is still 60 decibels. I dislike a vacuum cleaner noise while watching anything.
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post #13 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandau View Post

Xbox is still 60 decibels. I dislike a vacuum cleaner noise while watching anything.

According to Anandtech these are the sound comparison numbers:

Measured from 2 inches away from the device in a room that has a noise floor of around 37 dB...

XBOX 360 Slim (Valhalla): 45dB (Idle), 51dB (load)
XBOX 360 (Jasper): 50dB (Idle), 54dB (Load)

The load measurement was when a disc was spinning.

Where did you get your 60 dB number from?
post #14 of 67
I don't care where he got the 60 dB from, I just know the sound of an XBox annoys the hell out of me with or without my hearing aids. The Apple TV has some shortcomings but at least it is quite.



Quote:
Originally Posted by DancesWithLysol View Post

According to Anandtech these are the sound comparison numbers:

Measured from 2 inches away from the device in a room that has a noise floor of around 37 dB...

XBOX 360 Slim (Valhalla): 45dB (Idle), 51dB (load)
XBOX 360 (Jasper): 50dB (Idle), 54dB (Load)

The load measurement was when a disc was spinning.

Where did you get your 60 dB number from?
post #15 of 67
They expect to double XBOX sales, as you will need to buy another one to watch TV on, since you'll never wrest the existing one from the gamers' grips long enough to watch entire movie, and everyone who doesn't think they need an XBOX will now decide they need one to watch video.

Um, no.

If I have a XBOX and want to watch movies, I'd pay Apple or Roku $99 to do so. Not $200 for another of what I already have which is already monopolized by the resident gamer(s).

Come to think of it if I *don't* have an XBOX and *don't* play games, then I also wouldn't pay twice as much to get a movie playing thingy.

if I play games on something else, then I still don't buy the XBOX for twice some other box.

Their demographic is apparently people who bought an XBOX and are tired of gaming and need something for an XBOX to do besides be a space heater.

Brilliant.
post #16 of 67
The author of this article seems terribly confused.

The Xbox 360 has permitted everything Apple TV has for years.

They're talking about adding a content subscription service, similar to Hulu Plus.

This has absolutely nothing to do with Apple TV. They're offering something Apple TV does not have, and probably never will have.
post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwal View Post

I don't care where he got the 60 dB from, I just know the sound of an XBox annoys the hell out of me with or without my hearing aids. The Apple TV has some shortcomings but at least it is quite.

the new xbox is very quiet. my previous model was a real screamer! so glad they got that noise problem dealt with.
nothing beats the apple tv for being quiet though, in fact, it makes no sound at all since i didn't buy one! went with the Roku till my logitech revue gets here. lol
post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

They expect to double XBOX sales, as you will need to buy another one to watch TV on, since you'll never wrest the existing one from the gamers' grips long enough to watch entire movie, and everyone who doesn't think they need an XBOX will now decide they need one to watch video.

Um, no.

If I have a XBOX and want to watch movies, I'd pay Apple or Roku $99 to do so. Not $200 for another of what I already have which is already monopolized by the resident gamer(s).

Come to think of it if I *don't* have an XBOX and *don't* play games, then I also wouldn't pay twice as much to get a movie playing thingy.

if I play games on something else, then I still don't buy the XBOX for twice some other box.

Their demographic is apparently people who bought an XBOX and are tired of gaming and need something for an XBOX to do besides be a space heater.

Brilliant.

we get it, we get it. you are old.
post #19 of 67
In Australia? That's just crazy talk. You're just having fun with us. Biggest problem? Everyone knows by virtue of being upside-down on the bottom of the earth, all the electrons float out the top vents on electronics and they stop working. And that's why the surfing is so good there - because it's harder for the water to stick to the earth (being upside down) and you get bigger waves. And the deserts are there because rain can't fall up.

It's simple physics, man.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

Foxtel is our big cable/satellite provider in Australia.

Foxtel+Microsoft started offering Foxtel on Xbox (a suscription service) in the last month. Apparently it works quite well.
http://www.foxtel.com.au/xbox/default.htm

There are options to set the streaming quality (low/medium/high), while on-demand content is a download file (which plays while downloading). For streaming channels it has to cache 5-10 seconds before it starts or changes channel, to handle the vagaries of inconsistent internet. The base package has 10 "live" (streaming) channels. Extra packs have a combination of streaming & on demand (catch-up TV) channels.

http://www.cnet.com.au/foxtel-on-xbo...-339306661.htm

Biggest problem is that we have quota allowances here. So at about 800MB/hr (I think) you have to be careful or get a big plan.

I guess Microsoft is testing the technology here?
post #20 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by screamingfist View Post

we get it, we get it. you are old.

My Dreamcast?

Had I been a little older, that post would have been an ASCII art flowchart!
post #21 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockarollr View Post

I wonder if Ballmer ever gets tired of always feeling like he's a day late and a dollar short. Microsoft is always playing catch up to Apple in every aspect of its business. \

No, he's just doing what the cool kids on the block are doing. He will be uninstalled if he doesn't at least try to make Microsoft look like they're still relevant and belong in the 21st century.

Good luck, and happy retirement.

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post #22 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Microsoft still beats Apple handily in a number of areas --office apps, game console, server software, development tools, mapping and search, to name a few

Yeah, in areas Apple hasn't been much involved with - yet: game consoles, search, mapping (let me know when Bing offers street view)...
post #23 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by screamingfist View Post

the new xbox is very quiet. my previous model was a real screamer! so glad they got that noise problem dealt with.
nothing beats the apple tv for being quiet though, in fact, it makes no sound at all since i didn't buy one! went with the Roku till my logitech revue gets here. lol

I take it you haven't read the reviews of the revue or kept up with the list of websites blocking access for it. Google had really ambitious plans for Google TV and as it result, it isn't really ready for prime time yet. Apple took a less ambitious approach and provided a quality product. Now they will build on that solid foundation and add features at the level of quality expected from Apple. Google TV has a ton of potential, but it remains to be seen if it will meet that potential. I'd have waited for a bit before jumping on the bandwagon.

The Apple TV is really quiet though, even if you actually have one, as it has no moving parts.
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post #24 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

My Dreamcast?

Had I been a little older, that post would have been an ASCII art flowchart!

he he. my 14 year old said 'why would anyone use a mac? they kinda suck'
post #25 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

I take it you haven't read the reviews of the revue or kept up with the list of websites blocking access for it. Google had really ambitious plans for Google TV and as it result, it isn't really ready for prime time yet. Apple took a less ambitious approach and provided a quality product. Now they will build on that solid foundation and add features at the level of quality expected from Apple. Google TV has a ton of potential, but it remains to be seen if it will meet that potential. I'd have waited for a bit before jumping on the bandwagon.

The Apple TV is really quiet though, even if you actually have one, as it has no moving parts.

yes, i am getting the Revue for free so can't complain just yet...
post #26 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by screamingfist View Post

he he. my 14 year old said 'why would anyone use a mac? they kinda suck'

He's his father's son. (Or daughter)
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post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by screamingfist View Post

if not for the fact that IE sucks....i would say put a full blown browser on it, let me control it with kinect rather than a remote, and you have a winner.

IE does suck. But browsing on your TV sucks harder, whether you control it with a massive wireless keyboard or by punching your fists in the air. WebTV has already come and gone. Now there's GoogleTV. Sure, we have higher bandwidth and HDTV resolution now, but it's still the same old bad idea.

If you live alone, then sure, browsing the internet on your big Samsung will have a novelty effect for the first few days. "Wow. I've never browsed the internet on my TV before." But after that, you'll be thinking "Why should I need to go to the living room just to browse the internet?"

If you don't live alone, the various members of the household will be competing for browsing privilege. Browsing and other internet use is inherently an individual experience. But big-screen HDTVs in the living room are for a communal viewing experience. Do you think Dad will be allowed to check prices on Amazon during a family viewing of Wall-E? Will Mom be allowed to check her email on a 3rd and long play in the red zone during the Superbowl? Will little Billy be allowed to tweet during The Nightly News? No, no, and no.

The fundamental problem is that TVs have been refined over the years into simple, easily understood appliances. Adding the complexity of a pee cee to your TV is a huge step in the wrong direction.

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post #28 of 67
The entire video content delivery model is undergoing a huge shift. We are in the middle of it and it will be some time before we know who or what will become dominant. All the players can do at this point is throw stuff against the wall and hope it sticks. At least Apple has a history of innovation and leadership in new areas it enters. But there is also a strong possibility that some minor player or startup may come along and school them all. We have been cursed to live in interesting times.
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post #29 of 67
What metric do you use when declaring Microsoft beats Apple. Do you mean by sales? Office shouldn't count because Microsoft offers the only real Office suite thanks to the strategy you pointed out. Apple probably could be more innovative there, and will be as tablets take off and it's market share increases, however, it reasonably can't be expected to compete with Microsoft's installed base that relies on Office.

Further, Apple's development tools are arguably better, it just doesn't sell them. You get them for free. I agree Microsoft's game consul is pretty nice (at least the online part in comparisons to competitor's offerings). So is Microsoft's Sync in Ford vehicles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Actually, other than grafting a GUI on top of DOS back in the 80s Microsoft has been more or less in parity with Apple in terms of innovation and first-to-market. The big difference is Microsoft used to release all sorts of unusuable crap as a pre-emptive strike against competition because their customer base would buy it first. Coupled with well-applied Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt they would establish a market toe-hold and take it from there.

Since around 2000 (the Ballmer Decade), however, this formula has been failing Microsoft. Microsoft beat Apple to touch interface, smart-phones, tablets, home entertainment --give or take one's definition of same-- but the public wasn't buying. Meanwhile, Apple adopted the policy of only releasing refined products that actually work, while keeping the development secret. Obviously this strategy has worked well, and Apple has the technical proficiency to pull it off.

Microsoft still beats Apple handily in a number of areas --office apps, game console, server software, development tools, mapping and search, to name a few-- but other than with the Xbox they simply cannot muster decent consumer products. In that area Ballmer has a black thumb and simply doesn't get it.
post #30 of 67
Alright folks, here it comes. Apple and Microsoft BOTH suck, if they want to conspire, along w/ Silverlight tagalong Netflix, in drowning the Blu-ray baby so they can make us all forget Fair Use and the joys of collecting/manipulating our beloved video content as we should be able to.

Give us PPV, rental and On Demand--no prob! But you better ALSO give us Blu-ray with pristine 1080p, original language/subtitle options, and all the extra content that we movie/series-lovers and collectors want and have come to expect rom the studios/networks for decades.

I'm afraid its all a ruse, dangling the 'shiny object' of supposed "convenience" to distract us from all the things they're content to take away from us in the process. Don't fall for it folks! DEMAND more than limited viewing windows and obscene per-show/viewing charges, DEMAND full HD/5.1 quality, and DEMAND access to all the extra content we who truly appreciate the artforms of film and television deserve!

So, to summarize: Apple, give us Blu-ray in our computers! Microsoft, come clean on the HD-DVD debacle and don't lock us into Zune-only playback...and yeah, you Netflix, quit pushing your disc subs into a corner w/ rate-jacking (esp Blu customers) and just deliver the goods!
post #31 of 67
Anyone else from the UK confused as you can already get Sky Tv on an Xbox! Not exactly a year away, more like its been around for over a year. Plus isn't the big news for Xbox that it looks like its getting apps. Something rumored for Apple tv that never seems to turn up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

What Steve Ballmer and the rest of Microsoft do not realize is that not everyone is a gamer. Having an AppleTV like approach to the Xbox will not appeal to the non gamer generation. Apple on the other hand made the AppleTV appeal to everyone with the addition of apps and games to be forthcoming, thus making it more of a platform of choice for everyone.

Unless you want to play games, so not quite everyone.
post #32 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by 蘋果蘋果蘋果 View Post

Big. deal. Microsoft just loses money with the XBOX, more and more.

Hey look... a post from 2007.
post #33 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

What metric do you use when declaring Microsoft beats Apple. Do you mean by sales?

Pretty much.

Quote:
Office shouldn't count because Microsoft offers the only real Office suite thanks to the strategy you pointed out. Apple probably could be more innovative there, and will be as tablets take off and it's market share increases, however, it reasonably can't be expected to compete with Microsoft's installed base that relies on Office.

Actually, Office beats iWork in terms of capabilities, setting aside sales and entrenched installed base. The interface is fraught with Microsoft's UI schizophrenia and the overall file structure of the program files is a fiasco, but for someone with serious spreadsheet or writing needs (which actually is quite rare) it's the only act in town. That's not to say that the overall state of office apps shouldn't benefit from more competition as it did in the 80's, but one can't accuse Microsoft of releasing a deficient product for this particular set of needs.

(I personally use iWork because I prefer the interface and don't need Excel's or Word's full feature set. I do wish, however, that it didn't use its own proprierary file formats. It's a shame that ODF didn't win the format battle, but as long as we're stuck with OOXML I think it would be better if iWork settled on that instead of Apple's formats. )
post #34 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by timgriff84 View Post

Anyone else from the UK confused as you can already get Sky Tv on an Xbox! Not exactly a year away, more like its been around for over a year. Plus isn't the big news for Xbox that it looks like its getting apps. Something rumored for Apple tv that never seems to turn up.



Unless you want to play games, so not quite everyone.

"never seems to turn up", it's not been out for two minutes!!!
post #35 of 67
This isnt really anything special. Microsoft is broadening the Xbox's horizon even more, beyond their Zune service and inclusion of Netflix.

Microsoft is bidding for living room superiority, i'd say they are doing a great job and anything they add to the overall experience makes that 199 purchase even better.
post #36 of 67
Honestly at least they have a chance with the Xbox. I think MS will be able to sign more people up to their service (by people I mean content providers) because they don't have a free culture (or are believed not to have one).

MS already charges $50 for XLive, so its users are used to paying for content. Zune, while suckie, already has some deals cooked up with major labels and studios.

I'm sure if MS doubles down their efforts they can turn xbox into a pretty nice media center device. You can use their texting attachment for the controller as the mini keyboard, and the platform is mature enough and CHEAP enough at $150 to deliver very good quality of experience.

For now, I think the winner is either boxee box or just plain old dell hooked up to TV.
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post #37 of 67
I understand some of your sentiment. However, Blue Ray was designed to stamp out Fair-Use by putting in place harder DRM. Further, the licensing requirements really do stink. Go check out a PC with BlueRay on it. Performance suffers even when not using BlueRy and you get tons of annoying messages when dealing with third party hardware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ellusian View Post

Alright folks, here it comes. Apple and Microsoft BOTH suck, if they want to conspire, along w/ Silverlight tagalong Netflix, in drowning the Blu-ray baby so they can make us all forget Fair Use and the joys of collecting/manipulating our beloved video content as we should be able to.

Give us PPV, rental and On Demand--no prob! But you better ALSO give us Blu-ray with pristine 1080p, original language/subtitle options, and all the extra content that we movie/series-lovers and collectors want and have come to expect rom the studios/networks for decades.

I'm afraid its all a ruse, dangling the 'shiny object' of supposed "convenience" to distract us from all the things they're content to take away from us in the process. Don't fall for it folks! DEMAND more than limited viewing windows and obscene per-show/viewing charges, DEMAND full HD/5.1 quality, and DEMAND access to all the extra content we who truly appreciate the artforms of film and television deserve!

So, to summarize: Apple, give us Blu-ray in our computers! Microsoft, come clean on the HD-DVD debacle and don't lock us into Zune-only playback...and yeah, you Netflix, quit pushing your disc subs into a corner w/ rate-jacking (esp Blu customers) and just deliver the goods!
post #38 of 67
I haven't watched a drama or sitcom in years. Even the simpsons; I stopped watching the new episodes right around the 11th season.
My point is, why are these companies trying to find new ways to get our money, selling us a product that sucks. I say no thanks to AppleTV, Xbox, Hulu, Google TV, etc.
post #39 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockarollr View Post

I wonder if Ballmer ever gets tired of always feeling like he's a day late and a dollar short. Microsoft is always playing catch up to Apple in every aspect of its business. \

Well that's the way Microsoft has done business for 20+ years. Don't actually innovate, just wait for someone else to do it and bury it, or buy it or copy it and do it "better". They actually succeeded in this model very very well until their first mistake... underestimating the ipod. If they had brought out the Zune ( in some form ) in 2002 or so, they would have had a much better shot.
They didn't realize they were losing their grip on the world until it was too late. Now Apple has such an amazing lead on them, they are forced to try to actually innovate... which they are terrible at.
Ironically, I think they would have rocked the world with the Courier if they had ever actually been serious about it.
post #40 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

I understand some of your sentiment. However, Blue Ray was designed to stamp out Fair-Use by putting in place harder DRM. Further, the licensing requirements really do stink. Go check out a PC with BlueRay on it. Performance suffers even when not using BlueRy and you get tons of annoying messages when dealing with third party hardware.

This is a demonstrably false claim. I have built an AMD-based Windows PC with a Blu-Ray drive (can both burn and play back Blu-Ray), and I have also purchased an Asus laptop with built-in Blu-Ray drive. The Asus is an Intel Core i7, although it has ATI/AMD graphics (a Radeon Mobility HD 5730); the desktop I built is a Phenom II X4 940 system with an Asus AM2+ motherboard and a fairly run-of-the-mill LG BD-ROM burner.

Both systems do Blu-Ray playback exceptionally well, with no stuttering, hiccups, etc. And performance is just fine when not playing back or otherwise using the Blu-Ray capability. What you say about DRM is somewhat true, and to get the optimum experience for movie playback you need 100% certified components throughout the entire playback chain -- this means video card and monitor, for example, must support HDCP over whatever cabling you choose (DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, etc.)

However, when not using either system to play back movies, the DRM doesn't factor in at all. Even burning data discs to BD-R media is not impacted by DRM.

I hear where you're coming from on the Fair Use issue, but it's good to remember that few countries have liberal Fair Use laws the way the United States does. It's also good to remember that more and more studios have recognized the desire to obtain digital copies of movies, for instance to side-load on their iPod or to watch on their laptop computer without having a disc in the drive. So studios are putting digital copies on Blu-Ray releases, either on the BD disc itself (for side loading onto a PSP) or on a DVD that's packed in (for every other platform). I know this isn't perfect, but at least it's something, and it's often possible to do at least limited remixing of the digital copy, even if it's lower resolution.

It's the remixing and other transformative uses that are the ones the creative types care most about, and ironically these very applications are feared (rightly or wrongly) as a gateway to piracy or to distortion of the original artistic work.

The licensing requirements for Blu-Ray are bad, but guess what? They're just about as bad for DVD, even in this day and age -- we still don't have legitimate Linux software for viewing DVDs, unless you count Lindows/Linspire software that isn't mainstream and isn't open source.

Which is one of the reasons many tech folks went to Macs in the first place -- a UNIX operating system which can also run Photoshop and play DVDs, for example. I don't see any Mac users clamoring for Apple to take away their ability to watch DVDs, though. What I do see is Apple's steadfast refusal to include Blu-Ray drives on any Macs, forcing users to buy external drives or install Blu-Ray internal drives in an expensive Mac Pro. Some of us would like the option to watch BD movies on our MacBook Pros, and others would like to burn huge datasets (> 9 GB) to a single disc on their Mac Pros.

At any rate... I think your comments about Blu-Ray on computers are overblown. I have yet to see a single annoying pop-up message about third party hardware, or anything else. Maybe I can chalk that up to being super careful about selecting hardware when building a system, though I can't claim that for a laptop purchase.
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