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"Digital Hub" - Thanks for clarifying, Steve.

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I know now not to hold out for any piece of hardware from Apple that will sit in my home theater system and unify my audio-visual experience under one sleek and easy system of control. To Steve the "digital hub" means just adding more software to a mac to maniputate different media.

And speaking of media, by now it is just wierd that Steve has accomodated digital cameras, camcorders, and DVDs while neglecting the far more ubiquitous media of TV. C'mon, how many people out there spend more time editing and burning home videos or composing digital photo albums than they do sitting on their couch potato asses watching TV (my couch potato ass included)?

I want my DTV! I suppose the "D" is the key here and we won't see apple integrating TV until it is all being broadcast digitally. I mean at that point a computer merely has to listen to the pre-encoded video being trasmitted to it through the friggin air.

Steve hates TV, fine, but he's gonna have to accept the reality that in a few years as TVs get bigger, thinner, and cheaper the center of our digital lifestyle will once again be the couch.

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post #2 of 29
Hear hear, well said.

I really thought we'd see a new improved implementation of DH by now. Stevie boy didn't announce anything revolutionary, mostly it was a repeat of MWSF 2001, just aimed at the consumer instead of pro. New iMac, but no new technologies, iPhoto, but no leap over iMovie/iDVD. They didn't even bother increasing display real estate on the new 14 inch iBook.

Not exactly a disppointment, but not amazing either. I'm hoping the REAL goodies come with the revision of the new iMac at a future show, like Firewire came with the original slot-loading iMacs. Oh, yeah, hope the slot loading comes back too.

As for Apple pre-keynote hype - they lost me with this one. No matter what they do next time, they ain't got my attention no more.
post #3 of 29
The difference between TV as a 'medium' and DVD, mp3 and jpg as 'media' is pretty distinct.

Check the dictionary.

SdC
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post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by suckfuldotcom:
<strong>The difference between TV as a 'medium' and DVD, mp3 and jpg as 'media' is pretty distinct.

Check the dictionary.

SdC</strong><hr></blockquote>

What do DVDs contain? Media. What do DV camcorders generate? Media. What do digital cameras make? Media. What are Mp3s? Media. What's on TV? ____

You seem to be racking up the posts while saying nothing. Is there even a point to your post? Are all the people who watch TV and would like to have a slick way to manage all the media on TV supposed to be mollified by such a distinction. Is there anything in your point that would make someone say, "O, I'm sorry, I guess my desire to simplify the management of the media I most frequently use was innappropriate, because it is a medium not media." Huh?

Check reality.

[ 01-07-2002: Message edited by: Nordstrodamus ]</p>

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post #5 of 29
Television is a medium designed to send information through the airwaves.

DVD's, mp3's and jpgs are media, the actual material.

I know it's a subtle distinction (and maybe beyond your ken), but try not to confuse the drive with the road.

SdC
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post #6 of 29
What he's trying to tell you is that there is a difference between media that can be used to produce things that people want to produce (CDs, web, DVDs, slideshows), and media that is merely consumed (television).

Apple is clearly interested in the former. For the latter, you already have a television. As for integrating all your stereo components, most modern amplifiers do that quite well.
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post #7 of 29
TV and computers do not mix. Using a computer is an activity. Watching TV is a passivity. I just don't understand how TV (the end-user part not the part about content creation) fits with the digital hub. Just because they are (or rather will be) both digital doesn't mean they fit together well.
post #8 of 29
Well, I'm afraid TV's and computer WILL mix and Apple is so far not leading in any kind of meaningful way that will increase marketshare.

I like iPhoto, but it won't increase marketshare. I like the idea behind the new iMac (as opposed to the form....ack), but it will barely increase marketshare if at all.

More games, faster chips and bus speeds and more devices will increase marketshare.

The Time magazine article also mentioned the big elephant in the room that no-one admits is there and that is that most consumers buy what everyone else is buying. Here the automobile industry analogy doesn't work so well. I know making the Mac OS emulate Windose is anathema and I know the arguments, but the real point is to give consumers no reason to worry about buying a Mac and the only way to do that is to make compatibility irrelevant.

Back to the DigiHub, I agree with Nostro in that I wish the Cube (a far more beautiful form) could have morphed into that Home Hub, with or without the articulated LCD screen and have connectivity to stereos, tV's, etc.! Then just let us have a wireless graphical interface that we could walk around the room with. What's so hard about designing that? Aside from bandwidth for big video stuff, there isn't much to invent.
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post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph:
<strong> As for integrating all your stereo components, most modern amplifiers do that quite well.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Amplifier, huh? Glad you brought that up. I have an amplifier, a receiver to be more accurate, that I bought a few years back and it was obsolete about a year after I bought it. Was it broke? No, but it didn't have Dolby 5.1 that DVDs use (and now their moving on to an even better sound processing specification). Furthermore, my receiver has no idea whether my VCR is on or if it's set to VCR/TV and even if it did know it has no way of controling them.[/qb]

I guess I never paid attention. I have a new amp, but only because the old one died a while back. The whole stereo - and I mean stereo, as in two channels - is currently in storage because I have no place to put it right now. When I do have room, I see no reason to change it. Two speakers will handle everything I need them to - mostly, music. I don't own a TV. Haven't in years. Not because I can't afford one.

Obsolescence is in the eye of the beholder. What I do know about the progress in this kind of convergence I know because my roommate is busy building a low-end home theater in the living room.

[quote]<strong>Now, consider the alternative- a true digital hub. The computer easily interprets new sound standards (say Dolby 7.1 ) and sends them to the amp (which it can turn on and control) by firewire. All my television shows are organized like on Replay, but I can burn them to DVD or add additional firewire drives for more storage. The hub can stream them to any computer in the house by ethernet or airport (higher compression of course) as well as act as a file server.</strong><hr></blockquote>

This would require a setup where the amp could feed any number of speakers over a FW cable or two (with all the speakers daisy-chained together). I'm not sure how feasible that is, or when it would become feasible. As for the rest, when my roommate turns on his amp from his all-in-one remote, all the connected components also fire up, so that appears to be something of a solved problem. It could be more elegant, but it can also become more elegant without bringing a computer into the mix.

Want to burn TV shows to DVD? Good luck. The industry tolerates videocassettes because they got Congress to pass the AHRA, and because they have relatively poor video quality which degrades (rapidly) over time (and also because the Supreme Court ordered them to). DVDs are capable of capturing broadcast-quality video and replaying it for years at full picture quality, in addition to enabling lossless copying an arbitrary number of times with no degradation. (TiVos are indeed one-way, so they can't be used that way.) You can bet money that as soon as the medium goes digital, the streams will be encrypted. It's already illegal to break that encryption, or abet the breaking of that encryption in any way. So there goes TiVo and ReplayTV and the rest, unless the broadcasters decide to allow some limited ability to delay the shows (but you can bet the ad-skipping features will vanish). Rebroadcasting signals? Good luck. You won't be able to compress them, because they're already going to be compressed. But even if bandwidth is not an issue, I doubt the industry will want you to be able to. They'll want every display that gets a signal to have a cable hanging off of it, and a subscription.

If it's not digital, or it is digital but it can't be used as raw material to create new things, Apple is probably not interested in building it into the Hub. That just seems to be the way it is. Furthermore, if it's not something that plays directly into Apple's expertise - building computers and applications - Apple probably feels that won't have any luck competing against more specialized vendors. That's the lesson it learned while it was selling printers, scanners, cameras, etc. Apple can compete with the iPod because it's a little dual-processor computer with a software interface, not just because it's a digital hub device. It's something they can do better than a peripheral company can. On the other hand, most of what you want a Mac to do as far as managing components could as easily be incorporated into a Marantz.

[quote]<strong>Ah, what the hell am I explaining this for, I suppose the people who are happy with the current mess of RCA cables, speaker wire, and multiple remotes are the same people who were satisfied with editing videotape by scotchtaping it together.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Not at all. It's just that the alternative is not putting a personal computer at the center of everything. FireWire is the future connector for stereo components - which opens up the possibility that a Mac could be a peer on a network of stereo components - and a specialized component (maybe integrated into an amp) could be used to organize and control the rest of the stereo for much less than the cost of a Mac. And unlike most Macs, which don't have IR interfaces, you can use a remote to control the component.

[quote]<strong>I guess it just couldn't possibly get any better than this and no one is going to capitalize on such a market. </strong><hr></blockquote>

Tastes apparently vary, because the most compelling aspect of your vision is the one I think is least likely to happen: The ability to copy and edit broadcast footage. Otherwise, I don't see anything that requires or even prefers a personal computer at the center of everything.

[ 01-09-2002: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>

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post #10 of 29
[quote] What do DVDs contain? Media. What do DV camcorders generate? Media. What do digital cameras make? Media. What are Mp3s? Media. What's on TV? ____ <hr></blockquote>

I know! I know! Televison is what's on TV!!

How the hell do you think ave Joe Shmoe can make a television mini series? Or make a cimmercial for Ford? Or report global news headlines? How? THEY CAN'T!

TV is for WHAT USERS CANNOT CREATE AND USE TO OBTAIN THAT MEDIA!

Anyone can shoot pics on a camera.
Anyone can shoot video on a camcorder.
Anyone can rip their CDs.

Thats the digital hub. HOW the hell is TV even involved? The TV is used to WATCH THE DVDs you just burned on your DIGITAL HUB. TV is non or will ever be a CONSUMER device or media.

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post #11 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by Nordstrodamus:
<strong>
Now, consider the alternative- a true digital hub. The computer easily interprets new sound standards (say Dolby 7.1 ) and sends them to the amp (which it can turn on and control) by firewire. All my television shows are organized like on Replay, but I can burn them to DVD or add additional firewire drives for more storage. The hub can stream them to any computer in the house by ethernet or airport (higher compression of course) as well as act as a file server.</strong><hr></blockquote>

And WHAT USE IS THAT where your creativity and design skills are concerned? Okay, so you have more creative ways to store and display something you probably didn't make. Whooopeeeee.
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post #12 of 29
According to Steve Jobs, people turn off their brains to watch TV. They turn on their brains to use a computer.

I agree with Jobs. Keep TV away from Macs. Macs are for creating, while TV is just a passive experience.

What exactly would you want with TV on a mac, anyhow? What, you want to record TV digitally, onto your HD? In other words, a high-tech VCR. Wow, what a breakthrough.

Macs are for creating, pure and simple. TV is the opposite, it's for people "sitting on their couch potato asses", as you say. Steve Jobs has too much pride to cater to such a market.

And good for him, I say.
post #13 of 29
Unfortunately Cosmonut, 90% of the market goes toward the storage and display of material that "they" didn't create.

You think kids are going to be creative with digital cameras that they aren't allowed to touch. What about ripping comercials and doing creative things with them? Found footage is the best friend of the beginning film student. The TV is not just a boob tube regurgitating images from corporate headquarter....well, okay it mostly is, but how do you change that?!?!?!?

Turn it into the other thing it is, the largest, most accessible resource of popular culture. Imagine what a 12-year old, grad student, heck house bound parent could do if they could rip a Pepsi commercial; convert it for iMovie2 and add their own voice and their friends face over Britney Spears!! It would turn the "waste lands" into a gold mine of things to make fun of! It would actually get many to seriously see how commercials are made and how non-commercials are commercialized! It would expose the "man behind the curtain" in a revolutionary way, by making it fun and easy to do!

So I say embrace TV and then tear its close off. Americans need to be as critical about how they are being marketed as they need to be critical about politicians or terrorism.

With a TV enabled iMac2 with iTV, think of how many kids could make their own 1984 commercial!....and without a videocamera!!
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post #14 of 29
It would be a mistake for Apple to get in this market at the moment.

Let all these other guys f$%k around and get it wrong.

Then maybe Apple could put out what we really want.
post #15 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by CosmoNut:
<strong>And WHAT USE IS THAT where your creativity and design skills are concerned? Okay, so you have more creative ways to store and display something you probably didn't make. Whooopeeeee.
</strong><hr></blockquote>So how is that different from MP3s? 99.99% of people aren't recording themselves performing music and then putting it into their iPods. They're taking things other people created and using it in the way they want. A TV-integrated Mac would be exactly the same thing.
post #16 of 29
All you need are tuners, which already exist, and an iApp that acts like Sherlock, acquiring all the usefull data from the periferals and programming metadata from on-line TV and radio guides. Then an iApp that rips and edits TV or radio clips like iMovie and iTunes.

At first it would be mostly iCandy, like digitizing Gilligans Island and making it monochrome green, but then you could play with the "film" speed and make short clips into screen savers and system sound files. And it would be easy to port it into the family iMovie. Can you imagine your family reunion cross fading into an Adamm's family episode?!?! If the resolution was sufficiently bad, I think you could get by any copywrite problems, just like any film class does.
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post #17 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by Junkyard Dawg:

<strong>What exactly would you want with TV on a mac, anyhow? What, you want to record TV digitally, onto your HD? In other words, a high-tech VCR. Wow, what a breakthrough.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

I think its a great idea. There are a few people in the world who do watch TV. It would be great if a student could use his iMac to record television programs with MPEG-2 video to the hard drive. Not everyone has the money or room for a big TV or home theater. Sony offers this. So do others. Why can't Apple? I think the next big thing will be home automation and control over audio/video via the computer and Apple is going to miss this too. But relax JD, Steve agrees with you and just confirmed this again today in an interview with Reuters. Those of us low-class slobs who (gasp!) actually watch TV programs from time to time will have to look elsewhere.
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post #18 of 29
[quote]Turn it into the other thing it is, the largest, most accessible resource of popular culture. Imagine what a 12-year old, grad student, heck house bound parent could do if they could rip a Pepsi commercial; convert it for iMovie2 and add their own voice and their friends face over Britney Spears!! It would turn the "waste lands" into a gold mine of things to make fun of! It would actually get many to seriously see how commercials are made and how non-commercials are commercialized! It would expose the "man behind the curtain" in a revolutionary way, by making it fun and easy to do!<hr></blockquote>

There's nothing to stop such creative kids from doing that now: plug a DV camcorder into the cable box (or output of a VCR) and capture 60 minutes (roughly 12 GBs) of footage. Import it into iMovie. I do it all the time (Animal Planet + my pets= big fun).

The tapes are reusable; a four-pack is $25--much easier than sucking up a hard drive w/mpeg-2 footage (after converting it to a DV stream)

[ 01-07-2002: Message edited by: scottiB ]</p>
post #19 of 29
[quote] Turn it into the other thing it is, the largest, most accessible resource of popular culture. Imagine what a 12-year old, grad student, heck house bound parent could do if they could rip a Pepsi commercial; convert it for iMovie2 and add their own voice and their friends face over Britney Spears!! It would turn the "waste lands" into a gold mine of things to make fun of! It would actually get many to seriously see how commercials are made and how non-commercials are commercialized! It would expose the "man behind the curtain" in a revolutionary way, by making it fun and easy to do!<hr></blockquote>

You do realize that just has "world + dog sues Apple" written all over it. Besides, ReplayTV already makes a box that can record tv, strip out commercials, and send it over a network to be played or edited. They're getting their asses sued off. Do you want Apple to make a "me too" product that to date has never even come close to making a profit for any company that produces such a product? That's kinda like the idiots who were yelling that Apple is dead because they didn't make their own internet appliance.
post #20 of 29
ScottiB: You just outlined 3 steps more than the average consumer needs/wants to do. Why have iMovie, if WindowsXP can do the same thing ... if you just did this and that and got that extra thing and plugged it in there ....

I'm saying that the average consumer will want to see the original source on the iMac monitor and go from there within a single application.

And you are right, the technology is there, but the interface isn't yet. VCR's are plentiful and VHS tape is cheap, but most consumers can barely use the FF and REC buttons correctly. And when you import the tape into iMovie is it all one clip? Can it tell when there are commercial breaks? Why not import it into iMovie off the broadcast instead of the extra step of the VCR?

I know some of this should be beyond the entry level iMac, but as a digital hub, a Mac should be able to digitize video without a videocamera. And I think it should be easier and cheaper to digitze and edit TV than to do so with a camera (no optics).

This way you don't imitate TiVo, but you some of its, now mature, technology in an innovative way.

Animal Planet and your pet video sounds like alot of fun!
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post #21 of 29
So is TiVo a one way box where you can't somehow get at the output? It seems like TiVo isn't getting sued.

Also, I would think the resolution and quality would be enough below broadcast, that it wouldn't be a threat to broadcasters.

There isn't anything illegal with the old fashion way of taping and editing tape, is there?
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post #22 of 29
Sorry guys but, I see a time when the TV will be very much in the mix. A good deal of the entertainment will be downloadable ( for a fee of course ). Much more than the quicktime trailers and if Apple's not careful sponsored by everyone's favorite company Microsoft.
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post #23 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by geezer1:
<strong>As for Apple pre-keynote hype - they lost me with this one. No matter what they do next time, they ain't got my attention no more.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Ditto that.
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post #24 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by Nordstrodamus:
<strong>
Now, consider the alternative- a true digital hub. The computer easily interprets new sound standards (say Dolby 7.1 ) and sends them to the amp (which it can turn on and control) by firewire. All my television shows are organized like on Replay, but I can burn them to DVD or add additional firewire drives for more storage. The hub can stream them to any computer in the house by ethernet or airport (higher compression of course) as well as act as a file server.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

This is an awesome idea. Period. Unfortunately, Nebrie is right - the lawsuits would spring forth like so many insincere compliments from the lips of that cheap Tunisian hooker I "encountered" last weekend. Or, put simply: A lot of 'em. Big ones.

Question: How could Apple do this without getting into the business of making satellite receivers, televisions, or audio equipment? All of these things have to talk to each other, right? I like your vision for what the Digital Hub could be, but is there any reasonable way to get there? It seems that component makers enjoy the status quo: every 2 years, audio junkies like you and I shell out $$$ for new equipment to keep up with technology. I think they would strongly resist any strategy by Apple that would make your stereo/tv/whatever upgradable.

Just some thoughts.


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post #25 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by MacGregor:
<strong>So is TiVo a one way box where you can't somehow get at the output? It seems like TiVo isn't getting sued.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Good point.
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post #26 of 29
I really don't see how ripping or burning cds and listening to them is any more creative than watching television.
Look how long it took for Apple adopt cd-rw after admitting that they "missed the boat" on that one. Apple will ignore this one too, regardless of what users may or may not want.
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
Wow, this thread got kicked from "Future Hardware" to "General Discussion" to "Digital Hub"!

Here's the main points people seem to be making in opposition to TV being integrated into the digital hub...

1. Computers are for creating stuff not consuming stuff.

2. TV recording on the Mac would open Apple up to lawsuits.

3. Other companies will come out with better solutions.

My responses-

On #1- Maybe you are a DaVinci but for everyone else, 99% of the time we are on our computers listening, playing, reading, or watching content created by someone else.

2. Apple didn't get sued for iTunes, mostly because they have the muscle to fight such a lawsuit. Also, lawsuits haven't impeded numerous video card manufacturers from incorporating PVR features. It's just not an issue, really, since media companies know the real beachhead is HDTV.

3. Other companies made video editiig aps, and mp3 aps, and photo aps, and ... It's called competition, you do it or die. Speaking of competitors...
<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/TechTV/techtv_moxie020108.html" target="_blank">Moxie</a>

Oh yeah, I think someone also made a good point about how cool it would be to have TV in an iMac for the purpose of satisfying the needs of a college kid. I would have definately gone for that instead of hauling all the junk I needed.

[ 01-08-2002: Message edited by: Nordstrodamus ]</p>

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post #28 of 29
[quote]Originally posted by Nordstrodamus:
<strong>
Oh yeah, I think someone also made a good point about how cool it would be to have TV in an iMac for the purpose of satisfying the needs of a college kid. I would have definately gone for that instead of hauling all the junk I needed.

[ 01-08-2002: Message edited by: Nordstrodamus ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

Didn't I see a USB or Firewire TV tuner dongle and software somewhere? Honest question.
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post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by CosmoNut:
<strong>

Didn't I see a USB or Firewire TV tuner dongle and software somewhere? Honest question.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I think there are a few hack-job solutions available for the Mac. Nothing as slick as some fo the PVR cards for PCs. It was particularly annoying when PVR features started appearing in ATI PC cards, but were hobbled in macs.

You highlight another point I wanted to make which is that Apple must take the lead in this area to capitalize on their ease-of-use rep and avoid consumer confusion.

Also, I don't think Apple can take the same approach they took toward DV cams and digital cameras since PVRs as peripherals will never conform to a single standard format. That and the reality that the control and schedualing features in PVRs are as valuable as their ability to turn analog vid into dig.

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