Gartner: DVD Players, Not PCs, Could Be Running Home Networks by 2010


io data avel linkplayer

Moneyweb picked up on a report from Gartner (TDG Research has a similar report) that predicts network DVD players/DVRs/game consoles will rule the connected home entertainment market, not PCs. “DVD recorders will become the core component of home networks, allowing consumers to watch movies, TV programmes and listen to music in any room of their home at any time,” said Paul O’Donovan, principal analyst at Gartner. ” Movies, TV programmes and music downloaded from the internet—as well as personal video and audio content—will be stored and played back on devices around the home using this new breed of DVD recorder. Ease of installation and use are the key elements for adoption by consumers and it will be the consumer electronics manufacturers, rather than the PC vendors, that will dominate this market. However, they will not be available in retail stores at mass-market prices until 2010 as vendors and technology suppliers will require time to develop common standards of connectivity and interoperability.”

For the most part Gartner’s analysis is right on the mark, but I have to disagree that consumers will have to wait until 2010 for network DVD players to hit “mass-market” prices. My personal favorite is the I-O Data Avel LinkPlayer2, which retails for only $249, is Windows/Apple/Linux compatible, and can stream premium content from CinemaNow and Rhapsody via a PC using Microsoft Media Connect. (Note: there’s also less advanced network DVD players from Gateway, D-Link, KiSS, and ReplayTV that sell for about the same price.) And let’s not ignore TiVo Series 2 DVRs that can stream content (and soon downloadable premium content) to a PC or other TiVo boxes in the house.

The point is: there’s no need to have a full-blown PC under your TV when you can buy a “smart,” relatively inexpensive CE device that can multitask with a PC on the home network. Sure that means that less processor sales for Intel, but, hey, now you’ll be putting your PC’s 3+ Ghz processor to good use.





Filed in: Industry Buzz


  • Simon_Mackay

    Hi all!

    I would consider these new “networked DVD players” and similar devices as a “watershed” for many electronics names. This could see consumer-electronics brands that were considered extinct come up to the fore with this class of device; as well as the arrival of new brands to the consumer-electronics scene.

    For example,Cisco’s Linksys division, with its latest acquisition of KISS Technologies, could end up with a collection of networked DVD players and hard-disk-based “personal-TV” devices. They could end up developing a system based on a hard-disk “personal-TV” service with DVD+RW recorder and Internet-driven EPG. This unit could be used to hold premium content like Movielink material that has been bought or rented online using its local interface. Then there would be a network DVD player that can be used to view TV shows recorded or premium content held on the “personal-TV” unit.. Both units would work on the UPnP AV navigation and DTCP-IP DRM methods and link via Ethernet or 802.11a or g WiFi wireless and observe all standard QoS protocols.

    With regards,

    Simon Mackay

  • http://www.alexandergrundner.com Alexander Grundner

    Simon, I’m with you all the way! The points you bring up are the reasons why I don’t understand why Microsoft insists on locking down personal computers. I would rather have an open PC platform (as we do now) and make use of these “smart” set-top devices to enjoy digital media around the house.

  • Simon_Mackay

    Hi!

    I often wonder whether Hollywood accepts the DTCP-IP network DRM method that has been put up as a standard for network DRM? Or do they want to only deliver content to proprietary DRM systems set up by MS and Apple, with the idea of “sealed-box” PCs?

    With regards,

    Simon Mackay

  • http://www.msmvps.com/chrisl/ ChrisL01

    The point is: there’s no need to have a full-blown PC under your TV when you can buy a “smart,” relatively inexpensive CE device that can multitask with a PC on the home network.

    Enter, Windows Media Center Extenders. The only difference, Extenders are rather “dumb”, they don’t need to be that smart for do an RDP session into a PC and bring down the content.

    The points you bring up are the reasons why I don’t understand why Microsoft insists on locking down personal computers. I would rather have an open PC platform (as we do now) and make use of these “smart” set-top devices to enjoy digital media around the house.

    Because the average person buys a DVD, and wants to play it in your PC at one point or another. Without Microsoft “locking down” the PC, that can’t happen.

    Chris

  • http://www.alexandergrundner.com Alexander Grundner

    ChrisL01 said: Because the average person buys a DVD, and wants to play it in your PC at one point or another. Without Microsoft “locking down” the PC, that can’t happen.

    Chris, as you know I respect your opinions and thoughts related to personal computing, but I disagree wholeheartedly that Microsoft needs to lock down the PC to play DVDs. Give me a break. Currently PC users have no problem doing it now… all that is required is a media player (like WMP, PowerDVD, etc.) with a software license to playback DeCSS protected DVDs. THIS IS COMPLETELY LEGAL and is the norm. My question to you is, why have you entrenched yourself so firmly in the “locked down” PC camp? Why are you so willing to toss out your freedom to have a computer that does not require Microsoft certified hardware? Content producers are sailing consumers down the river with their hardball DRM tactics, and Microsoft is the Captain.

  • http://www.msmvps.com/chrisl/ ChrisL01

    Alex: As we have gone over before, copy/content protection systems work by the developers of that system setting the bar to what the decrypt/playback device must do to enable playback. With both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, AACS will be used (Yes, AACS is now officially on tap with Blu-Ray now [don't know if you can legally rip them yet, however]). The bar is set with AACS, for a PC to have playback ability, it must meet the terms of the AACS.

    The software player is the least of concerns, using DirectShow you can make a player to decode MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC HP, and VC-1 in a matter of minutes (MSDN even has an article on creating a player). That’s not to say it only takes Cyberlink, InterVideo, etc minutes to make a player, but all their players really do is decrypt CSS and decode audio/video (they throw in a bunch of other ‘features’ to make you feel better about spending $65 for it).

    This isn’t the case with AACS anymore, a DirectShow filter isn’t going to be all it takes to enable playback. You will see this when InterVideo, Cyberlink, etc either don’t ship HD-DVD/Blu-Ray software until Vista, or they use COPP in Windows XP SP2 to enable some sort of playback (if they ship it, I’m not sure what exactly it will enable)

    If Microsoft wants to allow you to play what you purchase, they must do this, and that’s the reason I’m in the boat I am.

    The content protection is there with or without Microsoft, that’s important to remember. Even though Microsoft is a member of my favorite example next-gen content protection group, the AACS, the AACS LA was there before Microsoft was a member. The content was already to be protected without Microsoft in the picture!

    Microsoft isn’t the captain, they are just along for the ride (willingly or unwillingly). They can jump off the boat, but that means telling everyone they can’t play this content on their PCs! They can stay on the boat, and bring you the ability to play the content. The mass of the market, will want to play the content on their PC’s. Dispite the cost in having a “locked down” platform (which again, is really only locked down if you are interested in playing the content, it doens’t take away anything you have now, but you don’t gain anything if you don’t buy into it), Microsoft is doing what they must to make the consumer happy (I know, it doesn’t seem that way, does it?)

    Chris

  • http://www.alexandergrundner.com Alexander Grundner

    ChrisL01 said: The content protection is there with or without Microsoft, that’s important to remember. Even though Microsoft is a member of my favorite example next-gen content protection group, the AACS, the AACS LA was there before Microsoft was a member. The content was already to be protected without Microsoft in the picture!

    Microsoft isn’t the captain, they are just along for the ride (willingly or unwillingly). They can jump off the boat, but that means telling everyone they can’t play this content on their PCs! They can stay on the boat, and bring you the ability to play the content. The mass of the market, will want to play the content on their PC’s. Dispite the cost in having a “locked down” platform (which again, is really only locked down if you are interested in playing the content, it doens’t take away anything you have now, but you don’t gain anything if you don’t buy into it), Microsoft is doing what they must to make the consumer happy (I know, it doesn’t seem that way, does it?)

    Great explanation… but when Microsoft does nothing to counter subversive and overwhelming technologies, they are sanctioning it by enabling it into their system. In other words, Microsoft is a willing participant who sees monetary value in playing by AACS’ rules. I have no problem having a locked down set-top of some sort but LEAVE MY PC ALONE. I can do without watching HD DVDs on my PC. I guess it’s time for consumers to decide how they want to proceed.

    Oh, and yes, Microsoft is the Captain because they a providing the software and forcing all major (and minor) PC OEMs to comply with the “locked down” hardware system.

  • http://www.msmvps.com/chrisl/ ChrisL01

    Right, I covered that in my first post on my blog about Microsoft and DRM. There isn’t a win/win situation for Microsoft and the consumer.

    As I have also said, your PC isn’t really in any danger. The openness you have now is not chaning unless you want it too. The hardware you have now will still work as it does now for the media you play now.

    I keep saying that you don’t lose anything, but you don’t gain anything either. You keep the ability to play your current DVD’s, watch/record whatever TV source you have running into your PC, send content out of your PC however you do now, etc. You don’t need new hardware, it doesn’t cost you anything. If you upgrade to Vista it’s supposed to be same as staying with XP/2000 in terms of doing what you do now with the hardware you have now.

    Now, if you want to play next-gen content and capture some current gen content that we can’t today, Vista and PVP-OPM is perfect for you. Dispite the hardware requirements, it enables you to actually play the content that you can’t today!

    Microsoft isn’t forcing anyone to do anything. It’s their (your) choice. Now, if there smart and/or I’m right about the consumer wanting to play this media, you bet both big and small OEM’s will start shipping all their systems with hardware that will allow them to actually play the stuff.

    As for consumer deciding, they will pick the “locked down” platform for two main reasons. (1) Microsoft’s market share in Windows comes via the OEM’s. Consumers will pick whatever the OEM’s pick. (2) Microsoft and the OEM’s know people want to play the media on their PC’s, so apply that to (1) and you get the consumer picking the “locked down” platform that allows them to do play what they purchase. :)

    Chris

  • http://www.alexandergrundner.com Alexander Grundner

    ChrisL01 said: Microsoft isn’t forcing anyone to do anything. It’s their (your) choice. Now, if there smart and/or I’m right about the consumer wanting to play this media, you bet both big and small OEM’s will start shipping all their systems with hardware that will allow them to actually play the stuff.

    As for consumer deciding, they will pick the “locked down” platform for two main reasons. (1) Microsoft’s market share in Windows comes via the OEM’s. Consumers will pick whatever the OEM’s pick. (2) Microsoft and the OEM’s know people want to play the media on their PC’s, so apply that to (1) and you get the consumer picking the “locked down” platform that allows them to do play what they purchase. :)

    I like how you guys think consumers are dumb. When given no choice… they’ll pick the one that’s available. Sound like an offer I can’t refuse. Personally, I do refuse… and I leave it at that (as tinker with my new Linux setup).

  • http://www.msmvps.com/chrisl/ ChrisL01

    Alex; the mass of the market just want’s it to work, no joke. Sorry to bring this up again semi-out of context, but as you said, “people don’t care or understand” (ref: network model for media distro) . :o I’m not sure if you can picture how many phone calls Microsoft PSS would get if they can’t play this media in their PCs. And what is Product Support going to say to them? No matter the reason, the consumer will blame Microsoft for not allowing them to play it. Again, no win/win situation here.

    There is nothing wrong with Linux, come over to my place and you will see more then one PC running either Fedora Core 4 or Slackware. Of course, I think you were the one who pointed me to trusted computing coming to the kernel. Mac’s are supposed to be getting the same. At some point, we either have to accept this rights thing or leave the PC behind. I’m not leaving mine, I know that for sure.

    Chris