Microsoft Watch points out
that the future of the home entertainment hub is still in doubt inside Microsoft. As a decidated Tivo
user, HD DirecTV
player, and multiple computer owner, I think I have a pretty good idea of what will make me drool and buy a convergence device in a heartbeat.
First, it has to do the DVR thing flawlessly. It needs to support HD, ideally it needs to work with either satellite or cable, but if it only does one it has got to do it perfectly. After that, there are some must have features:
- It must allow me to stream recorded video to any suitably equipped TV in my house and the hardware for each additonal TV needs to be less than $100. Ohhh, and if its doesn't support multiple HD tuners (three would be the minimum), its a non-starter.
- It should have integrated DVD recording capability and it would preferably allow that recording to happen in the background without me having to sacrifice real time TV or recording of TV.
- Its connected to the Internet to get latest browsable type of information (news, weather, stocks, etc.) If it has an extensibility feature like the Tivo SDK, that would be awesome! Perhaps .NET?
- It needs to have a detachable monitor and/or keyboard so that I can surf the web, play poker, whatever from my couch or when visiting the bathroom (the modern equivelent of taking a magazine to the bathroom). There should be a remote control interface from this mobile desktop along with a really good programmable multi-function remote.
- It will support multiple monitors all serving different destops off this single device
- If I am going to put all of my photos, videos, etc. on this thing, it sure as sh*t better come with an integrated, foolproof backup solution that even my Mom can run without thinking twice. And it better be as perfect restoring that info as well.
- Other home server features like print sharing, VOIP hub, etc.
When I look at the DVR space, I see a natural leverage point for the PC. But the PC cannot loose its current value and if you want me to pay more for a PC it needs to do more than just be a DVR. That is why I think the idea of "Mira" type devices (anybody still remember one of the neatest ideas to be kllled by high prices and poor implementation) is a key feature. I don't really need multiple boxes with multiple CPUs, I need one box with multiple desktops that provides central storage.
About the only point of convergence that I really don't care about is having this "mondo" box also replace my XBOX. A gaming console, for me any way, is just that. A device to play games on.
All the technology to make this device is already out there. The toughest part is getting seemless integration with cable and/or satellite networks, with satellite seeming to be the bigger battle. Getting it to a reasonable price point is also a bit tough.
I had high hopes for Media Center
, but it doesn't seem to be moving fast enough to take me away from my Tivo, especially as a satellite HD watcher. I will be interested to see what comes from the UCentric
-DirecTV deal since this seems like a large part of the solution I am looking for. It won't replace my PCs, but it does seem to meet most of my DVR requirements.