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1168 posts

Uber Geek

#79606 19-Mar-2011 16:28
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Ok so here goes....

What I want is a box that I can hook up to my TV and sound system.

This box would have the following abilities:

1) It would record TV
2) It would be able to manage and store my media, with the ability to access new media by some means. This probably means either a hard drive or some sort cloud service access
3) It would be able to stream TV On Demand, YouTube and an LoveFilm blah equivalent [another post is going to be; Why don't we have one of these here]
4) Play DVDs, etc
4) The ability to sync with my other devices; phone, laptop, netbook, tablet, PC, whatever

Possible abilities could include:

1) The ability to be used with a key board to enable it to be used as a computer for browsing and writing emails word processing, spreadsheets whatever, this would be an 'auster' ability. The box will do it but it ain't what is primarily designed for and so there are other devices which will do this better. Much like you can watch TV on a smartphone but a TV is better
2) Gaming, again not a core ability but as I will outline it may become one. This may lead to the 'box' having a 'less than warp speed' processor. Whatever that means.

Now, you may be thinking of a 'media PC' but a quick look around suggests that the cheapest is the E box by Asus or something similar from Dell. These start at about $800. This is before we add TV tuners, gaming consoles or any 'extras'.

I thinks the thing is that these are 'more PC' than is needed for the basic tasks outlined above.

Right, you could say: 'Harden up Jack. You want to do this stuff, pay up.'

But, there is a box out there that ticks 'almost' all of the above.

The PS3.  

Storage, DVDs etc, TV on Demand, records TV (need Play TV but I live with that), net connection all there so ersatz browsing shouln't be a problem. All ticked

And it is a wicked gaming box, with Move functionality.

Pretty impressive bundles are going for under $700, including Play TV, games and all sorts.

So the question becomes "Why doesn't Sony do some sort of music service in conjunction with the PS3?"

OK, Sony has a patchy history with music. I walked the Mini-Disc dead end road, and they signed some of the worlds worst selling artists to Sony Music.

But seriously something like this could be a real 'main stream' alternative to iTunes. I'm no Fanboi but the fact is iTunes is the default music manager even if you have DoubleTwist or similar you probably use iTunes.

Now, the big problem with iTunes is that it only works with Apple mobile devices. That's cool it works for them, but it won't change any time soon. A Sony Alternative could be made to be compatible with any Android device. At present there is no 'default' music player for Android. If Sony did something like this it could be the default for how many million devices? I use DoubleTwist but this is mainly to copy my iTunes library to make it compatible with my phone.

Such a service could push music, games, movies ... blah for PS3, Android devices whatever.... OK, maybe this is swapping one 'evil empire' for another and what we really need is something home brewed and not 'controlled' by a corp but as an end user I just want to listen to Sweet Child of Mine on the way to work.

Maybe 'cloud' is the way to go, but there are plenty of places where you can't get coverage and streaming a long each time I want to listen to it is going to hit the data cap pretty quick.

It could run on PS3s and come bundled with the Viao range, which would start to justify the price premium. Hell, they could release it for all Android and Window devices if they felt like it. 

Sony used the PS3 to promote Blu-Ray and in the process killed HD DVD so why not?

Please tell me below...

Is this idea totally crazy?

Would something like this appeal?

Am I missing something?

How much would you pay?

I am in no way employed by Sony, Apple or anybody in the business of selling anything discussed above. I'm just curious.

Kind regards,


Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?

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911 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #449904 19-Mar-2011 16:48


So the question becomes "Why doesn't Sony do some sort of music service in conjunction with the PS3?" 


You will find anything you want at MightyApe (affiliate link).
26417 posts

Uber Geek


  #449906 19-Mar-2011 16:54
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I have been burned too many times with non PC solutions that come with their own problems to want to go there again - look at all the "record tv" boxes that are giving people grief with the EPG, missing episodes, recording it off a SD channel not the HD one, not recording the first screenings etc.

Then there is the media playback issues - more software issues on some WD devices when you connect a 3TB drive to it when it just munges stuff on the drive corrupting everything. Hell, even NTFS support on things has taken forever. Will it play this MKV file with these codecs in it, or will I have to screw around remuxing it changing the audio format from AC3 to AC3 because there is something in it that it just doesnt like?

Anything that plays with a uPNP server involved will suck. No question. The standard is a piece of crap, so that leaves devices that access over SMB, and have a local index. That gives the problem of updating the index, which nothing handles gracefully, even a PC will need to reindex stuff when powered up as there may have been changes when it was off and not monitoring the storage locations for changes.

Playback formats - what devices will do a whole album rip in a single flac with an embedded cuesheet? What will play an iso of a dvd, will it play a dvd file structure? How do you navigate to it to choose it? where does the metadata come from? Can you amend it when it misidentifies everything in a disc that is not available outside NZ? What does it do for album artwork? Will it update tags without concent? Will it overwrite files with its own versions of covers because it thinks it has the right to do that?

And sony couldnt organize anything. They are on my s#*tlist now anyway. But look at their past abortions with walkmans that only play some bizzaro codec with their software that makes itunes and zune look good being the only way to transcode and load it, they will cock up in the same way again. Hell, you cant even plug your sony walkman into your sony TV and have it do anything useful with the content on that. If they cant make that work then what hope do they have for anything else?

HTPC is best, end of story.


7681 posts

Uber Geek


  #450297 21-Mar-2011 10:32
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richms: How do you navigate to it to choose it? where does the metadata come from?

First up ALL great valid points there richms, but that one about navigating to your stuff is huge for me.  I hate how the PS3 doesn't do folders etc of your music.  You can rearrange the whole list of songs by album/artist/year etc but you're forced to make playlists for everything you'd normally just put in it's own folder.  And playlists etc on it are another can of worms in that it takes fricken ages.

Also this 'certification' to freeview standards has crippled a bunch of players that work well overseas just so they can't do jack here.  I'm talking no ethernet connectivity, forced to use the slow/fatovision EPG etc.

Seriously it's heading more and more towards a HTPC.  Perhaps:

Not to be without their cons though, I know HD audio etc has been an issue with htpc's though for instance.


1168 posts

Uber Geek

  #457542 11-Apr-2011 15:26
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First and foremost thanks for the replies.

You all raise excellent points.

I think in a perfect world an HTPC would be the best option. I guess I just wince at paying $1200 and up for a PC that is just going to be connected to my TV. It seems like a waste.

However, it seems like the other options of streaming to a receiver from another PC or the boxes where you plug in a hard drive are worse. These seem cheap but a pain. Streaming seems to work sometimes, sort of. Getting content onto my laptop, then a hard drive, then to the thing that plugs into the TV so it can play. Well that sounds like tonnes of fun.

Partly my problem (please forgive me) is that I don't really want to play with the thing I plug into my TV. I just to take it out of the box, plug it in, change the TV to AV channel whatever and have my TV be able to act like a 32 inch monitor. Surf the net, record TV, download legal content from legal sources, watch YouTube, run iTunes and Double Twist, store all my music and movies blah blah blah.

Yeah, that sounds like a HTPC all right.

Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?

7681 posts

Uber Geek


  #457545 11-Apr-2011 15:31
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I asked this sort of question a while back:
link to older stuff

2584 posts

Uber Geek

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Lifetime subscriber

  #458081 13-Apr-2011 06:45
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Not to be without their cons though, I know HD audio etc has been an issue with htpc's though for instance.

That little thorn has been resolved thankfully, initially by ATI and then followed by NvidiaCool

Now I just need a HD receiver so that I can make use of itUndecided

Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

7681 posts

Uber Geek


  #458170 13-Apr-2011 11:28
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Not to be without their cons though, I know HD audio etc has been an issue with htpc's though for instance.

That little thorn has been resolved thankfully, initially by ATI and then followed by NvidiaCool 

Good stuff, thanks for the update.

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