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Re: Welcome


On Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 9:18 AM, Will Cooke <will.cooke@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> **
> Hi everyone,
> I just thought I'd send out a quick "Hello" email to let you know a little
> bit about what we're thinking about from a TV perspective.
> First of all I would encourage you to have a listen to the TV session at
> UDS earlier this month.  You can find the recording here:
> http://mirrors.tumbleweed.org.za/uds-p/2011-10-31-18-55-community-ubuntu-and-televisions.1.ogg
> We talked about how people currently "use" their television, what their
> viewing habits are, what features would they like to see, what sort of
> technology are we dealing with and some of the pitfalls we will need to
> overcome in order to provide the best possible experience.
> I think this could act as a great catalyst to get our conversation started.
> So, what do you think the television of the future will look like?  Will
> we continue to have a big screen in our living room? How will our
> relationship with "live" broadcasts change?  What role will portable
> devices take in the near, medium and long term?  Do 3D films have a place
> at home?
> I'd be interested to hear your thoughts!
> Cheers, Will
>   --
> Ubuntu - Linux for human beings | www.ubuntu.com | www.canonical.com
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Hello Will,

Warning: Incoming wall of text.

I'm the Mythbuntu guy from UDS. We talked a bit at UDS, but never seemed to
find any time to talk more in depth. I've tried to answer your questions
below and added some other considerations as well. The below information
are my personal thoughts based on my own viewing habits and also what I am
seeing requested from Mythbuntu users.

* 10 Foot UI. Don't just stick Unity on the TV. Need something that is
controllable via an IR remote, smartphone, tablet, web interface. While I
understand wanting to create exciting new flashy looking UI's, I really
hope that an established UI is used, XBMC and MythTV come to mind. The
benefits of this are pretty obvious, established name, already has much/all
of the heavy lifting done, already has available content (see content
below), customizable. IMHO MythTV's themes are starting to look a bit
dated. XBMC on the other hand has very nice themes with
smooth transitions and looks fancy. Take a look at a few of the themes at

* Content. I'm seeing a large push toward Internet content (both streaming
and downloaded). That said, recorded content is still king (for quality).
MythTV is going to fall a bit here, as it is first and foremost a DVR and
expects to have recorded content. XBMC has many plugins available to stream
Internet content (plugins are python based
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=HOW-TO:Write_plugins_for_XBMC). What
isn't discussed much is gaming. MythTV and XBMC have the option to launch
games and combined with a gamepad make a really interesting offer.

* TV or set top box, Atom or ARM. I think if there is going to be a
hardware offering, it needs to be in the form of both a TV and also a set
top box (as well as something that could be installed on existing
hardware). The ARM systems that Linaro showed off were pretty nice and
would do great I think (especially since they are so small), but being that
these would always be plugged in wouldn't need especially low power usage
so an Atom processor with an ION GPU would do fine.

>So, what do you think the television of the future will look like?

* I think it's going to be a blend of big screen, tablet/computer/phone.
Depending on the content type one is better than the other, but none win
all catagories. Personally I have no desire to watch youtube content on my
TV, but would on a 10-15in screen or a phone. I would probably watch short
TV show on a tablet, but would prefer a 30in+ TV. Feature length movies I
wouldn't watch on a small screen (unless I was on an airplane/long car trip)

>Will we continue to have a big screen in our living room?

* I do believe we will continue to have a big screen in the home for the
foreseeable future. As mentioned above, longer videos and HD material is
more beneficial to have on larger screens.

>How will our relationship with "live" broadcasts change?

* "live" broadcasts are overrated and already a thing of the past. Very few
Mythbuntu users use LiveTV and instead opt for recorded content using
recording schedules to record what they want. Saying LiveTV is a thing of
the past is a bit of a stretch though, as you can still watch a show while
it is recording (technically it is still recorded content). This is
important to our users for things such as the Olympics.

* Scheduling recordings does require schedule data. In the US and Canada
this is done via http://www.schedulesdirect.org/ for $25/year. In other
areas of the world this is done via EIT. Microsoft provides this service
for free for Windows MCE users. These services usually provide about 14
days of listings. Ideally I would like to see this rolled into Ubuntu One
for a small fee but $25/year isn't too extreme.

>What role will portable devices take in the near, medium and long term?

* Right now, portable devices are mostly used for content consumption, with
a little bit on the remote control side. I would like to see some more
along the lines of picking content on the portable device (either content
that is on the device, content that is on the TV, or streaming content from
the web) and displaying it on the TV (something similar to

>Do 3D films have a place at home?

* I think 3D needs to come a bit further to be accepted into the home. I
haven't heard much request for it but with the amount of push it is getting
from the industry I bet that isn't too far off.

As it seems with most new Canonical products, there needs to be a tie in
with Ubuntu One. Let me lay out the following scenario of what I would like
to see in an ideal world.

I purchase a Ubuntu TV (or possibly a small set top box). At boot up, it
asks for your Ubuntu One credentials. I now have access to my music,
pictures, and videos that I have stored in Ubuntu One. I also have the
option to buy new music and/or TV shows (new service) through the Ubuntu
One media store. I want to have recorded content as well, so I install a
MythTV (Mythbuntu) backend (DVR) in my environment and sign into it with my
Ubuntu One credentials. It now pulls down my MythTV configuration from
Ubuntu One and provides me with listing data. I now don't need to configure
the backend separately (in case I want to have multiple backends). I want
to be able to play some new games, so I purchase them through the media
store as well (these would need to be tested to work with joystick only). I
just finished watching a show and want to share it with a friend, I click
on share and it shares the show info with them (possibly need some
facebook/google+/diaspora tie in). On my friends machine, it now attempts
to schedule a recording for them (providing they have a backend and don't
have other recordings they have scheduled) or find it either online or in
Ubuntu One media store.

I think that about sums it up. I'm probably leaving something out that I
have forgotten, but I think that would be a pretty great setup.

Full Disclosure: I am a Mythbuntu developer. I do not contribute to the
MythTV project nor the XBMC project. I would like to ship XBMC as an
alternative frontend to MythTV.

Thomas Mashos

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