Anyone interested in a kickstarter project to get proper Vudu/Hulu/Amazon plugins created for MCE? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-25-2013, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I was thinking about how MCE is so close to being a single-box solution, except when it comes to online video services. People have tried creating plugins for the various services at different times the most recent being the Amazon VOD plugin created by Gareth Barr that broke when Amazon switched from flash to Silverlight), but it's usually a single developer that gets overwhelmed with real-life or frequent updates from the content providers. Then the plug-in gets abandoned and there's no replacement. The situation is no better on other platforms like Plex and XBMC.

Instead of trying to follow the same flawed model of teaching myself how to develop plugins, and try it myself, I thought if enough of us got together, and funded a team of freelancers to develop the plugins, it would 1) be a lot faster, 2) spread the risk of failure, 3) possibly provide a model for keeping the plugins working, if after they were finished, by charging a nominal subscription fee to use them... This would allow the project to maintain a developer or two on retainer for any fixes/updates required after launch.

I know the "Pay for service" model is anathema to HTPC users, especially if you're already paying for a service like Hulu+ or Amazon Prime, but these companies have expressed no/little interest in supporting the MCE/PC platform outside of streaming from their websites.

And for those of you who think that MCE is a dying product with limited lifespan, i think this would also work for proper HTPC (read remote control)-enabled Windows 8 Modern apps that could be launched from the Metro UI. Hulu supposedly has a decent Windows 8 app already, but Netflix's remote control support is non-existent, and Vudu and Amazon VOD are completely absent.

And yes, I could just buy a Roku and forget it, but where's the fun in that? I want my HTPC to do EVERYTHING!
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-25-2013, 03:33 PM
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You can use Hulu Desktop for Hulu free & Hulu+ content
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-25-2013, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by staknhalo View Post

You can use Hulu Desktop for Hulu free & Hulu+ content

Hulu desktop is getting harder and harder to find...since it's not supported by Hulu anymore. It's likely near its end-of-life.
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-25-2013, 03:44 PM
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Unless Hulu, and Amazon are in on (or at least provide written support for) the development, I certainly couldn't back something like this. Too many places and people who could make all the work useless just by saying no or changing some technical detail.
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-01-2013, 10:58 AM
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I'd rather kickstart an Android-based receiver to replace HTPCs and Receivers both. Get the benefits of designed hardware optimized for video and an open source platform.

It would require a team and effort, since you would need to spec out the hardware, get licenses for Dolby, Dirac or XT32, etc. and then promote it.

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post #6 of 12 Old 07-01-2013, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by tknx View Post

I'd rather kickstart an Android-based receiver to replace HTPCs and Receivers both. Get the benefits of designed hardware optimized for video and an open source platform.

It would require a team and effort, since you would need to spec out the hardware, get licenses for Dolby, Dirac or XT32, etc. and then promote it.

And dts, no?

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post #7 of 12 Old 07-01-2013, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

And dts, no?

Sure, why not? I suspect that something like this would have to be fairly focused and narrow. Maybe an all-digital pre with 4-5 HDMI 1.4 ins, 4 digital audio ins. Add in an 802.11ac chip, IR controllers for other devices, and 1TB drive (user-replaceable, of course) and then 7.2 audio out to amps (more surrounds than most people have). I suppose the best thing would be to add a Thunderbolt port for daisychaining more than one if you needed more inputs or more output channels.

Three major categories of issues:
Hardware - The main thing would be to avoid off-the-shelf computer type solutions since that would require tons of overhead and processing power, but rather getting dedicated chips.

Software would be another pain, since most HTPC software is pretty much crap (e.g., nobody cares whether a show is on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime or TV - so why organize channels that way?) You would also need to license Dirac or Audyssey software for room correction.

People - a lot of people wouldn't be cool if you made sure that the DRM-parts of Spotify/Netflix were enforced and the Android layer maybe occurred on top for the GUI and sound processing. But those people aren't operating in the real world where you need to make sure they work the right way. The main thing would be to stick to an 80% solution which is hard without a clear vision of what the product will be.

The beauty would be it would be a software-upgradable HT pre with, hopefully, a non-crap GUI.

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post #8 of 12 Old 07-01-2013, 07:38 PM
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I'd much rather fund a dedicated "Media Device", which would probably be based on Linux/Android, with some notable differences from the current "state of the art".

- Custom designed hardware and software. It's a device, you buy it, you don't build it. The software will run only on the custom hardware.
- Full support for cablecard, DVR, OTA, cable, SAT, you name it.
- Full support for every media format known to man (except for Apple's formats, probably, given their walled garden mindset). This aint rocket science, it can be done, and done easily. Just needs dedicated resources.
- Full support for most streaming platforms (Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, etc etc). The support has to be "native", i.e. no slapped together thingamajig. The respective content owners agree and contribute the plugin/app/whatever you wanna call it. The problem is, this will probably never happen.
- A kickass 10' UI. We're in 2013, this aint rocket science either.
- Full support for navigation using a remote. No voice recognigiton, gestures etc etc. It's a media device, you want fancy crap, get an Xbox 89/PS 54/Nintendo 6547/whatever. As long as you can browse and find your media, you don't need anything else.
- A kickass metadata/library/integrated search capability. This is 2013..... you get the idea. smile.gif
- Full support for remote access using a tablet, another "media device" etc. This is 20......
- etc etc.

Point being, that's basically a Media Center on steroids, and what MC "should/could" have been. Somebody makes that happen in the Linux/Android world, and Microsoft's stock will get crushed in a heartbeat. These folks don't get common sense, they get stock price drops.

I don't think we need another "Pre". Folks like Denon/Yamaha/HK etc have been doing this for decades. It'll be neigh impossible to build a supply chain that rivals theirs, and be cost effective.
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-02-2013, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone View Post

I'd much rather fund a dedicated "Media Device", which would probably be based on Linux/Android, with some notable differences from the current "state of the art".

- Custom designed hardware and software. It's a device, you buy it, you don't build it. The software will run only on the custom hardware.
- Full support for cablecard, DVR, OTA, cable, SAT, you name it.
- Full support for every media format known to man (except for Apple's formats, probably, given their walled garden mindset). This aint rocket science, it can be done, and done easily. Just needs dedicated resources.
- Full support for most streaming platforms (Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, etc etc). The support has to be "native", i.e. no slapped together thingamajig. The respective content owners agree and contribute the plugin/app/whatever you wanna call it. The problem is, this will probably never happen.
- A kickass 10' UI. We're in 2013, this aint rocket science either.
- Full support for navigation using a remote. No voice recognigiton, gestures etc etc. It's a media device, you want fancy crap, get an Xbox 89/PS 54/Nintendo 6547/whatever. As long as you can browse and find your media, you don't need anything else.
- A kickass metadata/library/integrated search capability. This is 2013..... you get the idea. smile.gif
- Full support for remote access using a tablet, another "media device" etc. This is 20......
- etc etc.

Point being, that's basically a Media Center on steroids, and what MC "should/could" have been. Somebody makes that happen in the Linux/Android world, and Microsoft's stock will get crushed in a heartbeat. These folks don't get common sense, they get stock price drops.

I don't think we need another "Pre". Folks like Denon/Yamaha/HK etc have been doing this for decades. It'll be neigh impossible to build a supply chain that rivals theirs, and be cost effective.

While I agree with most of what you say here, what I've placed in bold is far-fetched..

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post #10 of 12 Old 07-02-2013, 12:36 PM
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It seems to me that it would be wise to go the opposite direction... to have a kickstarter to have cable card support in a third party app.

For example, Media Browser now has a healthy group of developers with apps coming for mobile devices and a platform that could allow for access to third party website content. The big reason many (including myself) can't entirely switch over is the lack of cabecard support.

However, if we did a kickstarter to allow a third party app which is actively devloped to have funds to pass cable labs certification, we would have an all in one solution with room to grow. Unless a third party app has cable card support, we're all stuck in this dead end platform. My two cents.
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-02-2013, 12:44 PM
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I am not sure that lacking CableCard leaves you dead in the water. Having control of your cable box so it operates seamlessly would be a solution as well. Since many of them are starting to have network control, it is a matter of reverse engineering the control schemes.

I think this is the route that Microsoft is going with the Xbox One. If MS can't get it done, I don't expect anyone else to be able to do it...

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post #12 of 12 Old 07-02-2013, 01:27 PM
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Some of us don't want to pay monthly rent for STB's. I Charter land it is $30/month and that isn't even an integrated DVR solution.

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