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post #1 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm working on the possibility of bringing a new NMT unit to the market. I want to throw out some specs on a possible new NMT and get your feedback before I consider launching this product. Compared to the WD TV or Xtreamer ... what do you think?

Easy Connection
Play HD media files from USB drives(flash drives or Hard disk with USB HDD enclosure), digital
cameras,camcorders, any portable media players that can be recognized as mass storage devices;
1080P full HD video playback---up to 1920x1080P
Turn your home LCD-TV into a large digital photo frame
Read two USB drives simultaneously
HDMI and composite video connections
The High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) 1.3 port let users to connect the high-definition
1080P videos, and composite AV cable ensures compatibility with all television sets that even don't
support HDMI.
DVB-T delivering extra convenience to watch HDTV
PVR(personal video recorder) helps you record and save your favourite TV programs
Lan support makes your home network connected via NFS,UPNP,samba
Innovative and Compact Design

1. Hardware
CPU:SigmaDesign 8635 SoC
DRAM:256MB DDR
Flash:32MB Nor Flash
LAN:1x 10/100baseT Ethernet 10/100 Base-T,RJ45 with 2 LEDs
TV InputVB-T (IEC)
USB:2x USB2.0 Host interface One is at side, the other is at back
AV :
L/R stereo Audio:3.5mm phone Jack
Spdif output:Optical/Coaxial
HDMI 1.3 :HDMI 1.3a interface (support HD audio format)
Button:7 function buttons and 1 power switch button(4-way navigation+enter; Mode+Stop)
LED Indicator:1.Power Indicator 2.Status Indicator
2. A/V Decoding
---Video
MPEG-1
MPEG-2 up to 1920*1080P
MPEG-4 up to 1920*1080P
WMV9 up to 1920*1080P
VC-1 up to 1920*1080P
H.264、AVC up to 1920*1080P
---Audio
MPEG1 Layer2
MPEG1 Layer3 MP3
MPEG-2 LC-AAC
MPEG-4 LC-AAC
WMA
AC3
DTS
DTS-HDMA/DTS-HDHR 5.1 core , 7.1 HDMI Pass through
TRUEHD 5.1 core , 7.1 HDMI Pass through
Blu Ray LPCM upto 7.1 channel
---Picture
JPEG,GIF,BMP,PNG
---Text Subtitle
1.SRT,ASS,SSA
2.Color selectable, shadow mode supported
while-red-green-yellow-white/black-white/red-white/green-white/blue-green/white-blue/white
3.Position adjustable
4.Size adjustable TTF FONT
5.Timeshift
6.subtitle switchable


---Inner Subtitle
1.MKV Inner subtitle
2.M2TS blu-ray subtitle:PGS format
3.DVB subtitleVBSUB
4.DVB teletext close caption:Teletext/CC
---Video File format
MTS,M2TS,TS,TP,MKV,AVI,WMV,MPG, MOV,VOB,MP4,IFO,ISO;
3. Main function
1. DVB-T (OPTION) "Mannual search, auto search
one week EPG
PVR
2.PVR(OPTION) DTV record function
3.480P, 720P, 1080i, 1080P
4.HDMI/CVBS simultaneously output
5.brightness,contrast,saturation adjustable
6.Random play on photo and music
7.PLAY/PAUSE/FWD/RWD
8.SEEK drag bar mode
9.File info check in playback filesize,total time, elapse time, audio/video/subtitle format,etc.
10.multiple audio switching
11.4:3/16:9 Aspect Ratio Adjustment
12.Repeat mode
13.Multiple subtitle format SRT、ASS、SSA、SUB
14.TTF font for text subtitle
15.Network share mode NFS,UPNP,samba
16.FILE operation(copy,delete)
17.DTS-HD/ TRUEHD/LPCM 7.1
DTS-HDMA 7.1 audio passthrough by HDMI1.3
DTS-HDMA 5.1 CORE passthrough by HDMI or SPDIF
DTS-HDMA 2.0 downmix output (HDMI,COAX)
TRUEHD 7.1 audio passthrough by HDMI1.3
TRUEHD 5.1 CORE passthrough by HDMI or SPDIF
TRUEHD 2.0 downmix output (HDMI,COAX)
LPCM 7.1 audio passthrough by HDMI1.3;
LPCM 7.1 downmix to 2.0 to TV SET
File system:FAT,NTFS
Firmware upgradeable;
LL
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post #2 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 06:08 AM
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Just to confirm:

- No room for internal hdd, only USB attached?
- Also, any reason you are going with the Sigma 8635 and not the latest (I think the Sigma 8643)?
- Is this meant to be WDTV2, or no relation to WDTV?
- I assume this is meant to be in the same price range as the Xtreamer/WDTV?
- Would you expect handling of HD Audio/DTS downmix to be available from day one? I have seeen some companies list specs on products yet some of those specs aren't even available at launch..

The specs do look solid.

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post #3 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

Just to confirm:

- No room for internal hdd, only USB attached? Correct
- Also, any reason you are going with the Sigma 8635 and not the latest (I think the Sigma 8643)? The 8635 does what we need and we want to be price competitive.
- Is this meant to be WDTV2, or no relation to WDTV? No Relation at all.
- I assume this is meant to be in the same price range as the Xtreamer/WDTV? YES
- Would you expect handling of HD Audio/DTS downmix to be available from day one? YES or I wouldn't even consider launching the product. I have seeen some companies list specs on products yet some of those specs aren't even available at launch..

The specs do look solid.

More feedback welcome !
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post #4 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 06:33 AM
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I should mention (I can't speak for others but for myself) a functional/stable UI is just as important as the specs, it is what can set apart one NMT from the rest. I am a little spoiled since I primarily use HTPCs but am looking to add an nmt type player to replace my busted PCH A110. I love the fact that the A-110 plays almost everything you throw at it but absolutely hate the stock UI and that I have to go through additional steps to get a more functional UI working like YAMJ.

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post #5 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

I should mention (I can't speak for others but for myself) a functional/stable UI is just as important as the specs, it is what can set apart one NMT from the rest. AGREED I am a little spoiled since I primarily use HTPCs but am looking to add an nmt type player to replace my busted PCH A110. I love the fact that the A-110 plays almost everything you throw at it but absolutely hate the stock UI and that I have to go through additional steps to get a more functional UI working like YAMJ.

So what can the PCH 110 play that this proposed unit cannot?
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post #6 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 07:10 AM
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Hey "WD TV", what company do you work for? WD? I don't believe it.
If you are, then get off your lazy butt and just look on the WDTV bugs thread and fix all of them and you will have a perfect player.
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post #7 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 07:51 AM
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Whatever you plan to bring to the market:

1. Make sure it is fast (whatever that takes: up to date processor, additional memory....)
2. Open platform
3. User friendly UI (have a look around)
4. YAMJ style interface out of the box
5. Native video out mode (source direct) so that people with external video processors can use those in the best circumstances
6. Black color device and go easy on the front logos (as small as possible) and leds (blue)
7. Flat design and standard AV equipment dimensions (see Eva9150 - providing flexibility for internal HD extention)
8. Proper heat management (preferably without a fan or a silent one if required)
9. Gigabit ethernet support
10. ...
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post #8 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 07:54 AM
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ghislain beat me to it, but one feature that NONE have yet is a "native" mode.

i.e a 720p file will cause the player to switch to 1280*720.
a 1080p file will cause the player to use 1920*1080.

as well as choosing the right refresh rate.

support for the non-standard 1280*720 @ 24Hz would be awesome too.

i would also suggest your 24p is rock solid before launching with no "40 second bug".

by doing this you will probably appeal to people who are "into" AV stuff. you need to provide a list of resolutions with tick boxes next to them. this will bypass EDID problems.
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post #9 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 08:46 AM
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A reasonable person may think you speak for WD. A poster has already made that mistake. You should at least put a disclaimer in your sig. Why not change your user name?

Former Top 1000 Amazon reviewer bemoaning the loss of objective user reviews. Amazon, stop your complacency!
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post #10 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 08:56 AM
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1. Support USB hubs.
2. Optionally offer 5.1 or 7.1 analog out for those who don't want to buy an advanced receiver. I believe some NMTs offer 5.1 analog out.(?)
3. Differentiate by GPLing absolutely all your sources so users can extend.
4. Allow users to cook their own firmware and offer the usual firmware restore (debricker).

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post #11 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WD TV View Post

Originally Posted by dbone1026
Just to confirm:
- Also, any reason you are going with the Sigma 8635 and not the latest (I think the Sigma 8643)? The 8635 does what we need and we want to be price competitive.

Hmm, I'd rather see a device that does what we need
Also, by the time your device gets to the market it risks to be outdated so please (re)consider the choice of SoC.
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post #12 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 09:13 AM
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By the end of the year, the following direct and indirect competitors may appear:
1. Next generation of WD TV.
2. Next generation of Popcorn (C200).
3. Intel CE 3100 based units (Yuixx et al). My guess is they will be overly compromised to be competitive to NMT although the hardware is fabulous.
4. Slysoft's SlyPlayer (purportedly provides uncompromised Blu-Ray audio, Blu-Ray video with ISO and folder support).
5. Mini-ITX HTPCs (full Blu-Ray audio and video) running Windows 7 and SlyPlayer.
6. Netbooks HTPCs (with ION or equivalents) running Windows 7 and SlyPlayer.

Former Top 1000 Amazon reviewer bemoaning the loss of objective user reviews. Amazon, stop your complacency!
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post #13 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abrown101 View Post

Hey "WD TV", what company do you work for? WD? I don't believe it.
If you are, then get off your lazy butt and just look on the WDTV bugs thread and fix all of them and you will have a perfect player.


I like the WD TV hence the nick name I have chosen ... but in no way whatsoever am I an employee or have any relationship with WD. So .. sorry I can't help you speed up the WD TV team.
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post #14 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghislain View Post

Hmm, I'd rather see a device that does what we need
Also, by the time your device gets to the market it risks to be outdated so please (re)consider the choice of SoC.

Anything can be made if you want to pay the price :-) This device is ready. See picture link in first post.
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post #15 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghislain View Post

Hmm, I'd rather see a device that does what we need
Also, by the time your device gets to the market it risks to be outdated so please (re)consider the choice of SoC.

I would like to think I am offering something different in the features of PVR and DVB-T and keeping it affordable.
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post #16 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 10:21 AM
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Yes I think if your trying to make your own product you really need to change that nick.
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post #17 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 10:27 AM
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For the price range of the WD TV (in US that is) and with a slick interface this would be a very interesting device.
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post #18 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 10:27 AM
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A PVR able to record 1080p??!!

Remember that broadcasts are usually at 60 or 50 fps depending on region. Which format / codec are you planning to use for the recording?

How are you planning to record these HD streams? AFAIK, Sigma 8635 doesn't offer HD stream recording capabilities... Of course, I will be more than happy to get corrected if I am in the wrong..

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post #19 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 10:57 AM
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I'd like to see one of these players handle iso by mounting them in a virtual drive, and then playing it as if it were a DVD/BD/HD DVD. Any of them do that? Can this one?
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post #20 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WD TV View Post

Anything can be made if you want to pay the price :-) This device is ready. See picture link in first post.

If its all ready, why bother asking what we want?
All you could still do is play around with software functionalities?
BTW, I am more than ready to pay the price but unfortunately none of the existing devices tick my (limited) requirements (see wish list).
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post #21 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WD TV View Post

I would like to think I am offering something different in the features of PVR and DVB-T and keeping it affordable.

That is a hit and miss story for us Europeans
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post #22 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 11:04 AM
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The market is already very much flooded with similar-specced devices, all with approximately the same shortcomings. What this niche market really needs is better software, not more of the same hardware.

In that vein, how do you plan to address the following?

1. RMVB playback
2. SSA/AAS subtitle support (real support, not the half-broken playback all other devices have)
3. Multichannel FLAC
4. OGG Vorbis audio, Theora video and the .OGM container (Theora is a strong contender for the HTML5 video standard, and may be everywhere in the next year or two.
5. High reframe h.264 (What is the upper limit for your device?)
6. The most important question: How is the UI?

More on #6: Be aware that many people have large media collections. Having to page through 1000+ video files a few at a time is not acceptable. You need to offer a fast way to find files. Nothing on the market today is anything like as good at this as XBMC on a modded original Xbox. You either need to come up with a very clever way of scrolling through files quickly with the existing controls, or you need to come up with a new remote that can do progressive-speed scrolling.

I have some ideas that would really set your device apart from all the others, but they would require a remote redesign and no small amount of software development. I'll explain further if you are interested, but if you want to make "just another media streamer", then I won't waste your time.
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post #23 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 12:23 PM
 
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The unfortunate situation with a lot of consumer electronics nowadays - especially devices in the lower price segment - is that so little of it is designed from the ground up by the company that intends to bring it to market.

In the olden days, a company would design the hardware and the software and then do the manufacturing. The self-manufacturing days are over, but it seems that the design of hardware and software has now met the same fate.

Companies nowadays just pick some reference design in which they had nothing to do with the creation process. This results in nobody offering a distinguishing product. The drive for low price leads to using just the reference hardware and software designs of the asian manufacturers who seem to spend the amount of time only to achieve minimum functionality.

The model to shoot for nowadays is the i-pod model. Design the hardware, or at least the software, from the gound-up and in-house. If you outsource it to the asian manufacturer, you will greatly reduce costs - but you will also have the same product as everybody else. You want software that shows no hint of the reference design of the manufacturer. You only need to look at the half-dozen or so media players/streamers released in the last couple of months to see that they all used the same crappy reference software, save for a few company icons/logos.
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post #24 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmmm ..... I'm not sure if I should go ahead with the introduction of this product? I thought it was a little different with it's ability to play HD TV even over the air broadcasts and the PVR function. Designing a processer from the ground up is not feasible for me. But perhaps that is what needs to be done. Introducing yet another NMT has to be sold at the WD / Xtreamer price range and offer more functionality to compete. That is what I was trying to do. In my opinion once you step over $300, there really isn't any point in buying an NMT as this price range comes to close to making your own HTPC. Oh well .....
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post #25 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WD TV View Post

Hmmm ..... I'm not sure if I should go ahead with the introduction of this product? I thought it was a little different with it's ability to play HD TV even over the air broadcasts and the PVR function. Designing a processer from the ground up is not feasible for me. But perhaps that is what needs to be done. Introducing yet another NMT has to be sold at the WD / Xtreamer price range and offer more functionality to compete. That is what I was trying to do. In my opinion once you step over $300, there really isn't any point in buying an NMT as this price range comes to close to making your own HTPC. Oh well .....

Would you market the device to a US audience?

If so, you should put a cable card capabilities in it.

A TiVo and NMT combo that can record my Comcast premium encrypted channels and play my entire stored movie and music collection, mixed in a ton of different video containers, streamed from a NAS would be great! And if you could make it half the price of of a low end HTPC build, even better.
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post #26 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WD TV View Post

Hmmm ..... I'm not sure if I should go ahead with the introduction of this product? I thought it was a little different with it's ability to play HD TV even over the air broadcasts and the PVR function.

Either people want to stream digital video from the internet or they want to record from OTA/cable/satellite. Rarely both. Obviously, people who have a lot of downloaded content to stream their TV don't need OTA capability

I don't see much point in releasing the product as-is, but there are some definite improvements you can make to seriously one-up the competition. You wouldn't need to design a new processor. As I said, we don't need new hardware - just new software. The reason the current generation of streamers all have the same limitations is that they all use the same FOSS codecs and libraries. If you really want to innovate, you will need to employ a dedicated software team to improve or rewrite those codecs and libraries. If you're not willing to do this, then you may as well quit now.
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post #27 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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You do not need to design a new processor. That is an expensive and specialized endeavor. Also, you can work within the general specifications of some of the existing media player hardware designs.

It is the software basically that needs very careful treatment. I'm not sure what kit is being used to write software for the realtek and sigma processors. There may be limitations inherent in those development kits. If realtek or sigma really wanted a competitive advantage over the other, the would release all the development tools for their processors to the public and let them have at it.
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post #28 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 03:15 PM
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As much as I like the idea of there being more products to choose from, I kind of don't want to see a forum member get burned. And this just doesn't sound like a surefire investment. Too much competition. Too many no-name brands. All too similar in function. All too easy for a brand name to swoop in and seal the market.

I'd love a WDTV with networking, DTS-downmix, DVD menus, wireless N, and the ability to record TV! But even if that magical device existed from a no-name company, I wouldn't throw away more than $150 on it. I'm sure it'd be worth at least $250, if not $400. But unless the software was open-source, I wouldn't trust a newcomer to get past the first bug release.

You already don't have control over the design or the firmware. That's not a slap against you. But that's why, despite your best intentions, you couldn't realistically guarantee support. And so far, not one of these devices released, thus far, has performed as advertised at release.

I think the future of the market will be on display in Best Buy. From a company with name recognition. And for the users that enjoy customization, the netbooks just need someone to market a decent keyboard/remote.
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post #29 of 51 Old 07-16-2009, 05:10 PM
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All these streamers pretty much play the same stuff. I think what will really set ANYTHING new apart is a U.I that has eye candy and plugins.

The way I look at it is, If the Appletv had a sigma chip that all these NMT's have they would be selling a lot more.
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post #30 of 51 Old 07-17-2009, 11:39 AM
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truly open source, and you'd be on a winner!
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