|Originally posted by MorrisMeyer
. . .
We'd be interested in hearing what features you'd like
IMHO this has the best shot at success if it integrates PVR and NLE (Non-Linear Editing) functionality. Given that folks here on the forum are working on DVHS import/export using XP, extending existing NLE packages to support the resulting HD MPEG files may not be too far off. And, if the focus were solely on editing, this would mean that (realistic or not) your features would be constantly compared to existing NLE packages. But, having an easy way to schedule a recording to disk, then archive selected recordings to DVHS with easy (even automatic) basic edits to eliminate commercials and bumpers or to build multiple segments (e.g. episodes) to one tape
would be unique. So, my suggestions are...PVR features:
[list=1][*]"Commercial Advance"-like auto bypass of commercials on playback (& on dubbing to DVHS).[*]Integrated guide (downloaded via broadband if the user has DSL or Cable Modem), with quick setup of recordings (e.g. double-click to use defaults or a right mouse menu to record with other options). I realize that multiple providers are more work, but would recommend being able to choose alternate guide sources. This is particularly important with HDTV since so many of the guides report incorrectly on which programs are actually in HD. I think if you were able to design a nice extensible interface for this, you'd get plenty of people (myself for one) willing to contribute new guide integrations.[*]Storage Management - look at what ReplayTV does (pre-allocation of space so you can make intelligent choices before
the program is recorded; show-by-show decisions on how many episodes to keep and whether guaranteed or not).[*]User upgrade-able storage. While a formatting step or some other setup is fine, this should be integrated and (as long as the transfer bandwidth requirements are met) transparent as to whether the disk is internal or external, SCSI or IDE or FireWire.[/list=1]NLE features:
Seriously - any NLE support is great, but I wonder whether it doesn't make more sense to offload some of this to other software. If this package offered basic cuts to eliminate commercials, ratings screens, etc. and a basic merge to output multiple programs to a single tape, I think that would be great (and meet 98% of the requirements people have). If you were able to develop the appropriate plug-ins/drivers to allow the video to be easily imported into an existing NLE package (e.g. Premiere) by moving the files across a LAN, that would address the occasional desire to do fancy things.[/list=1]UI/Display requirements:
[list=1][*]A single display with UI appropriate for use via remote control from across the room. I think this is very important to foster wide adoption. Use of a keyboard should be supported, but completely optional. As a later feature, support for a dual monitor configuration might be desirable. This would facilitate using a keyboard & mouse, with a more computer-like UI appropriate for sitting close to the monitor.[*]3:2 pull-down processing for HD material. 24p is part of the ATSC standard, yet 24 frame material is consistently being converted to 30 or 60 frames by the broadcasters.[*]Scaling to a display's native resolution when playing back material from disk. It would be desirable to scale material as it is being streamed in from tape, as long as this didn't interfere with PVR recording functionality.[/list=1]
|what you'd pay for a software or packaged hardware solution
IMHO, we need to look at this in the context of today's PVR and NLE prices as well as the expected pricing of forthcoming HD PVRs from JVC and Echostar. These HD PVRs will undoubtedly be in the sub-$1000 range (and include 1 or 2 satellite tuners as well).
NLE software today is priced anywhere from sub-$100 for basic packages to $500+ for something like Premiere. PVR software ranges from $0 (e.g. bundled with tuner cards) to $50 (ShowShifter & SnapStream PVS).
Software alone might command a $199 price point if the feature list were compelling.
I think a bundled package would expand the market beyond the HTPC and die-hard HDTV entusiasts. Even as a die-hard HDTV (and Linux) enthusiast, I would find it very valuable to be able to buy a pre-configured HD PVR+NLE system to add to my HT gear. For this I'd pay $2000. I also think it would make support a realistic possibility as well.
|which Windows cards you'd like supported
My suggestion here is to support HiPix (they seem to do the most to push the envelope, and are the most open) and Hauppauge (most likely to be around for the long haul).
I would strongly
urge you to look at using FireWire input from an STB as an alternate input. This could help expand your market as well. The Windows cards do not allow most people (those without Dish 5000s) to record from satellite channels. The forthcoming PVR from JVC will not include an OTA tuner, and it is likely that the Echostar 921 may not either. Since these units will have FireWire i/o for archiving to DVHS (and E*'s may support FireWire expansion disks as well), this would provide yet another source of material. Even those of us with the Panny DST 50/51 tuners might choose not to use a tuner card if there were an effective integration.
|and any other feedback that would be appropriate for this product.
[list=1][*]Good integration interfaces for guides, peripherals and control of the app.[*]Even better, good integration interfaces and an open source license![*]Release early and often. Get the hardware design in place to allow addition of lots of features, then release with software supporting only basic functionality. Arrange for the software updates to be downloaded, and take advantage of the ready-made community of beta testers you have available here at AVS Forum.[*]The hardware (yes, I'm assuming that a hardware/software package is the way to go) needs to integrate easily into the two major configurations for home theater gear - stacked components or rack mounted. Perhaps a slim (2U) chassis with removable rails or rack-mount ears would be the best way to approach this.[/list=1]