Ceton announces new 6-tuner outboard whole-house DVR system - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 177 Old 01-10-2012, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Just in case this announcement at CES was not seen by Media Center users reading this forum, here's the article on Engadget:

Ceton previews multi-room DVR and Echo extender (hands-on)

Here is a brief video demonstration.


Home Entertainment
Ceton previews multi-room DVR and Echo extender (hands-on)

By Ben Drawbaugh posted Jan 10th 2012 3:01PM




The company that has almost single handedly spurred the golden age of CableCARD has found a new way to deliver its technology to consumers with a 6 tuner multi-room DVR with a 2TB hard drive, codenamed Q, and its companion extender, codenamed Echo. No word on the price of either but both are expected to ship in 2012.

While the Q and Echo might look like Microsoft Media Center, they aren't. Based on the Windows 7 Embedded platform, the Q picks up where Microsoft left off but still leverages the great DVR functionality and free guide data.

In addition to being used as an extender for the Q, the Echo is also a fully compliant Extender for Windows Media Center.

The Echo will support both ethernet and MoCA for communication to the source and has HDMI-CEC for control as well as an included remote. When used with the Q, it will extend the entire Q experience, including streaming sources and enhanced search that facilitates content discovery.

Speaking of the Q, that slot up front is a Blu-ray drive and in addition to being able to play Blu-ray Discs, the plan is to integrate as many streaming sources as possible (no partners to announce yet, though).

The Q will also work with other Extenders for Windows Media Center, like the Xbox 360, but while the custom themes are there, the other streaming options aren't.

Ceton has even developed a Windows 8 Metro and Windows Phone 7 app to extend the Q experience to the handhelds -- iOS apps are on the road map. These apps are primarily designed to be companions to the Q's search and discovery features, but will provide access to content via WiFi.
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post #2 of 177 Old 01-10-2012, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Note that this is simply a prototype being demo'd at CES, so the product is clearly still in development and design.


I've posted my suggestion on The Green Button thread that's just getting started on the product, regarding the possibility of Ceton producing the long sought-after "holy grail" of devices, by capitalizing on the BluRay drive that they've got in it.

My suggestion is that they make that drive both a BURNER as well as a PLAYER. And, by implementing appropriate software and wizards, they could build a BluRay version of a VCR (at least for copy-freely content)! Record to a blank BluRay media inserted, just like writing to a VCR.

Add capability for the user to go through the recording and mark START/STOP for commercial pods, so that the burned BluRay could be commercial-free. I'm not asking for "authoring" capability for titles, chapters, etc., although if it could be done then even better!!

Obviously if burning directly to the BluRay from "live" TV (like recording to a VCR while watching "live" TV), you'd have no way to edit for commercials (except maybe to push PAUSE on the recorder and then PLAY/REC again to resume). But for transferring recorded programs to BluRay, inventing a commercial-removal wizard (either by very smart commercial-scan logic in Q, or just letting the user manually mark the start/stop boundaries of each commercial pod and then start the recording process) it could reasonably be implemented.

I also suggested that if they haven't already considered it, that they do consider providing a firewire interface for both copy-freely and copy-once content to a 5C-compliant DVHS VCR.

Also, they should provide access to the recorded copy-freely programs (in WTV format?? probably, I would think) from a PC on the network, so that they could be copied to the PC for editing/saving (VideoRedo) and/or burning to BluRay from the PC itself. If the Q is seen as a "network drive" then there's nothing to be done, as long as the files are known Windows-compatible file formats (and why wouldn't they be or shouldn't they be, as long as DRM is observed?).

That forum (and all threads Ceton-related) is monitored by the QA manager at Ceton. He has already replied that "I have seen your post, and can't comment on features at this time, but you have some very good ideas."

Looks like a fantastic product family.
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post #3 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 04:45 AM
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Agree that this is an outstanding prototype and I sincerely hope this reaches the market this year at an attainable price point.

However, I don't see why Blu-Ray burning is at all important when you can easily record anything you want to the 2TB HD then easily transfer it elsewhere. All it will do is add cost to the box for a feature that most people will never use. I wouldn't even care if it had Blu-Ray or not, the players are cheap enough now. All I want is a great WMC-based DVR to compete with Tivo (including extenders), and this fits the bill to a T.

Tivo better watch out when/if this hits the shelves.
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post #4 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 05:26 AM
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Forget the blu ray burning in HD from live tv. That'll never happen.......not because ceton couldn't do it, because they wont be allowed to do that.

Also, they will probably be forced to encrypt the live tv recordings so you can't easily record a show in hd and upload it. That would be too much for copyrite laws..

It's funny how much demand there is for this product I don't think ceton even knows about it.

I was just talking with a coworker about the cablevision remote dvr service she just had installed. She says her family HATES IT and whine to her about it EVERYDAY. I showed her the video and told her what it is said to be able to do and she wants me to come install them AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. 7 tv's in the house, 4 kids, 2 adults.

I really wish someone at Ceton would get in touch with me!!
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post #5 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

Tivo better watch out when/if this hits the shelves.

Didn't people once say that about Moxi . . .
Not trying to imply that TiVo is the best there ever will be, only that the market is a lot smaller than people think when it comes to supporting multiple players.

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post #6 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Didn't people once say that about Moxi . . .
Not trying to imply that TiVo is the best there ever will be, only that the market is a lot smaller than people think when it comes to supporting multiple players.

As far as I know, no other player has live tv and that's the key here. Getting LIVE tv to multiple tv's as well as letting you view stored content.
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post #7 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 09:44 AM
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Am I missing something? I don't see a coax connector in any of the pictures of this device. How does the signal (Cable? OTA?) get in?

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post #8 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by J3ff View Post

Forget the blu ray burning in HD from live tv. That'll never happen.......not because ceton couldn't do it, because they wont be allowed to do that.

Not allowed by who? There's no law that says they cannot include burning software with this.

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Originally Posted by J3ff View Post

Also, they will probably be forced to encrypt the live tv recordings so you can't easily record a show in hd and upload it. That would be too much for copyrite laws..

eh, this is the same tuner they ship today just with Windows embedded instead of Windows 7. No different rules around it. Depending upon what cable provider you have - nothing would be encrypted or almost all would be.
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post #9 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by WS65711 View Post

Am I missing something? I don't see a coax connector in any of the pictures of this device. How does the signal (Cable? OTA?) get in?

If it is like their other devices it uses a dongle. I want to know if it can still link to Windows Home Server 2011 for its libraries. And will Netlifx still be able to be installed? Perhaps a My Movies addin?
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post #10 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by J3ff View Post

As far as I know, no other player has live tv and that's the key here. Getting LIVE tv to multiple tv's as well as letting you view stored content.

I guess I don't follow you here. What DVR doesn't play live TV?

Oh wait, do you mean streaming live TV from the main unit to the satellite extender boxes?

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post #11 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by WS65711 View Post

Am I missing something? I don't see a coax connector in any of the pictures of this device. How does the signal (Cable? OTA?) get in?

There is a little extender that hooks to the gold connector under the cablecard and it has a coax fitting on the other end.
This is how the Ceton Quad tuner card works.
http://cetoncorp.com/products/infinitv-4-pcie/

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post #12 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 10:07 AM
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They said this is a prototype, production units will have a regular RF connector.

And the recordings will not be encrypted unless they are copy-protected by the provider, because that's how WMC works today.

I would be very surprised if it didn't have a Windows share capability so you can easily copy the recordings for playback or archive elsewhere.
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post #13 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Didn't people once say that about Moxi . . .
Not trying to imply that TiVo is the best there ever will be, only that the market is a lot smaller than people think when it comes to supporting multiple players.

But before the ink was dry on Arris's purchase of Moxi, Arris let the product whither on the vine.
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post #14 of 177 Old 01-11-2012, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by J3ff View Post

As far as I know, no other player has live tv and that's the key here. Getting LIVE tv to multiple tv's as well as letting you view stored content.

Precisely Jeff. In addition, Dish has just announced its "Hopper/Joey" STB system but obviously, it's for Dish subscribers only.
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post #15 of 177 Old 01-12-2012, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

I've posted my suggestion on The Green Button thread that's just getting started on the product, regarding the possibility of Ceton producing the long sought-after "holy grail" of devices, by capitalizing on the BluRay drive that they've got in it.

My suggestion is that they make that drive both a BURNER as well as a PLAYER. And, by implementing appropriate software and wizards, they could build a BluRay version of a VCR (at least for copy-freely content)! Record to a blank BluRay media inserted, just like writing to a VCR.

Add capability for the user to go through the recording and mark START/STOP for commercial pods, so that the burned BluRay could be commercial-free. I'm not asking for "authoring" capability for titles, chapters, etc., although if it could be done then even better!!

Obviously if burning directly to the BluRay from "live" TV (like recording to a VCR while watching "live" TV), you'd have no way to edit for commercials (except maybe to push PAUSE on the recorder and then PLAY/REC again to resume). But for transferring recorded programs to BluRay, inventing a commercial-removal wizard (either by very smart commercial-scan logic in Q, or just letting the user manually mark the start/stop boundaries of each commercial pod and then start the recording process) it could reasonably be implemented.

With all due respect, why add all this overhead to a simple appliance like device when you already have:

Quote:
Also, they should provide access to the recorded copy-freely programs (in WTV format?? probably, I would think) from a PC on the network, so that they could be copied to the PC for editing/saving (VideoRedo) and/or burning to BluRay from the PC itself. If the Q is seen as a "network drive" then there's nothing to be done, as long as the files are known Windows-compatible file formats (and why wouldn't they be or shouldn't they be, as long as DRM is observed?).

This is what I do today with 7MC. Edit with VideoRedo and save to a network server. If I want to back up something that's important to me, then I'll burn to DVD or Blu-Ray as an archive.

Now if they were able to add a Blu-Ray burner to archive copy-protected material, that I could see as being useful, but undoubtedly a non-starter for the content provider licensing/DRM needed.
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post #16 of 177 Old 01-15-2012, 04:59 PM
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I've been waiting for something like this for a long time. I hope that they come up with a budget version of this, for example a version with only 500GB of HDD space, and no blu-ray player. And maybe one with only 4 tuners instead of 6. Maybe $400-500 for the 4-tuner version, and $100 more for the 6-tuner version, and $99 for the extender.

Some of us don't need quite so many bells and whistles, and just want a cheaper replacement for the silly cable boxes that we have to rent from the cable company.
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Ok... NOW I'm getting excited!


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Quote:
Originally Posted by neo_sapien View Post

I've been waiting for something like this for a long time. I hope that they come up with a budget version of this, for example a version with only 500GB of HDD space, and no blu-ray player. And maybe one with only 4 tuners instead of 6. Maybe $400-500 for the 4-tuner version, and $100 more for the 6-tuner version, and $99 for the extender.

Some of us don't need quite so many bells and whistles, and just want a cheaper replacement for the silly cable boxes that we have to rent from the cable company.

From a marketing standpoint, it makes sense to test the market with a more sophisticated device that would induce buzz and interest; a dumbed down device would certainly invoke the wrath of sophisticated users and reviewers, jeopardizing the product line.
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post #19 of 177 Old 01-17-2012, 05:01 PM
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I would definitely be interested in one if the price is right.

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post #20 of 177 Old 01-18-2012, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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More in-depth 27-minute video on Q/Echo can be viewed here.
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post #21 of 177 Old 01-18-2012, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

More in-depth 27-minute video on Q/Echo can be viewed here.

How odd, I am literally watching this as you posted.




The more I see of this the more I like it and I'll probably buy one as soon as it's released.

It makes me sad however to know that as a user experience the product is going to be completely ruined by the technical incompetence of Time Warner Cable and their pathetic infrastructure and hardware.


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post #22 of 177 Old 01-18-2012, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

It makes me sad however to know that as a user experience the product is going to be completely ruined by the technical incompetence of Time Warner Cable and their pathetic infrastructure and hardware.

I'm a TWC/LA customer, and have been a satisfied cablecard-enabled Ceton InfiniTV user from my upstairs "big boy PC" (now given additional responsibilities as my HTPC/DVR to deliver HDTV around the house to my DMA2100 extenders) for about 14 months now.

I also have an ATI TV Wonder 650 PCI 1-tuner OTA/ATSC card in my PC (for a total of 5 tuners managed by WMC) and use it whenever possible for local OTA network broadcasts, so as not to see any TWC/LA recompression of those local network broadcasts.

But other than that, what do you feel would be any downside inflicted on Q/Echo users (or InfiniTV users) specifically by TWC/LA that is not true of the cable industry in general?

As I see it, Q/Echo is kind of an "outboard computer with embedded WMC", making use of the very same cablecard-enabled Ceton InifiniTV technology available today through their internal card and external USB tuner boxes.

So what's the complaint you have?
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post #23 of 177 Old 01-18-2012, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

So what's the complaint you have?

I guess you don't have a tuning adapter or are required to call in to clueless customer support to explain that you need it repaired every month do you?


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post #24 of 177 Old 01-18-2012, 09:48 AM
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I have been in the DVR world for 5 or 6 years and this is what I've been wanting all along. Obviously early yet, but I'm pumped

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post #25 of 177 Old 01-18-2012, 10:20 AM
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Will this support plugins/apps like windows media center? FOr isntance, maybe there will ba a HBO GO or Max GO app for On Demand? Wonder when a lsit of all supported file types and audio types will be released. It would be great if this thing could play MKV's or maybe even BD ISO's with lossless sound and at 1080p


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post #26 of 177 Old 01-18-2012, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

I guess you don't have a tuning adapter or are required to call in to clueless customer support to explain that you need it repaired every month do you?

You're absolutely correct. I'm fortunate enough to live in a former-Comcast area (formerly ATTBI before that, formerly Communicom before that) and have a relatively modern Motorola infrastructure.

So my experience involved Motorola equipment, and not tuning adapters. In fact it's not clear if there's a need to convert my area to SDV... certainly it's seemingly unnecessary right now, even though we have more than 100 directly tunable HD channels available (to my InfiniTV card) without use of tuning adapters.

(I probably shouldn't talk about this... for fear of hastening a move to SDV for my area)
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post #27 of 177 Old 01-18-2012, 12:09 PM
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You're absolutely correct. I'm fortunate enough to live in a former-Comcast area (formerly ATTBI before that, formerly Communicom before that) and have a relatively modern Motorola infrastructure.

Lucky you. Find any third party consumer CableCARD device and you can guarantee the people with the most problems have SDV and Cisco boxes ruining the experience.

You don't even need third party hardware really. Even TWC system's running Navigator in SDV deployed areas cause their own problems.


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post #28 of 177 Old 01-18-2012, 01:58 PM
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More in-depth 27-minute video on Q/Echo can be viewed here.

Unless I missed something one glaring omission is the ability for the Q to "sling" media to consented handheld devices within the LAN or across the Internet.
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post #29 of 177 Old 01-18-2012, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Operon View Post

Unless I missed something one glaring omission is the ability for the Q to "sling" media to consented handheld devices within the LAN or across the Internet.

That does seem like a good idea.

But there's a DRM issue to contend with, with copy-protected content I would imagine. Here in TWC/LA-land EVERYTHING is marked copy-protected with the exception of local OTA network carries, so I can't even edit basic cable programs with VideoRedo much less "sling" this content around the world. I can't even view it on my other Win7 machine on the home LAN. It can only be sent to extenders.

DRM and WMC and MS agreements with Cablelabs (and thus the implementation with Ceton) also means I can't even view copy-protected content if I have to do a "system image" restore from a backup taken a few days ago (exactly the same machine, same hardware, same Win7 as today, as did the copy-protected recording via WMC) if the copy-protected recording I'm trying to watch occurred more recently than the date of the "system image" I had to restore. This is because the encryption key used to decrypt copy-protected content is time-based, meaning that the earlier date of the restored "system image" makes it impossible to decrypt a copy-protected recording made after the date of the restored "system image".

Pretty tight DRM protection scheme. Can't imagine they would let you "sling" it anywhere, if you can't even watch it on your own second PC... or even the SAME PC that did the recording, in that "system image" restore scenario.
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post #30 of 177 Old 01-20-2012, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

That does seem like a good idea.

But there's a DRM issue to contend with, with copy-protected content I would imagine. Here in TWC/LA-land EVERYTHING is marked copy-protected with the exception of local OTA network carries, so I can't even edit basic cable programs with VideoRedo much less "sling" this content around the world. I can't even view it on my other Win7 machine on the home LAN. It can only be sent to extenders.

DRM and WMC and MS agreements with Cablelabs (and thus the implementation with Ceton) also means I can't even view copy-protected content if I have to do a "system image" restore from a backup taken a few days ago (exactly the same machine, same hardware, same Win7 as today, as did the copy-protected recording via WMC) if the copy-protected recording I'm trying to watch occurred more recently than the date of the "system image" I had to restore. This is because the encryption key used to decrypt copy-protected content is time-based, meaning that the earlier date of the restored "system image" makes it impossible to decrypt a copy-protected recording made after the date of the restored "system image".

Pretty tight DRM protection scheme. Can't imagine they would let you "sling" it anywhere, if you can't even watch it on your own second PC... or even the SAME PC that did the recording, in that "system image" restore scenario.

I don't think DRM really has anything to do with it. The DRM scheme contained within the Q unit is self-limited; As long as the Q deems the media, synchronous, (live) or asynchronous, (recorded), is copacetic, then in a perfect world it should be agnostic as to the device to which it transmits, Echo, Android or otherwise.

Furthermore, Slingbox has been allowed to exist with nary a challenge from any CC; at least AFAIK. Secondly, TWC has client software for iOS that allow Apple handheld devices to receive TWC media over the Internet. Clearly, TWC is not dogmatically opposed to the concept.

Editing, copying, backing up DRM media is another can of worms. There are several work-arounds if one is so inclined but that's another plate of spaghetti.
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