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Yesterday I had a call from UTV asking me for my opinions in a survey. It was long (30min) and covered the expected questions about, Tivo, EchoStar, Replay, cable and the features of UTV. The most interesting questions for me were about possible new UTV options. The most interesting one was would I be willing to pay $150 for an external box that would allow me to store an extra 105 hours (three times normal) of programs. Since this is about the cost of the raw hard drive for this amount I replied, certainly. The other question was would I be willing to pay $100 for a device to allow me to share control of a single UTV with a TV in a different room. Since I already do this I said no, but considering I spent $50 for IR extenders, and $30 for an extra RS remote, the cost seems reasonable. It looks like MS is aggressively looking at the market and has some interesting options in mind.
 

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The $150 cost seems pretty reasonable. Currently the going price for a raw 100 GB drive (space goes at about 1 GB per hour) is about $250.


Ed
 

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"The most interesting one was would I be willing to pay $150 for an external box that would allow me to store an extra 105 hours (three times normal) of programs."


Now, that would be a killer!!!!


A plug in box that I could archive shows to for 105hrs of simi-permanent storage for $150??


I would buy two today!!!!!!!!!
 

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Great point. It would be a great way to archive. I initially though of it to just expand the overall storage. If it could be implemented so that the external drive was used to "permanently archive" something from My Shows that would be great.
 

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Interesting...


I wonder how the video outputs would be handled by the second box? I wouldn't think the USB ports have the bandwidth to carry the video signal from the external device. Perhaps it'll use the RCA in connections to daisy chain the video signal. Of course, there's no S-Video INPUT connection that I can recall so you'd loose some video quality for anything kept on the external device.


Either way, the external storage solution is a great idea and one I'd purchase right away.


-- John
 

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I think the external device would just be for storage, and you would have to transfer the show to the internal hard drive. It would make sense to use the USB connection to transfer from the external to the internal. It would be great to have the external linked to "My Shows", but my guess is that it would just transfer.
 

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The specs for USB are 1.5 MB per second. At 3600 seconds per hour, that is about 5 GB per hour. UTV recording appears to be in the range of 1 GB per hour.


While figures and specs can vary, it's not so clear that recording/playback could not be supported directly from an external USB based box.


Ed
 

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One additional consideration is the actual USB port on the UTV. Does anyone know if this is USB 1.1 or USB 2.0? Usb 2.0 supports up to 60 MB/sec, about 40 times faster than USB 1.1.


Ed
 

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One other thought.....With 2 UTV's in a house, you could easily unplug a USB hard drive and take it to the 2nd receiver for transferring. Not exactly ethernet "sharing", but it would be nice !!
 

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Or to another UTV houshold.


(Or maybe some how to your PCs USB port)
 

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I think this is a great idea as well and the price seems reasonable. However, I worry about if they would really do something like this. What would keep me from renting a movie and storing it from my hard drive and taking it to a friends house. However, I guess if my friends really wanted to see it as well they could just come to my house or I could burn them a video tape!


M!
 

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As has been stated, USB is fast enough for this to work directly from the external storage. Also, one would assume that the setup of the box would "marry" the UTV main box to the auxiliary storage, so that moving the auxiliary storage to another UTV main box would not work.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce M
As has been stated, USB is fast enough for this to work directly from the external storage. Also, one would assume that the setup of the box would "marry" the UTV main box to the auxiliary storage, so that moving the auxiliary storage to another UTV main box would not work.
First, I'm curious why you assume that an external box like this wouldn't be able to be easily relocated to another UTV box.


Second, this is a really cool idea! The idea of having an official external upgrade option would be great! I wouldn't call this a "Tivo killer" feature, though! :)


Tivos can be upgraded relatively easily by anyone who knows how to install a hardrive, etc. in a PC. Not too tough from everything that I've read. And there are companies that will do it for anyone who wants to pay them to upgrade their Tivos. I think that the companies usually even give their own warranty to cover their work, which is great since opening a Tivo voids the standard warranty.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BrettStah
Tivos can be upgraded relatively easily by anyone who knows how to install a hardrive, etc. in a PC. Not too tough from everything that I've read. And there are companies that will do it for anyone who wants to pay them to upgrade their Tivos. I think that the companies usually even give their own warranty to cover their work, which is great since opening a Tivo voids the standard warranty.
Sure but this is an upgrade for the masses... If I owned a Tivo, no doubt I woulda hacked a bigger HD but UTV offering this to everyone, factory authorized and at a reasonable price, is outstanding. I'd be willing to bet that most PVR owners aren't willing to open up their boxes and risk messing them up for more space... especially considering the future of PVRs and getting them into more homes and not just us PC/Home theater geeks like us :) Eventually moms and sisters will own a PVR and hacking wouldn't of been an option for them...


Very sweet move on Microsoft's side IMO

riz
 

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I agree with you, riz! Let's see if Microsoft implements this idea, and find out what the details are if they do.
 

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This would also explain the lack of MS interest in providing any space expanding hints to user/hackers to enlarge their own units.


What is surprising is the price. 100 GB drives cost about $250, and this entire unit is being discussed at $150.


What is also interesting is the subject of file placement. Any shows that spanned the two drivers would be a problem for moving the box to another UTV unit. Then there are things like show reference when the box has been removed, or moving the box during a recording.


If the box connects via USB, it is also an interesting point as to what happens if you then connect that USB plug to a standard PC. Might one be able to download shows to PC hard drive?


All in all, it's a great move for UTV.


Ed
 

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Ed, keep in mind that the poster who started this thread indicated that this idea of external storage was presented to him in a survey. I've seen and filled out such surveys before, and most of the ideas are trial balloons, with no guarantee that they will ever be developed. I'm not saying Microsoft will not develop this particular feature, but I wouldn't be holding my breath based on a survey question either...
 

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think of this scenario,


Little Judy is having a slumber party tonight. Being a kid today(damn 'em!), she has her own utv and tv in her bedroom. Judy's got Shrek and the latest Olsen Twins movie on her utv, but her tv's just too small for all her friends to watch at once! (what a friggin' problem, eh?)


Judy digs out the box (about the size of a small hardbound book) and plugs it in to the utv.


Now, since it is usb, a screen pops up on the utv that says:


"UTV Storage detected. "Judy's Box" videos now available in Now Playing"

(Your able to personalize the box if you have the webtv keyboard)


Judy goes to "Now Playing" and selects "Judy's Box"


The UTV now displays what's on the box (and can play them from there) and at the bottom of the list is a selection called "Transfer".


Judy selects "Transfer".


A screen pops up and asks:


"Do you wish to transfer To or From "Judy's Box"? "


Judy selects "To"


The "Now Showing" screen pops up, showing what's on the UTV drive.


Judy puts checkmarks beside the movies she wants(NOTE: Batch transfer!!!) and hit's the enter button.


Judy goes and prepares for the party.


(the transfer should be fast but Judy doesn't care...)


PARTY TIME!!


Judy hooks "Judy's Box" to the UTV in the living room and plays the movie's off the box for her amazed friends.


btw, mom and dad also have one. it's got the "soprano's" and "Debbie does Cleveland" on it.....

Microsoft, are ya listening?


:D


Brett,

I wouldn't hold my breath either, but I seem to remember a survey of replay owners a few months before the announcement of the 4000.... stranger things have happened.....;)
 

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Here's a thought. How long do you think it would take to get such a product to market? It is only in marketing right now. Say it would take a year to get this product to the market. What would the cost of a 100GB drive be in one year? $100, $50, or $200. There price target could be aggresive with the notion that drives will be cheaper by the time they get the product to market.


So in a year when 100 GB drives are $75 would you pay $150 for this add-on?


It would still have to be seen how they implement it.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BrettStah
Ed, keep in mind that the poster who started this thread indicated that this idea of external storage was presented to him in a survey. I've seen and filled out such surveys before, and most of the ideas are trial balloons, with no guarantee that they will ever be developed. I'm not saying Microsoft will not develop this particular feature, but I wouldn't be holding my breath based on a survey question either...
True, however the fact that they asked shows the're thinking. My experience with MS is that they don't think out loud often without having something real behind it.


Anyway you size it up, it's a pretty good idea. They will eventually use those USB ports for something, and this applies to virtually every UTV owner. The ethernet idea applies to only a subset that have home networks, broadband, etc...


Ed
 
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