Thursday, 12 April 2007

I want my M server

The thing I hate about the IT industry is that it usually tries to be too clever. It panders to geeks' addiction to features they barely or rarely need, like people who put spoilers on low spec cars.

Such has it been for years with home servers and so-called media centres. The more recent efforts haven't been too bad - the MVix and Apple TV, but where PCs are too big and desk-oriented, these devices are too constrained by media formats, either because of substandard hardware, or locked up software. When video standards are a broad, open market, it pays to be modular: have a tool for retrieval/storage/processing and distribution of media (a home server) and separate tools for presentation of media (a screen or a stereo or a printer). This home server just needs to be a suped-up hard disk attached to a network, with a webserver for GUI and LOTS of protocols for retrieval and distribution of media.

It doesn't sound hard, does it? Yet I've never seen such a straightforward device. The Apple TV is close, but is hobbled by format/protocol restrictions and DRM.

This device shows more promise. It just needs a complimentary box attached to the TV to convert datastreams into the plethora of multimedia formats (Component, co-ax, HDMI, DVI etc.).

I think the latter half of this year, going into next year, will be home media server time

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