“Hey Bill, look, do me a favor, give him a chance. He came in here with a little piece of information. I know you worked with him before and had a little trouble, but don't get off on the wrong foot, if you have problems, come to me with them, I'll handle it.” – Walt Simonson, The French Connection, 1971

Content Insider #88 - The Home Network/Entertainment Connection Is…Easy

THE Insider

Content Insider #88
The Home Network/Entertainment Connection IsEasy

"Hey Bill, look, do me a favor, give him a chance. He came in here with a little piece of information. I know you worked with him before and had a little trouble, but don't get off on the wrong foot, if you have problems, come to me with them, I'll handle it." - Walt Simonson, The French Connection, 1971

Even though there is entertainment everywhere - on your TV, on your PC, on your smartphone - people still go to movies.

It's escape from reality.

There's always a happy ending or at least good triumphs over evil.

The same is true when Jobs, Gates/Ballmer, Otellini and others take the stage.

80% of the time the demos workflawlessly.

The other 20% of the time?

Guys who set up the demos didn't want to work there anyway!

We always wanted the same for our modest home.

But unlike the movie version of a home PC/entertainment solution it doesn't just suddenly appearit evolves.

It's a waste of hard earned dollars for every computer user in the house to have his/her own printertheir own internet connection.

Home networks have gotten easier over the years. We still have some wires running along the baseboard but the wireless hub finally set us free.

Kids can work in their room, by the pool, wherever.

Of course we don't talk anymore. We email (that's old-fashioned but we've mastered it), text, IM.

The kids abandon the TV.

Don't need it.

Everything is on the Web.

Figure 1 - Web-ready - If you wonder why our son spends even his spare time on the computer it is because as far as he is concerned it's where all the best entertainment lives. Music, videos, TV, movie clips, almost anything/everything you can imagine is vying to for eyeballs on the web. Illustration - NYTimes

YouTube, MySpace, Yahoo whateverthey all have news, information, entertainment, movie clips, music and yes commercials.

Even though the audience is the younger crowd (below 30), the market is expanding because of the variety of stuff you can find.

Figure 2 - Video Rich, Video Ready - The web-enabled generation (24 and younger) expect to find all of their content available to them at the click of a mouse. Their monitors are their first port of call for movie clips, dumb/dumber videos, TV shows and more. Source - Ipsos

Doesn't take long to find that you've got to add more hardware.

You download everything - just in case.

A cute dog trick here.

A great music video there.

Sports highlights.

On The Lot and American Inventor shows.

Before long you're out of space and need more flash, more CDs/DVDs, bigger HDs.

"And by the time it gets down to nickel bags, it will be worth at lest thirty-two million." - Sal Boca.

Breaking the individual storage upgrade habit is pretty easy and damn cheap!

For us the logic was upgrading one of the PCs (logically ours) and adding a network attached storage device.

Figure 3 - Shared Content - Once the family moves beyond individual PCs to networked system with Internet connection, the next phase is to centralize content - photos, music and video - so everyone on the network can entertain him/herself when they want, how they want. Source - Parks Associates

With a 1TB NAS you swear to gawd you can control the world.

After all our first HD was 5MB and we had no idea how we would fill it.

Today with Vista bloat (Leopard isn't a lot better) and the world at your fingertips.

Tellywood is firmly convincing the law that with all that power, all that capacity, all that sneaky will you're going to spend 80% of your time stealing their stuff.

Or as Sal Boca warned 'I'm telling you, they'll split if we don't move! This guy's got 'em like that, he's everything they say he is!" Not on our systems.

Not on most folks storage devices.

Figure 4 - Stealing On The Fly -- Anyone with a lick of sense and even a modicum of research in their neighborhood would find that most people who grab and store information and content on their computer hard drive don't spend the time, effort and money to steal and store movies. They are far more interested in themselves and personalized content - great photos, great music, great personal videos. Source - Parks Associates

Unless you're a Doom9er Tellywood's "prize jewels" are way down on your priority list of important stuff you have on your system.

Yeah we know. Doesn't stop them from acting like Walt Simonson "Buddy, here's the warrant. The court order's in there for the wiretap, the judge gave you sixty days on it. Tell Doyle that Mulderig and Klein will sit in for the Feds.".

The home computer network has become "almost" plug 'n play.

All you need is a good friend or neighbor who happens to be very technically inclined!

He plugsyou play.

Unfortunately when it comes to the home entertainment network

We believed Otellini at IDF (Intel Developers Forum) two years ago. Believed Gates at CES.

All we wanted to do is get in on the fun, the action. You know:

    - stream videos
    - download videos
    - share videos
    - record TV on the PC
    - watch videos on portables - phone, PMP, whatever
    - grab a couple of good movies on the PC

Nothing much.

Just all the neat things they did so easily!

You can complain about blue differences holding back brilliant home movie viewing but it's a street punk compared to home entertainment network turf wars.

Every acronym group has the right answer.

Our home solution wasn't installedit evolved!

Only in the movies and Home Theater and Architectural Digest do people build their entertainment around an automated, controlled-environment room!

TV is in one room. Stereo is in another. PCs are everywhere.

Bringing them together to talk/play isfun.

First generation was to use Pinnacle's ShowCenter seemed like a great alternative to MS "sure fire" Media Center enabled PCs that folks wanted you to buy.

After a little effort it worked ok. A lot better than an earlier attempt to connect our PC to a big screen LCD using the DVI outputs and connecting to the HDMI inputs on the panel.

Display resolution configuration is so much fun.

But the ShowCenter did allow us to move content (photos and video) from one PC to another and even to the big screen.

Even got to master the PVR and timeshift showsnow all we need is viewing time.

Once you've done that you'll want to placeshift shows and events.

Back to the big box store for a WiFi solution that handles both standard and highdef content.

Between the techie friend and techie son we were able to figure out how to use PCTV To Go HD Wireless and even configure our notebook so we could use it on the road.

Of course kids have everyone else's content - music, video - on their smartphone and PMP in no time.

Our home media network "almost" looks like the stuff Gates, Jobs, Otellini talk about almost.


Figure 5 - Computing to Entertainment -- Most consumers have moved from information and entertainment islands - PC, PC network, TV, portable device - to a connected/shared environment that enables them to entertain themselves individually and as a family when and where it is convenient. Source - iSuppli

Can mere mortals install these things?

Following the "easy to install" instructions ain't that easy!

But selling the dream?


That's where the new generation service guy comes in.

We know folks who tried it with their cable guy.


We know people who tried it with their phone person.

Hello ??

That's why PC/CE network installation/service contracts are going to be huge!!

Figure 6 - Getting the Job Done - All of the parts for the home computer/entertainment network is out there. The challenge for most consumers is getting the pieces to work and play together. Until the industry has true tinker toy plug and play solutions, there will be a ready market for installation and service support by integration/implementation experts. Source - Parks Associates

We'll attend the next keynote and press presentation and get excited. We'll also walk behind the stage and look at the poor techies sweating bullets and crossing their fingers. If content doesn't fly everywhere? There are always support jobs in New Delhi! You'll buy the new sweets the boys are pushing. Just remember what Walt Simonson said, "Brooklyn is loaded with guys that own candy stores, two cars, and like to go to nightclubs!" Don't worrythe service guy will show up.

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