The purpose of this post is to chat about a follow-up product to the HD-1000. Iâ€™ve had a B model for over a year now. Just before Christmas, it died, and I realize what an important part of my media system it has become. Iâ€™ve found these forums to be a valuable source of information regarding the use of the HD-1000. One of the things that has been very interesting is how the HD-1000 has morphed from your original concept as being primarily an art based photo viewer to an mpeg HD media player. This is primarily because of setting up the unit for third party applications. There are some very talented people here that are responsible for making the unit a much more capable device than it was when it originally hit the market.
I read your comments about market demand for network based hardware media players. Iâ€™m not sure I agree with your conclusions there. There is a really strong demand for a network based hardware media player. The problem is that no one has really come out with a unit that does a first class job. To get an idea how much interest is out there, have one of your employees go to the AVS forums and look through the media player threads.
The two devices Iâ€™ve found that seem the most capable are the TivX 5000 and the Neodigits Helios X5000. There are hundreds of posts regarding these two media players; however neither seems up to the capability of the HD-1000.
What people (myself included) want is a network based media appliance that will hardware decode all the popular video and audio formats and handle high bit rate HD streams. When I say appliance, I mean a unit that can be run with non-proprietary firmware. This is a departure from your present company business model, but makes sense when you think about it. Look at all the uses the X-box has been put to. The idea is you make a capable, versatile, reliable device with your firmware on board. Your engineers support the firmware, but you also release the API and interface for third party applications. Sort of like a Dell Computer â€“ it comes with an operating system, but you can put on anything you want. My take on this is if you build it, they will come! The Roku name means something, and I believe there is a major market out there lurking, waiting for something like this. Here is my wish list, and Iâ€™m sure other will add to it:
1. A physically rugged and reliable unit with a quiet heat activated fan to keep the electronic failure rate down.
2. Hardware decoding for all the popular video and audio file formats, including h.264 mpeg 4, Divx, Xvid, etc.
3. Ability to pass high bit rate HD streams, 18 Mb/sec and above.
4. USB support to read and write to external USB hard drives.
5. Connectivity to all popular network setups.
6. Output â€“ S video, Component, DVI, HDMI, Coax Digital Audio, Analog Audio.
7. A well thought out remote control.
8. Good playback software that provides simple and universal aspect ratio control, programmable fast forward and rewind speeds, and time jumps.
9. The ability to play back DVD iso files with menu support.
10. Lots of memory on the unit, and swap file capability using compact flash cards.