Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
JBerd
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Roku - could you throw us a bone? Or something???

Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:03 pm

Roku,

I understand that Roku's policy is not to discuss future software enhancements or dates or... anything at all. It may be because they have a small team that changes directions quickly. It may be because they have no road map. But who knows since you DON'T TELL US!

I can't speak for anyone else on thus forum but I feel like a donkey being led around with a carrot having no idea where we're going, when we're going to get there, or what we're going to get. Just open-ended promises. But it's getting tiresome.

The dozens of people on this forum are generally your early adopters and supporters of your products. Yet, many appear to be increasingly irritated because of the lack of information released from your group. What's coming up? What are the future release plans? Most of us understand that things change. But continuing on your current path of secrecy is eroding your early adopter base.

Does anyone else on this forum feel the same way?
 
jimre

Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:19 pm

What good would it do? They've pre-announced dates & features in the past, which have long since come & gone. You want them to give us yet another fictional date?

I have to disagree with you. Roku should just shut up & get the work done, not hang out here & chat with us. I don't want to hear anything from them unless it's a firm, locked-in-stone commitment they *know* they can meet.
 
GeneArch
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Location: Camarillo, CA

Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:13 pm

You are preaching to the Choir my friend...

As an early adopter of two HD1000's, both M1000 & M2000 and every art pack (except holidays) I more than feel the pain.

Any complaints or discussion here has simply fallen upon deaf ears. Roku has a very slim timeframe to make something happen or I'll simply walk away. The last update was in feb, and it was pretty much a bug fix for a few minor issues.

At this point, if something else comes along, I'm gone. I'd expect to see something announced or released come CES. I went through the same thing with AudioRequest and I never looked back. Roku is next unless they deliver..

Time for Roku to deliver on the HD1000.... I'm tired of the "we're working on it" BullS***...

AVS has 125K registered members, and who knows how many others hit there every day. You are being buried over there in the "Digital Audio & Photo Servers" forum.. The most recent thread has over 1,700 views. That will certainly have an impact on the bottom line..

Once upon a time when I was on the edge of buying my 2nd unit, Roku offered me a money back guarantee that their next release would solve my issues, so I went on a limb and bought the 2nd.. How about it Roku.. willing to make good on that offer now? tell you what.. send me 2 x M2000 and I'll promptly return my HD1000's and the Art Packs..
 
umbris
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 8:05 pm

Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:30 pm

[Caveat: The statements below are not meant to disparage Roku, but simply my opinion of the state of the HD1000]

Since I purchased my HD1000 a couple of weeks ago, I have followed many of the threads and have concluded that HD1000 owners are being (unintentionally?) disenfranchised by Roku's policy of not committing to a target date for product software bug fixes and enhancements. In my opinion, this indifference is unacceptable and a poor business practice. On the other hand, if the number of active users of this forum is any indication of sales volume, I might also conclude that the product is low priority for enhancements/fixes, and may even be mothballed in the near future.

The fact is, all I want it to do is what it is marketed to do: Play JPEG images, digital audio, and MPEG-2 video. But I also want it to do those three things well. As a former Fortune 500 Product Manager and VP of Technology, I can say with some authority that this product is not ready for the market. Wireless support is very poor, the user interface is very poor and reliability is poor. The product vision and concept are phenomenal, but the execution is flawed. I develop control systems for the Home Theater industry for a living, so I’m fairly patient with new technology and I think I have a handle on how products like the HD1000 should work.

I plan to return my unit before the 30 day money-back guarantee period. I will either build an HD HTPC, an XBMC or wait for another HD1000-like product. I may reconsider this decision, if improved software happens to be released before then, but I won’t hold my breath, because I don’t even think the new software is in beta yet.

Roku will probably delete this post and ban me before it is read by many people. Nonetheless, I would challenge Roku's leadership to make a commitment to it's current HD1000 owners by engaging them in a meaningful dialog about what will be implemented, what will not be implemented and most importantly, when.
 
transco
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:10 am

Thu Nov 04, 2004 9:49 am

I own two HD1000's (the first purchased when the product appeared on the market and the second when Roku committed to an OS upgrade to be released about mid year. The sole purpose of both was to play streamed MPEG2 video, and you know how that turned out. Both units sit here useless for all practical purposes (my wife, after accidentally putting her hand on top of one of the units suggested that, if nothing else, we could use them as hot plates). Like the other gentleman, I've been in this business a long time, 40+ years to be exact. I certainly know things don't always turn out as we originally had intended, regardless of what we do to try and fix them. What separates the men from the boys however is what you do about it when you make this determination. To save us countless hours of frustration, at the very least I would hope Roku would have the guts to admit the HD1000 didn't turn out quite the way they had hoped, and what we have now is about as good as it is going to get. Better would be to have them offer a factory upgrade, cash buyback. etc. Personally I don't think the unit is ever going to work with the amount of memory it has, regardless of what tricks the programmers come up with; to move around seamlessly in high bandwidth video, you need a very large local buffer.

Assuming that isn't going to happen, the next best thing, IMHO, would be to have a server-side application to push the video stream down the pipe. From my tests, VLC would do this quite nicely. All that would be needed is a remote VLC console and a real-time stream-to-screen app running in the HD1000... perhaps another incarnation of VLC. No menus, file directories, or wiz-bang options, just play the stream as served; let the server-side VLC do all the work.

I certainly don’t mean to trivialize the task, especially since I don’t have a working knowledge of the HD1000 hardware and software. Admittedly it is pure speculation on my part, but if the HD1000 is going to be saved in its current hardware configuration, I see no choice but to move more of the task to the server side of the equation.
 
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TheEndless
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Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:00 pm

transco wrote:
The sole purpose of both was to play streamed MPEG2 video, and you know how that turned out. Both units sit here useless for all practical purposes...

I use my Roku almost exclusively for streamed MPEG2 video, and using StreamPlayer rarely have any problems with it. The trick I've learned, after much experimentation, to get it to work, is to use VLC to "Encapsulate" the mpeg stream as a TS. I then use HJSplit to split the TS into smaller files. Works like a charm. It's a little bit of extra work, but in the end it's worth it to me, rather than just leaving the Roku sitting there gathering dust.

TheEndless
 
jimre

Thu Nov 04, 2004 4:15 pm

transco wrote:
...Personally I don't think the unit is ever going to work with the amount of memory it has, regardless of what tricks the programmers come up with; to move around seamlessly in high bandwidth video, you need a very large local buffer. ...
Well, thankfully your amatuer speculation is wrong here. Don't get me wrong - I'm as pissed off as anyone that Roku hasn't yet lived up to their promises. But the problem with the HD1000 isn't hardware - it's simply that their SOFTWARE isn't finished, period. Sure, for folks writing 3rd-party apps it might be nice to have more RAM. But 64MB is more than enough for a dedicated-purpose HD set-top box running Linux - esp. with a powerful vidoe processor like the ATI Xilleon chip. Almost every HD cable box nowadays has 64MB or less RAM, and they play HD material just fine.

Finish the software, and it will work just fine....
 
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TheEndless
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Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:35 am

jimre wrote:
But 64MB is more than enough for a dedicated-purpose HD set-top box running Linux - esp. with a powerful vidoe processor like the ATI Xilleon chip. Almost every HD cable box nowadays has 64MB or less RAM, and they play HD material just fine.

My HD1000 only seems to have 32MB. Is there a 64MB version??

TheEndless
 
jimre

Sun Nov 07, 2004 12:45 pm

I don't know. My comment was based on Roku's published spec sheet:

Internal Architecture
MIPS 300MHZ CPU
HD MPEG2 Hardware Decode Engine
16MB of internal flash memory
64MB DDR DRAM
2D Engine

I would assume the box is actually built to these specs...
 
HookedOnTV
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Sun Nov 07, 2004 1:11 pm

When running apps from the command line you do see this scroll by:

Memory Configuration: 32-bit 2-Channel DDR.
Channel 0 Size: 02000000 (32 MB)
Channel 1 Size: 02000000 (32 MB)
Total mem Size: 04000000 (64 MB)

but when you issue the "free" command or "top" it lists 29084 bytes. I do remember reading somewhere that the mpeg decoder operates in its' own memory space so 32mb may be dedicated to it.
- Travis
 
SP
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Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 8:12 pm

Sun Nov 07, 2004 8:49 pm

Well, you've got to have a frame buffer for the video processing unit. IN PCs that frame buffer is generally located on the video card itself and not usable for anything else. Therefore it's not counted when your talking about how much ram your PC has. My guess is that's probably how Roku can claim the HD1000 has 64MB ram. They're including the ram that's used as a frame buffer which makes it seem like it's got alot more than it does. If you telnet into your Roku and execute the "top" command you'll see it really has more like 29MB and generally you'll have less than 1MB of that free at any given time(for me it's generally more like 600K). So, it's pretty easy to see how we're running into memory limitations with the HD1000.

Anyway, as to all of you who agrue that the HD1000 has plenty of memory and that all we need are updates to the operating system, I certainly hope your right. However, I can't help but be skeptical about this. It would seem that if indeed all of these problems were the result of inefficency and bugs in the operating system, Roku would be issueing updates to at least help those problem somewhat and we wouldn't have to resort to such Hacks as creating swapfiles on compact flash cards. The fact that they aren't suggest that perhaps they cannot because the hardware itself is the problem.
 
jimre

Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:23 pm

SP wrote:
...However, I can't help but be skeptical about this. It would seem that if indeed all of these problems were the result of inefficency and bugs in the operating system, Roku would be issueing updates to at least help those problem somewhat and we wouldn't have to resort to such Hacks as creating swapfiles on compact flash cards. The fact that they aren't suggest that perhaps they cannot because the hardware itself is the problem.
Maybe that's what it suggests to you. To me, it suggests that Roku is a tiny little company that can only focus their dev/test resources on one product at a time (despite grand promises). I mean - come on, they've NEVER officially supported video playback AT ALL in the product. Does this mean that the hardware is hopelessly incapable of ever playing video? No, it means they over-promised what they could deliver in their software, and MAYBE someday they'll finish it.
 
SP
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Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:38 pm

I mean - come on, they've NEVER officially supported video playback AT ALL in the product


Click on the tab at the top of the page labeled "Home" and scroll down to where it describes the HD1000.

http://www.rokulabs.com/

The only high-definition digital media player for HDTV
Plays JPEG images, digital audio, MPEG-2 video, Art and LiveArt™


Notice the reference to "MPEG-2 Video". Sounds to me like they're claiming MPEG-2 video playback.
 
jimre

Mon Nov 08, 2004 6:01 pm

I didn't say they never ADVERTISED video support in the product. I just said they never finished the software for it. As we all know, with some effort it *can* play back MPEG2 transport streams via a couple different bits of unfinished demo-ware. But nothing that's officially supported...

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