Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
gd
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 5:48 am
Location: France

Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:30 pm

I recently discovered the Sono's system... and must admit this is exactly what I've been looking for for years.
Roku hw is great. I have a 1000, a 500, and just bought a used 2000 for my home's new addition... well, I wish I had seen that new product first.

So... ROKU, WAKE UP!!!!

There have been requests in the past to improve the user experience, but we haven't seen much coming from Roku. They do a very good job on sw updates, and I'm sure (well, I hope for them!) that they plans in the pipe for new products, but they're going to have a hard time fighting this new competition.
Some will say that cost makes a big difference here, and maybe Roku is not interested in addressing the higher end market, but going for higher margin products doesn't seem too stupid for a small company...
You just need to look at what Apple is doing with their Mac come back to realize that people are ready to pay for products which are just well thought and work without the need to have a geek on call 24/7. Thanks to Microsoft for educating all of us on this for years :-) (no I'm no Mac fanatic, just tired of fixing all my friends and relatives's PCs... when my wife's MacBook just works).

So anyway, here is what I think would be great to see coming from Roku:
- a "Sonos-like" remote control, showing you art works, playlists, letting you create/update them, rate your tunes, etc... This would have to come with a radio interface somehow, and enable the control of multiple units.
- the ability to manage playlists from Roku's systems. Just store whatever info is needed on the server storing music files
- but most, most, MOST of all... stop relying on customer's technical abilities to make this system more user friendly / usable/ etc... By now, I shouldn't have anymore to "unslung" my NSLU2 to run an iTune server, my soundbridges should just figure out how to access my server's music files. People shouldn't have to play with PDAs to have a decent remote. The list goes on... but bottom line, I'm the only one in my household to know how to fix my music system whenever it goes down.

So of course I'm not asking for all this for free. But provide a well thought-through remote control experience similar to the Sonos's, get rid of iTune/Windows Media Player etc (just point to a server/folder, and get to work), and charge a price that makes the Soundbridge + remote equivalent to a Sonos system, and you'll get a good competitive advantage. The Sonos has an upfront cost which is hard to swallow; where you could provide a more modular approach, where customers can invest more as time goes and as their understanding of the overall solution's ease of use grows.

I have grown found of my soundbridges, and wouldn't want to have to ebay them...
 
dinkeldorf
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:40 am
Location: Calgary AB

Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:15 am

I don't think this is a trivial piece of work for Roku as they are dependent on a music server. One of the reasons Sonos is pricey is each of the zones can act as a server, no PC needed, and in my case, speak directly to the FS on a NAS. Which server would Roku enable remote control from, and how? Interesting times.
Roku M1001 (releaged to the basemetn); Harman Kardon AVR430 & AVR235. 5 indoor + 1 outdoor zones +Theatre room 5.1 built ins
Sonos ZP100 x 2 NEW
Gigabit whole home network; 802.11BGN, D link DNS323 2x500GB
 
gd
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 5:48 am
Location: France

Fri Dec 21, 2007 9:15 am

Yep, I hear you, I do electrical engineering for a living, and do understand the scope of the problem... but I just think it's going to be harder and harder to convince people they need a PC on 24/7 to serve music (and if they are supposed to turn it on to listen to their tunes... they might as well buy a media center type of PC, and play music directly from it?).

You obviously went for the NAS approach, so did I, but to make it work with the Roku's system (with no PC involved) is no fun (I thought I knew better and screwed up my NSLU2 un-slung process... not easy to fix, serves me right :-) ). It is near to impossible for non tech-savvy users.

So I know this music server issue is a can of worms. You then have to have a story for dealing with DRM, etc... But all in all, I think having the server in the music player system is the only coherent approach for regular users. You have to convince people to use DRM free music, but I think many users do that (simply ripping their CDs).

The solution I see are:
- add a good layer of sw in the soundbridge so it can access a NAS directly. They obviously already know how to read mp3's directly from the CF... now I have no idea how much memory/CPU bandwidth margin they have left. They'd also have to learn how to manage playlists etc.
- manufacture some kind of NSLU2-like product, which would go in a closet, manage hard drives, serve music, and have a radio interface for the new remote controls...

Again, don't get me wrong, I know these are big projects... but short of that, I'm not sure how the soundbridges can evolve from here (and yes, I think it does need to evolve, the overall solution is not coherent / "clean" enough to survive as is)? Maybe they will surprise us all with a new concept; that's what I wish for them.
 
Burkhardi
Posts: 1943
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:06 am
Location: Austin, Texas ...Y'all

Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:35 am

dinkeldorf wrote:
I don't think this is a trivial piece of work for Roku as they are dependent on a music server. One of the reasons Sonos is pricey is each of the zones can act as a server, no PC needed, and in my case, speak directly to the FS on a NAS. Which server would Roku enable remote control from, and how? Interesting times.


Can you run it off NAS and use a PDA, PSP or Nintendo DS as a remote?
Roku3 and Roku HD1000 [Rev B] on a Samsung HLP5674W DLP in the living room; a Roku2 and two Roku XS and a few SoundBridges.Win7; Kubuntu and XP via RT-N66U, E2000 and a switch or two. I own stock in Roku, it's just all in the form of hardware.Viva la Roku
 
dinkeldorf
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:40 am
Location: Calgary AB

Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:52 am

GD - my dlink DNS323 nas has mtdaap on it but I could never be bothered installed a later version to deal with playlists properly as like you I am tech support so I used itunes on a PC. I still love my Roku but it's hard to go back!

Burkhardi - someone wrote a perl-based Sonos web controller which allows any device with wifi & browser to control it. If you can get perl going on your NAS you'd be sweet.

This is going to be the key - I think the killer streamer will have a music server and web server built in. I would drool at a iPod Touch or iPhone controll over my library.
Roku M1001 (releaged to the basemetn); Harman Kardon AVR430 & AVR235. 5 indoor + 1 outdoor zones +Theatre room 5.1 built ins

Sonos ZP100 x 2 NEW

Gigabit whole home network; 802.11BGN, D link DNS323 2x500GB
 
dinkeldorf
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:40 am
Location: Calgary AB

Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:21 am

It's out and it looks gooood:
http://slimdevices.com/pi_duet.html

Lets see what Roku does.
Roku M1001 (releaged to the basemetn); Harman Kardon AVR430 & AVR235. 5 indoor + 1 outdoor zones +Theatre room 5.1 built ins

Sonos ZP100 x 2 NEW

Gigabit whole home network; 802.11BGN, D link DNS323 2x500GB
 
wideasleep1
Posts: 2664
Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 10:14 am
Location: Sausalito,Ca
Contact:

Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:27 am

dinkeldorf wrote:
It's out and it looks gooood:
http://slimdevices.com/pi_duet.html

Lets see what Roku does.


Wow. Remarkably sleek! I'm pleased the remote is not too 'busy'. :)
Last edited by wideasleep1 on Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Then as it was, then again it will be
An' though the course may change sometimes,
rivers always reach the sea

M1000x2,M2000,Twonky 4.3.3 RC1 beta on LinkStation HGLAN400gig,Buffalo whr-g54s on DD-WRTfirmware-luv'in it!
 
mas
Posts: 281
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:46 am

Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:17 pm

Well that Slim is also

"Coming Soon at $399.99!"

Yeah you get what you pay for. Sure it looks nicer at this price.
Those who sacrifice freedom over safety deserve neither.
 
S80_UK
Posts: 1035
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:11 am
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:55 pm

Interesting too to look at the prices of the remote and the player unit - the remote costs a lot more. Partly due to the display of course. I wonder what else is in there. It looks nice, but I wonder about the horse power required server-side to keep it happy.
Roku M1000, M1001, M2000, R1000, Roberts WM-201, Stream 83i
 
Burkhardi
Posts: 1943
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:06 am
Location: Austin, Texas ...Y'all

Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:59 pm

S80_UK wrote:
Interesting too to look at the prices of the remote and the player unit - the remote costs a lot more. Partly due to the display of course. I wonder what else is in there. It looks nice, but I wonder about the horse power required server-side to keep it happy.

Hi Les!
I think it has provisions for more stuff later, Engadget reported that they found a head phone jack, SD slot and a 3-axis accelerometer on the CES demo unit. What's the 3-axis accelerometer for, is it going to control a Nintendo Wii too...LOL ;)
http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/14/sque ... nd-glance/

I still say that Roku is the right choice for me. If I had one of the Duet remotes for $300 and a box in eaxh room for $100 each that would be $700, what I have now is $600 (if it were 4 M1001's). I would not like not being able to see what was playing. Each of the Duet bricks didn't seem to have volume control on them, or a display. I am spolied with the Soundbridge to where I can look up and see what artist is playing and the song name, and I don't want to buy a $300 remote for each room. The Duet seems to be more of a poor mans Sonos, then a Soundbridge killer. Plus a PDA, Nintendo DS or the like can control them (Soundbridge) and I don't need SlimServer running in the background either.
The only thing that Roku needs is the ability to sync multiple units and they would be set IMHO.
Still, the Duet does look neat.

So let me whip out my magic Roku wand...
All of a sudden you can sync Soundbridges together and there was an optional Wi-Fi remote from Roku with a color dispaly and controls on it that could control all your units as one or seperate and it would be $279.
So verses being a necessity in the Duet case, it could be an awesome option. The basic unit is very affordable and then you can by the ungrade later if at all.

Just thinking and wishing out loud....

Oh yea, whilst I have my wand, let me conjure up a HD1000-V2 with HDMI and build in Wifi (which would make your unit Les, a HD1000-V1.5)
Roku3 and Roku HD1000 [Rev B] on a Samsung HLP5674W DLP in the living room; a Roku2 and two Roku XS and a few SoundBridges.Win7; Kubuntu and XP via RT-N66U, E2000 and a switch or two. I own stock in Roku, it's just all in the form of hardware.Viva la Roku
 
wideasleep1
Posts: 2664
Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 10:14 am
Location: Sausalito,Ca
Contact:

Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:07 pm

mas wrote:
Well that Slim is also

"Coming Soon at $399.99!"

Yeah you get what you pay for. Sure it looks nicer at this price.


That's not out of line, as it includes a $149 retail receiver. Naturally, already armed with M1000s and M2000, I can wait out a price decrease before picking it up. :) Slims have gone on sale a few times, and this version is more enticing to me than the Squeezeboxen.
Then as it was, then again it will be

An' though the course may change sometimes,

rivers always reach the sea



M1000x2,M2000,Twonky 4.3.3 RC1 beta on LinkStation HGLAN400gig,Buffalo whr-g54s on DD-WRTfirmware-luv'in it!
 
bobinchicago
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 5:15 pm

Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:50 pm

I'm not sure why people are so amused by the accelerometer. Logitech (owner of Slim Devices) has long used accelerometers in its remotes to activate them automatically when they're picked up.
 
wideasleep1
Posts: 2664
Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 10:14 am
Location: Sausalito,Ca
Contact:

Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:11 pm

It would seem to me that the Duet controller removes my main gripe at having to deal with that atrocious slimserver software, at least on a fulltime basis. ;)
Then as it was, then again it will be

An' though the course may change sometimes,

rivers always reach the sea



M1000x2,M2000,Twonky 4.3.3 RC1 beta on LinkStation HGLAN400gig,Buffalo whr-g54s on DD-WRTfirmware-luv'in it!
 
Burkhardi
Posts: 1943
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:06 am
Location: Austin, Texas ...Y'all

Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:21 am

bobinchicago wrote:
I'm not sure why people are so amused by the accelerometer. Logitech (owner of Slim Devices) has long used accelerometers in its remotes to activate them automatically when they're picked up.

If you call a little gold ball in a black plastic housing (1/8' square) with contacts on all four corners an accelermeter, then I think you may be mistaken. Perhaps your taking about something eles, but on a Logitech 880 remote, that is all there is. No accelermeter like the Nintendo Wii has, or even a basic one (piezoelectric for example). Are you thinking of a tilt sensor perhaps?
Here is the garden varity
http://www.omega.com/prodinfo/accelerometers.html
and the new high tech one that can can sence direction too
http://www.analog.com/en/prod/0,2877,ADXL330,00.html
The article made is sound like the accelormeter was not in use yet, unlike the tilt sensor that it may already have to "wake up" or like the Logitech/Harmony 880 has.
Roku3 and Roku HD1000 [Rev B] on a Samsung HLP5674W DLP in the living room; a Roku2 and two Roku XS and a few SoundBridges.Win7; Kubuntu and XP via RT-N66U, E2000 and a switch or two. I own stock in Roku, it's just all in the form of hardware.Viva la Roku
 
dinkeldorf
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:40 am
Location: Calgary AB

Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:40 am

It's horses for courses eh? My C$.02.

When we had the roku set up, spousal / guest usage was zero. With the Sonos controller and I presume this would be the same for the SLim controller, the usability is wonderful ie. sit on the couch, kitchen, where ever a substantial distance from the equipment, and use the controller. The mulitple line colour display + wifi gets it done.

The Slim Duet combo is indeed a poor man's Sonos. The Slim Controller with Squeezebox to my mind trumps Roku.

The challenge with the Slim is the slimserver and where to run it.

What I do like about the Slim approach is to my mind their open approach leads to greater rate of innovation. So who knows what the Controller will be capable of in a few months.
Roku M1001 (releaged to the basemetn); Harman Kardon AVR430 & AVR235. 5 indoor + 1 outdoor zones +Theatre room 5.1 built ins

Sonos ZP100 x 2 NEW

Gigabit whole home network; 802.11BGN, D link DNS323 2x500GB

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