From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
FCC chairman chats up internet television

September 15, 2004 3:50 PM

Michael Powell, speaking to reporters earlier today: "Almost every major phone company I'm aware of has an initiative underway to begin to try to plug the hole with partnerships with satellite-delivered video but what they're really working on is broadband-delivered IP television. That's a major component that's moving fast."

TV over IP is already happening from the grassroots, but it's really messy. Gary Lerhaupt of Torrentocracy has software that works with MythTV (linux software for homebrew Tivos) and BitTorrent. He's quite committed to legal uses of this, and was very helpful getting Outfoxed up.

Every day, the latest commercial TV programs are digitized beautifully by underground groups that hang out on IRC channels like #tvtorrents. Azureus will monitor those RSS feeds for keywords and immediately download whatever you've asked it to. So the next day those shows are sitting on your hard drive looking great, albeit technically illegal. Although it seems rather moot since most of it's broadcast or cable television already paid for with a $50 cable bill or satellite subscription.

But there's still no slick way to suck this stuff into a person's TV set. My Tivo can see all the music and photos sitting on my hard drive, but it deliberately ignores all the video. The simplest way to get video onto a TV is with a TV-capable video card, which requires some proximity to the computer and getting up off the couch.

Once things shake out, internet television will strip the power away from distributors of content and put it into the creator's hands, as the internet has already done for text and audio.

More from the archive in Internet, Television.

FCC chairman chats up internet television (09.15.2004)

Next Entry: The Right-eous Hollywood movement (09.15.2004)
Previous Entry: Outfoxed interviews available for remixing (09.14.2004)

Read the 2 comments.


Knoppmyth is a Linux distribution which is designed to install MythTV in a stand-alone system - where the computer will only be used as a PVR. Knoppmyth comes with a powerful and easy-to-use installer, which autodetects a few of the most commonly used TV-out video cards.

One of the interesting things about MythTV is that it has the concept of a "front end" and a "back end". The backend is connected to your cable or other video source and records the programs to its hard drive. The frontend sits next to your TV and retrieves and displays content which is transmitted over the network from the back end. This will presumably become much easier when we all have high-speed ethernet running throughout our homes.

You can have more than one frontend. Each frontend can be used to control the programming which is recorded by the backend. The backend doesn't have any display capability. It's just a server. The frontend doesn't need to have much storage capability. Ultimately, I think it can probably be diskless, which means it can be small and quiet.

I don't actually have MythTV installed (just Tivo), but I know the guys who work on Knoppmyth.

Wed Sep 15 2004 7:06 PM


I see no reason why the MythTV frontend can't be installed in a Television set. Put an ethernet port on the TV and sell the MythTV backend, and you have the mythical television convergence device. MythTV has other features besides Tivo-like stuff. It also will download the weather report for you and manage/play your music and potentially DVD's. (In order to be able to play DVD's some company is going to have to step forward and license the algorithm to decrypt DVD's.)

Wed Sep 15 2004 7:19 PM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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