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Television Data Storage Media

Thousands and Thousands of Hours of PVR TV 264

Posted by timothy
from the no-prior-restraint dept.
Thomas Hawk writes "Cory Doctorow is posting over at Boing Boing about some technology that he apparently saw this weekend at London's Open Tech conference. According to Cory, this new technology from Promise TV takes the form of a home-built PVR with lots of high-capacity hard drives and claims to be able to record every show on every channel being recorded in the UK for an entire month. 'Why program a TiVo to get certain shows for you when you can record every single show on the air, all at once, and then use recommendations, search, a grid, or any other means you care to name to figure out which of those thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of programming you want to watch.' The company seems somewhat cryptic with a simple website that appears to be collecting your email addresses for an announcement in August. "
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Thousands and Thousands of Hours of PVR TV

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  • I won't buy it until it can record...

    ONE
    MILLION
    HOURS!

    MWHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

    Where are the frickin sharks with laser beams?
  • by jcayer (206087) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:24AM (#13164009)
    and there is still nothing to watch on TV!
  • by jarich (733129) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:25AM (#13164014) Homepage Journal
    With one hardcore nerd (yes, that's YOU) recording ~everything~ that's aired, you have a killer app. You can now buy your own T1 and resell internet ~and~ TV service to your neighbors!

    Before you trot out all your legal objections, just let me say that you now have a legitimate reason to talk with the cute girl three doors over you've never met.

    ;)

  • Timing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nmg196 (184961) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:25AM (#13164017)
    If they're going to be making an announcement in August, then why not wait until August to post the article?! There is no product and no information. It doesn't even say whether it records only the UK terrestrial TV channels (just 5) or the UK digitial ("Freeview") channels (MUCH more than 5).

    I can understand how you could feasibly mock up a machine that recorded the 5 main channels to a RAID array or something, but I fail to belive that you can actually record "the entire UK channel multiplex" of ~30 digital channels in anything of a sensible size or price. It would have to save out 30 high quality(ish) feeds to very very large hard drives permanently. I can't see how you could do that with less than a few thousand pounds of disks and capture cards.
    • you can't have a dupe posting without an original posting, so naturally when August rolls around in a few days we'll be able to point to today...that's why not.
    • It's quite easy to record all of freeview as the data is sent multiplexed.

      Playing around with the Linux DVB information you'll see that the DVB streams are easy to save off to disk or transmit across a network. As there are only 5 or 6 multiplexes it wouldn't take that much to save them all off to disks.

      Get a decent controller and the right software and you're effectively time-shifting the entire broadcast spectrum.

      Of course this doesn't come close to enough if you look at Sky's 60+ transponders each pum
      • Playing around with the Linux DVB information you'll see that the DVB streams are easy to save off to disk or transmit across a network. As there are only 5 or 6 multiplexes it wouldn't take that much to save them all off to disks.

        There are 6 multiplexes on Freeview. Recording them *is* possible - I happen to know someone who writes Freeview box software, and the company he works for has two dedicated machines capable of recording one multiplex each (for testing purposes, apparently). I think it's prett
    • Re:Timing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Goth Biker Babe (311502) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:16AM (#13164301) Homepage Journal
      Insightful? Hah!

      Capture cards? 30 feeds? Don't be so analogue and old school. It only needs to save the multiplexes. Which on terrestrial digital is about eight including all the radio stations.

      Right assuming it's digital only, it needs as many 'frontends' as there are multiplexes. Modern day silicon (non can/discrete component) tuners are pretty cheap and rather small. You'll also need the demodulators to go with them. All of which would fit easily on a single PCI card. Then you just process each of the multiplexes' transport stream enough to remove the redundant data such as the NITs and record the rest on to the harddrives as a stream.

      Something like a Sky box already does this with two transport streams. One is recorded for the 'trick mode' pause live TV etc and one for recording a program. It will also play back a third stream from the disc. A more powerful PC based machine could easily cope.
    • Re:Timing (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dagenum (580191)
      I thought this was total bunkum just because of the storage requirements but after a few (very rough) calculations based on my experience with mythtv and recording freeview I'm not so sure now.

      There are 30 channels, of these 21 are 24hr and I'll assume the rest are 12hr making 25.5 24hr streams.

      There are 3 shopping channels so ditch them making 22.5 streams.

      Recording on myth each of these streams is approx 1.3Gb/hr, if you don't care too much about the picture quality compress this to ~400M/Hr.

      S
      • Re:Timing (Score:3, Informative)

        by Taladar (717494)
        Your calculation is flawed. You assume compressing 30 channels real-time 24/7 is possible without melting the living room.
        • Re:Timing (Score:3, Informative)

          by Dun Malg (230075)
          Your calculation is flawed. You assume compressing 30 channels real-time 24/7 is possible without melting the living room.

          You assume they're recording analog broadcasts, which they aren't. Recording UK terrestrial digital broadcasts requires no compression. It's already compressed. They're directly recording the Freeview [wikipedia.org] multiplexes.

      • by elvum (9344)
        The box they demonstrated at Open Tech 2005 did indeed have 3.2TB of disks in it.
    • Re:Timing (Score:5, Informative)

      by TobascoKid (82629) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:32AM (#13164416) Homepage
      If they're going to be making an announcement in August, then why not wait until August to post the article?

      Because the system was demoed at OpenTech 2005 on Saturday.

      I was there and I saw it. So here's a bit more info on how it works. I records digital terrestrial televison, not analogue. I suppose it could be changed to use satelite DVB instead of terrestrial DVB - but you can't get a DVB-S card that decode Sky's encryption, so there's not much point. It records an entire mutiplex off the DVB-T card. They only appear to have one card, so they were only recording the BBC multiplex. There are 6 multiplexes in the UK, so I suppose to record "all" DVB-T transmissions, you'd need multiple cards.

      As for costs, while the DVB card was quite cheap (they said around 50 quid) and the PC is faily inexpensive, the storage costs are about the same as a plasma tv - but falling all the time.
    • You're over thinking the matter. It's not a real product. This is just a scam to collect e-mail addresses of known, verified geeks for a new "opt-in" list.

      The product will never come out, but the opt-in list will be resold for several times the cost of the web site and hosting that's generated the buzz.
    • You would need 6 capture cards - one for each MUX, IIRC that's arround 125Mbit/second, or 40TB for a months worth, before any compression, which would require £10k of disks alone, minimum.

      Compression would be unfeasable as you'd have to compress 30 mpeg streams simultaneously, that's a lot of expensive hardware.
  • by SimilarityEngine (892055) <SimilarityEngine@hotmail.com> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:26AM (#13164019)

    "...use recommendations, search, a grid, or any other means you care to name to figure out which of those thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of programming you want to watch..."

    Those poor channel-hoppers, who can't watch a programme for more than 10 minutes without wondering what else might be on, will now have all the material from the past to choose from aswell. Lucky them!

    • What about all the material that they're going to miss NOW, while they're watching their pre-recorded shows? Who's going to record the shows they miss because they're watching pre-recorded shows? And when are those going to be watched? And isn't this going to lead to people just watching older and older stuff?

      Sooner or later people will be going backwards in time, talkin' 'bout Threes Company!

  • .. that you will never see this product on a store shelf!
  • Perfect /. article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:27AM (#13164035) Journal
    The summary is nearly as long as the actual article, and contains practically all the information. It can't get any better for /. readers - even those that don't RTFA have all the information available.

    That said, this is about as useful as,well, nothing. A spam collector ad? At least the previous /. ads were for products. Wake me when there's news. And when DirecTV supports this.
  • by rustbear (852420) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:28AM (#13164036)
    Their next product: a home-built device that downloads the entire Internet for you to browse at your leisure...
  • There are about 300 digital satellite channels in the UK, maybe 250 digital cable channels and about 30 digital free to air broadcast channels (Freeview). There are 5 analogue terrestrial channels - and I'm assuming this is what they're talking about when they say the can record every single show on the air. It all just seems a bit pointless.
  • by badfish99 (826052) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:34AM (#13164073)
    This was supposed to have been featured at OpenTech 2005, according to their website [ukuug.org].
    OpenTech 2005 was featured in a Slashdot article a few minutes ago here [slashdot.org]
    Did anyone go to OpenTech and see this thing?

    Although... it says there that it will record an entire week, not a month. So maybe that was this one's baby brother.

    • Did anyone go to OpenTech and see this thing?

      Yes, it was a really good day.

      The amount it will record is entirely dependent on how much you want to spend on storage - apparently, the cost to record a months worth (I beleive of just a single multiplex - they only appeared to be recording the BBC multiplex) is around the same as a plasma tv.
  • Seriously Doubt (Score:3, Informative)

    by 3CRanch (804861) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:37AM (#13164094)
    I seriously doubt they'd be able to record everything out there.

    I mean, just look at a standard Tivo box. 40G hard drive gives you about 35 hours of recording time. And that is just one or two shows at a time.

    A month's programming on 200 channels simultaneously?

    c'mon.
    • Re:Seriously Doubt (Score:5, Informative)

      by jcsehak (559709) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:27AM (#13164382) Homepage
      I mean, just look at a standard Tivo box. 40G hard drive gives you about 35 hours of recording time.

      That's only if you record at crappy quality. If you record at "good" (not "best"), you get around 15. Which goes real fast, let me tell you. What's worse is that there's no way to find out how much space you've used up or is available.
      [/gripe]
      • Re:Seriously Doubt (Score:2, Informative)

        by Bemopolis (698691)
        You are technically incorrect. On the info page for each show, below guest stars, writers, and whatnot, is the percentage of disk space used for that recording. SO, if you were desperate or bored enough you could check each one and sum the percentages.

        Not optimal, but it IS a way.

        Bemopolis
        • Well I'll be -- I never noticed that. That's definitely useful information, but it still would be nice to see a progress bar/chart/whatever of disk usage.
    • well say 4TB (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hsmith (818216)
      40GB x 100 = 3500 hrs of recording 24hrs day * 30 days = 720 hours you can record for a straight month 4.8 channels non-stop
    • A month's programming on 200 channels simultaneously?

      Obviously, they're not talking about the United States here. And it seems even for the UK, they were only talking a few SD-quality channels. So, basically equivalent to only getting the SD versions of CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and UPN in this country. Nothing to write home about - you can build a PC-based DVR that can do this already. You just stick five PCI tuners in it.

      Even if you did 30 SD-quality digital cable channels, most of them are only running a
  • by rklrkl (554527) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:37AM (#13164096) Homepage
    This is utter bunkum because there are hundreds and hundreds of UK channels - 5 analogue terrestrial, about another 25 on digital terrestrial and about another 300 (!!) on digital satellite. Yes, with 5 analogue or digital tuners, they could record BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5, but let's face it, most of that's now rubbish and the better stuff is on digital satellite (which they will *not* be able to record massively in parallel - Sky who run it currently only have a twin tuner for example and that needs a dual LNB on your dish too !).

    I'd rather see some effort made to allow broadband users to download TV shows (even a small fee for this would be acceptable - a few pounds a month) from the time they are aired on normal TV for, say, up to 2 months afterwards. Now this would be *far* more useful, especially now that 2Mbit/s is starting to become the normal for UK broadband.
    • by badfish99 (826052) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:49AM (#13164155)
      You can be sure that this won't record any Sky channels, because they are all encrypted and can only be received with equipment provided by Sky.

      It would be relatively easy to record all the Freeview channels at once. You only need one receiver per multiplex, not per channel, then you just record the raw data stream which contains all the channels on that multiplex. IIRC there are only about half a dozen multiplexes. So 6 tuners would be enough to record everything on Freeview.

      • I'm curious as to why you would need a tuner at all in case of cable TV. (over-the-air (which freeview is?) is a different story, satellite would only apply to the signal being received)

        For those who don't know... the tuner is the block in your TV/VCR/etc. that 'tunes' to a basic channel frequency and grabs the signal off of that. That's why you need 2 tuners or a dual-tuner for picture-in-picture ( unless that picture is of the same channel %) ).

        However, all the channels -are- already on the cable line.
      • This box could record Sky. Most sat systems are based on the old analog transponders which they would simply downshift the data off the sat into whatever the local equipment needed. The digital encoding is simply sending compress digital data over the same type of hardware and decoding it at the right time. The end result of this mess is that you should be able to take the signal from a standard dish, filter a single transponder and downshift it to a frequency that the digital tuner wants to see and feed
    • 2MB is certainly growing in popularity but you would be very hard pushed to say that it is the norm. I'm still on .5MB (upgrading to 1MB in a couple of months time) and find it pretty quick. I don't see myself upgrading to 2MB anytime soon as there is nothing I do that I feel requires it (and yes I do large downloads). Even downloading TV shows IMHO doesn't require more than 1MB if you can plan your time in the slighest.

    • Homechoice [homechoice.co.uk] (which is a TV + Internet over ADSL service in London) offers soemthing like this. The BBC channels and ITV1 offer some (but by no means all) programmes from the last 7 days on a video on demad service.

      One of the things that struck me while watching the promise.tv demo at OpenTech was how pointless it seems having such a device in every household, when centralized servers could provide the service instead.
    • I was at that talk, and what they were demoing about was a device with 400-500GB of storage, that recorded 2 weeks of TV off around 7-8 channels *, so just the major ones, not all of them. You can store for longer if you're willing to exclude certain categories of program (e.g. no sport).

      This was using an inexpensive freeeview digital card, so only the free-to-air channels like BBC1, BBC2 etc, the "25 on digital terrestrial" would be captured.

      * If the numbers are wrong it's my fault - I didn't take notes.
    • This is utter bunkum because there are hundreds and hundreds of UK channels

      They just realized that Rowling was wrong. Magic and muggle tech work very well together. ;) They just enchanted a few 16Mb Flash cards to actually hold 16 Tb. They don't need a separate tuners because they have 2 really cool enchanted chips. The magic decypt any encrypt signal into a viewable channel and magically enhancing those broadcasts.

      The only problem is that it requires proof of the deflowering of two virgins to buy.
  • So is this a suitable alternative to video on demand?

    True, it has a much higher direct cost to the consumer for the extra kit, but you're not replying on the broadcasters to buy into the VoD deal, and you wonl't be paying the undoubtedly higher prices they'll be charging for it, along with bandwidth costs.

    Other than movies, there's very little reason to have the expense and trouble of Vod until we all have very high bandwidth connections at a low cost. I'm talking 100mb/s here.

    Until we all have terrabit
  • by ErpLand (105292) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:40AM (#13164109)

    Let's make some calculations assuming that they're going to record all the DVB-T ("Freeview") content in the UK. I watch DVB-T in Spain using a MythTV [mythtv.org] box but the numbers should be roughly the same as for the UK.

    45 mins recording of one channel = 1401390703 bytes
    => 1 hour = 1868520937 bytes
    => x 24 hours/day x 30.5 days/month = 1.37 TB per month per channel

    Now there are about 30 freeview channels so we would need 41 TB of storage .... that's 82 500GB hard disks in RAID0! Which would occupy something like half a rack and use about 1kW of power ...

    Even to record the 5 main channels would be nearly 7 TB - still a lot of noisy spinning hard disks to stick under the TV. This doesn't sound like a feasible idea with the size of today's hard disks.

    • And of course out of the 41TB of storage you used there is probably one or two shows a week you really wanted to see anyways... so ... maybe you need a GB of space ;-)

      This seems like yet another "we can do it so we must". Eventually we're just going to run out of natural resources to make that a useful argument...

      Why not spend the time and energy on better codecs? Oh wait, because that would be hard work and useful...

      Tom
    • 2gb an hour sounds like a bit much, to be honest. Use DivX, Xvid, etc, and you could reasonably get it down to 500mb an hour. Use commercial skipping, probably 350. Compromise on quality a bit, maybe 250. That's 6 gb per day per channel... still not small, but it shows it as doable.
    • I was at the talk, and that's pretty much exactly what they had done. There weren't any detailed tech specs, but the essence was that they had simply put a lot of big discs in a box the size of a fridge, added as many tuner cards as there are multiplexes (6?), and built some navigation software on top.
  • Cool, but not practical. We're already well into information overload to the point where I watch (or have intellectual time to watch) about one show a week, and as of late I haven't watched television in about two months.
  • able to record every show on every channel being recorded in the UK for an entire month

    Yeah but that's only three shows, right?
  • Simple Math (Score:5, Informative)

    by WarwickRyan (780794) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @08:52AM (#13164177)
    As this sounds like pure marketing, we can make some assumptions:

    a) Number of channels included will be the minimum available to all.
    b) It'll be "VHS quality" recording.

    There are 5 terrestial TV channels in UK:
    BBC1
    BBC2
    ITV (commercial)
    Channel 4 (commercial)
    Channel 5 (commercial)

    We've about 50 via digital TV, and loads more via cable or satellite.

    However there are only 5 available right now.

    So, that's 5 channels * 24hrs * 28 days = 3360 hours of recording.

    Lets assume a VCD bitrate of 1300kbit/s video 128kbit/s. Total 1428kbit/s.

    Number of seconds in 3360 hours
    = (3360*60)*60
    = 12,096,000

    So, for all that video we'll need
    = 1428 * 12,096,000
    = 17,273,088,000 kbit
    = 17,687,642,112,000 bits
    = 2,210,955,264,000 bytes
    = 2,159,136,000 kilobyte
    = 2,108,531 megabytes
    = 2,059 gigabytes

    So that's like 4 * 500gb drives plus 1 * 120gb drive to correct for the drive maker's marketing departments.

    I'm using VCD/MPEG as a basis for this, they'll invariably be using a better codec, probably with far stronger compression.

  • Web site source code says 'Promise.tv Ltd'
    Companies house gives
    http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/b09fe60fa8e4ad5f 3ea4d24014a52ce2//compdetails [companieshouse.gov.uk]

    A quick search on the registered address gives
    http://www.touchslough.com/business/list/bid/91560 0 [touchslough.com]

    A TV repair centre in Ascot. At least these people will be able to repair the thing when it goes wrong :o)
  • by DeadSea (69598) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:06AM (#13164243) Homepage Journal
    TiVo is not only limited by hard drive space, but also by processing power. Without the help of a special mpeg chip it wouldn't be able to encode even one stream to disk as fast as it came in.

    Just having the disk isn't enough. You need a multi tuner to be able to break the spectrum in to n streams and you need enough processing power to be able to encode all of those streams at once.

    Although, in theory I suppose it is possible that you could compress the entire spectrum in one block, but I think that the channels that have nothing but static would kill your compression ratio.

    It also might work for satelite where you are getting all the channels already compressed. Then it might just be a simple matter of saving them all.

    Some digital cable works by only sending you one stream at any given time (and when you switch channels the office starts sending you a different stream). With that kind of setup, you can only save what you can get.

    Currency convertor where you can type "US dollars to rupees" and it knows what you mean [coinmill.com]

  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:10AM (#13164260) Homepage
    'Why program a TiVo to get certain shows for you when you can record every single show on the air, all at once, and then use recommendations, search, a grid, or any other means you care to name to figure out which of those thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of programming you want to watch.'


    Because the amount of overhead involved is ludicrous?

    Downloading every show broadcast in a month would be like downloading the entire internet and then running searches on your local server for the information that interests you.

    Imagine duplicating this in EVERY household in the country. The impact to our energy grid would be sickening. We should be looking to lessen the amount of power we are sucking down, not increase it.

    Moreover, there's no need -- TV listings are announced, you know what's going to be on, you can narrow down significantly what you know is highly unlikely to be of any interest to you. You don't want to capture something and then have to sift through it all. Finding that one good show or moment in a month of crap content will be like finding a needle in a haystack, unless you can find a way to dope the captured video stream with some metadata that you can use to aid your search.

    There might be the occasional oddball thing that no one predicted would happen on TV that you might miss, but (and this is the true beauty of the internet) if that happens, there's sure to be SOMEONE who captured it, and it will be hosted on the internet somewhere (copyright laws be damned). It's just a matter of finding it. Google can make that reasonably easy. Friends and family forwarding links that they found interesting to your email can take up any slack.
  • Lots of 'it can't be done' posts, but a simple solution occurs to me - a pvr with a hard wired torrent application, which will record a random channel. Sell a few thousand of them, all the channels get covered/seeded, and although what you want may not be *immediately* available, with a broadband connection it can be had reasonably soon.
  • Finding the redundancy in a month's worth of TV is a remarkably similar task to finding the adverts... if any 5 or more seconds occurs more than (say) 5 times thenI think it's highly likley to be an advert, trail or station ident.

    If this thing can be modded to adblock TV, then I'm buying it just for that, any PVR features are just a bonus.
  • by telstar (236404) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:14AM (#13164286)
    "'Why program a TiVo to get certain shows for you when you can record every single show on the air, all at once, and then use recommendations, search, a grid, or any other means you care to name to figure out which of those thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of programming you want to watch.' The company seems somewhat cryptic with a simple website that appears to be collecting your email addresses for an announcement in August."

    That's why.
  • I was at the Open Tech conference and also saw this PVR box. Actually there wasn't much box to it. It consisted of several large capacity hard drives (maybe about five SATAs) and a few DVB PCI cards, connected to a motherboard on a wooden base, no case.

    It recorded one WEEK's worth of video from, as far as I could tell, only the BBC's Freeview channels (BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, News24, CBeebies, CBBC). The quality seemed fine judging from an episode of Doctor Who which went out on BBC3 the previous Thursday

  • I'd be more impressed if it could record all the "TV" broadcast over the net.

    Seriously. They think we want their channels of media?

    Keep your "TV"
    Keep your "Blockbusters"
    Keep your "Idols"

    You had control in the past, but now its shifted and not even Boxes capable of holding a *million* hours of reality TV and home renovation or "Trusted Computing" or DRM or "The next big Justin Timberlake" will bring us back.

    RIP centralised media
  • Honestly you can. yes it would require racks of mythtv slave recorder boxes with 2 -3 tuner cards in each one but it certianly can be done.

    when i was dinking with mythtv I tinkered with that aspect of it, and it was really cool. I had 2 recording boxes with 2 mpeg cards in each and had the playback unit act as the database. it was really cool and certianly looked expandable enough to handle scaling up to 20-30 recording slaves with a decent enough database/server controlling the backend.
  • To determine what the viewers like to record, then filter on the programme descriptions to record similar stuff automatically.

    Wait! TiVo does something very like that *already*!

    Let's not be elegant about this then. Lets use brute force instead.

    • No Tivo in the UK (they blew themselves out of the market with the notorious 'Spam TV' episode, so the brand name is tainted).

      Recording all 5 freeview multiplexes is a reasonable idea, but storing it all for a month is just stupid IMO. Something that did that for a couple of hours would be nice... for when you switch channels and catch the end of something that looks good - you can rewind it and watch it properly.

      I'm assuming it's recording DTT.. recording analogue would be pointless because it takes mor
  • Distributed System (Score:2, Interesting)

    by strongmace (890237)
    It seems to me that the best way to have a featureset such as the one they are boasting, is to have a distributed system. What I mean by this is that each customer would automatically download and hold several television shows at a time.

    Using a buffer, shows could be streamed to customers from other customers as they select it from the menu. Granted this wouldnt work for areas where there is a limited amount of bandwith per month, but I cant think of anything better right now. It is too early in the m
  • 720GB to record one channel for a month, times N hundred channels, yeah, maybe. But where do you get N hundred tuners and the signal to feed them? Or are they using the equivalent of Software Radio and digitizing the raw spectrum? In which case they must have the world's highest-bandwidth D-to-A converter(s).

    Even if it were technically possible with today's technology, I can't see anyone except the ultra-rich affording it. And what about when such a complex device breaks or needs maintenance? It makes much
    • They use an inexpensive (~50 quid from Maplin) DVB-T tuner card to record the entire BBC multiplex (which contains several channels). As there are only 6 Multiplexes in the UK, you would need 6 cards (assuming a single pc could handle the throughput from 6 cards) to record all digital terrestrial television in the UK.

  • Why program a TiVo to get certain shows for you when you can record every single show on the air, all at once, and then use recommendations, search, a grid, or any other means you care to name to figure out which of those thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of programming you want to watch.

    Why use Google when I can download the whole internet and then search that? Really now. I have Zero, Zip, Nada, interest in 90% of the shows being run, for instance daytime soaps, in Spanish. Why bother to

  • search, a grid, or any other means you care to name to figure out which of those thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of programming you want to watch.

    You can accomplish the same thing with a TV guide. Yet another technogical "solution" that just makes things more complicated without solving anything.
  • It's just a modded Phantom console [phantom.net] from Infinium Labs. [penny-arcade.com]

  • 'Why program a TiVo to get certain shows for you when you can record every single show on the air, all at once, and then use recommendations, search, a grid, or any other means you care to name to figure out which of those thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of programming you want to watch.' Ummm...maybe this is obvious to everyone but him, but I don't WANT to filter through all that programming. TiVO just works great. I'll take anything I can say, "Hey, gimme every 'Good Eats' episode" and not
  • It seems to me that the mental image of "being able to record and store all programs for a month" is really a space indicator rather than the actual capability of capturing TV from all channels at the same time.

    Surely they are also limited by the capture cards hardware limitations that allow only one or two channels to be captured at the same time. And I haven't even started to wonder about the amount op CPU and disk speed needed to compress and write to disk 20 or 30 channels of video at the same time.

    I
  • by DieByWire (744043) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @09:58AM (#13164587)
    Years ago, Bill McKibben taped _everything_ that ran on the local cable system during a 24 hour period, then proceeded to watch it all - 1700 hours worth.

    Then he spent 24 hours camping outside.

    He wrote it up in 'The Age of Missing Information'. [amazon.com] (Amazon link provided for the reviews, no sales connection.)

    Great book, I recommend it.

    Now excuse me, I need to get back to /. before I miss something.

  • Roger Waters said it best:

    Got thirteen channels of shit on the T.V. to choose from [pink-floyd-lyrics.com]
  • by threeturn (622824) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:03AM (#13165171)
    So let's think about how this might work. Looking at BoingBoing it looks like it's based on the UK's DVB-T system. Simplest way to implement what's described would be to just decode each multiplex in a particular area and pump all the data on to disk with some time markers.

    According to http://erg.abdn.ac.uk/research/future-net/digital- video/dvb-trans.html [abdn.ac.uk] each DVB multiplex runs at 24Mb/s.

    So, storing one multiplex for a month needs
    (24/8)*60*60*24*31 Mbytes of storage = 8 Terra Bytes

    So 8TB per multiplex per month just about doable at the state of the art, but not very likely.

    I haven't checked how many muxes in use for different channels. I think it's about 3, so say 24TB all in. That's a lot of disks!

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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