In the beginning there was Xbox, and the world of Home Theatre PCs didn’t really exist. There were clunky computers being used as media centres, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then along came XBMC, which stood for Xbox Media Centre and there was much rejoicing.
One of the fun things about being a parent to two toddlers is that you gain a sharp perspective in how the world has changed since you were a kid. A new report published today suggests that consumption of live broadcast TV has declined for the third year running, as on demand services like Netflix and Amazon’s LoveFilm march on.
It’s no secret that your TV, satellite DVR and cable box are network enabled. Sure, those guys love the fact that you can hook up your set top box to the Internet and grab move pay per view movies – hey, you can even take advantage of over the top services like BBC iPlayer and more. So, you do two and two together and figure out that there must be a way to extract those recordings made on your DVR and store them on your home server or NAS – that way, you can stream them to devices across the home, right?
Wrong. 99.9% of DVR manufacturers will encrypt those recordings (High Definition recordings, especially) and lock them to the box. Bah. What you need is a DVR with some custom firmware that can be hacked. The answer, for those of us in the UK, is the Humax HDR-FOX-T2. Let’s take a look.
When considering which Network Attached Storage product is right for you, no longer is it sufficient to check out processor speeds, USB ports and file transfer rates. Oh no. In 2013, you’d better include media apps in your selection criteria too. We’ve seen ASUSTOR launch their HDMI-enabled NAS devices with Boxee on board. QNAP, however, have selected XBMC as their media center of choice.
If you’ve been juggling with multiple media server apps to stream your music and video to the growing number of digital media receivers around the home (Connected TV, set top box, games consoles, AV receivers etc) then help is at hand. Plex, my personal media server du choix, has just announced beta support for the DLNA protocol, enabling easy streaming to Sony’s PlayStation 3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and WDTV Live.
If you’re thinking of spreading your audio around the home, Sonos and Logitech’s Squeezebox may have been your favoured options. But perhaps it’s time to give Sony’s HomeShare system a second chance – whilst the first iteration resolutely avoided support for Apple’s AirPlay, the electronics giant has now bowed to the inevitable and built in support for Cupertino’s streaming technology.
US Video Streaming giant Netflix today took the wraps off it’s long-rumoured service for the UK and Ireland, offering instant and unlimited access to a wide range of entertainment titles for £5.99/6.99 EUR per month. The launch, backed by a 1 month free trial puts the company in head to head competition with Amazon’s LoveFilm service, which itself announced 2m subscribers this morning.
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