UPDATED 20 May NYC Home Ent Show:Voom at CES was best display/information of the show

rudolpht

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Sep 12, 2003
587
0
Here's my initial report, need to run, but wanted to get some info out quick (and hopefully more cogent when time to edit, etc.):

Thursday 8 Jan, CES:

Voom:

The Voom booth was the best part of CES. The DVR (summer, price TBD) can be networked with the Ucentric boxes. PCs and audio only components can also be clients. Through the DVR you can get to any asset and its location is transparent, i.e. if you had two DVRs they would network and you could watch any show anywhere. The user interface is very well integrated and Patrick Donovan from Ucentric (Maynard, MA) was very knowledgeable/helpful. Pictures and MP3 also supported. The client box is small (about 1x4x6 inches). The cost of that is also TBD. It uses an IP over coax protocol (but not the same as the original e net). Saw 1 DVR doing a combination of 3 different sources (OTA, live sat, and recorded) to 3 separate monitors, or any combo up to 2 OTA and 2 sat per DVR (doubled if you add another DVR). 4 streams from each DVR possible at one time. Interesting to see same source going to 3 (they only had 3) different devices paused at different states. Very cool.

Media hubs and home nets were a big theme of the show, particularly UltraWide Band wireless for 3 channels worth of bandwidth) at Samsung & Toshiba. Note Voom offerings were wired, but the best integrated of all the vendors.

Firewire. Future. Upgrade policy being considered. Upgrade policy also being considered for existing STBs to DVRs but through software, they can be a client on the Ucentric network.

Darin Prill was helpful on not home networking issues. The OTA scanning software may not make the mid-Jan update, but it should be soon. Many Voom folks do read the forums but they have Wilt as the point end of the spear as single provider of feedback.

The programming details were few but HBO/Max will be up by 1 Feb. PPV will be working by 1 Feb. The only revelation was there will be another (Voom's "own") full time Adult channel also planned 1 Feb.


Dish Network

In sharp contrast info from Echostar was non-existent, despite having an HD trailer - with multiple SD channels showing in it. More HD? Maybe, no target dates, no specific offerings. 921 software updates? There will be some, there always are. Dishwire? What's that or sometime soon (seemed that Apr date had some relevance to FCC provisions).


Hughes/DirecTV

HDTivo (HD-DVR250) from Hughes in Apr, $899, 2 sat-2 tuner, same combos as non HD versions, and they HAVE A 6 MONTH EXCLUSIVE ON IT. HDMI on the Back. Will come with BOTH HDMI-HDMI & DVI-HDMI cables.

Tim

Great big plasmas and LCDs. More later.
 

Sean Mota

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
19,039
1,738
New York City
Wow! Tim, best report I read so far. Especially being able to network two DVRs! I mean that's out of this world having 40 plus hours of HD recording (assuming 20 + 20). Gee, how can the others compete with this?
 

Sean Mota

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
19,039
1,738
New York City
I like the news about the HD channels coming. Do not care about the local scanning update much for now. Great Report!
 

Sean Mota

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
19,039
1,738
New York City
Tim,

Did you get any feeling if we are going to be able to see Playboy-HD during the free programming period. My own theory tells yes. I looked at my online bill on the VOOM website and it states 12/25/03 -1/24/04 Adult PPV Authorizaiton = $0.

I think we will be able to see this but, of course, it is not confirmed yet.
 

rudolpht

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Sep 12, 2003
587
0
I think the Playboy PPV (and probably the separate Adult channel) will be up by 1 Feb, so answer should be yes & orderable for free via STB (vs clumsy call in for boxing). Actually is free period or only return period through end of Feb, if only later than we may not get the free PPV :(

Here's some more info from the show, mostly plasma & LCD related. Voom was definitely the highlight for me. The Ucentric stuff & user interface was very, very slick. I wish there was more details on the upgrade policies & Firewire, but the commitment & energy was there. (Rethinking 921 purchase).

Plasma & LCD:

Pioneer:

1) Consistency check: 3 separate reps said the HDMI was digital through the media box into the panel. The new 4th gen panels are a quite a bit different from 3rd gen in more than just aesthetics. The 72 refresh is great for film. Picture was better calibrated than I have seen at other shows. From a knowledgable engineer, he explained how much extra work it would be to add a DAAD conversion. They would have to do significant extra work to mess up the digital path. Time to put this one to bed.

2) Not confirmed by more than original source, mentioned that the HDMI interface from the 59DVi player also had a native res path in addition to 480 i/p, 720p, 1080i to match up better with 1280x768 and not do any scaling on the DVD output. If true, very cool.

3) No confirm or deny on 504 but the aweshucks response leads me to believe that there will be an announcement. Also discussed that the media box to panel is real DVI and not proprietary, but there may be a flavor to it that makes it not addressable by some external connections.

4) Inquired about how some features could possibly move down to 3rd gen panel through firmware or other changes. The response was to get a 3rd party card (no Pio plans to do there own) , mentioning inline (?) and Aurora multimedia. I couldn't find anyone else there that really had the depth of understanding to address tearing and other issues on the 503.


LG:

76" Plasma. ~25K. 71" Plasma. ~TBD. Both 1920x1080. Pretty spectacular.

55" LCD XMD. 1920x1080. ~15K. Very cool.

XD processing on standard def matewrial was pretty fantastic. Like Philips interpolation, I don';t know how they do it.


Samsung:

HPP8071. Pretty amazing 80" 1920x1080 Plasma. 2000:1 contrast, HDMI & DVI. No delivery or cost info.

LCDs:
- LTP578W, 57", 1080p, 8 refresh, ~15K, about 1 yr out. Not flat like Plasma, triangular just out in back center. Didn't appear as punchy as plasma.

- LTP468W, 46"., 1080p, ~10K, JUN!!!!

- LTP327W, 32", Don't think it was 1920x1080 native, ~6K, Sep 04.


Toshiba (ok, interested more in LCoS sets).

LCoS RPTV not shown. Unlikely to be back in production. Blamed chip shortages, but looking at alternate technologies.


Special Thank You to Lisa @ PlasmaExtreme (thanks for lugging the A304 card).

Unfortunately hit Tom Strade's suite in time to see Tom (very nice guy) but too early to see Hydra & some new scaling and other special products. Good to talk to him & some planned modularity of expansion cards between product lines. Hoping to see more feedback on folks that see stuff tomorrow.

Tim (thanks for sticking thread up, I couldn't find it at first :))
 

TheForce

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2003
33,245
10,369
Jacksonville, FL, Earth
Main purpose of my post here is to supply a couple of pictures ti fill in what Tim was describing as the "best booth of CES" OK, Tim we know you are biased. :)

I was disappointed in the demo when I was told that this was not a real DVR but a mock-up using their standard receiver just to show the concept. They were saying that the real DVR would be introduced late summer. No price estimate.

When I asked about all the channels they were showing they said some were still in negotiations but were expected to be up in February. The good news is that their system is totally a la carte with each HD channel costing $15 a month to add to the base price. Details of this are published so I won't waste further time.

I asked about the cost of the receiver coming off the $750 mark and they were quite defensive on this because they were selling a complete install including the dish and the roof antenna for OTA. When I said I already had the dish and antenna they said they would have to install their's under their current plan but may be adjusting that if they discover people want something special like just the receiver. But, no plans to lower price at this time.
 

Sean Mota

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
19,039
1,738
New York City
Do you know if the ucentric software was loaded on the receiver in your picture? This is the same receiver that we have.

Here is a shot of the ucentric operating system we got from their site.

MyRecordings.jpg
 

TheForce

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2003
33,245
10,369
Jacksonville, FL, Earth
Guys- The Voom demo was a mock up! It is not yet even in prototype for demo yet. So they did up a mock demo using a computer to simulate what the system would do. There was really nothing connected to the VOOM receiver as it was there just as a visual aid. The network interfaces were operational as far as I could tell but the guts of it all was a computer, not the DVR that will resemble the current VOOM boxes but will be the 4 tuner DVR.

For those who would like to see what was shown at CES- I shot a little video of it today and edited in some of the other parts of the booth but what you will see is basically everything in their booth except for the little office center which was unimportant.

The video is low resolution as I shot it with a Canon PowerShot G3 still camera in video mode. The video is in WM9 and requires a reasonably high speed conned. For those who have a slower connect speed or have some problems playing the video real time you can download it to your hard drive by right clicking on the link and selecting "save target as" Download it to your hard drive and then play it from there. If you don't have windows Media 9 codec installed or the player, Go get it, don't complain to me, just upgrade your windows to run wm9. It is the best video system out and I choose to use it. The file is about 4.9 Mb and the video is a 320x240x 15fps which is what the Canon's max video does.


http://www.bestoftheweb.tv/VOOMhs.wmv (Link may not work after 3/12/04). If you still want to see the video, send me an email to Sean_Mota@satelliteguys.us.

(Case sensitive link)
 

Sean Mota

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
19,039
1,738
New York City
Don,

thanks for the video. It was quite interested to see the demonstration. I wished that they had this before the summer because I am now debating between this and the 921. The 921 will give me the HD recording now over not much content but some while there is a lot more content on VOOM, I can't have this until the summer. Decisions, decisions... Thanks for the Video, I enjoyed it a lot.
 

Sean Mota

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
19,039
1,738
New York City
Don,

the screen, in your video, that shows the recorded programs shows that the VOOM OS will continue to be the same. That screen (colors and the way it looks) is equal to what we get today on a non-dvr receiver.

I had to replay the video a few times but I think I heard this correctly. The DVR has 4 outputs (2 sat and 2 ota). At any time, 3 different outputs could be display at three different Tvs whether was recorded programs on Harddisk or live programs (from the sample of the three monitors).
 

TheForce

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2003
33,245
10,369
Jacksonville, FL, Earth
Sean- I think what Patrick says is there. If you don't try to read too much into it with personal interpretation then it's just what he says. AND, this is very important, to keep it all in perspective as to what this was. It was not a demo of a system being sold, not even a prototype. It was a mock up of a concept that they plan to do.

When I started to question Patrick on the specifics of the network, the confusion over how many different programs could roll simultaneously, There was some confusion as to whether it would be 3 or 4. To help clarify it, I said, Am I correct to say that the network has top end related to bandwidth in that more SD channels could be moved than HD channels. His answer was yes. So, that is why I stated 3-4 as that was what the rang of agreement was when talking numbers.

As far as the PVR tuner output is concerned. I believe this would be one channel at a time output. To get 4 HDTV channels served up over the network, it is my understanding it would require 4 PVR's Each station PVR could be a server for a program, one at a time as in Peer to Peer. Up to 4 (Maybe 3) would max out the network when these would be outputting simultaneously.

Again, This could all change when they actually begin to test the system in prototype. If I understood your statement, NO the PVR's do not have 4 outputs according to the present day plan. They are said to have 2 sat tuners and two OTA tuners to be able to record and play live much in the same way as the HDTIVO will which also has the same tuner complement. The 921 has less capability in the simple DVR function since it lacks one OTA tuner as compared to VOOM proposal and the HDTIVO.
 

Sean Mota

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
19,039
1,738
New York City
I am posting this for those of you that do not frequently visit the 921 forum.

[code:1]Don Landis wrote:

Then we have VOOM who is planning a third option; No 1394, no hard drive swap(secure) but an ability to network multiple PVR receivers for increased capacity. [/code:1]


orcatek wrote:
When I asked VOOM about expanding the HD, they were planning on having an external storage that would allow you to add more online storage for more recording capacity. Sounded good. In general I liked the answers I got from the guy demoing the unit. He must have been the expert, as the other sales booth workers were watching and learning.

Sad note for me was the HD Tivo price, I was hoping for it to be cheaper to encourage some deals from E*


Don Landis wrote:
Yes, that was also a point of conversation but initially, I was told that to increase capacity for HD and SD content, additional PVR receivers would be the solution.
The concept here is that you should be able to add the one network box for your computer and this would serve up the additional HDTV files. While Patrick Donovan demonstrated the computer for serving a slide show from home office computer to your Home theater screen some migh wonder if the HD content from the PVR can be displayed on the Computer (this would be extrapolation and speculation because they never said it would work that way.) Even if they do it technically, will protected content permit this? You see, this is the trouble with extrapolation/ speculation because it is meaningless until there is a transition of concept to prototype to production and we're still in the concept phase.
Scott- This question and answer has nothing to do with 921, is specific to the VOOM. I don't care if you move or copy it there as it may be of better use there.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is coming from the Yahoo Group:

[code:1]-----Original Message-----
From: goenkar66 [mailto:nangle@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, January 12, 2004 7:36 AM
To: VOOM@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [VOOM] VOOM/UCentric PVR - wiring


Does the upcoming PVR have any special wiring needs i.e. do the
client TV's need direct runs to the back of the server PVR in a
hub/spoke formation ?

I have an existing cable run that comes into the basement and then
splits 3 ways. One of the rooms has a Voom box now which also has a
cable outlet. Would I be able to push the Voom signal down the cable
outlet so I can use my existing cable wiring (assuming that I have
disconnected my cable service which I plan on doing) ? Would it work
with broadband cable modem signal still on the wire ?

I am excited about the PVR but am cautious about any "gotchas" while
deploying. It really sounds too good to be true about running over
existing coax so am curious about any "special wiring" needs.

Wilt, care to comment ??[/code:1]


From: Wilt Hildenbrand <wilth@o...>
Date: Mon Jan 12, 2004 12:17 pm
Subject: RE: [VOOM] VOOM/UCentric PVR - wiring

I'll tell you what I can at the moment. :)
Actually, "home runs", or hub/spoke, setups are the best for anything like that, from TV's to cable modems, so if that's what you have, regardless of who your service provider is, that's the best of all worlds.
We're looking at the various technologies, wired that is, that will overcome the splitter losses and, at least with some of them, you should be able to run all you had before, plus this.
I don't know of any "gotcha's" at the moment but it's a bit early as well.
Wilt
 

rudolpht

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Sep 12, 2003
587
0
Don Landis said:
Main purpose of my post here is to supply a couple of pictures ti fill in what Tim was describing as the "best booth of CES" OK, Tim we know you are biased. :)

Smiley noted.

I am biased as to the best consumer solutions. That's why I have a 921 now (beings the only one by definition means being the best - and also the worst - in that context) ;)

The Voom Demo remains the best booth at CES for a few reasons.

1) Got nothing out of Dish - plans, future offerings, specifics on 921 updates, etc.

2) Voom did nothing to misrepresent what they were showing. It was a technology demonstration. For thiose folks familiar with Conops, or concept of operations, it demonstrated how real world use would be accomodated when the piece parts work & were avaialbale. Nothing more definitive than Dec there. If we use the Dish 921 track record, 3 CESs and got mine the sat after the 3rd, Summer may be optimistic. I don't think it is too optimistic as SIMILAR Ucentric demos (using wired & wireless) were occuring across the way at Samsung and in other vendor booths. This isn't a fly by night technology or vaporware.

3) I'm not stupid. Almost every demo at CES was not hooked to satelittes but to a restricted number of feeds piped around. The 80" Samsung plasma may have been showing pixels, but if you look at the back it has a way to get to production.

4) The strategy is compelling. A shared network, including multiple DVRs, PCs, that may be aggregated and share content to 3-4 seperate TVs and more audio stations to me is a step forward and sure beats mum is the word.

There was no indication of No Firewire. There was no indication of showing Hd on PCs (doubt it seriously, the PC is a server of photos, music not a client). There was discussion of upgrade policies being worked out for both initial STBs to both DVRs and/or firewire.

OK, I like the big plasmas. I like the 1920x1080 big LCD mockups, but Voom had the best both by far if only because they 1) answered questions honestly and 2) showed initiative/creativity in providing solutions.

Tim
 

rudolpht

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Sep 12, 2003
587
0
It's good to see forum back up & see Voom as finalist. Denon is the fair haired boys as CE goes, so not surprised their server won the top prize.
 

TheForce

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2003
33,245
10,369
Jacksonville, FL, Earth
Tim- Is this award given to the one with the best innovative idea of concept? Don't you have to show a working prototype? VOOM's "dog and pony show" was not real but a demonstration of what they will try to accomplish with home networking. NOne of it was working for real. I asked and was told by the presenter it was a presentation running off the PC on the right. I likened it to a slick well done Powerpoint presentation.
Bill Gates does this kind of show (lots more extravagant) all the time with his visions of the future talks. I don't mean to knock your favorite company but people need to realize that an award of this sort is not all it is perceived to be. THose who weren't there have to rely on our reports and I'd hate to think 6 months from now people will be talking about the VOOM network that was demonstrated at CES when all it was, was a presentation of an idea they plan to do. Heck the boxes weren't even wired to anything! I wonder what the criteria are to win this award. Maybe TechTV didn't notice or ask. ( I have a jaded attitude toward awards ever since I learned the truth behind them)
 

Sean Mota

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
19,039
1,738
New York City
Don,

I have taken your advice... I have contacted the CC company and the process has started. BTW, My charged was on 11/20/03 and today is 1/18/04 almost two months into this nonsense. I agree completly with you. Thanks.
 

rudolpht

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Sep 12, 2003
587
0
Don,

It was working as much as the award two years ago for the Dish 921, and mine is still marginally working & no OTA. That said, parts of the demo were indeed working as the clients were demonstrated live in other booths. The Voom demo was my favorite display, because even with regards to the demo they were honest and answered questions. Screens, even if mock ups were screens.

BTW Voom isn't my favorite company and the tempature is going down (like outside) the closer we get to 1 Feb. I don't like the propaganda in either direction, re: package costs. That said the demonstration was impressive, probably mostly because the technology was compelling and there 1) was a strategy, 2) somebody was willing to talk about it, in shap contrast to E* with D* not doing much better.

It is easier for me to commit when this is ancillary service. I'll have more egg on my face (or less cash in my pocket) with a Dish 921 & Voom (DVR hopefully this summer) if DirecTV got off their rears and delivered the same HD & a better Tivo device.

I intend to go over to Ucentric soon and get a harder core demo. I really like the similar clients at Samsung and other booths also by Ucentric, so something is going on there.

Tim
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 0, Members: 0, Guests: 0)

Latest posts

Top