Friday, 23 November 2012

Sky+... way behind the Open Source community

So Sky+ have announced a couple of "features" that they have added to their product. An Iphone app update adds remote control features and an Undelete feature. All I can say is whoo-bloody-hoo.
Sorry Sky, you're way behind on this one.
When the UK went totally digital back in April I had to buy a new recorder. I wanted something which would fit my needs. ie the capability to watch what I want, when I want, and more importantly wherever I want. I researched into a lot of PVR systems that were around at the time. And even now, the one I chose is still leading the way in innovation. Why? Because although it's a commercial product, it embraces open source and allows people to add their own features.
I chose the Humax HDR-Fox-T2.
Why? Well numerous reasons.
  1. It has a RJ45 port to allow it to connect to my home network.
  2. It has duel tuners to record two channels at once.
  3. It has a really active community and additional software.
  4. It's cheap and doesn't tie you to any contract.
  5. Plus the fact you can stick a 1TB hard disk in there (or any other size for that matter).
Of course, according to the DVB standard, all recorders must encrypt all broadcasts - especially HD ones - and Humax do just that. They comply with the (unjust, in my opinion) law. Well this is all fine and dandy, but it's just DRM. We know that DRM in all forms is a seriously bad thing and limits to capabilities of what you can do with things. But the whole point of being able to install your own stuff means that, as with DVDs, the encryption has been broken and once again people are free to do what they want.
Because the core of the product is a Linux system, the information as to how it works is publicly available. Roll on the hacking community.
There are now over 150 different add-ins which can be put onto the system which add a browser interface, editing capabilities, compression by stripping un-needed EPG data from the broadcast, a telnet interface, remote scheduling & control and much, much more. Yes even an Undelete feature, as touted by Sky.
Now this is what happens when you make a product that is extendible. People buy it because they can add to it and make it their own.

Now if only I can stop the wife from eating up disk space with X factor, The Voice, Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity and other such stuff. Though of course she can always move the recordings onto her own hard disk out of the way so I can record my Joy of Stats and Tales from the Wild Wood. What can I say? I'm a Geek,

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