Open Sourced PVR

I’m a big fan of the Tivo system. In fact I designed just such a system before Tivo or ReplayTV got started (I’m basing that on the invention dates listed on their patents). But both systems are getting a lot of flack from network TV because they make it easy to skip the commercials that pay for the programming on the major networks. So there is always the threat that they could push through legislation (bought and paid for through representatives like Fritz Hollings, Senator from Disney) that would make personal video recorders (PVR) like Tivo illegal.
That’s why it’s heartening to see open source alternatives like MythTV cruising along. They let me know that even if commercial alternatives get the screws applied to them (as the RIAA did with Napster) that there will always be something available for me to use. Plus, there are always lots of limitations on commercial boxes like the Tivo.
How’s this for an idea for a “convergence” box in the living room? It would have PVR capabilities, be able to burn shows to CD in DIVX format for later playback in the same box or to VCD for playback via any DVD player, be capable of sharing shows it has recorded with other PVRs it is networked with in the same house, rip CDs and act as a music server across networked PVR units, and play DVDs, VCDs, CDs with DIVX video on them. Heck, while you’re at it, why not stick MAME in there and give it the ability to play several thousand classic arcade games. The Tivo is already a pretty cool PVR but a box like that would kick its butt.

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