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Why did they stop development of the HDPC-20?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by CraigerCSM, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. Dec 16, 2009 #81 of 160
    frankv

    frankv Cool Member

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    Yeah, tell me about it (mine's $200 now and that's without movies). I like the idea of ditching it alltogether (for TV, still need high-speed internet), but until they have HGTV and soccer channels like FSC and GolTV, that's not gonna fly.

    This Acer allows you to stream in full HD up to 1080p running on 2GB of memory? It doesn't even have a dedicated graphics cards, correct? That's quite impressive - Dell has a couple of similar machines (Inspiron series) that look inspiring ;) .

    Thanks for the detailed explanation of your setup.
     
  2. Dec 16, 2009 #82 of 160
    BDA123

    BDA123 New Member

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    Ya, but it is only a matter of time before you can pickup the content via subscription. The Acer Revo I have is streaming 1080p to a 720p TV. It has an integrated Nvidia 9400 GPU which does the job. However, the Atom 230 is a little slow. If I were to do it again I would buy the Atom 330 version which is the Acer Revo 3610. It comes with Windows 7, more memory, wireless keyboard and mouse, wireless N, as well as the dual core Atom chip. It is only a little better on video but a lot better with W7MC transitions, websurfing, etc. I have 4gb in most of my machines but I know the memory utilization during 1080 playback is rarely over 1.4gb so you don't need more then two to do the job. The Dell Zino is a fun little addition to the arena. But you have to upgrade the processor to the dual core and upgrade the GPU to the 4330 to really be able to do Blu-ray. You can even get it with a blu-ray drive. Its a fun little computer.
     
  3. Dec 16, 2009 #83 of 160
    Beerstalker

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  4. Dec 17, 2009 #84 of 160
    BDA123

    BDA123 New Member

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    A bit expensive! You are funny. Thats about $4300. All the computers, software, tvs, and recievers I have didn't cost that much. Why would I buy it when I can get a Acer Revo 3610 with a VESA mount for about 1/10 the price. At that price they have little to no market to sell that to. It amazes me that so many companies develop products prior to doing their market research. Serious "Field of Dreams" mistake.
     
  5. Dec 17, 2009 #85 of 160
    Beerstalker

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    Like I said I knew it was a bit expensive, but remember it's in Europe and electronics are usually quite a bit more expensive over there. I'm just pointing out that this company definitely thinks there is a market out there for something like this, otherwise they wouldn't be building it. If this product sells well, other companies will start producing similar products and the price will go down.

    I could only imagine how well something like this would sell if it had built in Tru-2-Way tuners or a similar device for D* or E* (sadly I've recently heard the E* has shelved their computer based tuner as well).
     
  6. Dec 17, 2009 #86 of 160
    Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    This should probably tell you something ...
     
  7. Dec 17, 2009 #87 of 160
    smiddy

    smiddy Tain't ogre til its ogre

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    It goes back to what you said in the begining of this thread, nitch market. HTPCs have not taken off as some had anticipated. Even thought the majority of the new hardware supports the ability for computers to connect to TVs or PCs to display TV content, the paradigm is a PC is used for PC stuff, word processing, email, surfing the internet, etcetera. TVs are used for viewing and listening to video/audio content and is seemless. PCs haven't until recently been as seemless to provide TV content. The combination of all these things probably made the trade study on the "if we should go forward" choice a lot easier to make, to kill it off.
     
  8. Dec 17, 2009 #88 of 160
    BDA123

    BDA123 New Member

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    I have been in sales for 25 years and I know what a niche product is. Niche implies that the demand for your product is religated to a niche of consumers. TV and online media content is not niche. The demand is not niche. What is really comes down to is that if you have a product that supplies the features necessary to meet the required demand you have sales. Everything else is a matter of price. What is currently happening is that in the past your products didn't meet the need of the consumer's demand. And when we finally had products a few years ago that meet the demand and truely created a supply/demand curve they were priced so high that the number of units sold was low. However, the increase in products has significantly pushed the supply curve to the right. Demand is not changing much because the demand has always existed. The supply curve shifting to the right if forcing the price down and essentially increasing demand or more correctly increasing the number of items sold. If you could produce these HTPC computers for $1 and sell them for $2 with an unlimited quantity supplied you would sell millions. The demand isn't the problem. The supply is the problem. Economics 101 guys. The fact that you can now get a computer that will do the job for $300 that used to take $1200 would essentially increase demand and sales four fold. Problem is that supply is not linear and demand is not linear. Demand will actually increase exponentially and supply will decrease exponentially. But this assumes that there is only one supplier of this type of product. In fact, there are probably 10 different manufacturers whos products have hit or are hitting the market in the next few months. Thus again pushing the supply curve to the right and increasing demand exponentially. If you think this product is niche you really don't understand the economics behind the market.
     
  9. Dec 17, 2009 #89 of 160
    gregjones

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    The fact that only a handful of people would argue that it is not a niche product reinforces the supposition that it is one. Again, I have an HTPC (with terabytes of content) and even I cannot be convinced that this is not a niche product. HTPC is popular with some folks, but the market for this product is far smaller than HTPC users even.
     
  10. Dec 17, 2009 #90 of 160
    BDA123

    BDA123 New Member

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    I guess we shall see over the next 3 to 5 years. The thing is that most people want a HTPC that is simple, reliable, small, quiet, and cheap. I think the netbook market is a good example of how nettop sales will likely change over the next couple years. Netbooks will sell about 22 million this year. That is about 1/8 of all the units sold worldwide. Government and business buys about half of the units sold. So, currently 1 in every four consumer computers sold is a netbook. Why? Because they are simple, small, quiet, and most of all cheap. They make a great second or third computer is developed countries and first computers in underdeveloped countries. Nettops fit a similar market in the desktop arena. Most of the netbooks sold in the next couple of years will either have a Nvidia GPU or Intel GPU capable of HD video and will come with Windows 7. Same goes for Nettops. From the data I have seen Netbooks/Ultra Portable Laptops and Nettops will comprise about 50% of the consumer market within the next 3 years. And this doesn't even take into account all of the tablets, phones, mp3 players, and digital video players that will be running on snapdragon ARM and tegra ARM configurations which is fully capable of 720 output. Why do you think every manufacturer is coming out with one or more models? That means there is will be 40 million+ units capable of doing HTPC functions hitting the market annually. Do you really think most people are just going to ignore the functions? If you do you are just fooling yourself. Its not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. Take a look at CES here in a few weeks and tell me if you don't see the signs.
     
  11. Dec 17, 2009 #91 of 160
    Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    This is where you and I have a fundamental disagreement .. I think most people just want the cable (or DIRECTV) guy to come out to put a box in so that they can watch TV - end of story. With the analog OTA being shutdown, there may end up being a shift back to OTA for a large number of folks because the price is right (100% free). Will that shift drive HTPC sales? Maybe, but it's more likely to drive a Dumb recorder sales or a slightly less than dumb recorder sales. $300 is still not cheap to some people - Cheap is free - anything that requires "work" is just gonna take a bit longer to penetrate that broader market.
     
  12. Dec 18, 2009 #92 of 160
    BDA123

    BDA123 New Member

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    I don't know about fundamentally different. You are very correct and there is a large percentage of Americans that are exactly as you describe. Until HTPCs are so cheap and so simple they will never use them. Those are the same people who check their email once a week if they even have a computer. They most likely don't own an Iphone and will wait until everyone else has one before they get one. Its not a bad thing. Sometimes I should be much less connected. It just is what it is. That being said I think the HTPC market is much larger than you estimate. There is a large percentage of sub-35 year olds (of which I am not a part) that would snap up the technology very quickly.
     
  13. Dec 18, 2009 #93 of 160
    ToddD

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    Unless you have some new info I'd say that we do not know that this is true as of yet. What has been known is that they completed their beta testing program and asked for all of the equipment to be returned (standard policy with Microsoft MC testing). They as far as I have been able to learn, have not as of yet made any comment beyond that.

    One interesting note was that their testing did not use a separate box as was what DirecTV was doing, They used a standard HD receiver with a special software load and sent the stream out of the ethernet port to the MC. Sorta like a Satellite based HD Home Run.

    What future does MC have?

    Two developments from Microsoft will determine if there is any future for the MC platform as a more mainstream platform.

    Firstly, will there be new MC extenders. The Vista era extenders have gone End of Life. Will we see new ones as part of the Windows 7 era? That is one thing I'll be watching CES for.

    The second is the version 2 release of Windows Home Server. If some of the published reports are true, we may see a platform that might move this concept much more mainstream.

    I have been working with MC both as hobby and as a product designer back to it's earliest days. I can tell you that over time more and more of the issues that have kept it from becoming a more widely accepted product have been addressed. The two largest are that most people do not have a home network- that is being resolved by wireless, MOCA and powerline. The other is that people do not want a PC in the TV area. Now many TV's have in effect a MC extender class computer built in to them.

    We are moving over time to a TV world that is based on IP data. As we do so, more and more, a computing approach will take hold. It will not be 10 more years, but it will not be 1 or 2. I'd say less than 5.
     
  14. Dec 18, 2009 #94 of 160
    ToddD

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    I also am not of such age group,but have been amazed by what they are doing. This a group who have grown up with the internet. They know how to use it fully. The number of them that have devised ways to stream content from Hulu, the network web sites, downloading (many times illegally) shows, netfilx, itunes and so on is just wild. The goal for most all of this for them is to remove cost. They are cutting their cable in record numbers. Many believe that this is the real reason for the Comcast NBC deal (from Comcast's side).

    All of this is in effect a HTPC model. So to say that they would snap up this tech is somewhat out of date....They are doing so.
     
  15. Dec 19, 2009 #95 of 160
    Barry in Conyers

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    In this thread, the cognoscenti have bashed the HDPC-20 as being unneeded, unwanted and flawed from the beginning. It is interesting to go back a couple of years and read what the same people said when the HDPC-20 was introduced.
     
  16. Dec 19, 2009 #96 of 160
    CJTE

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    To a point. I can't speak much for the east coast, but on the west, while that crowd is definitely interested in cheap (read: free) content, they aren't all as technically sound as it looks. Apple developed the iPod. "They" exploded on it (they referring to the crowd), Apple developed the iPhone, once again, they exploded on it. Some amongst the crowd put the iPhone through many trials and tests before 'breaking' it. But even after it was broken, very few of the crowd would dare touch it until a shiny almost stupid-proof interface was built with step by step instructions. (Using 'jailbreaking' the iPhone as an example, not condoning the practice).

    The 'Rich' among the crowd have Home Theater PCs because they paid best buy to install it and show them what buttons to push. The 'Geeky' among the crowd have Home Theater PCs because they built them. The rest have "Media Center Extenders" (which may be microsofts TM'd name for it but you get where I'm going), and I'd be willing to wager a larger percentage of the market share uses the PlayStation 3, for example, more to play DVDs and Blu-Rays rather than stream content from the PC.
    XBox as well. (I don't know what the Wii's capabilities are but based on my extremely limited use I doubt it has this sort of feature).

    Even with the technology right in front of them, it doesn't necessarily mean "they" are interested in it.
     
  17. Dec 24, 2009 #97 of 160
    gregjones

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    I have never espoused its virtues. It was always a bad idea with little to no profitable market. A lot of the people that enjoy HTPC as a hobby also don't want to deal with commercials or channel logos on HTPC content. A lot of the people that have all of the hardware running in their house right now would not use DirecTV as a source for the content because it is not a great fit with their expectations on the material.

    If I want to store just a lot of content, I can do that today with an external hard drive and an HR2x. If I want content without logos and commercials, I can use an HTPC (on my choice of operating system and hardware). The point people miss is that live TV and radio represent a very small portion of content on a media server/HTPC.

    I have a media server and love it. It just doesn't incorporate DirecTV content because I really am not that interested in combining the two. Content on my media server is there forever, archived for viewing/listening. Content on my DVR is there until I watch it.
     
  18. Jan 8, 2010 #98 of 160
    rjsimmons

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    I only have one thing to add to my earlier comments.

    Apple iSlate...

    Lets face it guys, the content world has been seriously changed by Apple and it looks like there is more change in the wind...and that is not 3 to 5 or 5 to 10 years away.

    The future is now. The only question is how can DirecTv profit from the new markets that would "like" to have access to the content they control.
     
  19. Jan 8, 2010 #99 of 160
    Stuart Sweet

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    I don't know if I am one of those cognoscenti to which you refer... but I was enthusiastic about the HDPC-20 when it was first shown. Over time I came to see that there was less demand than I had hoped for, and that there were other factors in play as well. It's not a bad thing to have a device like this, but it just seems that the economic model for producing it wasn't there.
     
  20. Jan 8, 2010 #100 of 160
    P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    We don't know for sure a reason for mothballing the project [second time]. By other thoughts it wasn't economic, but by pressure from content providers who are paranoid about total control.
     

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