That's Entertainment

  • Darren Waters
  • 7 Jan 07, 05:52 PM

A few years ago BitTorrent was being discussed in the same earthy tones reserved for Napster back when it was turning the music industry on its head, helping people pirate music for free.

BitTorrent is a program which makes high-speed transference of large files across the net simple to do.

Unsurprisingly it was soon adopted as the program of choice for people wanting to distribute copied versions of films and TV programmes.

But BitTorrent the company has successfully turned itself into a player in the digital media world of the 21st Century and has done a number of deals with content providers to distribute their programmes, films and videogames using the BitTorrent software.

Netgear, makers of routers, modems, and digital media devices, has now teamed up with BitTorrent to "promote video downloads streamed to high-definition TVs".

What that means is that legal content will be delivered via BitTorrent to a new device unveiled by Netgear at CES - the Digital Entertainer HD.

The machine is basically a wi-fi-enabled super-set top box. It can connect to your PC over your home network and access movies, photos and music stored on the hard drive and then play it on your television - and in high definition too.

The player can also act as a personal video recorder - allowing you to record your favourite TV programmes direct to the device.

Vivek Pathela, vice president of product marketing at Netgear, was suitably jubilant about the device but reserved his greatest enthusiasm for one particular feature.

"You can watch YouTube on your TV," he cried.

Yes, the Digital Entertainer HD will let you access You Tube clips and watch them on your television.

Apparently the ability to watch American youth shove mentos mint sweets into Diet Coke bottles is apparently a big selling point.

On a wider note, many of the functions of the Netgear device are expected to form part of Apple's new iTV player - to be unveiled in a couple of days.

I'm guessing that there will be a lot more attention given to the iTV than to the Digital Entertainer HD.

The battle for control of the living room in the digital age is far from over.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 10:13 PM on 07 Jan 2007,
  • Alfred Grobelnik wrote:

I´d like to have a portable Internet-Radio, so I could hear almost every radio station of the entire world in high quality.

To assemble such a device is very simple possible by means of an WLAN capable ITX-Board. Unfortunately such a board is sure little but much to expensive and a tad oversized merely to use it as a radio. Also the current consumption is substantive to high.

If someone offers such a widget for an acceptable price, I would buy it.

Bram Cohen thinks he can put the cat back in the bag and is very mistaken, BitTorrent is out there and it's never going away until something better comes along - by better it'll probably be something that uses port-hopping, military-grade encryption and distributed trackers natively, a Torrent 2.0 type thing. Same but better.

Nobody in their right mind is going to pay for sharing bandwidth - it's an insane suggestion, especially here in the UK where upstream bandwidth is at such a premium.

If you're wanting to pay for US TV shows legally use iTunes. But BT is never going away, not least because it's dual-use technology and the US courts wont touch it, and even if they did it's Open Source and going nowhere.

As for youtube, it's dead technology, there's already people building HD competitors to it.

  • 4.
  • At 11:17 PM on 07 Jan 2007,
  • chris pestell wrote:

Sorry, "the battle for control of the living room in the digital age" has already been fought and lost , as of last week. New laptop, wireless access built in, two weeks on the road coming up, why not go play in second life? That and a ten carrier of (ahem) DVDs - what else do you need? BTW - what is a living room? :)

  • 5.
  • At 06:52 AM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Steve Allison wrote:

This may be a bit off-topic, sorry, but... I have an SMC streamer at home which I can use to send internet radio to my living room. I can't, unfortunately, use it for the very stations I love the most - BBC radio 1, 2 and 4.

I applaud the BBC for their streaming and 'listen again' facilities, but most consumer devices I've seen can't pick up BBC streams. Will the BBC ever offer Shoutcast compliant streams?

Currently I have to use Wiretap on the Mac or Total Recorder on the PC to encode the streams, then put them in my iPod. This is OK for 'Listen Again', but I really want to hear Jonathan Ross live on Saturday mornings (from my living room in Romania).

  • 6.
  • At 07:22 AM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Sean wrote:

Or you can use youtube for movies. The legal free ones of course.:)

  • 7.
  • At 08:57 AM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Neil Smith wrote:

Exactly listen live to the bbc from abroad, I have been waiting for this to become a reality for a few years now since I moved to Stockholm, I was hoping that perhaps digital radio would go international (that may be a complete misunderstanding of how it works however) But if it were so i could listen live to any station in europe in any country.

I think that there is a lack of appreciation of how good UK radio is, in many countries programme content is very poor.

  • 8.
  • At 09:16 AM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Darren Waters , if you want to learn about digital media covvergence in the home please look to this site.


It just shows how all the offering from the "big players" are really just attempts to catch up with what is already available.

  • 9.
  • At 09:59 AM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • paddy wrote:

Max Headroom is about to become a reality. Independent television programmers will be beaming straight into homes via the interent, while the ordinary Joe will be able to pick and choose his entertainment on a global basis. Anything goes in the high speed world of internet access. There will be no boundaries in choosing what you want to watch, and the back catalogue will be as important as the new. One day soon, you will decide to watch a film or a TV series or a sport, and flick through a database choice of more than ten thousand.
Youtube and Myspace have started the ball rolling but they will soo be overtaken unless they develop fast to keep up. The BBC is in a prime position - imagine if they allowed their customers to pick and watch its vast back catalogue of programmes when the customer wanted.

Come now Darren, doesn't your post read a touch... well.. sniffy?

YouTube is nothing like the BBC. One of the reasons it is so popular is because it offers up such choice from snippits from mainstream TV (I still enjoy watching Ade Edmondson sing Anarchy in the UK from Jools Holland's Hoots a wotsit).

It gives you the chance to see people provide you three minutes of genius with soda and mints. It gives you the chance to watch clips that are so bad that they are good.

Yet the technology also brings the PC and the TV closer together. In short it justifies the BBC investing in BBC Online.

Now come on, undo that starched collar and give your giggle gland some exercise.

  • 11.
  • At 01:23 PM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

Watching You Tube on your TV is nothign new, I can even do this with my Wii and its internet portal

  • 12.
  • At 01:54 PM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • phil wrote:

you can do that now with the nintendo wii, there's free software available that does all that

Youtube on your tv? Call me short sighted but I can't imagine it will be that popular, the video quality is poor and will only look worse on your super widescreen HD tv sets.

Maybe it will finally be the thing that kills You've Been Framed though.

'[The machine can] then play it on your television - and in high definition too."

'"You can watch YouTube on your TV," he cried.'

Were can I get a suitable low definition TV?

  • 15.
  • At 12:53 AM on 09 Jan 2007,
  • Garry Knight wrote:

Alfred Grobelnik wrote:

"I´d like to have a portable Internet-Radio, so I could hear almost every radio station of the entire world in high quality."

Any WiFi-enabled Pocket PC can do this, and other such devices. I'm listening to "Looking Back" by Route33 on M1 Live through my iPAQ rx1950 connected to my wireless router as I type this on my somewhat less portable laptop, connected to the same router.

It's not the lack of Internet radio capable devices that's the problem, it's the lack of WiFi coverage...

  • 16.
  • At 07:18 AM on 16 Nov 2007,
  • Karim wrote:

I am in Vancouver, Canada and I would really like to know if there is anyone out there in the UK or anywhere else, can tell me where I can find/listen to a similar style of internet radio as M1 LIVE?? This staion is really being missed on this side of the pond.
Please HELP!!
Thank You

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