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 Post subject: MythTV for millions
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:00 am
Posts: 9
I had my first meeting with product designers and system architects today.

Isaac Richards wanted a better DVR.
I want better television.

Television programming will dramatically improve when we take control of TV programming and TV advertising and put it in the hands of the viewers. Not just for the tens of thousands - but for tens of millions of viewers.

MythTV provides the controls. There are three steps to make it happen:

1. Make it awesome. Already done thanks to the MythTV community.
2. Make it stupid easy. Already mostly done thanks to Cecil and others.
3. Make it free. Not just software, but hardware and EPG.

I named the system Openivo, for Open Source Television.
To make the system even easier to install, configure, monitor, and maintain, Openivo will build on the work of LinHES and integrate the DVR software with centralized network management like Nagios or OpenNMS. This will build in security and privacy and allow remote configuration, troubleshooting, and maintenance.

My contribution will be a new form of television advertising: skip-able addressable TV ads. This will be the financial engine that powers the managed network and provides the hardware and EPG subsidies.
Home computers subsidized with addressable television advertising.
COMPUTER-COST SUBSIDIZING METHOD United States Patent Application 20100058378
See it at: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2010/0058378.html

More info at: http://openivo.blogspot.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 11:55 pm
Posts: 1206
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Not trying to be overly critical, but I'm having a hard time understanding your added value here.

Knoppmyth/LinHES is already free. It already runs out of the box on a wide variety of hardware. It requires some computer experience configuring it and getting it running. Maybe that's your angle?

Free hardware? Really? For ads that are "skippable"? I can tell you I'll be skipping every one of the ads, so why would an advertiser be willing to pay for my hardware?

And this does not address the 800lb gorilla in the room -- DRM. More and more, the content is being locked out of tools like MythTV because cable and satellite providers have encryption on their services and have excluded devices like MythTV from accessing their content. There's no way to be successful unless you can overcome this problem.

All in my humble opinion, of course!

-- Joe B.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:00 am
Posts: 9
Hi Joe,
Thanks for responding. The idea goes against several tenets of conventional wisdom. That's why it is difficult to understand. That is also why it might not work at all. It is also why it could be extremely successful.

The success of Openivo depends on three factors:

I am going to ask you to suspend disbelief for a few minutes, assume the following is true, then follow the implications.

1. Advertisers are capable of making commercials that are entertaining, informative, and desirable to watch. Advertising can be enjoyable when it is done well. Consider Superbowl commercials, movie previews, window-shopping on Michigan Avenue, etc.
To do this, advertisers need
a. information about the viewer (geographic, demographic, education level, interests, etc.)
b. feedback from viewers to know what connects (to allow test marketing on a wide basis) This is mainly provided by "skip" data.
c. a communication system that can select the right commercial for the right viewer at the right time. The system would also stop presenting the commercial before it becomes no longer desirable.

2. People are willing to share private viewing information under the right circumstances, if
a. they are confident that they are getting something of value in return for the shared information
b. they are confident that their information will remain safe and private, and will not be abused.

3. With appropriate technology, a home theater PC can be as easy to set up and use as a microwave oven.
a. Using managed network technology, installation, configuration, maintenance, and troubleshooting can be done remotely without user input.
b. New computers with powerful processors and large hard drives can be made small and quiet, appropriate for the living room.

I am prepared to discuss and defend each of these postulates, but first let's just accept them for now, and consider some implications.

1. Television would become much more enjoyable. Not only because all commercials would be skip-able (including live TV), but also because commercials would be enjoyable. The system could also make it much easier to find and present TV programming that the viewer would enjoy.

2. Television advertising would become much more valuable. The same 30 second spot could be sold to many different advertisers to present to different subgroups of the viewer population (addressable advertising). It would be much more efficient. Local and neighborhood businesses could also buy TV advertising at very low cost, just for their immediate market area. Merchants with small niche business could advertise just for their small niche markets. TV advertising right now is a $50 billion per year business. Addressablity has been estimated at doubling the value of advertising. The ability to have local and niche advertising might increase the revenue by another 50% to 100%

3. Television could be completely free of charge to the viewer. Advertising revenue could pay for the hardware, the software, the EPG, the network, and for premium cable and satellite programming. At the upper levels of estimated ad revenue, it could also pay for universal broadband internet access and cellular phone service.

4. The control of television and television advertising would be in the hands of the viewers. People would watch what they want, when they want, where they want, on any device they want.

There are myriad other implications for open source software (once a large number of open source computers are in the community), health care (with personal health records and recommendations available online and on TV), education (online learning), etc.

Wish me luck,

Marc


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:25 am
Posts: 109
Location: Elgin, Illinois
It is an interesting concept Marc. I had a similar idea few years ago, but it mainly consisted of gathering viewing data to fund Myth development and guide data, but nobody seemed interested in the idea then, so I hope you have better luck. Nealson makes a fortune from this data, so it could be lucrative.

What about people like me that skip commercials on recorded shows automatically? Most ads are annoying and generally for products or services I will never require or want. How do you plan on convincing people like me to once again watch ads so we can begin 'voting' on them?

I can think of a few people that would like this. They have MythTV installed, but do not have the skills to maintain it when it has a problem, or want to put up with calls at work from their spouse that the TV is broken again.

It does sound like an interesting idea, and I am looking for a project to help fill in my free time, so let me know if I can help.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:00 am
Posts: 9
uteck wrote:
It is an interesting concept Marc. I had a similar idea few years ago, but it mainly consisted of gathering viewing data to fund Myth development and guide data, but nobody seemed interested in the idea then, so I hope you have better luck. Nealson makes a fortune from this data, so it could be lucrative.

What about people like me that skip commercials on recorded shows automatically? Most ads are annoying and generally for products or services I will never require or want. How do you plan on convincing people like me to once again watch ads so we can begin 'voting' on them?

I can think of a few people that would like this. They have MythTV installed, but do not have the skills to maintain it when it has a problem, or want to put up with calls at work from their spouse that the TV is broken again.

It does sound like an interesting idea, and I am looking for a project to help fill in my free time, so let me know if I can help.


I agree with you that there is potential value in the viewing data. The challenge is to use the data in a way that respects the privacy of viewers, and uses the value mainly to the benefit of viewers, not the broadcast networks, not the cable/satellite companies, and not the advertisers.

Problem: The best way to watch television is without the commercials. But commercials today are the main way that television is financed. Brad Templeton addresses this problem in his essay at:
http://www.templetons.com/brad/tvfuture.html

Solution: Give the advertisers the tools to make commercials that are relevant, informative, and entertaining, and force them to use them, to make commercials desirable to watch.

There are some advertisers that you would be interested in hearing from (SiliconDust about new features?, Amazon about new movie streaming to Linux?, a great new restaurant near you?) I am sure there are many. The challenge is to link viewers with the merchants they are interested in, and a way to give merchants the tools to tell their story in an informative and entertaining way.

Over the next few weeks, I am working with a local Agile software studio, LeanDog, to plot out the strategy and the architecture for the system. The development will be open and transparent. I am hoping that once the system is up and running, there will be enough interest to get it off the ground.


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