Skipping forward

Improbulus asks…

Surprisingly few people I know have digital video recorders or DVRs (also known as personal video recorders or PVRs), geeks and gadget fans excepted. Why haven't PVRs caught on more in the UK?

Just about the time Euan writes this

In the last three hours none of my family have watched a television and yet:

The kids watched video of themselves when they were younger using Front Row streamed off my media server to their iBook.

We all watched an EyeTV recording of Dr Who on the big iMac

My wife then watched Casualty on the iMac using the BBC's iPlayer

I watched leo Laporte's streamed via Stickam from his personal studio in California

And all of this was what is now typical behaviour on a typical day.

And about yesterday night I finished my replacement Xbox media centre box. I picked up a XFX GeForce 6200 256meg card from the computer fair in Manchester on Saturday then offered another stand owner 80p for a cheap DVI card. The DVI card was low profile and lined up perfectly with the GeForce Card's DVI port. The box is almost complete (i'll expand on my soundblaster digital audio output another day)

I guess what I'm getting at is, PVR's and DVR's go back to a time when we didn't have home networks and bandwidth going out to the net. The current future surely has to be a media server type device/computer/service and some kind of simple frontend to it. Be that a Xbox, Macmini, AppleTV, Nereos, etc, etc. The PVR doesn't even fit the equation. Which reminds me, I wonder how Ubuntuhomeserver is now doing?

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and