Thursday, May 17, 2007

Neuros OSD: a set-top box that treats you like an owner

Augustine: this is product-development 2.0

The Neuros OSD isn't just a radically open set-top box -- it's also a radically empowering hunk of technology. Neuros gave me two of their open-source/free-software video recorders for my class to play with all semester. Each week, two of my students took these home and played with them. A few students complained about the clunky user-interface, but others had overwhelming nerdgasms at the power of the tiny, Linux-based box.

The OSD can record from any analog video source, from a TiVo to a satellite box to a DVD player to a games console. It records to any removable media you plug into it, such as a USB thumb-drive or a hard-drive -- so you can record your favorite DVDs, your best video-games, or your TV shows straight to drive. Needless to say, it'll play back from all this media as well.

The OSD is networkable, and can schedule programming in advance like a TiVo. It can play back all the standard download formats, including Xvid and Divx.

Best of all, the OSD is open: anyone can hack its firmware and add features to it (Neuros will even pay hackers for adding features to the box). Unlike traditional PVRs that come lumbered with anti-copying technology to appease the Hollysaurs and anti-hacking technology to appease the investsaurs, the OSD actually treats you, the customer, as the owner of your device, and encourages you to wring every possible erg of value from your purchase. Link

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