back to article Ubuntu Linux shop reveals 'TV for human beings'

Canonical is pitching a TV-of-the-future concept maximising its touch-based Linux distro and Ubuntu cloud. The Ubuntu shop used the spotlight of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Monday to preview Ubuntu TV, a project percolating inside Canonical that received a shot of publicity late last year from Mark Shuttleworth. The …

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Thumb Up

This could be cool

Or it might not. I've got two WDLIveTV (one of them the WDLIveHub) which don't quite get it right (and WD is NOT taking requests well so no more WD Media Products for me). I've also got a GoogleTV Logitech Revue which is better overall and more flexible, but still has much room for improvement, and it has improved little by little, but Logitech decided to exit...

After the above, if Canonical can pull this one off, I'd be much happier running a full on Linux versus WD's stripped down Linux distro and Google TV's stripped down Android. For one thing, you get a lot more flexibility with applications, configuration, games and general functionality at that point if it is running on a bare metal OS. The other thing, is I theoretically (stressing theory here) wouldn't get trapped by the hw vendors when they decide they don't want to support something they sell...

I welcome this announcement, but am hesitant to get very excited over it yet.

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FAIL

cd /channels/BBC1

A linux powered telly. I can just see it now;

Press the big 'Play' button and up pops an error message so cryptic you have to Google it, to try and find out what the hell it means. Then spend the next two days switching back and forth between a terminal window "sudo apt get installing" half a dozen 'required dependencies' and a browser window, Googling all the cryptic errors each of those throws up due to misconfigurations, permissions errors and the absence of even more 'required dependencies'.

Must buy my granny one!

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12

This does not describe any freshly-installed, default Ubuntu OS that I have ever used.

Anyway, two can play at that game. "My Windows TV, which cost 200 pounds just for the software, seems to be stuck on an completely static blue channel. It's a good thing that my gran is so demented that she hasn't noticed the difference yet."

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Linux

A linux powered telly

@madra: "A linux powered telly. I can just see it now"

Mythbuntu 7.10 Demo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-yNCqj_MXs

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Holmes

@ Microphage

This is a four year old version

Your point please, cos it ain't obvious to me.

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Silver badge
Linux

Been there, done that already.

A four year old version of Mythbuntu is a demonstration that this "fixing TV" thing has already been done by Linux desktop software.

It's an old idea really.

Although a lot of TVs are already running Linux. They just aren't using the typical desktop based userland stuff.

A more IR friendly app for Netflix or Amazon would be a nice addition though.

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Already here

Most Samsung, LG and Sony TV's already are Linux powered, as are most Blu-ray players

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Anonymous Coward

Silly idea

No serious manufacturer, say Samsung, would ever consider using Linux in a TV.

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Anonymous Coward

Already do

Mainstream TV's are not yet running a desktop with all userspace tools, but the software on many of today's TV's are using open-source OS-kernels. There's an even distribution between linux, BSD and proprietary kernels in TV's today.

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Silver badge

@AC at 06:50

Ha, ha, ha! That's a good one!

You are a cad and a rascal, sir. Keep up the good work.

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Linux

"Press the big 'Play' button and up pops an error message so cryptic you have to Google it,"

Sounds more like a BSOD to me

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Linux

Already here

The Sky+ box runs open sauce, just look at the licences.

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AC @6:50

I upvoted you because the ironic tone didn't come across (I hope)

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Anonymous Coward

Not true

Look at Sony going down the google tv route (android/linux)

Not to mention the vast number of tier 2 companies that use linux in their STBs and TVs as using linux rather than some other embedded OS is simpler and cheaper.

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Devil

Choose a Private Cloud Solution from Microsoft.

http://s17.postimage.org/eb26nebb3/mscloud.png

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Linux

You may have a Linux telly already

Most, maybe even all, LG TVs made in the last few years run on Linux. I didn't even realise mine did until I noticed the GPL at the back of the manual!

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Angel

Mark Shuttleworth and stubble

> Mark Shuttleworth has long sought to beat Steve Jobs’ Apple on the look and features of the desktop with his Linux distro; at times, with his cropped hair and stubble ..

I don't think he's actually trying to channel Saint Jobs. People grow facial hair when they start to go thin on top ..

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Ru
Unhappy

"uncomplicate television for the average viewer"

Some days I get the impression that technological progress is entirely retrograde.

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Dell TVs

just a minor correction. Dell doesn't actually make any HDTVs,.

Not to say they couldn't with their industry connections from their monitor business, but if you follow that link to dell you will see other manufacturer's TVs being sold by Dell.

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CD32

Sounds like a CD32 moment.

(excuse the limited appeal of that statement)

In the meantime, here's some vaporware from our sponsors.

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WTF?

"...TV-of-the-future concept maximising its touch-based Linux distro..."

Touch-based TV?

Probably be pretty difficult, trying to comfortably hold a 25-to-50-inch diagonal fondleslab.

Put the touchy-feely on the remote, though, and you might have something there...

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Anonymous Coward

'TV for human beings'

Because normal TVs are for birds, sheep, elephants and badgers?

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zoobuntu

No, no, your outlook is far too mammalian, you have to think more "plant". Normal TVs are for vegetating couch potatoes, obviously.

But then, slogans aside, in practice Ubuntu TV is probably meant for same.

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Anonymous Coward

TV for human beings = Uncomplicated good TV for the regular guy.

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Silver badge
Joke

for cats, as anyone with an unadulterated cat knows.

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Joke

re: 'TV for human beings'

"Because normal TVs are for birds..."

Normal TV in the future is for ANGRY BIRDS!

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Boffin

The goal is to uncomplicate television for the average viewer

Hmmmm lets break it down:

1. Check TV guide for programs you want to watch/may interest you

2. Take note of time and channel of broadcast of said programme(s)

3. At appropriate time of day, press appropriate numbers on remote control to turn to that channel.

Yes, highly complex stuff this TV lark. I can see how people get confused.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Step 1 has become unreasonably complicated

There are a huge number of channels, and repeats of a particular episode are hard to locate and identify.

- If you miss a particular programme or episode, it is incredibly difficult to determine which of the many repeats acros various channels is actually the one you want.

- Even if you don't miss one, it can be really hard to work out whether a given upcoming programme is a repeat of something you've already seen or a sequel/later episode/new series.

Most of the TV Guides are ludicrously hard to use, showing hardly any information at all.

Step 3 is very much out of date. I watch very little "Live", my PVR records it and I watch it later at my convenience.

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Silver badge
Linux

The pitfalls of Step 1

I gave up on Step 1 shortly after the 4th season of Babylon 5. The last few episodes of that season were thrown all over the place on the schedule. Although looking back at it now, I am not sure that even an excellent PVR would have kept up with that particular shenanigan.

The main thing is watching TV on your own terms on your own schedule.

Resolving conflicts is also nice. A good PVR scheduler means that you aren't forced into an artificial choice imposed by hostile TV networks.

Then there's how the device can go out and find things for you that you might not have considered or been able to find. A suitably complete copy of TV would be no trivial thing to deal with.

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Megaphone

Think of my brother bob

I am writting this note for my brother Bob who sits next to me in a vegitated state watching a rerun of Friends. Bobby just typed the number 29, letting me no that this is how many times he has seen this episode.

Bobby's desmise started 22 years ago when he was 13 years old. It started innocently enough with his adolesent crush on Marsha Brady, but then it got more serious when we got a T.V. with a remote control. Soon Bob had his own subscription to TV Guide magazine. Then two years latter at age of 12 (Note to non T.V. watchers - dedicted TV viewers can't do math) Bob got his own T.V. in his bed room. We hardly ever saw Bob after that. He started to skip classes at school and by the time Bay Watch came out he stopped going to school altogether. Now my 75 year old mom clean's his bed pan twice a day, and my step Dad fixes him Luck Charms for breakfast, boxed macaronni and cheese for lunch (Store brand cause Bob's cable bill ate up my parents pension and home equity), and for dinner Bob eats a Happy Meal. Bob now weights 450 lbs and has to take Viagra to get hard enough to masturbate for nipple shots of Jenifer Anston.

Please don't let this happen to you or your childern. Turn off your TV. Better yet throw it away. Think of what you could do with your life with that extra two, three, four hours per night wasted in front of the T.V.

- Bob's brother

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Anonymous Coward

God help us.....

Linux making it easy?

XBMC on Ubuntu

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=HOW-TO_install_XBMC_for_Linux_on_Ubuntu,_a_Step-by-Step_Guide

BTW I couldn't actually get these to work for the current version of Ubuntu, cue hitting the bloody forums (again).

How to install for Windows,

Click download. Next, next, next etc. Finish.

Linux is great at many things, being simple, it one of them.

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Silver badge

Err...

You'll find a newer guide here: http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Installing_XBMC_for_Linux#Ubuntu

You'll notice it's even shorter than the Windows one. :)

Quite why there are two versions of the same guide is a good question, but that is not the fault of GNU/Linux; poor documentation is a general problem with all software products. Did you offer to update the section of the guide that caused you problems (assuming you solved them) to give back to the community and help others? Or at least point out where you came unstuck so that someone else could?

Personally I prefer the extra step of adding a PPA/repo before install. The security (and that'll be cryptographic signing) that is offered educes the chances of getting pwned. Tell me, do you check the md5hashes after doing a download, to make sure you've got a legit file?

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Linux

Silly trolls...

Silly trolls.

I just typed in "apt-get install xbmc" and I was done.

It helps to have a sincere interest in succeeding.

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Silver badge

Oh No can I patent retrograde stuff?

MS spent the last 20 years downgrading my computer into a typewriter and filing cabinet with sticky drawers now canonical wants to turn it into a telly.

Don't they both realise that the ultimate software is the reg discussion pages so I can use my computer like my front window and shout at passing strangers and hide behind the net curtains?

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Bronze badge

Dear <deity>

"The goal is to uncomplicate television for the average viewer"

If their idiot lantern gets any more simple people will become catatonic, surely?

Why-y don't you, why-y don't you...

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Can Ubuntu

Finish making an OS with a decent GUI before they turn their idea to other projects? Just a thought.

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Linux

Seconded

Can we just focus on getting the plain OS to run smoothly on as many PCs as possible, and possibly a secondary focus on making the best possible mobile version for smartphones and tablets? These are two fairly Herculean tasks to begin with.

And for f**k's sake, Mark, just be Mark Shuttleworth, that's plenty good enough.

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Linux

Great Idea

Yes dear, you can have the remote control and watch the repeat of the repeat of the repeat of eastenders/corrie/sex in the city etc.

I'll just sit here with my laptop and log into the telly, sudo to the root user, now, what's on discovery science?

"What?, no!, haven't clue as to why the telly changed channels"

>:-)

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Silver badge
WTF?

No cables, boxes or hassles

"TV as it was intended: no cables, boxes or hassles".

Er, I think I have one of these already, although I must admit there is a cable to the mains supply, and another to the aerial, now I come to think of it. I can't wait to upgrade to Ubuntu TV and get rid of these.

It appears, however, that Ubuntu TV is actually going to come over the Interwebs, via my mobile phone (500 Mb per month) or ISP (2 Mbit/s on a very good day). I can't help feeling that this will involve quite a lot of hassles (plus perhaps cables and boxes).

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Linux

@Anonymous Coward God help us..... #

Thanks for that, if you had been more accurate you would have noted that XBMC stands for X-Box Media Centre as in "install on a hacked X-Box". Installing over Ubuntu on a PC is not XBMC's main purpose ("raison d'etre"?). Hence more complex.

Perhaps you should have used Knoppmyth as in 'burn ISO to disk; insert in drive and reboot'

Or again as in Mythbuntu; again burn ISO to disk; install; answer questions on TV card and tune; enjoy.

Mythbuntu works fine and is easy to install; records more programs/tuner than MS Media Centre (courtesy of Win 7) which took much longer to install than Mythbuntu on the same equipment (thanks Win7). Having used the MCE on Win7 for 2 weeks and then tried Mythbuntu I stayed with Mythbuntu - suited my requirements better (like 3 frontends in other rooms using same media/storage sources; +3 tuners in server frontend/backend).

My only gripe is that perhaps Mr Shuttleworth might have used MythTV/Mythbuntu as his starting point thereby contributing to project (but able to add to for 'extended features')

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h3
Bronze badge

Unless it has nzb support (and a proper vpn to ubuntu one to beat isp traffic shaping) I cannot imagine it would be worth having.

Perhaps they have something really imaginative but this is ubuntu so I doubt it. (No Ad's is essential for me to even consider it).

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