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Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Openivo Project

Why is it that only 40% of Americans have broadband internet, but 98% have a television? Is it because internet gives you knowledge and power and television gets you to buy stuff you don't need?

I grew up on television. I always loved it. I have cable, and satellite, and for a birthday present, my wife let me put a directional antenna on the roof for OTA HD.

My first DVR was a DirecTivo. A DVR device takes the television signal and records it, so you can pause live TV, record shows, and fast forward through programming. Absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, I have a personal problem with monthly fees. The other six TVs in the house only received analog cable. I figured it would be cheaper and better in the long run to buy some desktop PCs with output to the TV screen and run DVR software. I set up a Panasonic HD projector in my office upstairs. When Netflix started the "watch it now" feature, I found I could get near DVD quality on a 100-inch screen with no extra fees.

My parents still don't get cable TV. Many people do not want to pay for something that they have been getting free for years and years.

I heard the announcement of the end of over-the-air analog signals. Everyone with an older set would need to buy converter boxes or they would have no signal. So I thought, if you have to put a box on top of your set, why not get a DVR? The cost of computers has been coming down steadily. To process digital signals and output to SDTV does not take a lot of computing power.

If the DVRs were in a managed network, new directed advertising (like Google TV ads, or Navic system) could subsidize the cost, to make the PC-DVR cheap or virtually free.

I would like to post here my successes and failures as Openivo, Inc. attempts to set up a system to bring the controlled, interactive television experience to the public.