[kwlug-disc] BD net-capable players?

john at netdirect.ca john at netdirect.ca
Thu Nov 26 10:47:18 EST 2009

kwlug-disc-bounces at kwlug.org wrote on 11/25/2009 10:21:53 PM:

> From: unsolicited <unsolicited at swiz.ca>
> Sanity check please.
> Was by Costco tonight, and saw at least 3 Blu-Ray players, an HP (I 
> think, now) and a couple LG. With ethernet ports. And HDMI out, 1080p 
> upscaling, etc., etc. Ranging, I think, from $160 - $180.
> They have an ability to play YouTube videos and play content from USB 
> ports.
>  From a media center perspective ... why would I not buy one?
> - I'm presuming if it has an ethernet port, I can read from a local 
> (Samba) file share.
> - I'll break a media center PC down to 3 areas of functionality for 
> this message's purpose: (a) content capture, (b) content storage, (c) 
> content playing.
> (a) is problematic under any scenario (hardware/pc wise) for taking 
> HDMI in. Else, most any hardware will do. e.g. I have a USB Hauppauge 
> PVR2, so computer horsepower becomes almost irrelevant.
> (b) well, is (b).
> (c) is problematic on a PC in the sense of needing a certain amount of 
> horsepower for HD. e.g. The only way I'm going to get decent HD 
> performance off my computer to my HDTV is to upgrade my motherboard - 
> it seems until you get to a PCIe video card it's the video horsepower 
> that will prevent you from decent performance. And my motherboard has 
> no PCIe slots.
> One of these units just takes (c) out of the picture making it 
> irrelevant. Much like a Popcorn Hour, LMCE, or Linksys MCE, type device.
> (Note - I have yet to have a need to play a BD disk. Nor do I really 
> anticipate any immediate need to be able to play one. It's the net & 
> HDMI out ability that matters here.)
> Am I thinking correctly here / what am I missing, as to "Why would I 
> not buy one?" (I suppose the other way is to replace my monitor and 
> poor HDTV with a single VERY LARGE monitor. For lots more $. The TV 
> will do 1080p, but there's no way I'm reading desktop icon labels on 
> it. Ick. Thus the monitor is still connected.)

I've got a rant about this:

Blu-Ray is heavily DRM encumbered. HD video over HDMI, as you may already 
know, is encrypted. The HDMI cartel issues keys to each licensee (e.g. 
Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, etc.) which embed the key into their device. 
Connecting devices verify each other's keys and use them to establish 
encryption. What good is encryption without key revocation? But how does 
the HDMI cartel revoke keys?

Blu-Ray is one way. Each Blu-Ray disc has the most current list of revoked 
keys at the time the disc was pressed. As soon as you insert that into 
your player, your player updates it's list.

In short if someone hacks a TV and exposes it's key the HDMI cartel is 
expected to revoke that key and your TV will not work with any new 
devices. It will also stop working with your blu-ray player when you 
insert a new disc. I'd like to see what class action lawsuit happens if 
this ever occurs.

As for the horsepower needed to decode HD content I hear it's pretty big. 
There are many resolutions with HDTV the highest being 1080p and the 
lowest being 480 (i or p??). The content will be in a higher resolution 
and may need to be scaled down to your display. So if you have a smaller 
display than the content it could actually would cause more work.

You want H264 or Mpeg4 decoding in hardware. Otherwise the fan noise will 
bother you and, heat may cause problems and the extra power drain may 
shorten the life of your power supply.

John Van Ostrand
Net Direct Inc.
564 Weber St. N. Unit 12
Waterloo, ON N2L 5C6
john at netdirect.ca
Ph: 866-883-1172
Linux Solutions / IBM Hardware
Fx: 519-883-8533

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