Ask and ye shall receive! HOT BOX! HOT BOX!

Jeff Bone
Mon, 07 Jan 2002 18:13:33 -0600

You know my whine about the lack of a home media server?  Our old
buddy Steve Perlman (General Magic and sometime friend / foe of
Active Paper, then founder of WebTV) delivers.  His company Rearden
Steel (Ayn Rand much?) comes aboveground, renames itself "Moxi
Digital," and gives us the goods.  Unveiled today at CES:

    Introducing the future of home entertainment, the Moxi
    Media CenterTM (the Moxi MCTM, for short). Soon to be
    offered by leading cable and satellite companies nationwide,
    the Media Center lets you experience all the benefits of
    cutting-edge digital entertainment in one simple and surprisingly

    affordable device.

There it is folks, a perfectly executed "name-it-and-frame-it"
name-the-category play, you heard it here first, the category is the
"MC."  Woops, maybe not, looks like they tried to trademark that, oh
well, they'll lose control of the trademark quickly (and will let it
happen, if they're smart.)

Plusses relative to the other options:  multi-tuner, A+V, records
movies to HD?, can access from up to four TVs *or PCs* anywhere in
the home via coax (implies built-in video distribution switch, wonder
if it has inputs) or 802.11a --- 54MBps wireless.  (How do you hook a
TV to that?)  Note that you can't do remote DVD playback over
wireless (how can they prevent it, really?) since that would be an
unlicensed broadcast. :-/  (The content cos are about to completely
lose their minds.)  80GB disk is twice as big as the HP audio-only
unit, and supports expansion via 1394.  Built-in DSL / cable model,
firewall, etc.  Unclear on whether it offers TV surfing, though I'd
be surprised if it doesn't eventually.  And oh yes, it's Linux.
Downsides:  no disk (CD-R, CD-RW) recording. (Grr.)  No "Internet
radio" tuner.  Some kind of DRM to prevent sharing of content over
the network.  (Double Grr.)

Very cool.

And they've got at least the beginning of a solution to the content
owner problem:  they aren't offering this box directly to the
consumer, but rather to the network operators to lease / resell to
the consumer.  With a cursory nod to DRM, this punts the problem of a
levy on content into the realm of network operator <--> content
owner, where relationships, mechanisms, etc. are already established.

I'm salivating.  Forget the freakin' gay-ass iMac2, this is the hit
of CES this year.