I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these Myka boxes. They seem to be the Holy Grail for an Open Standards Set Top Box. They play all the formats (MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264/AVC, DivX, XviD, WMV, VC1) you are likely to use if you use ripped or downloaded content and as they have BitTorrent and RSS onboard they can do the work for you. With a little judicious scrapping of RSS feeds you can create a custom feed for the content that you want. As far as outputs go you have everything you could want (HDMI, Component, S-Video, Composite, with SPDIF (Optical or RCA) and RCA Stereo for audio).
Why should I have to buy a box from Apple and another box from Blockbuster and yet another from NetFlix. Ideally I should be able to buy whatever hardware I choose from whichever manufacturer and subscribe to any services I desire from any provider.
Now, I know I am being terribly optimistic but that is how I want it to work. Media that is locked to one specific hardware/software platform is not convenient for the user. What we really need is a way of authorising the content to playback on any device the user chooses regardless of the actual platform at the time. The simplest form this could take could be something like an SD card with the user’s digital certificate for authentication and an IP connection for validation, if the card is not present then the content does not play. This is simple to implement and manage and easy to use. An extension of this could be to have the certificate on the user’s mobile phone and have it validated over Bluetooth, so long as the user is in range the content is authorised. This way the content is locked to the user not the device. The user is free to use whatever platform he prefers and is not tied to an outdated unstable operating system.
Until the big players get together and learn their lessons from VHS vs Betamax, Blu-ray vs HD-DVD and the obvious parallel of downloading video as XviD with MP3 vs CD, consumers want one format that works everywhere. It’s not about stealing content for most people, it’s about convenience. It has always been safer to lock the content to the user but it requires cooperation by the providers and manufacturers and as they are all trying to get all the money and lock everyone else out rather than their share of it, in the meantime consumers have a conduit to content in a vendor neutral format.