Windows XP Media Center Edition: Exposedby Anand Lal Shimpi on January 8, 2003 2:55 AM EST
- Posted in
For the past 15 years Homer, Marge, Maggie, Lisa and Bart all piled into their living room, hopped on the brown couch and let their faces be illuminated by the glow of their television screen. For millions of people, The Simpsons became a weekly ritual; much like the opening credits, they funneled into their rooms, jumped on a piece of cozy furniture and stared mindlessly into the lives of 5 fictionally yellow characters. But what happened when you had to work late one night, or you forgot about the extra long Halloween special? Before you could search for these shows online, before TiVo and before ReplayTV a VHS cassette and a VCR was all you needed.
The power to record the TV shows you want to watch has been around for quite some time; the VCR brought the technology to the mainstream, but it lacked some refinement and features that would truly make it suitable for recording TV shows youd miss. The main problem with the VCR was that it was not an intelligent device; it couldnt detect conflicts, it couldnt tell you if you were going to record a rerun or if this weeks episode of the Simpsons would start 10 minutes later than usual. Not being able to get your regular dose of the Simpsons isnt a life or death situation but it would be nice.
Whenever AMD or Intel release a new CPU, everyone asks the question what we need faster processors for? The most common response for that is to enable future applications and a couple of years ago, there was enough processing power in a cheap enough form to finally give the VCR a brain the idea of a set-top Personal Video Recorder (PVR) was born.
The idea was simple; what if your VCR could intelligently record the shows that you want to watch. You dont want to watch whatever is on Fox at 8PM on Sundays, you want to watch The Simpsons, regardless of when they are on. In order to add intelligence to an otherwise dumb piece of electronics all you need is a dedicated processor and a good software interface. But as is the case with most things this simple, the process of making an intelligent VCR is much easier said than done.