If you’ve been hanging around the home theater PC (HTPC) space as long as we have, you might remember a product called Sage TV. In its day it was perhaps the biggest, and most viable, competitor to Windows Media Center. It offered a deeper feature-set than Media Center, and far more customization options. Unfortunately, many viewed it as less usable, less attractive, and harder to live with on a day-to-day basis.
Then in June of 2011 Google purchased Sage TV. Google immediately shut Sage TV down, and that appeared to be the end of Windows Media Center’s biggest competitor. We assumed at the time that some of the Sage TV technology would end up in Google’s other TV-focused products, and it looks like it did. However, anyone looking to build their own HTPC based on Sage’s technology was left with nothing.
In March of this year, anyone still hanging around the Sage TV forums might have noticed an announcement that Google was going to be opening the source code for Sage TV. They didn’t provide an exact timeline of when it would become available, but they did say that it would be months, not years, from happening. We’ve now reached that fateful day. Yesterday Google released the code on their github account.
While the source code for Sage TV is now available, you’re going to need to be a developer to actually use it. Google hasn’t released a compiled version that you could simply download and install on your machine. They have provided decent instructions for how to compile the code though. So now the question is, will the community move forward with code that could be over four years old, or will it linger and die on github? There have been a couple of issues posted already, and one pull request has already been submitted. Maybe more importantly in these early days though, is that the new Sage TV Open Source forum is seeing a decent amount of activity already.
Only time will tell what comes of Sage TV and its new-found freedom. Will you be following the project? Might it be the next future replacement for Windows Media Center users who have felt burned by Microsoft? Let us know what you think in the comments below!