What if the next time you called DirecTV, the service tech didn’t bring a set top box but a server and several thin clients? And what if this server would allow you to watch live premium HD content as well as recorded TV, videos and movies from your PCs and possibly content from the internet?
That’s the dream of the RVU Alliance. The group, composed of DirecTV, Cisco, Broadcom and Samsung is looking to provide a full home entertainment solution. This solution would consist of a server that would be able to provide a pixel perfect representation to clients throughout the home. Because the specification is scalable, you would end up with a UI that looked exactly the same no matter what type of monitor you viewed it on from a 60 inch LCD to a 19 CRT in your kid’s room.
There’s a lot of speculation about what RVU “could” be at this point. Suffice to say that the alliance’s website makes some pretty lofty claims and it’ll be interesting to see if they can pull it off.
There are a few things that are really interesting about the spec. First, you may not need an STB at your televisions at all. If the alliance members have their way, your HDTV would be an RVU client. You’d simply bring it home, connect it to your network and you’d have full access to all of your content. The alliance is making use of UPnP as well as DLNA meaning that it should be an easy system to implement. As well, the use of DTCP-IP means that content providers can be confident that their content is protected while flying around your home.
With the ability to stream protected HD content to every TV in my home as well as be able to access content on my HTPC, this could be a great solution. What still needs to be seen is whether the alliance can make it all come together in a UI that people want to use, and if it’ll actually support all the content we want to stream. If they say you can access content on your PC but then restrict that to two different codecs or containers, then it’s a showstopper. If on the other hand I can get HD content not only to my televisions but to my PCs and portable devices as well, this may be the system that brings a whole home solution into a ton of homes.
At this point we have to wait and see, but even as a Media Center user, the alliance has piqued my interest. You can bet that I’ll be watching the development closely.