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Apple Businesses

Firewire Receives An Emmy 267

AxsDeny writes: "The makers of the ever-so-popular FireWire, Apple Computer, are being given an Emmy by the television industry. Apple will receive the primetime Emmy, which is given by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, in a ceremony later Wednesday at the Goldenson Theatre in Hollywood. " So, maybe we can start giving Pulitzers for better keyboards and Oscars for a printer that really prints scripts well. Heh.
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Firewire Receives An Emmy

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  • by O ( 90420 )
    Talk about a lame-ass publicity stunt. Does anyone else think this is incredibly stupid?
    • In primetime, it DOES seem pretty dumb. The Oscars give the technical awards at a different show, it's not the same with the Emmys? Or did Steve Jobs threaten to unleash those horrible Jeff Goldbloom ads again?
      • Didn't those Jeff Goldbloom ads win an emmy too?
        If not those then it was some other Apple ad. In any case, the threat of Jeff Goldblum probably doesn't frighten the emmy people much.
    • Actualy... (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actualy, these things are pretty serious, not just publicity stunts.

      My Father and his partner once got an Academy award for all the work he did on digitizing audio. (Robert Ingebretsen and Tom Stockham.) Him and his partner 'invented' it, it's actualy a very big thing. I remember the ceremony.

      It's not as big as the movie academy awards or the enetertainment emmys, but that's just because the American public is for the most part, idiots.
    • Re:Geez (Score:2, Insightful)

      by WiggyWack ( 88258 )
      Publicity stunt? What did Apple have to do with it from a marketing standpoint? They regularly give an Emmy for this sort of thing - technological advances in TV and film.
      • Publicity stunt? What did Apple have to do with it from a marketing standpoint? They regularly give an Emmy for this sort of thing - technological advances in TV and film.

        I think from the POV of some /. readers, Apple can magically choose to be given an award.

        I wonder if these same people think the actors can decide "I think I'll win one this year" as a publicity stunt.
        Maybe their agent recomended it? ;-)
        • I think from the POV of some /. readers, Apple can magically choose to be given an award.

          I wonder if these same people think the actors can decide "I think I'll win one this year" as a publicity stunt.
          Maybe their agent recomended it? ;-)

          Care to back that up with any sort of factual information or logical reasoning at all? or are we supposed to take for granted that you're some sort of genius that can see past the shallow institutions that we mere mortals operate under?

          in other words, i cry BUNK.

        • by gig ( 78408 )
          CNN is replacing their analog edit suites and betacams with PowerBooks, Final Cut Pro, and DV camcorders. Instead of $300,000 of equipment in a dedicated room with 10 people running it, they send out two people in a car with a camcorder and a PowerBook and they get back a finished report (fully edited) before the car gets back to the office. FireWire makes this possible. All of the methods that were used to make TV five years ago are now being replaced with FireWire-based solutions. It's the standard for moving digital video around.

          Emmy's are given by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (who are less than a block from my studio in North Hollywood) and are not publicity stunts. They take this as seriously as anybody takes their own core business. FireWire is a revolution in TV, and they're just thanking Apple for inventing it, having the foresight to do it right, too.

          Yamaha's mLAN, which is the leading candidate for replacing MIDI and also moving multitrack audio around, also runs over FireWire, so the music industry is ready to go down the same road as the TV people. mLAN support is in Mac OS X 10.1, so this September will be the start of that process.

          If you haven't used FireWire yet, go out and get yourself an adapter for your computer and get into it. Even just adding a hard drive with no drivers and no rebooting is pretty cool. Or 20 hard drives.
    • It would only classify as a publicity stunt if Apple took action. What do you want them to do, refuse the award?

      Firewire is AWESOME, and it makes dealing with audio and video files and applications much eaiser. Having a 1 inch tall hot-swappable 100GB drive is clearly incredible. It brings me great joy, and gives me this wierd fuzzy feeling.

      Apple got this award because they invented a quality product which saves the television industry time and money. Perhaps thats why PC's adopted it?

      It is a bit silly, giving an emmy to an inanimate entity, but if that post about Video Toaster getting one as well, I think its more than appropriate.

      For you unfortuante, stricken, diseased Windoze lovers: Why not contact Jack Valenti and ask him to nominate Bill Gates for an Oscar, presented for making the nightmare of our Orwellian future not just a book, but a reality.
    • It's not like they convinced NASA to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars (what's the going $/kg-to-LEO again?) to ship up a cardboard cutout of Steve Martin as part of a lame publicity stunt that doesn't do much more than demonstrate of governmental support of...

      Oh, wait, the MPAA already did that with the Oscars, didn't they?
  • As I recall the Newtek Video Toaster got this award once :). Very nice!
  • The makers of firewire, "Apple"?...


    Why does Apple get this award and not the IEEE for making the IEEE 1394 spec to begin with?...Apple just slapped a fancy name on it and stuck it in a lot of their computers.
  • by cnkeller ( 181482 ) <> on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @07:37PM (#2206000) Homepage
    So, maybe we can start giving Pulitzers for better keyboards and Oscars for a printer that really prints scripts well.

    In a similar stance, the Coca-Cola Company has been given the lifetime achievement award by the ACM for keeping programmers coding

    moderators: -1 to this story for woo-f*ing-hoo

    • by unitron ( 5733 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @09:06PM (#2206305) Homepage Journal
      Time for a new poll.

      The best code is written by programmers drinking...

      a. Mountain Dew

      b. Pepsi

      c. Coca-Cola

      d. Mountain Dew Code Red

      e. Jolt Cola

      f. beer

      g. RC Cola and eatin' a Moon Pie

      h. Cowboy Neal's bath water

      Whether this poll should be subdivided into open and closed source code I leave as an intellectual exercise for the reader.

      • This reminds me of a rant I love to get off on... Mountain Dew in Canada isn't caffinated! Why you ask? Some arcane Canadian law that says clear beverages cannot be caffinated.... pisses me off.

  • for Steve Jobs to plug Pixar during his acceptance speech.
  • In regards to an earlier story, I think this further proves that Apple does count. Well some my not like their computers or interface, they have contributed a lot of other technological innovations to the computer market.
  • You OSS people are all just jealous because Linux didn't get one.

    The fact is that all the media people I work with LOVE Apple. They DREAM about G4's, and there's alot of good reason too, as far as what it makes available to the basic user as far as video editing and what-not...Realistically there isn't alot of competition within the price range.

    As a Linux fan, its an area that I would like to see the penguin break into a bit more myself, but this happens to be one area where Mac's proprietary archetecture seems to pay off a bit...There is some multimedia software for Linux, but the hardware support just doesn't seem to be there yet.
    • You OSS people are all just jealous because Linux didn't get one.

      Why are you comparing Software to hardware?
    • Mac's proprietary archetecture

      It's an IEEE standard! You can get FireWire PCI cards! How is that proprietary?

      • It's an IEEE standard! You can get FireWire PCI cards! How is that proprietary?

        because they chose to license it, and later they chose to let an independent org (which they have a big stake in) control the licensing.

  • Well....I wonder who will go up to get the award...seeing as Firewire was developed before Jobs came back from exile. Maybe it will be Steve Wozniak...maybe...
    • Actually, Tom Boger and Eric Anderson will be accepting the award. I don't know who Boger is, but Anderson helped develop FireWire. =)
  • I bet Steve has his best red bow tie picked out. ;-)

    Seriously, though, FireWire is a great thing, not only for the television industry... Many schools have begun using desktop video much more since the FireWire/iMovie combo became available. It really is awesome to see a bunch of third graders put together a movie about a book they just read.

  • You know it's bad when the main posting is trolling

    To the whiners who grumble about Firewire being the basis for an Emmy (in engineering), I say shut up and mod Linux so that it's the freaking best video editing environment ever, and you'll get yerself an Emmy too!

  • ...for DMCA.

    Freaking industry whores.
  • by piecewise ( 169377 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @07:43PM (#2206022) Journal
    Apple came up with the technology entirely independent of anyone. It's then handed to the IEEE for standards-recognition. Apple controls the technology, IEEE controls things about branding and reviewing the technology itself, etc.

    So you're wrong, it IS Apple's.

    FireWire = IEEE 1394 = Sony i.LINK

    As of right now, FireWire is the #1 recognized brand of IEEE 1394.
    • Actually, i.LINK is a bit different because it is unpowered.
    • Actually, iLink is a protocol for isochronous video on top of IEEE 1394. You can also run asychronous traffic, like disk accesses, over IEEE 1394. It doesn't interfere with the isochronous traffic, claims the spec.

      IEEE 1394 disks have been slow to take off, but they're available, mostly for Macs.

      There's also Device Bay, which is a packaging spec for removable drives. Device Bay spaces have IEEE 1394 and USB interfaces. Almost nobody uses Device Bay, but as IEEE 1394 picks up market share, it might get going.

  • who thought firewire now had an enemy?
  • This award was actually titled "Best Technology Standard, Barbershop Quartet or Kitchen Utensil".

    Apparently Apple beat out IEEE 802.11, the Be-Sharps and Ron Popiel's combination prune-pitter/diaper squeezer.

  • Since I don't use video editing software or, for that matter, have a digital video camera, this might not be a relevant question, but here goes: What exactly of this did Apple do? They didn't create "FireWire", just gave it a snazzy name. They didn't shoot the footage, they don't make cameras and, as far as I know, they don't make digital video editing software. If they are given an Emmy for having nice-looking monitors or some sort of Special Achievement in Technology award for making the G4, fine. But did they even do anything to warrant being given an award for FireWire? Am I missing something?

    • Am I missing something?

      Yes, dear friend, always. Apple invented FireWire circa 1993. Then they passed it on to the IEEE, who then gave it their official blessing and the glorious resonant name "IEEE-1394."

      You are thinking of Sony, who calls their power-less version of FireWire "i-Link," of all things.

    • Again, yes...Apple did create Firewire-IEEE 1394-iLink.

      Actually iLink is a little different. It uses a 4 pin interface instead of the 6 pin that the rest of Firewire uses, the two pins missing are the power pins.
      • ...Apple did create Firewire-IEEE 1394-iLink...
        As far as I know and many people in this thread seem to agreee, iLink is Sony's implemntation of Firewire.
    • Yes, you're missing everything. Apple invented FireWire. They spent a lot of time creating it. Then they allowed IEEE to put it through a standards process.

      It's Apple's technology.

    • Well, yeah, you are missing something. The IEEE [] just ratified the standard and furthered it with their working group. It was Apple's work originally.
    • Final Cut Pro II (by Apple) is giving Avid Suites a run for their money. The company I used to work for produced a TV series on a G4 and it passed broadcast spec's in the UK. It is good enough for professional video applications.

      Also, Quicktime has always been superior to WMP and RealPlayer: you can play it while downloading it (without streaming) and you can easily save and edit the files if the host allows you to.

    • You've got several good replies, but in bits and pieces...

      Apple did...
      They created FireWire
      They gave it a snazzy name
      They got it IEEE ratifed as IEEE-1394
      They created workstations and laptops with Firewire integration
      They created software (iMovie, iMovie2, and FinalCutPro) to integrate said workstations with FireWire camcorders
      Gigabit ethernet, for streaming of large digital files to and fro

      What Apple didn't do...
      Create digital camcorders
      Create FireWire camcorders
      Create FireWire hard drives
      Create FireWire CDRWs

      Those are key components of this award, however =)
        1. What Apple didn't do...
          Create digital camcorders
          Create FireWire camcorders
          Create FireWire hard drives
          Create FireWire CDRWs
          Those are key components of this award, however =)

        Apple did come up with the draft and the first implementation for drivers and the device protocols.

        This is all part of the IEEE standard.
    • > They didn't create "FireWire"

      Yes, they did. It's in the article. That is why they are receiving this Emmy.

      > as far as I know, they don't make digital video
      > editing software.

      The most popular consumer DV editing software is Apple's iMovie. The most popular professional DV editing software is Apple's Final Cut Pro.

      > they don't make cameras

      They don't make them, but every digital video camcorder has a FireWire port on it, and this makes them much more useful. Unedited video is like watching paint dry. If not for FireWire, I'd have a camcorder and a whack of boring videos stored on cassettes. Instead, I run through the same handful of cassettes over and over as I capture video, and then transfer to the computer and edit right away and then reuse the tape. The edited versions are stored on DVD video discs, which are easy to make and look great thanks to Apple's iDVD.

      > "FireWire" ... snazzy name

      The snazzy name is not just marketing. Technically unsophisticated Mac users can quite commonly tell you all about how to use FireWire and AirPort, but will give you a blank stare if you so much as whisper "IEEE 1394" or "IEEE 802.11b" at them. The names are descriptive, and Apple's implementations are complete, straightforward, and easy to use. The world is not made up entirely of geeks. However, the fact that both FireWire and AirPort are compatible with IEEE 1394 and IEEE 802.11b respectively makes them geek-compatible as well. That's something Apple didn't used to do, but has been very good at for the past few years, culminating with Mac OS X.

      > If they are given an Emmy for having nice-looking
      > monitors ... fine

      This award is not really about how good the technology is, it's about the fact that for years people in TV have been saying "how will we go digital?". What is going to replace the venerable analog connections that wire up a TV studio? How is a TV director or editor going to work on a notebook computer, the way that a writer has been able to for a while? FireWire is the answer to all of this. If you were a TV director who was used to booking $2000/hr editing time in a room full of TV's and VCR's and rushing through a project, a $5000 package of PowerBook G4, Final Cut Pro software, and a good DV camcorder that can do all that and more (you have a camera, too) without watching the clock is _creatively liberating_. It's enabling not just more work to be done cheaper, but better work as well. For example, a director can make basically unlimited rough cuts that lead to a final cut that is really true to the creative vision. That's why Apple is getting an Emmy.
  • As television is s technical medium, advances in video arts and sciences have always been the subject of Emmy awards! When I was at Zenith, while it was a real corporation and not just a brand name, we had two Emmy's that were proudly displayed in our lobby. One was for the invention of TV Stereo, and I believe the other was something to do with digital TV.
  • I say Linux deserves an Emmy too then. It was, after all, Linux that brought us Shrek and Final Fantasy. Let us not forget that Linux also rendered the Titanic in, well, Titanic. It will no doubt bring us more of such wonders in movie making in the future. It just seems inevitable that the entire industry will switch to Linux rendering farms.

    Of course, if anything is learnt from this, the Emmy will probably go to Red Hat under the false pretense that they are the ones responsible for Linux.
  • Good God I must have been misinformed, I thought I could do do digital video editing using USB or via an AGP port with a graphic card such as ATI All in Wonder. Better return my PC and buy a Mac.
    • Don't worry, many people have made this same mistake. No need to be ashamed!

      Your PC should be kept in the closet and loaded with Linux for your in-home firewall/router/mail server. Then you can use your new Macintosh for the important things, like video.
    • the fact that ANYONE even bothered to develop video via USB solutions is awful. The quality is offensive.
    • Well... (Score:4, Informative)

      by 2nd Post! ( 213333 ) <gundbear@ p a c b e> on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @08:24PM (#2206172) Homepage
      I guess you have been misinformed, at least a little bit.

      Macs do all of the above, now, what with iMovie and iMovie2, straight out of the box, without dealing with buying a video card and software, etc.

      Grab a digital video camera, an iBook, and you have yourself a portable digital video workstation. Not terribly powerful, mind you, but very convenient.

      Working over USB? How the heck do you capture film, then? From a video source to a box to be compressed before sending it over the meager USB line? Last I checked, the video quality over most USB video boxes was 320x240 motion jpeg at a fairly low framerate... as opposed to the DV standard of 720x480 DV compression at 29.xx fps...

      Similarly via the ATI AiW card, though they probably get better framerates and resolutions... on the other hand, that's entirely dependent upon the CPU speed and the ability of the AGP bus/drivers to stream the data to the CPU to compress on the fly.

      The whole point of the award and the contribution Apple made, with FireWire and their Macs, is that *any* two bit (well, I guess most television studios would prefer a more impressive title) hack director can make movies and films for a measly $2k investment. Television studios can now use FireWire CDRWs, DVD-Rs, HDs, camcorders, Macs, and software to keep the entire production chain digital and seemless.

      So that's why Apple gets the award for FireWire =)

      FireWire gave them the technical advantage.
  • Hey, there are many people out there who think that Apple is just a niche market for Designers and Architects using AutoCAD

    Now, just think old ladies in jogging suits can download their soap operas to a firewire HD and have their favorite soap beau streamed to them on demand.

    It's kind of nice to see that more than M$ is getting some publicity out there. I know more than a few people who purchased their computer to use AOL and watch DVDs.

    Let's hope this kind of publicity will give apple a bigger chunk of the consumer pie. Hate Emmys, but love Mac

  • who are the other nominees? and will steve jobs gush when they announce the winner?
  • by ioman1 ( 474363 )
    This is pretty dumb. I have never heard of anything like this. Apple is getting desperate in their advertising and marketing.
  • IIRC, They give out special Technical Oscars.
    They aren't awarded at the show, but in a special ceremony before hand.
    My former employer, AVID [] won one, and had it displayed in the lobby for quite some time.

    The Mac really has done quite a bit of work in making video editing on a professional level possible. I think that their recognition is a "Good Thing" (tm)

    Colin Davis
  • Double Standard (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eslyjah ( 245320 )
    You all know that if some GPL'd piece of software won an Emmy, you'd be talking about how wonderful it is that the Community got the recognition. So let's be fair and let Apple have their cake.

    On the other hand, this is not news for nerds, and I don't really care much about anyone who wins an Emmy, so I'm a little disappointed to see it on /.

  • by maggard ( 5579 ) <> on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @08:06PM (#2206108) Homepage Journal
    For those confused it's not unusual for a product that has had profound influence on the Television Industry to recieve an Emmy. Communications Satellites [] have been honored, video [] cards [] have been honored, DVD technology [] has been honored, MPEG [] has been honored, now it's Apple's FireWire high-speed digital interconnect.

    Why Apple for it's FireWire [] and not IEEE for it's same 1394-1995 [] spec or Sony for it's i.Link [] (again the same)? Because Apple is the one that did the development and the popularizing of the technology thus their holding the majority of the patents [] & controlling the licensing [].)

  • Why is the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences giving out their award to a computer company, besides the stupidity of the reasoning behind it? Did I miss that episode of Esther?

    Maybe we should all just be grateful the it's not Microsoft getting the award for 'helping to integrate the modern computing world', or some crud like that.

    It surely won't hurt any for Apple to get some extra money and publicity for a while; perhaps Microsoft will sit up, take notice, and clean out one more bug in Win XP just to be on the safe side. Gaach.

    • FireWire is not a computer technology. FireWire ports are on some HDTV's, all digital VCR's, all digital camcorders, some set-top boxes (TiVo is one), storage devices of every description (hard disks, DVD-RW/CD-RW, CD-RW, tape drives, etc.), printers, scanners, pro audio hardware, and on concept stereos if not on shipping ones (replacing all of the analog connections, including the ones between amp and speakers). Yes, and they're on all Macs built in the last year or two and also on about 40% of new Wintel machines, too (via add-on cards).

      The key here is that you don't have to include a computer in a FireWire bus for it to work (unlike USB). A computer is just another device on the bus, which can hold 63 devices. You can plug a digital VCR and camcorder together and share information. You can plug amp and speakers and display onto that same bus and now you have a home entertainment center. You can plug a decoder of some sort onto a VCR and they will work together. You can plug a hard disk onto a TiVo. What makes it so easy is that it is entirely hot-plug and self-configuring, and to add a device, you just plug it onto the last device on your chain. Setting up a future digital home entertainment center will just involve hooking up the components with FireWire cables, one into the next, in any order, as long as you don't make a loop. Almost anybody can do that.

      Anywhere you need to move a bunch of digital media around, it is being done today with FireWire, and for the foreseeable future, too. If you're not using it now, you probably will be soon. You'll buy a TiVo and it will be on there, or a new computer and it will be on there (Intel is going to put it on their mobos from now on, too ... nice value point that my 1999 Macs have the same I/O as a 2002 PC).

      The reason Apple is getting this Emmy is because in the last two years, the TV industry has seen FireWire ports appear on all of the devices that they use, from camera to TV and everything in between. Hard not to ask "who invented this magical technology that has enabled us to move digital video around over wires instead of analog video on huge 1/2 inch video cassettes?" It's a very big deal to replace an analog editing suite with a PowerBook and a camcorder and a Final Cut Pro and get better results at a small fraction of the price, too.
  • Hidden agenda? (Score:4, Offtopic)

    by .@. ( 21735 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2001 @08:09PM (#2206114) Homepage
    This isn't too surprising. The 5C coalition (includes all major video equipment manufacturers and many content producers) are about to eliminate your ability to record any form of audiovisual entertainment without their prior consent.

    How? HDCP/DTCP (see They will require all audiovisual equipment (your receiver, DVD player, cable box, speakers, TV, STB, VCR, etc.) to connect to each other via firewire, to ensure end-to-end digital transmission.

    Why end-to-end digital transmission? Two reasons:

    1) They don't want you recording anything without their permission. Content will have a set of bits that define if and how many times it may be copied, and at what resolutions. There's a possibility this new equipment will also incorporate the ability to restrict the number of times it may be viewed as well. The entire bitstream will be encrypted. No "approved" device, no content. Period. And they reserve the right to remotely disable any device at any time.

    2) They want to control the AV quality of what you watch. Want to watch Pay-per-view? Great. Want to cough up an extra $5 to watch it in 1080i or 720p? You don't? Too bad. 480i for you. Want to watch the Superbowl in anything other than 480i? Are you ready to pay for the privilege? You'd better be. Want to watch HD content? Better be 5C compliant; they won't allow that over analog connectors at all.

    Some people already aware of these issues say "Don't worry; it'll be years before even the first pieces of 5C equipment are available at the high-end, and more years before it's achieved enough penetration to matter."

    Perhaps. But the penetration has begun. Sony is now selling the KDP-34XBR2, the first in a series of 5C-compliant sets. It's in stores. Sony's cut a deal with Cablevision to roll out 5C-compliant cable boxes (Sony is a member of the 5C coalition).

    It's not a matter of if, but when. A matter of months rather than years.

    Yes, the movie industry is all aflutter about IEEE 1394 (aka FireWire). And that's because it's the delivery vehicle for their final and total control over what you see, how you see it, and how much you're going to pay for it.
    • It should also be pointed out that Sony has big plans for iLink (their brandname for 1394/firewire), and wants to see it as the universal interconnect for the digital home theater of the future. However, they essentially put it on ice for everything (except for camcorders) until the 5C copy protection stuff could be implemented. As you mentioned, the first 1394 TV has just come onto the market.

      For the home computer user, Firewire might seem a little useless right now, unless you are doing video or using a removable drive. However, in the future, being able to seemless connect and control your TV and stereo systems could bring about some great applications. That is, unless the copy protection stuff locks it up to the point of being useless.
      • The 5C copy protection scheme -- HTCP -- has been part of i.Link firmware since at least 1999. 5C is a done deal. The equipment hits the market starting now. In 18-24 months, there will be serious doubt as to whether major broadcast/narrowcast events, PPV, and HD content will be viewable without end-to-end 5C equipment.

        It's not just Sony. It's *everyone*. Matsushita. Hitachi. Intel. Toshiba. The content producers. The delivery channels. Everyone. See
        • "HTCP -- has been part of i.Link firmware since at least 1999"

          OK, I didn't know that. I thought the standard was relatively recent.

          I also should have more strongly made the point that yet another copy protection 'black box' is about to be added to people's "Personal" Computers, err, Media Consumption Terminals.
    • Is it really that bad?

      Anyway, it seems to me that paying per quality of broadcast is reasonable.

      On the other hand, being told what I can or can't do with something I've paid for doesn't seem reasonable at all!
      • Is it really that bad?

        Well, that depends on your point of view.

        I look at it this way:

        1. It is assumed that I will infringe on the copyright holders intellectual property rights. Thus, I am being treated as a criminal. A rather disrepctful way to treat your customers.

        2. My fair use rights are ignored and eliminated.

        3. I am expected to pay and pay and pay. I find this outright greed offensive.

        4. The ability to timeshift, which in the US was held by the supreme court to be legal, is being taken away. This sucks.

        5. Further disrespect for your customers by crippling technology. This can be seen in the DVD region encoding system and in CD watermarking today. And in the future by not providing the best format (i.e. 480i vs 720p) or not allowing comercial skipping (available today via ReplayTV's 30 second skip button or via fast forward on Tivo and VCRs). I find this offensive as well.

        My overall sense of the situation is that the 'content' companies care not for their customers but only for their bottom lines. Ignoring the fact that if you take care of the customer the bottom line will take care of itself.

        And thus, because the content companies want to squeeze every last penny out of their users (think addicts) HDTV, high definition audio (SACD and DVD Audio), digital music (MP3 et al), TV via the web (think of a sporting event in hidef with hyperlinks to stats, player profiles, etc. Broad band's killer app?) have all been delayed.

        So is it really that bad? I think so. The technology is there. Yet as with the VCR, (which became a cash cow for the movie industry), instead of embracing new technology and the new revenue streams it would create, they are fighting it every step of the way.

        And I think that sucks big time.

        Steve M

    • You forgot reason #3, converting between analog and digital adds a process and the risk off loss. While it is theoretically possible with perfect waves to do these conversions loss free, realty results in loss. Additionally, analog signals are more likely to degrade. As long as the bits (1s and 0s) are still detectable, digital signals are "perfect" (as in, they remain identical to the original, which is an imperfect representation of the analog world, of course). Run analog wires by electric fields and you get distortion!

      Have you set up a modern AV system? You need component video for digital clarity and HDTV, you run digital outputs for DTS or Dolby Digital discrete codings. You need an intelligent receiver to decode these signals, otherwise each of your devices needs to run 6-8 (5.1 - 7.1) analog outputs into the receiver.

      It's a nightmare.

      Then for more fun, hook in devices that don't support the latest standards and you run RCA cables or S-Video. Conversion between standards is messy, so either you pick one for your entire system of you have your Television swap around.

      Philips has a line of programmable remotes that tops out at $1000 to deal with this situation!

      Firewire would eliminate this all. In addition to a digital signal (which we have with digital audio and component video), you have its networking ability. That means no more confusing wiring!

      Want to record from the Tivo/Replay to the VCR? Make sure you set up the VCR as an input AND output to the receiver, then set the input to the Replay and the output to the VCR. Receiver can't handle two separate input/output combos? No watching TV while you record.

      Contrast this to the potential for a Firewire System. Run a long series of Daisy chains (or connections to the receiver, irrelevant) together and hook it into a MUCH simpler receiver.

      Want to record from the Tivo to the VCR? No problem, hit a button, and the Tivo sends the signal straight to the VCR, without involving the receiver.

      Want to record a CD mix onto the CD-Recorder while watching a DVD? No problem, the CD-jukebox and CD-R deal with each other without involving the receiver.

      An all digital signal produces a better sound and video experience. Hell, some of the speakers do their own amplification so you can keep it digital to the speakers.

      Firewire takes this to the next level and empowers the devices to do more.

      Will this happen immediately? Of course not.

      Will the RIAA and MPAA like it, maybe not.

      Will someone produce this tech and take the A/V world by storm? Absolutely.

      Firewire makes it possible to do things people don't realize are possible in the A/V world.

      Get out of your Slashdot paranoia. Realize that improvements in technology can actually be GOOD for consumers.
      • Have I set up a modern HT system? I own one. My remote cost $500. My set is a 56" RPTV HDTV. My HD tuner cost $1000. I've got 3 Tivos, 4 DVD players (two of which run over $1000 apiece), and numerous other components. Together, my equipment is well over $10k.

        So, yes, I'm well aware of the issues of analog transmission. And I'm here to tell you: It doesn't matter one whit if the "last foot" is all digital. It simply doesn't. Complexity isn't an issue. Noise in the analog transmission isn't an issue. It's not a question of quality.

        HDCP/DTCP exist for one reason and one reason ONLY: COPY PROTECTION. That's what the "CP" represents in both of those acronyms.

        If you can't figure out how to set up existing home theater equipment, perhaps you shouldn't be spending so much money on it.

        My devices do quite enough. I don't need them telling *me* what I can and can't do.
    • Yes, the movie industry is all aflutter about IEEE 1394 (aka FireWire). And that's because it's the delivery vehicle for their final and total control over what you see, how you see it, and how much you're going to pay for it.

      Nice rant. However, judging solely on what has happened so far with analog/digital encryption/obsfucation schemes, I kind of like our chances...

      DVD: DeCSS, MacroVision: descramblers, SDMI: hacked before release, SafeAudio: rumored to be cracked (worst case scenario -- high quality second-hand sound rips of SafeAudio "CD's"), and the list goes on and on. Now we just need someone to crack HDCP.

      Oh wait, it's already been done [].

      Color me annoyed, but definitely not scared.

      Jack Valenti can blow me.

      (Warning parents -- the movie Jack Valenti Does Slashdot is rated NC-17. Which means nobody is brutally shot or killed, just hot sex.)
    • How much are you willing to pay for it? Me? I'm not willing to pay at all. The only video content I'm willing to pay for comes on a physical media that I can use as many times as I want. Let them implement the standards. Let them stake the industry on it. They'll see how few people pony up the cash. People don't care about quality anymore when it affects their wallet. See MP3s. Somehow all of these media companies got this idea that if the latest technology required people to fork over cash for things that they used to get for free then everyone would just do it. That's a really poor assumption to gamble an industry on. How many people do you know that subscribed to digital cable stereo? Have XM car stereos? Bought movies on DivX? Make sure you express your answer as a percentage of people that listen to music/watch movies.

      Once all the media giants are gone because the didn't "get it" then we can start anew.
    • The problems that you're talking about are the result of going from analog to digital on the client side, and don't have anything to do with FireWire (it just moves bits between media devices). Yes, companies who have already lowered their costs thanks to digital on the their side now want to raise prices thanks to digital on the consumer side (charging for what is now the second view of a DVD is a raised price; so is charging for a "second copy" of music for the car and for a copy of a book that your friend can read). It's not surprising, and it will take some time to work out, although probably not as long as people generally think.

      In the meantime, Apple makes it so cheap to do _pro quality_ media work that there will be plenty of state-of-the-art low-cost and no-cost media out there for smart people to enjoy. The connections that FireWire is making are just beginning ... music and audio is also in the process of moving to FireWire (MOTU's already done it, and Yamaha's mLAN protocol is in Mac OS X 10.1). Imagine setting up a recording studio by just plugging 30 devices together with 29 FireWire cables, everything from guitar amps to synthesizers to microphones (it takes 20 different _kinds_ of analog cables today, sometimes 10 cables per device). It's just going to get cheaper and easier to publish without sucking corporate dick.

      And if you support independent artists, they'll probably thank you back by not spying on you.
  • by Mike Hicks ( 244 )
    ``ever-so-popular FireWire''

    Heh, right. I wish it was more popular -- it seems like great technology, but from what I've seen, so much has been encumbered by proprietary technology and software interfaces. (or, at least, that seems to be why it isn't supported all that well in Linux yet).

    Of course, I could be completely wrong..
  • Standardization in the communications industry works like this:

    1) Someone thinks up a cool technology (tokenring)
    2) Someone usually thinks up a cool technology like 1) but not quite compatable (ethernet)
    3) both (all) competing companies and anybody else who is interested goes to the standards commitiee (ISO, IEEE, etc) where they try and come up with a standard that is a good comprimise
    4) sometimes same but incompatable standards are produced and their left to fight it out

    In this case Apple invented the technology, but when they put it to the standards commitiee, they loose absolute control over where the technology goes, but they still have a major influence

  • I first heard about engineering Emmy awards, when I noticed that my boss had one. He got it for developing the closed-captioning system when he was working for PBS.


If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith