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Renovating the wheel
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While attempting to talk (over the phone) a non-technical user
through the process of getting a DVD to
play on our home theater system recently (Okay, press source,
then channel up until it says HDMI 1,
then press source again and see if it works), it occurred to me
that the whole process
complicated. Even among components from the same
manufacturer, true interoperability is still a pipe
dream. Furthermore, each device comes with its own overly
complicated remote control, which God
forbid you should lose lest you are unable to use the device again.
There are far too many connection
paths for the average user to be able to set up, which is utterly
silly since, no matter how complicated
your home theater setup, you still can't watch more than one
device at a time.
A vastly improved alternative would be to simply have all of the
devices attached to a bus, and have
the television negotiate communications across the bus. Under
this system, each device would only
have two (or more) identical connection ports, except for the
television which would only need to have
at least one. Each device would be connected into the system by
daisy chaining devices together or
using splitters or devices with more than two ports. Since the
whole system is bus based, either daisy
chaining or linking them in a star topography would result in the
same effect. The process of adding a
device to your network would consist of plug one end of the
cable into the new device, and plug the
other end into any other device. The bus would carry audio,
video, and control data between devices
and the television.
Each device would have an Activate button on the front, that
would, when pushed, make that device
active on the network and put any other devices to sleep (except
for the television). Alternatively, you
could simply operate the device and it would automatically
become active. For example, loading a
DVD into a player would turn the television on and make the DVD
player the active device. The
television remote would be the master remote for the system, so
in this case any commands issued by
the TV remote control would be then relayed to the DVD player.
You could, of course, change the
active device from the remote control as well. Since all functions
are operated from the television, the
only buttons that would need to be on the actual device would be
the Activate button, and a button
to open the tray on removable media devices such as DVD or Blu-
Lost the remote? Not a problem. Every television equipped with
this system would have a built-in
keypad sufficient to operate any function on any connected
device. It would have, at a minimum, a
directional pad, an enter button, pause/play, stop, rewind, and
fast forward buttons, and a menu
button for calling up any other functions on the active device.
Each device might still have its own
remote (although the television's remote would be sufficient to
operate any function on the entire
device network), in which case simply pressing any button on the
device's remote would automatically
make it active.
Legacy converters would be available, in order to attach older or
unique devices (e.g. video cameras,
gaming consoles, or that vintage Betamax player you just can't
bear to get rid of). The converter
would accept video input from a single source, and effectively
turn that source into a standard device
on the network (including a limited control ability via a built-in IR
My DVR I bought...
Happens to be just about the worst thing on the market. Great... [RayfordSteele, Jul 10 2012]
||There's your problem, right there.
||Even for someone who is more technical, home theater
systems can be a pain to operate at best. In the worst case,
they can be totally inscrutable. There's no reason all these
devices shouldn't work together easily. USB has led to
computer devices that cobfigure themselves automatically
and are centrally controlled by the computer. There's no
excuse for A/V components to still work the way they did in
||// There's no reason all these devices shouldn't work together easily. //
||(i.e. what [bigsleep] said about // Some single brand systems integrate reasonably well // )
||// USB has led to computer devices that cobfigure themselves automatically and are centrally controlled by the computer.
||Yeah, right. What are you being prescribed ? Can we have some ?
||// There's no excuse for A/V components to still work the way they did in 1985. //
||What, like, electrons moving through wires ? Yes, that's just SO nineteenth-century ...
||The Denon hand-me-downs I get whenever my Dad decides
to upgrade his stereo (about once every two years) set the
curve for the complication factor. Then they twist it back
on itself and break it.
||The Denon Model 50 7-channel receiver/amp can play
audio from three different input sources in three different
zones (rooms) simultaneously. When I move the speakers
around, it listens to itself hum and balances the output to
each channel to 'tune the room'. It has a remote that
learns the functions of all the other remotes in the house
just by staring at them (the Xbox controller has it a little
confused, though). The thing came with an owner's manual
thicker than 'Atlas Shrugged'. Even The Good Fairy Jenny,
Sorceress-Queen of All Electronics, doesn't know what
some of the buttons are for. And I own this monstrosity
because my father the audiophile went out and bought
something even more complicated.
||In other words, I am strongly in favor of this idea. [+]
||[8th], you're just being difficult. You know that USB
and other modern device connections work far better
than the old serial ports, parallel ports, and other
interfaces they replaced in terms of centralized
control and configuration.
||And as for this statement: //What, like, electrons
moving through wires ? Yes, that's just SO nineteenth-
||Puh-leeze. You can't possibly think that's a
reasonable interpretation of my point.
||//my father the audiophile//
||That poor, poor man. Just promise that if he ever
tries to demonstrate the improved performance of
his new speaker cables, you'll get him professional
||The last time he "demonstrated" his A/V system, half of
the valley showed up at his front door, demanding their
electricity back. The other half were still at home trying to
figure out why they'd suddenly gone deaf.
||But, man, you should hear that thing...
||I made the mistake of buying a relatively high-end system from a garage sale, which was about the era when more input / output styles somehow equalled higher technology, but didn't come with the 142 page manual. I also made the mistake of buying a last unit on the shelf model Philips DVD recorder / hard disk thing, a few years before Digital TV rendered its TV Guide feature useless. I shall never purchase another Philips product ever again.