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erland
2009-12-12, 02:37
There has been links posted in other sections of the forum to competing products, like the HP Dreamscreen 100, the Chumby and Sono's devices and and I'm starting to realize that the competition really is starting to catch up.

So let's discuss a bit what feature the Squeezebox devices have today that makes it a lot better than above mentioned products or what feature could be added to the Squeezebox devices to make sure it keeps being ahead of the competition.

So what's your answer to the following questions ?
- What does the Squeezebox devices do a lot better than competing products today ?
- What features could be added to the Squeezebox devices to make them a lot better than the competing products ?

erland
2009-12-12, 02:47
And here are some of my own ideas.

Some ideas on things the Squeezebox products might do better than the competing products:
- Audio quality
- Synchronized playback between multiple players
- Third party plugin support for older models (Classic/Boom/Transporter)

Some ideas on things which would make the Squeezebox products stay in the lead:
- Support for Spotify
- Support for easy managing of playlists
- Support for ratings and statistics
- Support for smart playlists
- Support for multiple libraries for each family member
- Improved support for third party plugins/applets on newer models (Touch/Radio/Controller)
- Support for easily management of multiple players
- Support for a music store where you can preview, browse the store and with one click purchase and download the music directly into your library, preferably in lossless format
- Support for some community based music browsing experience where you would be able to browse music of your friends and get tips of new music purchased or listen to by your friends. Preferably this should be connected to the store mentioned above making it easy to preview and purchase new music.
- Common central statistics storage, make it possible to directly on the device find top artists/albums listened to by Squeezebox owners in your area of the world during the last week, month, year. Preferably this should also be connected to the store mentioned above making it easy to preview and purchase new music.
- Support for YouTube on the Touch, making it easy to find and listen to music videos. I think this would be of interest even if the video wouldn't be able to play at the full frame rate as long as the music could.
- Support for ripping and management of your music library

pippin
2009-12-12, 03:30
OK, here's a list, I try to prioritize but of course some priorities could be different tomorrow:

1. (most important, by far): Remote controllability. That's what I purchased my first SB for and it's still the most important factor. By this I mean that I can get my full functionality through a useful, well-performing remote as in iPeng or the SB Controller. Sonos does this similarly well.

2. Multiroom capability: Not at all important at the first purchase but as soon as you have tried two of them, you want one in every room.

3. Extensibility: A LOT of the features I use are provided by 3rd parties: your plugins, iPeng,... If this were to go away, Squeezebox would be a non-product for me simply for the lack of capabilities as they come from Logitech.

4. Product range. There's a Squeezebox for every application. This is important if you want one in every room.

5. Audio Quality. At least for my "main" setup that's of course important as well.

What could be improved:

1. Ease of setup. I sold quite a few people on this but all of them either were geeks or got it installed by me. Normal people don't manage to get a useful setup up and running.
2. Ease of setup. This really is an issue.
3. Ease of setup. I mean it!
4. Reliability. Too many things broken way too often
5. Reliability. Really way too many things.
6. Interoperability. It has to work better with iTunes and there has to be a better way to integrate e.g. a server on a NAS with your library on a Notebook. If I can ask one feature, this would be it.
7. Library management. For the same reason as 6. "normal" users don't have a lot of different software for this.
8. Use UPnP sources. Sources only. The player need not support this, but the server needs to.


Priorities:

I would like to add another category, because it has nothing to do with features, but is IMHO essential for the survival of the product.

1. Forget about DLNA/UPnP (but be able to use it as a source). DLNA/UPnP is broken by design and will never really be successful in the marketplace, it will eventually go away. I mean it!
2. Fix software development processes and provide a stable API and support to 3rd parties. You will not be able to maintain a 3rd party developer community without this and without the 3rd party community you will never be able to provide even the basic functionality needed to sell the product.
Successful companies in this segment do this. All of them.

dsdreamer
2009-12-12, 12:07
OK, here's a list, I try to prioritize but of course some priorities could be different tomorrow:

1. (most important, by far): Remote controllability. That's what I purchased my first SB for and it's still the most important factor. By this I mean that I can get my full functionality through a useful, well-performing remote as in iPeng or the SB Controller. Sonos does this similarly well.

To be honest, *you* do it really well, Logitech not so much. The SBC has never really lived up to its promise, due to power management and lingering connectivity issues.



2. Multiroom capability: Not at all important at the first purchase but as soon as you have tried two of them, you want one in every room.

3. Extensibility: A LOT of the features I use are provided by 3rd parties: your plugins, iPeng,... If this were to go away, Squeezebox would be a non-product for me simply for the lack of capabilities as they come from Logitech.

4. Product range. There's a Squeezebox for every application. This is important if you want one in every room.

5. Audio Quality. At least for my "main" setup that's of course important as well.

What could be improved:

1. Ease of setup. I sold quite a few people on this but all of them either were geeks or got it installed by me. Normal people don't manage to get a useful setup up and running.
2. Ease of setup. This really is an issue.
3. Ease of setup. I mean it!

You're not just talking about running the installer, are you? Are you able to be more specific about what you consider broken/missing?


4. Reliability. Too many things broken way too often
5. Reliability. Really way too many things.
6. Interoperability. It has to work better with iTunes and there has to be a better way to integrate e.g. a server on a NAS with your library on a Notebook. If I can ask one feature, this would be it.
7. Library management. For the same reason as 6. "normal" users don't have a lot of different software for this.
8. Use UPnP sources. Sources only. The player need not support this, but the server needs to.

I haven't looked recently, but at least until 7.3.4 there has been functionality for browsing and playing audio content on UPnP servers. It was disabled by default but could be turned on and used if required.




Priorities:

I would like to add another category, because it has nothing to do with features, but is IMHO essential for the survival of the product.

1. Forget about DLNA/UPnP (but be able to use it as a source). DLNA/UPnP is broken by design and will never really be successful in the marketplace, it will eventually go away. I mean it!
2. Fix software development processes and provide a stable API and support to 3rd parties. You will not be able to maintain a 3rd party developer community without this and without the 3rd party community you will never be able to provide even the basic functionality needed to sell the product.
Successful companies in this segment do this. All of them.

I don't know why you comment on DNLA/UPnP so much; it seems like there has never been much focus on it in the Squeeze ecosystem, and I wasn't expecting that to change...

As for fixing the software development process and providing a stable API, that's easy to say but much harder to do, especially in tight economic times. What would you suggest in practical terms?

pippin
2009-12-12, 12:24
To be honest, *you* do it really well, Logitech not so much. The SBC has never really lived up to its promise, due to power management and lingering connectivity issues.

I know I Do it well :D
But seriously, this is one thing that the Squeezebox system does well. If it wasn't for the thin client concept and the powerful server, iPeng could not be done. I could not do it on DLNA, for example.
And the web interface might be slow but it was always there as a means or remote control.
It's not just about the Controller


You're not just talking about running the installer, are you? Are you able to be more specific about what you consider broken/missing?

Installer, WiFi, connecting players to the server, connecting the DB in Squeezebox Server to iTunes, ripping your CDs, getting the whole ecosystem up and running. As of today: for geeks only.


I haven't looked recently, but at least until 7.3.4 there has been functionality for browsing and playing audio content on UPnP servers. It was disabled by default but could be turned on and used if required.

It's not there anymore. This is especially an issue for the Touch.


I don't know why you comment on DNLA/UPnP so much; it seems like there has never been much focus on it in the Squeeze ecosystem, and I wasn't expecting that to change...

Just for the sake of it... Bad habit.


As for fixing the software development process and providing a stable API, that's easy to say but much harder to do, especially in tight economic times. What would you suggest in practical terms?
No, it's not. I've done it myself a dozen times. This is standard stuff.

Read this thread for more:
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=71754

Been there, done that, I've done and managed quite a bit of development, you actually SAVE a LOT of time and money with a more organized approach.
Plus look at all the time that is being wasted on the 3rd party developer side because each and every plugin has to be rewritten for each and every release. Imagine what the Squeezebox could do if the developers could write new plugins instead.
This is currently at the point where Logitech is struggling to maintain the exiting functionality, not the time to talk about new one.

Mnyb
2009-12-12, 12:35
An enhanced metadata database on mysbs.com .

So much hinges around tagging which is a broken system, to little and conflicting data , online dB's and so called standards .

Once a track where identified, the mysbs.com metadata system could "take over"
And provide us with enhanced mixing capability sorting and browsing, artist bios an pictures and coverart and whatnots, possibly with community input via the wiki.
Endless possibilities for rating systems filtering playlists mood based playlists etc etc etc.

With this, libraries would be consistent and correct for all users, all weird special case could be sorted.
Classical music could played viewed and sorted in some decent fashion, which is near impossible without serious tagging acrobatics.

This enhanced metadata would not be written to the files but reside in part of the database, but provided and downloaded from mysbs.com.

This would be a stupendous undertaking to do, but one can always dream :)

Philip Meyer
2009-12-12, 12:49
>With this, libraries would be consistent and correct for all users, all
>weird special case could be sorted.
That's never going to happen - everyone has a different idea over what is correct.

Mnyb
2009-12-12, 13:20
>With this, libraries would be consistent and correct for all users, all
>weird special case could be sorted.
That's never going to happen - everyone has a different idea over what is correct.

OK "correct" as in resonable ok vs a total mess, an improvement for most users. The perfectionist would finess this anyway :)

dsdreamer
2009-12-12, 14:37
No, it's not. I've done it myself a dozen times. This is standard stuff.

Read this thread for more:
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=71754

Been there, done that, I've done and managed quite a bit of development, you actually SAVE a LOT of time and money with a more organized approach.
I fully believe you've been there and done that, but have you ever turned around a team that is currently not doing that? You need to be able to change the culture and move up the CMM levels without losing the services of key individuals who know the existing code very well. It's like the man who, when asked for directions to get to the local pub, replied, "If I were you, I wouldn't start from here!"


Plus look at all the time that is being wasted on the 3rd party developer side because each and every plugin has to be rewritten for each and every release. Imagine what the Squeezebox could do if the developers could write new plugins instead.

Fully agree.


This is currently at the point where Logitech is struggling to maintain the exiting functionality, not the time to talk about new one.

I know. But to get a grip on this may take some brave moves in terms of hiring, and changing the way people do their jobs, that probably seem too costly or risky right now. In the meantime, management will only be screaming for a sufficiently stable release to allow the Touch to ship. Who under these conditions will be brave enough to try to "fix software development processes?"

pippin
2009-12-12, 14:59
but have you ever turned around a team that is currently not doing that?

Yes.


You need to be able to change the culture and move up the CMM levels without losing the services of key individuals who know the existing code very well. It's like the man who, when asked for directions to get to the local pub, replied, "If I were you, I wouldn't start from here!"

I originally answered a bit more verbose to your original question but decided to edit back.
Just one thing: There are simple things you could start with (like writing documentation on the status quo and implementing a change scheme) but from what I read here I believe the team is frustrated, too.
The problem is not the team, there are exceptionally good developers there, but the way priorities have been set.


I know. But to get a grip on this may take some brave moves in terms of hiring, and changing the way people do their jobs, that probably seem too costly or risky right now. In the meantime, management will only be screaming for a sufficiently stable release to allow the Touch to ship. Who under these conditions will be brave enough to try to "fix software development processes?"

Doesn't make sense to do it before the touch release. But you have to do it after that or this is in danger of falling apart, IMHO.
At least until now, 7.5 looks better than 7.4 but they have to take care not to get into a mess again.

Jive and all the logic around it (protocols et al) was pretty much screwed up on the first implementation. This whole stack of protocols is, what, 1 2 years old? In summer it looked like it carries along 30 years of legacy. 7.4 was a first step to clean it up but if this isn't done in a more ordered fashin, it's quickly going to fall apart again.

And no, this is not going to take more resources. That's what everybody tends to under-estimate (sounds like you don't, but want to mention it anyway): SW development is 30% development and 70% testing, bug fixing and maintenance. You always tend to try to speed up the development but in the end this comes back on the other 70%. Better spend some time upfront to cut back that big bag.
"Develop a little, release a little" works fine when you want to get new stuff out and you need to experiment with featurs and functions.
If you have a product range with 6 devices, three servers, two platforms, 3rd party development and an ever changing range of services to support it's just not going to work, there is a point of complexity where maintenance alone eats all resources you can ever get onto something and if you want to live on through this there is no way but to get it (complexity) down.

JJZolx
2009-12-12, 15:05
Squeezebox is far too mature a product to suddenly discover or invent a "killer" feature. Logitech realized that at some point recently, and have resigned themselves to trying to market Squeezeboxes in different packages, hoping to make it cheap enough and common enough to sell in big box retail stores. They've cut developers and QA from the project and are now in maintenance mode.

dsdreamer
2009-12-12, 21:48
Yes.

I originally answered a bit more verbose to your original question but decided to edit back.
Just one thing: There are simple things you could start with (like writing documentation on the status quo and implementing a change scheme) but from what I read here I believe the team is frustrated, too.
The problem is not the team, there are exceptionally good developers there, but the way priorities have been set.


Doesn't make sense to do it before the touch release. But you have to do it after that or this is in danger of falling apart, IMHO.
At least until now, 7.5 looks better than 7.4 but they have to take care not to get into a mess again.

Jive and all the logic around it (protocols et al) was pretty much screwed up on the first implementation. This whole stack of protocols is, what, 1 2 years old? In summer it looked like it carries along 30 years of legacy. 7.4 was a first step to clean it up but if this isn't done in a more ordered fashin, it's quickly going to fall apart again.

And no, this is not going to take more resources. That's what everybody tends to under-estimate (sounds like you don't, but want to mention it anyway): SW development is 30% development and 70% testing, bug fixing and maintenance. You always tend to try to speed up the development but in the end this comes back on the other 70%. Better spend some time upfront to cut back that big bag.
"Develop a little, release a little" works fine when you want to get new stuff out and you need to experiment with featurs and functions.
If you have a product range with 6 devices, three servers, two platforms, 3rd party development and an ever changing range of services to support it's just not going to work, there is a point of complexity where maintenance alone eats all resources you can ever get onto something and if you want to live on through this there is no way but to get it (complexity) down.

Can't add to, or subtract from, what you said. So I won't try.

Best regards,

--dsdreamer.

audiomuze
2009-12-12, 22:16
Squeezebox is far too mature a product to suddenly discover or invent a "killer" feature. Logitech realized that at some point recently, and have resigned themselves to trying to market Squeezeboxes in different packages, hoping to make it cheap enough and common enough to sell in big box retail stores. They've cut developers and QA from the project and are now in maintenance mode.If this is the case then the writing's most definitely on the wall for the product line. All told I don't care though - 7.3.3 with Erland's plugins + iPeng does all I need it to until something better comes along to replace the whole shooting match and give me a richer experience interacting with my music library, rather than just the ability to play it. I love the hardware, but the software side needs work to take things to the next level. Unfortunately Logitech appears more interested in adding duff like Facebook than real functionality.

DaveWr
2009-12-13, 00:15
Unfortunately Logitech appears more interested in adding duff like Facebook than real functionality.

The problem for the historical members of this forum, is that they may no longer be the prime target market for Logitech. Sean Adams et al were all about quality music playing. The youth market, MP3 generation is heavily into social networking today. The Pure Sensia & HP Touch Screen products are all about internet music services, but with Facebook etc.

So where does Logitech intend to compete in the spectrum:

Linn DS/ Transporter.........Sonos/SB3/Touch.........Radio/Sensia.

Note their natural habitat is in the Radio area. That is the distribution market model they understand.

Until the direction of the former Slim Devices product line is established, believe it is very difficult to post on what id the killer feature. I personally agree with the Erland / Pippin approaches, but Logitech ??????

Dave

erland
2009-12-13, 00:37
Squeezebox is far too mature a product to suddenly discover or invent a "killer" feature. Logitech realized that at some point recently, and have resigned themselves to trying to market Squeezeboxes in different packages, hoping to make it cheap enough and common enough to sell in big box retail stores. They've cut developers and QA from the project and are now in maintenance mode.

I can agree that some of the very brief information that we have seen could be an indication to what you suggest, but I personally think we know to little to know that this really is the case and it's too soon to predict the end of the product line. This is basically what you are doing because if Logitech enter maintenance mode with the current software/hardware features they are soon going to be passed by the competition.

So let's for a moment assume that Logitech is just trying to change the organization and the Touch and Radio isn't the last Squeezebox products they are going to release.

What new features would make people select the Squeezebox product instead of selecting competing products ?

What would make the mass market users select the Squeezebox instead of the competing devices ?

What would make the current Squeezebox users keep purchasing Squeezeboxes instead of switching to a product from some of the competitors ?

erland
2009-12-13, 00:44
The problem for the historical members of this forum, is that they may no longer be the prime target market for Logitech. Sean Adams et al were all about quality music playing. The youth market, MP3 generation is heavily into social networking today. The Pure Sensia & HP Touch Screen products are all about internet music services, but with Facebook etc.

So where does Logitech intend to compete in the spectrum:

Linn DS/ Transporter.........Sonos/SB3/Touch.........Radio/Sensia.

Note their natural habitat is in the Radio area. That is the distribution market model they understand.

Until the direction of the former Slim Devices product line is established, believe it is very difficult to post on what id the killer feature.

I think we are all pretty sure that Logitech isn't going to try to compete in the Transporter area of the spectrum you suggest, they are probably going to focus on either the "Sonos/SB3/Touch" area or the "Radio/Sensia" area or somewhere in between.

If they choose to focus on "Sonos/SB3/Touch" area, what would be the new feature that made users select the Squeezebox instead of the competitors ?

If they choose to focus on the "Radio/Sensia" area, what would be the new feature that make Squeezebox more interesting than the competitors ?

mherger
2009-12-13, 00:57
> I can agree that some of the very brief information that we have seen
> could be an indication to what you suggest, but I personally think we
> know to little to know that this really is the case and it's too soon to
> predict the end of the product line.

No need to argue here. Jim just knows.

> What would make the mass market users select the Squeezebox instead of
> the competing devices ?

The interesting point here is "mass market". I guess you know that you aren't. Think of your in-laws.
--

Michael

Mnyb
2009-12-13, 01:45
Is it all going to be music services then ?

Is playing local files in any shape or form getting "old".

Thats makes some kind of sense, it neatly bypass all that work and money getting 100000 local files ripped tagged and scaned, for a small monthly fee ?

The lets hope that logitech is not in for biggest part of the mass-market.

There are plenty of music enthusiast and multi-room audio aficionados to get around , so a product for that big niche of people still interested in their music, not just shopping for a background soundtrack device. This group is prepared to pay a little more than the lowest possible price, an opening for products with a higher margin ? This seems to describe the current lot of owners.

Then I add some more suggestions.

*improved zone handling and controller roaming .

* real multi user and multi-library handling.
multiple users, with different music service accounts is not uncommon in the same household. So different user should be able to choose one squeezebox in the house and get *their* library and player settings display settings backgrounds accounts everything tied to the user not the box.
This naturally leads to that:

A player must be able to be registered on multiple mysbs.com accounts
the account should be associated with the user not any hardware device .
The user could choose to use any of the squeezeboxes in the house.

This naturally leads to the next step, I should be able to use *any* squeezebox. Example visiting a friend , I just log on to box and hey presto it's connected to my account and it connects to my server over the internet !

* And expanding further, an idea for social networking, make it possible for other users to connect to our servers a "guest login" with limited rights ( naturally some mechanism to grant those rights and let people in must be designed)
We could have some kind link in our forum headers. This would make fantastic discussions in music section, now come listen to this.. :)

And I have to comply with pippin regarding setup and reliability.
There is an good in-house example, the SB3 it is much easier to setup and handle than the new squeeze-play based thingys.

DaveWr
2009-12-13, 02:14
OK Erland First Pass:

Sonos/SB3/Touch.

I will assume that the target market for this will tend to a multiplayer installation. First time purchases buy into the concept, then expand.

The investment in multi-room audio will assume a significant interest in music, therefore a reasonably large collection of audio files for a family unit. There are two prime customer groups. The distribution/recommenders and the end users themselves.

Addressing the Distribution/Recommenders:

1) The installation process needs cleaning up. As with Pippin's comments, the current product line would probably be hopeless without the help of forum members. Key issues are a more user based installer, that tries to pre-empt through discovery and by asking questions about where and what users want. Location of music files, local WiFi, Menus, auto-network capacity testing etc.

In support of this an installation manual needs to be created, multi-level from step by step getting started through to what to do now. ( a bit like a dummies guide to Squeeze). This need very comprehensive indexing. And, no the cop out Wiki is not the place.

2) There should be an easier log file creation and diagnosis. Users/installers should not have to enable specific debugging modes. Just tick some key simple english boxes. The resultant log files should also be post processed to highlight key areas (debug information as currently presented requires far two much technical knowledge) or call support, with an automatically created pre-structured email containing all technical debug data. Similarly support should be able to provide pre-structured debug settings request for users / installers.


Now the users:

In a multi-room, multi-user scenario, there are several issues arising. Some of these have been covered many times in forum comments.

1) Library database creation;

1a) First the existing library database should be archived automatically, probably weekly with ability to return to an old copy by choice. Roll-back to what worked.

1b) Option to have library scan interactive. This to allow user intervention on decisions based on multiple tagging, or tagging errors. These decision choices also to be kept and logged with option to re-use as input for further scans.

1c) Ability to split library into user partitions. People are different, ability to categorize for spouse and family members and should make user selection of playlists somewhat easier.

1d) Ability to split library into music groups(sort of high level genre, Well almost. Classical, Jazz etc.)

1e) Ability to rip and add easily. Yes it can be done. Why can't we just rip to a music to be added folder?

1f) Recognition of a library structure independent of tagging constraints that supports classical music - Composer, Artist, Piece.

2) What to play:

2a) The current selection Artist Composer Album etc is reasonably OK. Add the multi user view, segment by music type as appropriate.

2b) Some form of random play, with mood, seed track within limits is essential to the Squeeze experience. Track counts need to kept to avoid repeats. Music IP helps, but it is for geeks, installation etc. is just too hard. iTunes Genius is too simplistic. This could be the real killerfor music lovers - if more people could get it to work.

2c) Party Mode. Essential for users to be able to queue tracks Jukebox style, without any ability to wipe playlist

3) Where to play

3a) The synchronisation interface is dreadful. Some form of zoning etc is required. iPeng has simplified it a little for my household.

3b) Ther should be a fully supported firewalled remote player facility, for office - holiday - on the move use. Probably should have an iPhone App like the Touch.

4) The server

4a) I believe Logitech need to make available a server as an appliance. This needs to cover large collections, and multi-users, so although the Touch maybe OK for start ups, a higher powered Touch is required - maybe audio-less and display-less.

4b) Server and Player power modes. the whole sleep and WOL issue is over complex for users. IPeng manages to look for the server, if not available, it sends a WOL. Seems obvious - why don't the players do it. Rant coming: if I press on for a player it sends a WOL to server, server then sets player to previous known state, usually off. A power on that achieves off, very user friendly. I personally believe that GHarris plug in should be incorporated. All users with time need server sleep modes, never mind global warming it's the electricity bill.

4c) For long term success in this market, I believe Logitech should License to the HiFi product streaming community. They will probably not address the transporter market. But users with a prime and expensive HiFi component still need multiple room devices like the Touch, Radio etc. to cover the less hallowed listening areas.


5) Plug in Apps

Logitech undoubtedly have limited resource pools. In order to maximise creativity and acceptance they need a development community, as per Apple.

A defined development approach, optional revenue generating. This to address the weather, time, football score, download new music, add radio program, control the curtains etc. This needs a dedicated resource pool, for support, documentation and some form of indexing with user reviews/comments.

Dave

erland
2009-12-13, 02:18
The interesting point here is "mass market". I guess you know that you aren't. Think of your in-laws.

Yes, I know, so what would make my relatives be interested in getting a Squeezebox ?


If we start to look at my parents
=================================
- It got to be dead easy to get their newly purchased CD on the Squeezebox. The ripping and management part got to be integrated and it got to be simple. Basically, insert the CD and it should be automatically ripped, tagged and placed in an appropriate place on the disk, ready to be played. The Squeezebox product has a long way to get there, but with some partnership with some other company it might be doable.

- Internet radio is of interest, but my parents are mostly interested in locally produced radio. The "Internet Radio/Local" menu is a great start but some wizard to make it obvious how you set up your favorite channels as presets is going to help. In the start I really think they'd just be interested in it as a replacement for their FM radio, not to actually get a lot more channels.

- Regarding internet radio, one problem is going to be that some locally produced radio in my area aren't available as internet radio, only through FM transmission. I'm not sure this could be easily solved without including a FM receiver, but I'm not sure if that makes sense for most users as it probably would increase the cost.

- I'm pretty sure they are going to be interested in the music store features I mentioned in my previous post but it's probably not going to be the thing that makes them select the product.

- I think multi room synchronized playback is going to be of some interest as they currently turn up the volume on the main stereo to make it possible to hear it in other rooms. The improved management of multiple players has to be improved. However, I don't think synchronized playback is going to be the thing that makes them select the Squeezebox. As most users I think this is something they are going to realize the advantage of later in the process.

- The need for PC during playback is a problem. I think most of my relatives would be fine with the Touch and a USB drive connected to it. The only thing that's missing in this case is the software on the PC to easily rip, tag and get the music onto the USB drive.

- My parents has actually borrowed my Duet for a while but they rarely used it for the above mentioned reasons. For radio the biggest problem is that it doesn't support radio channels only transmitted through FM, for music the problem is the ripping/tagging process. It's just easier to select a preset button on their FM radio or insert a CD in the CD player. The price is also a major issue for them, a standard FM radio is still a lot cheaper than the $199 Radio.


If we continue to look at my brother (who knows computers but don't like to install/configure them):
================================================== ====================
- I gave him a Classic as a gift and it took over a year to convince him to rip and tag the music and actually start to use it. He didn't have a PC on all the time and that more or less made the device useless. I think a Touch with USB drive would have made it a bit easier but I really think he would have loved easy ripping, tagging of the CD's.

- Today he mainly uses Spotify through DSBridge. So a good Spotify integration where he can use the laptop to search artists and songs would be a big success. I think he uses DSBridge today and is fairly satisfied with it, the only negative side is that he needs to have the laptop on all the time. Native Spotify support would be a big advantage to him.

- I'm pretty sure he is going to be interested in the music store features I mentioned in my previous post.


If we look at some other relatives like aunts and similar:
================================================== ========
- The need for PC during playback is a problem, they don't have a PC on all the time. The Touch and a USB drive solves this but we still have this ripping/tagging process. They aren't going to change to something else for local music playback unless it's easy as inserting a CD in the CD-player.

- It's more important to get access to local radio stations (some only transmitted through FM) than internet radio from other places in the world.

- The price is problematic as their complete music system today doesn't cost $299. The Squeezebox product doesn't offer enough for them to justify a new purchase at the current prices.

- I'm pretty sure they are going to be interested in the music store features I mentioned in my previous post but it's probably not going to be the thing that makes them select the product.


And finally if we look at some friends:
=======================================
- Color is important, they don't want a black device that destroys the feeling of the room. A red radio as a bedside clock and music player would be great but there is nothing similar available for the living room.

- The price is a problem for the bedside clock usage, if they are going to get the radio they like to have one beside each bed and 2 x $200 is just to much compared to a standard clock radio or iPod/iPhone dock.

- I don't think they'd have any major issues with the current ripping/tagging process since they are used to iPod devices. A Touch with a USB drive might probably be a hit but they've talked about setting up a server for other reasons so it might not even be a problem to have a always powered on computer.

- I'm pretty sure they are going to be interested in the music store features I mentioned in my previous post.

- They use Spotify so if it had native support for Spotify that would be a big advantage.

DaveWr
2009-12-13, 02:25
Radio/Sensia

No real comments, wrong age, wrong usage pattern. Should probably support an iPod as a local library, on a transient visitor basis.

David

epoch1970
2009-12-13, 07:35
So we want the SB to own the home. I agree with what's been said before: reliability, integrate other music sources, remote access to one's music, "lend an album" to buddies.

I gave a system to my parents, and a server to my brother. I am preparing a 3rd system for a friend. None of them are geeks.
My parent's system (and my friend's system) uses a "big" server that holds video and other media in addition to music. It operates under power management and wakes on demand to play music or wakes ahead of alarms. Saving power is very difficult and overall the experience is degraded.
On the server, PM has to be i. OS-state aware (I think we need a dummy driver that receives/blocks PM events) to avoid shutting down the laptop when music has stopped because you concentrate on something else and ii. predictive to wake/keep alive to match listeners past usage pattern (make it "seamless" -pardon my French).
My brother's system is a smallish 24/7 embedded platform. That's way better for QoS. He never goes to squeezenetwork, barely knows there is one such thing. It runs a fully featured SB server, with plugins. (IR blaster, weathertime, powersave, ...)

The devices are wireless in general, and this is sub-optimal. Big FLAC files won't always stream, there are disconnects, etc.
Perhaps power-line could give i. an independent network, ii. reliable operation ?

On each machine this is a VPN that links their server to a "maintenance" zone on my net. If I want I go to the machine, do fixes/updates, I can fire up a player at their place if needed.
I think this is a must. My friend (the next customer) wanted to have the same A/V setup as I have at home. "I'll do it for you, I have spare parts for the server. Get the players." That wasn't enough.
Then I added "You know, I do remote maintenance if you have a problem" and he took the plunge.

1-year into using the system, my parents didn't rip their CDs. Too complicated. They are using a subset of my library (so sue me) and the radio. My brother's system uses a detachable USB drive to put music on, but that's still not easy enough.
Auto-rip, remote CD-player sharing, perfect tags *and* quality covers are needed. Something easy to use like the CDplayer plugin, with files that would stick in the DB afterwards, and the possibility to reorganize the mess later.

I have also bought a few records from iTunes, to put it in their DB. The amazon store is nice but the proposition is a bit weak right now imho. (besides I want to avoid transport of physical goods whenever I can.)
We need the drm-less, lossless store.

Finding music in the DB is not easy enough. Maybe a genius-like feature could help. Trackstat can drive this I guess but there is a learning curve. The thing should propose something to play next.
What I would like to have, personnaly, is better browsing experience. An e- and paper book, with the art and liner notes. My folks would use the paper book if there was a way to "talk to the player" from there. Maybe they'd use an e-book. Clearly, I am not talking about a remote with 3" LCD screen. Not even of an iPhone.

I don't party much anymore, but if the players had 2 channels out, I could listen a bit in advance to what is supposed to play next, and do a bit of DJ-ing.

If players had a mic, we could have room correction, volume leveling and the like. (And use the player as a baby-phone as well ?)

Concerts: integration w/ something like ticketmaster. The player knows where I live, and what I like. Maybe the band plays nearby ?
High-bitrate, by invitation, listening to events. My folks won't go to the Bayreuth Festival, but they would buy their virtual seat if they could (or I would offer them!). FM radio gives us the excitement, but not the sound.

Playlists with actions. That's a bit geeky I guess. Mix system actions with the playlist, so that you can raise/lower the sound before a song, have genius match the last played album, playlist enter sleep mode past a certain hour, ...

Instant operation. I want to insist on this because the current trend we see w/ SBs is to have things that take seconds to boot/wake. This is no good at all. Feel and response time of the thin clients have to be preserved. Use an RT OS or whatnot, but -long- unreliable response time using a player is just unpalatable. I want the analog VU-meter screensaver on the device.

I think I am done. Sorry for the noise. Erland, I salute your fighting spirit :)

gharris999
2009-12-13, 10:40
Fix software development processes and provide a stable API and support to 3rd parties. You will not be able to maintain a 3rd party developer community without this and without the 3rd party community you will never be able to provide even the basic functionality needed to sell the product. Successful companies in this segment do this. All of them.
Pippin: would you be willing to compare and contrast your experience in terms of 3rd party developer support between Logitech/Slimdevices and Apple? Availability of documentation? Stability of APIs? Willingness of the 1st party to answer questions / provide help? I realize that this calls for a David vs Goliath sort of comparison. But with the Touch's focus on "apps", the comparison begs to be made.

JJZolx
2009-12-13, 10:55
The killer app is third party development. That's the one thing that competing products do not have, that attracted many current users, and that could continue to distinguish Squeezebox from the competition. Any competitor can offer easy setup, music services, mysn-type serverless operation, a good user interface and bug-free software. Many of them can and will do it better, even much better. But few will open their products up to take advantage of the innovation and good will of outside developers to enhance the experience for fellow users.

pippin
2009-12-13, 11:30
Pippin: would you be willing to compare and contrast your experience in terms of 3rd party developer support between Logitech/Slimdevices and Apple? Availability of documentation? Stability of APIs? Willingness of the 1st party to answer questions / provide help?

Well, I've written some things in that other thread I linked.
But OK.
The one funny thing is that if you asked iPhone developers who do not know Logitech about a comparison they would probably tell you that nobody treats developers as bad as Apple 8) Lots of bad mood in that community right now about the App Store approval process which is completely transparent.

That said: Direct developer feedback always has been and still is a big strength at Logitech. Apple (who have to deal with a much, much bigger number of developers, to be fair) are trying to be open and have direct communication, but of course they can't provide the same level.

Also, they invest heavily into developer support. They do big, well prepared developer events and while the WWDC costs money (and quite a bit) the tech talks, for example, are free (albeit for a limited number of participants).

But that's the subtext.

The BIG difference is that Apple has a 3rd party development strategy. They have stable APIs, documentation and training for this, you can ask questions about it. But the MOST important part is: they are reliable. If something works today, it will very likely work in the next release. APIs are deprecated over several releases. If there still are upcoming incompatibilities, you know about them half a year in advance. THIS is the important point.

Logitech has much more open developers and you can often get hand-on help in the forum (although I also did get quite a bit of hands-on help from Apple, too, yet Logitech even now in this "under pressure" situation beats them).
But APIs and release strategies are somewhat disorganized, things break from one build to the next and it is up to you to find out what has changed.

MY big concern is that I'm deeply convinced that the quality problems we are seeing are also rooted in this very behavior, it's not only an issue for 3rd parties.


The killer app is third party development.

Bingo!

BTW, some asked about the "integration" thing. Have a look at VortexBox if you want to see something that comes close in functionality (although being a whole OS distribution it's probably aiming too far for what would be needed here).

iPhone
2009-12-13, 11:54
Yes, I know, so what would make my relatives be interested in getting a Squeezebox ?


If we start to look at my parents
=================================
- It got to be dead easy to get their newly purchased CD on the Squeezebox. The ripping and management part got to be integrated and it got to be simple. Basically, insert the CD and it should be automatically ripped, tagged and placed in an appropriate place on the disk, ready to be played. The Squeezebox product has a long way to get there, but with some partnership with some other company it might be doable.


This already exists. Have a look at Vortexbox Appliance (http://shop.smallgreencomputer.com/VortexBox-1TB-Automatic-CD-ripping-NAS-vb1000b.htm) for buying a low power using all in one music server auto-ripper in one box. Or if one has an old PC not doing anything at the moment then put a newer DVD burner in it, larger enough hard drive, and install a free copy of Vortexbox Server Software (http://vortexbox.org/downloads/). And there are other boxes on the market like the one dBpowerAmp sells.

I set an old PC up at my parents home with Vortexbox on it and when they get a new CD they just insert it and 5 minutes later they can listen to it on the Squeezeboxes I put in the house.

erland
2009-12-13, 12:10
This already exists. Have a look at Vortexbox Appliance (http://shop.smallgreencomputer.com/VortexBox-1TB-Automatic-CD-ripping-NAS-vb1000b.htm) for buying a low power using all in one music server auto-ripper in one box. Or if one has an old PC not doing anything at the moment then put a newer DVD burner in it, larger enough hard drive, and install a free copy of Vortexbox Server Software (http://vortexbox.org/downloads/). And there are other boxes on the market like the one dBpowerAmp sells.

I set an old PC up at my parents home with Vortexbox on it and when they get a new CD they just insert it and 5 minutes later they can listen to it on the Squeezeboxes I put in the house.

Yes, Vortexbox looks promising.

However, the problem for mass market users is that they may not want to add another $400 to the price by getting a Vortexbox Appliance. Setting up an extra PC might work for some people but everyone aren't going to want a extra PC just to be able to rip the CD's. A solution where their standard PC or laptop could be used would be so much better.

GeeJay
2009-12-13, 12:37
For me, an audio-focused media device that would easily slide into the cabinet where I keep the flat-screen TV, AV Receiver, etc. would be nice. The Touch is a step in the right direction, given that it is in essence a small computer, but I'm talking about something more like a combination SBR and server. My current setup illustrates how I think such a device would be used:

Due to connectivity issues, I recently transferred my music files and SBS to a computer that I moved into my main living area. I now rip my CDs to this computer, which is also hooked up to the TV that doubles as a monitor. I have an SB3 and my main stereo gear here as well.

What would really be nice to have is a device about the size of a DVD player with all the standard connections found on SB devices, but also an HDMI out for my TV/monitor, wireless keyboard/mouse, CD burner, SBS software onboard - including ripping/tagging software. USB connections would be available in the back (connect my hard drive) and front (thumb drives).

An additional SBS skin would be made available that looks something like the "Touch" skin, but optimized for wide-screen TVs. I think this could have some fairly broad appeal since more and more households contain at least one TV that has a PC setting.

From time to time I leave the TV on when I'm playing music, and use the Touch skin to minimize the clutter and maximize the size of the artwork showing on the screen. I just wish I could get the text to show larger.

I'd love to have a device like I'm describing, one that I could turn on only when I want to listen to my music or burn CDs, with (hopefully) less start up time than it takes to start a PC (and avoid "always on" and the cost associated with it). Turning on the TV (display) is optional when I'm playing music...I could use the SBC or IPeng for that purpose.

As more and more AV devices become network-ready, it makes sense for the SB line to become integrated with these other media network appliances.

Wirrunna
2009-12-13, 19:48
What is or what should be the killer feature ?

SqueezeBox Server software is the killer feature!
The Squeezebox line doesn't even get a mention in this listing of media players http://www.iboum.com/artkill/tablesort.php
This is where networked media players are going http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1172446

powellmi
2009-12-13, 22:01
1: reliability and ease of use.
2: Installation process: Squeezebox classic is the positive example here!
In regards to installation, Duett is not..
3: Lauching new products: Logitech should get new producs like Touch quicker
launched. We are waiting too long to get this device delivered.
4: Open interface ...where 3rd party developers can write own applications/
tools/ screensavers... This will allow features Logitech haven't thought of
and extend the community of users.
5: mysqueezebox.com: Extend functionality here, ie.: data storage capacity.
The devices should be able to work full independant from a running server
Touch will be the product going into that direction
(USB, Mgmt of other players)
6: Internet TV/ Video Support: Using Touch or a Touch2 with larger display
to switch to Internet TV/ Youtoube/ Internet web pages ...
7: Handling: Even tough the handling is not too complexe (for me) the
products are still adressing computer skilled people. Focus on easy
handling, simple control of the menues/functions, very simple remote
control... will allow adressing a larger market/ higher market share.
8: User network/community - connect to other users. Chat with other users who
are currently using their Squeezebox device. Connect to neighbors/ people
close by connected to mysqueezebox.com and discuss music/ what they are
listen to, which concert they would like to view

iboum
2009-12-14, 07:07
SqueezeBox Server software is the killer feature!
The Squeezebox line doesn't even get a mention in this listing of media players
This is where networked media players are going

We don't list the Squeezebox because it is incapable of HD Video.

IMHO the Squeezebox is going to get seriously squeezed (sorry!) from upcoming Media Players. The future is one central box, connected to your Hi-Fi and TV, that can playback ALL media files. The Squeezebox has some positive aspects (the remote screen is one huge one) but is otherwise severely limited and expensive compared to the newer Media Players.

Let's imagine that a Media Player such as the WDTV Live was released with a TFT screen bluetooth remote. What advantage would a Squeezebox have over such a device?

pippin
2009-12-14, 07:28
IMHO the Squeezebox is going to get seriously squeezed (sorry!) from upcoming Media Players.

Maybe due to cost.


The future is one central box, connected to your Hi-Fi and TV, that can playback ALL media files.

No, it's not.
Completely different use cases between Audio and Video. Convergence not gonna happen (at least long term) except probably for storage.
"Multimedia" players will be a transitory phenomenon until the technology is cheap enough to allow low end users to split it up again.

Use case for Audio:
Listen to Music, while anywhere in your house. Thousands of tracks, hundreds of albums, you want to control it from any place, you play 20-30 tracks per hour.
You play tracks many, many times

Use case for Video:
You watch while in front of a screen (obviously). Dozens to hundreds of videos, you can control it from in front of the screen, you play 1 per hour, you play each video once except for maybe a few favorites which you play up to a few dozen times.

It doesn't fit. Just because it uses similar components, it doesn't need to converge. Most people usually don't watch TV on their PC although most PCs CAN show TV.

mherger
2009-12-14, 07:39
>> The future is one central box, connected to your Hi-Fi and TV, that can
>> playback ALL media files.
>>
> No, it's not.

I think there's a huge difference between the old and the new continent. While many US users I've been talking to believe in this, I haven't seen many Europeans agree. IMHO it's a cultural question.

I'm definitely on the old continent.

pippin
2009-12-14, 08:01
>> The future is one central box, connected to your Hi-Fi and TV, that can
>> playback ALL media files.
>>
> No, it's not.

I think there's a huge difference between the old and the new continent. While many US users I've been talking to believe in this, I haven't seen many Europeans agree. IMHO it's a cultural question.

I'm definitely on the old continent.

Which is which?
Germans believe in convergence. Germans always love complexity and integration. They also believe in complex multimedia standards, ISDN and things like that.

A friend of mine is trying to build his perfect media center with a large, integrated touch screen (cupboard mounted, 10" or so) for two years now.
Includes VCR and everything. Doesn't work, yet, but for the fun of it...

It's just: it all doesn't make sense and while there may be a wave of products that help introducing the basic technology in the market place, finally, that will go away and more simple, dedicated devices will follow.
Simply because they are better.

pippin
2009-12-14, 08:05
Oh, and I forgot: there's, of course, another motivation: This (integration) is easier to swallow because it follows the traditional living room setup which is centered around the TV.
TV dominance will go away over time as TV usage shrinks. It's a generations thing. For coming generations (that is, folk now in the teens or early 20s) it will feel less natural to center everything around the TV.

bernt
2009-12-14, 08:28
Connect a SB to a remote LAN and it connects to your SBS at home over internet.

Today that's impossible to do in a secure way.

A solution could be a plugin that you install on your SBS and that plugin presents your local music library to mysb.com.

iboum
2009-12-14, 11:17
Maybe due to cost.

No, it's not.
Completely different use cases between Audio and Video. Convergence not gonna happen (at least long term) except probably for storage.
"Multimedia" players will be a transitory phenomenon until the technology is cheap enough to allow low end users to split it up again.

Use case for Audio:
Listen to Music, while anywhere in your house. Thousands of tracks, hundreds of albums, you want to control it from any place, you play 20-30 tracks per hour.
You play tracks many, many times

Use case for Video:
You watch while in front of a screen (obviously). Dozens to hundreds of videos, you can control it from in front of the screen, you play 1 per hour, you play each video once except for maybe a few favorites which you play up to a few dozen times.

It doesn't fit. Just because it uses similar components, it doesn't need to converge. Most people usually don't watch TV on their PC although most PCs CAN show TV.

Err, yes it is!

I for one use a Media Player (Xtreamer) for both audio and video. Oh, and internet radio, and watching Youtube, and if I wanted I could also view photos..

The usual place people want to listen to music is the living room. Most people have the TV and Hi-Fi in close proximity. It makes complete sense to have one box connected to both and serving all media.

Not sure about the old and new world. I'm in the UK, what does that make me?!

erland
2009-12-14, 11:36
Err, yes it is!

I for one use a Media Player (Xtreamer) for both audio and video. Oh, and internet radio, and watching Youtube, and if I wanted I could also view photos..

The usual place people want to listen to music is the living room. Most people have the TV and Hi-Fi in close proximity. It makes complete sense to have one box connected to both and serving all media.

Not sure about the old and new world. I'm in the UK, what does that make me?!

I have to agree with pippin, music and video is two totally different things. People that only have a single Squeezebox in the living room might think it's somewhat similar. However, when I got my second Squeezebox I started to see a clear difference between them. It's really a big advantage to be able to play music in any room in the house and have full access to the central library. You are forgetting about devices like the Boom or Radio that doesn't need a separate HiFi system to work.

Video is totally different, especially if you have a media center solution like Tivo or MythTV who handle all the recording. In this case you really only watch TV when you want to and when you do it you watch something you like to watch. I've more or less stopped having the TV on as a background while I'm doing something else, it doesn't make sense when you can select something you really want to see.

However, there is a video use case that makes sense together with music and that's watching music videos. A YouTube client which you can used to preview new music before buying it would be a great enhancement to the Squeezebox line, especially since Spotify doesn't seem to be something that Logitech focus on.

DigitalMitch
2009-12-14, 12:27
Great Thread.

back to the OP, I think a killer requirement at the moment is better error handling to clearly point the finger at problems: distribution (wifi or powerline) or server.

That may not be easy but this is a major source of frustration to many, who then often wrongly blame Squeeze. The forums are picking a lot of this up, and the forums give no visibility of the load on traditional telephone or email support.

This is a major part of the easy installation/set-up. Currently I find the wiki almost useless to help troubleshooting, when it should be a major resource to reduce specific support questions.

At the same time, tidying up niggles, inconsistencies, minor bugs and documentation should also reduce the pains of newbies. Squeeze can be most things to most people but shouldn't be afraid to define 'one way' to get newbies going and let them grow from there.

Mitch

DigitalMitch
2009-12-14, 12:35
It doesn't fit. Just because it uses similar components, it doesn't need to converge. Most people usually don't watch TV on their PC although most PCs CAN show TV.

Whilst I follow the logic for TV programmes, there are two other use cases.

A) music video, selected track by track as playlist. [not me personally but I see many people who use MTV rather than traditional radio]

B) remote audio from tv, I'd quite often like the tv audio distirbuted (and synchronised) to another room (kitchen) I can do without the picture for brief (fetching a drink) or even extended (making dinner) periods but would like to hear whats going on. Squeeze has the multi-room sync sorted (I don't suffer the control issues as my players are always all sync'd togetehr). Unfortunately this use case could extend to a second tv in the kitchen and the need for sync'd video (because sound overlaps it must be sync'd and then you want video sync'd to the sound).


I don't think the second is a killer function because most people won't consider it for first purchase. however as people start down the streaming/media hub route, they will learn what works and what doesn't, this may then become an issue.

pippin
2009-12-14, 12:43
OK, I completely agree about music videos.
TV doesn't have them anymore (MTV just does dismissed and pimp my brain,...) so it's YouTube.

And yes, YouTube has been a long standing plugin request of mine, along with MySpace...

erland
2009-12-14, 12:55
back to the OP, I think a killer requirement at the moment is better error handling to clearly point the finger at problems: distribution (wifi or powerline) or server.

I'm not sure I categorize this as a killer feature, this is just something I expect should work if I purchase a product like the Squeezebox. However, I agree that it's something that needs attention to avoid bad reviews and support issues.



This is a major part of the easy installation/set-up. Currently I find the wiki almost useless to help troubleshooting, when it should be a major resource to reduce specific support questions.

The wiki is editable by anyone, so if you or someone else have some time over, feel free to make your contribution by improving the wiki. I'm sure it will be appreciated both by Logitech and the community members.

epoch1970
2009-12-14, 13:32
I think the technical design of the object is totally irrelevant. I use: a big "all-in-one" server, AppleTVs for videos, SBs for audio. For me, each provide the quality experience I value. In the case of the server: it is reliable; In the case of the players, they are non-distracting and perform well.
I value a representation of performance, and I also like having setup the system myself. Others will value compactness, the fact there is no wire, that its brand new, ... whatever.

I hate music videos. I love documentaries on musicians or musicals. I can't believe I would ever buy an SB *because* it is good at videos. I don't believe it is possible to be equally good at 2 different things.

I used to have an HTPC. The experience was poor. Permanent tinkering aside, it had too many features like Internet and all, so it was a permanent distraction. The devices I use now are non-distracting and perform better. I have a PC for the other stuff.

Chrobrego
2009-12-14, 14:16
The future is one central box, connected to your Hi-Fi and TV, that can playback ALL media files.

Let's imagine that a Media Player such as the WDTV Live was released with a TFT screen bluetooth remote. What advantage would a Squeezebox have over such a device?



Convergence, theoretically why not. But until now manufacturers that do video tend to neglect audio. By the way I appreciate with moderation the new appps like facebook and flickr on the newest logitech devices, is it a loss of focus, while so many things can be still improved in the audio area?

Quality and attention to the detail will always be a differentiator. People are also looking to products with great design (look and usability). A computer can do everything but does not fit well in a living-room...

tcutting
2009-12-14, 15:15
First off, I believe the "killer feature" is the open source and 3rd party developers. I started my Squeeze setup by installing the server and playing with Softsqueeze and Squeezeslave. Now I have SB3, Duet, Boom and Radio. I like the ability to customize through plugins - love SuperDateTime on the SB3 and Boom - wish there was weather plugin/applet I liked as well for the Radio. I also hope the licensing and API issues can be worked out to improve the 3rd party developer situation.
As far as convergence, I like the idea in general, but it must make sense. As already discussed, many of the places I have/want audio, I don't want/need video. My living room SB3 replacee a rack of audio equipment (CD Player, Receiver, Turntable, stacks of CDs, cassette deck), but we intentionally DON'T have a TV there.
Also, I agree that the use cases between audio and video are completely different. My "holy grail" would be the existing lineup of Squeeze devices for audio only, PLUS a squeeze player integrated into a set-top video device. The video device would perform DVR function, and also allow access to net-based video (you-tube, etc), allow on-demand video access. I'm more willing to pay $4 to watch a movie than $15 to buy a DVD which I might watch 2 times! What's missing most in my (wish-I-had) whole house Video is shared access to my content as I now have with my audio via my squeeze. I wish my setup would allow me to watch my recorded content at any video location. I know this is possible, but not with my current setup. I guess the capability to store videos would be somewhat useful - some of our kids videos were watched several times. The Squeeze function in a video box would allow me to access my music in a nice "converged" setup, but wouldn't require me to put all the "video overhead" in locations where I just want audio.

erland
2009-12-14, 21:25
What if you get an offer to replace all your Squeezebox devices to Sonos or some other competitor more or less for free.

Is there any third party or Logitech developed feature in the current Squeezebox product that would make you refuse the switch ?

Is there any third party or Logitech developed feature that could be added to the Squeezebox that would make you refuse the switch ?

Wirrunna
2009-12-14, 21:48
Okay, time to explain my earler post - http://forums.slimdevices.com/showpost.php?p=495404&postcount=29 , the killer feature for the Squeezebox is SqueezeBox Server for your own music library.
Internet music players are becoming commonplace. So are players that will play from a disk attached to a USB port.

The reason SBServer is the killer is that most of the networked music players that do audio, such as the WD TV Live, do it with a crude player interface that "discovers" your local music and lets you pick an album and play it. Some will also let you play pre-built playlists. The SB server software with remote control is way ahead of the software on these players, However, some of these new players are uPnP enabled and already there is a plugin for Foobar2000 that can stream to a UPnP device allowing Foobar to be the equivalent of the Squeezebox Server software. If it hasn't happened already, how long before another Pippin comes along and builds an iTouch controller application for Foobar ? There is already a free iTouch controller for VLC media player. I don't know about MediaMonkey and WinAmp, but they won't be far behind in being able to stream to a upnp device (they may do this already) and be controlled from an iTouch. So, SBS and Squeezebox are in for some competition.

All in one media players are going to be like the Stereo Center of the 70's, great for the "average joe" but component builds will still be preferred by those that know what they are doing.

Conclusion - SBServer is the killer app, but as others have said it needs to be stable and allow the plugins that make it unique and so customisable to flourish.

For the record, I have built and installed 7 SB3 systems (server, network, ripped music, SB3), 3 for friends and 4 for family members and also set up 4 booms for family. All the servers are connected to flat screen TVs, have DTV tuners for recording and DVD drives for playing DVDs.

snarlydwarf
2009-12-14, 22:20
What if you get an offer to replace all your Squeezebox devices to Sonos or some other competitor more or less for free.

Current stuff from Sonos? Meh, not interested...

Why? As much of a pain in the ass as it is for you, Pippin, kdf, Max Spicer, etc, to write and maintain nifty plugins... That's what makes the SB what it is.



Is there any third party or Logitech developed feature in the current Squeezebox product that would make you refuse the switch ?


Mmmm... Radio... but Trackstat/Dynamic Playlists are way up there in the must have.



Is there any third party or Logitech developed feature that could be added to the Squeezebox that would make you refuse the switch ?

I would still refuse the switch...

I would like to see a proper API for plugins (a variety of 'hooks', for example, much like drupal has, "customscan_hook_tagread" which would be called whenever tags are read with the path to the file, a hash of tags and whatever else was deemed necessary, allowing a 3rd party plugin to have full access to the tags for its own use, perhaps even modifying them.. a lot of hooks would be needed and some careful thought would have to go into what to include).

xxx_{events} like 'stop', 'pause', and other control (whether web, sbc, touch, buttons on boom/radio..) hooks, playlist_empty, _load, etc...

Of course, plugins wouldn't have to use or define all of these, just those they would want to hook into. There should also be some 'priority' so a plugin like volumelock could insert itself before events fired...

but you know far more about sbs plugins than I...

But it's always been about 3rd party plugins for me: the old 3rd party last.fm/slimscrobbler, or Max's Random plugin that allowed me to exclude 'explicit' music at work, or your work...

These are the things that keep SBS leading edge for me: things that perhaps not everyone wants or needs... but has great value to me. Others may find LazySearch essential, or any of dozens of plugins.

Oh, yeah, and there needs to be more opening up of SqueezeOS.. A certain amount of 'Demo' code should be made BSD or somesuch (GPL would be fine too, I'd assume... since it's interpreted, it's not like source code is hidden anyway..).

But is really is the Open nature of the server: as I said once before, the plugins from 3rd parties are so useful that even Logitech uses MusicInfoSCR on their marketing material. (And that's another plugin that some people think is mandatory for their enjoyment.)

audiomuze
2009-12-14, 22:48
I'll chime in again...

It's been interesting reading this thread looking at people's views. One thing that's struck me is the camps for and against convergence and who think covergence will/ won't happen. Personally I think convergence is already happening - new TV's, Blu Ray players etc. are network capable, there are numerous media boxes that will play just about anything you throw at it, and storage is getting cheaper everyday. Put all of this together and it's pretty simple for users to consolidate music, video, radio etc. playback via a single device that has outputs to your TV/ monitor and/ or hi-fi. That there isn't yet a coherent media interface is another story altogether - given time it too will emerge. Given infrastructure that comes with time I think we will likely evolve to a consumption on demand model for all digital media where users will have the option to pay a nominal fee to access digital content via the Internet, or have the option to purchase/ store the physical media much like we do today with CDs, DVDs, Blu Ray, downloads etc. The physical media option will likely be more expensive and may evolve to catering predominantly to the needs of the fringe consumer.

Whether the above does or does not appeal to the masses in the long term remains to be seen. There will also, always be people (myself included) who think of hi-fi when it comes to music, and would likely reject a converged media solution (barring storage).

Given the above, it strikes me that the Squeezebox finds itself in a peculiar situation: focus on Audio and do that well, which confines the Squeezebox family to people who are serious about their music; or try to compete in the converged media space, which means Squeezebox has serious catching up to do.

Looking at the current situation it appears to me that Squeezebox is being pitched at the general consumer, which means it's going to find itself competing in the converged media space, where, quite frankly, I don't think it stands a chance because it's a one trick pony (audio). To compound things, SBS does very little to make this one trick pony a standout, and the competition will catch up fast. Adding things like Facebook etc. belongs in the convergence space, not the audio space. That is not to say there isn't a place for this kind of integration in the audio world - it's a nice to have...but not at the expense of base functionality as is presently the case.

So, in closing this rather lengthy post, IMHO Logitech are going to have to decide where they want to play with the Squeezebox range. Lack of clarity and resultant focus will have only one outcome: obliteration!

MrSinatra
2009-12-15, 00:07
So what's your answer to the following questions ?
- What does the Squeezebox devices do a lot better than competing products today ?
- What features could be added to the Squeezebox devices to make them a lot better than the competing products ?

to answer what does it do better:

really the only reason i use SBS is b/c you have to, to use the hardware, and i want to use the hardware, b/c of the audio quality. i don't use any sync features, but i plan to eventually. i'm not sure what else it does "better" than other products, let alone what i'd care about.

to answer my wants/beefs:

i want a low power SBS server, a piece of hardware, that integrates well with the mysb.com website. i want logitech to push out the updates [optionally] for it. i'd like it to morph into a social networking type site for music/video geeks, (think lastfm meets facebook). i'd like SBS and some clients to support video. i'd like full dlna/upnp support. i'd like mysb.com to offer me low cost hosting of both SBS and my music. (you could upload your stuff to them and they would host it for you, and even power your clients)

i'd like the webui to be a LOT better. its navigation sucks. it has this powerful database behind it, powering it, and yet you can't have but one master list at a time. (i can't on the fly switch between browsing artists and albumartists for instance). i should be able to toggle album art anywhere. the webui paradigm is really outdated as a main interface to begin with, (but should still be supported to at least its current degree). native SBS apps would be nice, (squeezeplay is kind of a step in the right direction). plugins for winamp or itunes or whathaveyou to power the clients would also be good.

SBS profiles would be good, to support multiple users, libraries, etc... also, adding a "smartviews" feature like winamps would be good, so you could create custom views (subsets) of your scanned stuff. i'd like them to include an automatic software feedback system, ie. error reporting, stat reporting, pref logging, etc, so they can see what errors people are getting, what prefs are used, basically how the app is used, to help inform future development and fixes. it would help the problems i have on some net streams for instance, that SBS can't handle as reliably as winamp can.

i'm kinda surprised by this post erland, considering your disillusionment with their 3rd party developers.

maggior
2009-12-15, 08:17
...

Given the above, it strikes me that the Squeezebox finds itself in a peculiar situation: focus on Audio and do that well, which confines the Squeezebox family to people who are serious about their music; or try to compete in the converged media space, which means Squeezebox has serious catching up to do.

...

Looking at the current situation it appears to me that Squeezebox is being pitched at the general consumer, which means it's going to find itself competing in the converged media space, where, quite frankly, I don't think it stands a chance because it's a one trick pony (audio).
So, in closing this rather lengthy post, IMHO Logitech are going to have to decide where they want to play with the Squeezebox range. Lack of clarity and resultant focus will have only one outcome: obliteration!

Personally, I like the fact that the SB is a "one-trick pony". However, I think you are right audiomuze - with media players that support a wider variety of media becoming commonplace, the SB will have a really rough time competing.

When I discuss my SB with my techie friends, they think it is pretty cool. However, they are more interested in a media streaming device that does video too. Their answer to me is "my video streamer plays mp3 and FLAC, why would I want a seperate box just for audio?". I try to explain about gapless playback, syncing of players, etc, but they don't care.

My fear about convergance is that you will see devices that do everything in a mediocre fashion rather than devices that do something really well. These devices would be the hybrid bikes (road bike/mountain bike combo) of media streamers - yuk!

Since the SB does audio really well, perhaps they could build upon that and add other capabilities without damaging the core audio capability. That would at least keep their current user base happy.

I wonder if the SB line can move from being niche devices without embracing convergance. And can the SB line survive long-term as a niche device?

alfista
2009-12-15, 08:53
Mention video and quite a few SB die hards go ballistic. The rationale might be that it would divert focus from amending and extending the current products, which of course is a valid concern.
My take on this is that SBS could very well be the most capable server for music. It's obvious that a lot of thought and work has gone into design and implementation, and despite the recent palaver after 7.4.x it generally does a pretty good job of it.
As has been pointed out there's a big difference in how people use network audio devices and network video devices, even when accounting for live TV which may be streamed over the local network (e.g. from Myth backend to frontend). But in my mind, any server complex enough to handle the size and diversity of a large music library would not find it particularly taxing to handle a normal size video library.
The point of my long windedness is that I think SBS could easily extend to handle video, and that I for one would like to have such a server.
An Atom based linux box running SqueezeOS with hardware accelerated video decoding should make for a competent output device with a neat UI. Not that it would ever replace my dedicated audio Squeezebox for listening to music, that's not the point. Just that I think the SB ecosystem is flexible and powerful enough to support more than just audio.

audiomuze
2009-12-15, 09:49
Since the SB does audio really well, perhaps they could build upon that and add other capabilities without damaging the core audio capability. That would at least keep their current user base happy.Unfortunately I doubt the current user base is high on the priority list - new sales are needed to sustain profits, so my guess is at best the focus on old customers will be limited to that required to stop them crying foul and thereby hurting potential new sales.


I wonder if the SB line can move from being niche devices without embracing convergance. And can the SB line survive long-term as a niche device?I think it can, if it focuses on the hi-fi end of the market and makes SBS/SqueezeOS so bloody good that it's the only music interface anyone wants anything to do with. One small problem here though...I doubt this kind of focus would deliver the sales volume and therefore absolute profits that Logitech no doubt seek. If they come to this realisation, I hope they do so quickly enough to sell the Squeezebox assets in good time for someone in hi-fi to make something of it. Of course, if they choose convergence...

erland
2009-12-15, 11:10
i'm kinda surprised by this post erland, considering your disillusionment with their 3rd party developers.

I still like the product to survive, it's still a great product line with huge potential with or without third party plugins. However, unless something happens I'm a bit scared the competition will catch up and take over the market. IMHO, Logitech really needs to take the next step and start implementing features that will enhance your music listening experience not just make it possible to listen to music.

I haven't touched any of my third party applets or plugins since I posted the other thread and don't plan to do it unless something changes that makes the inspiration come back. I think I only said that I will take a break from third party development, I didn't say I'd take a break from the community.

snarlydwarf
2009-12-15, 11:23
I still like the product to survive, it's still a great product line with huge potential with or without third party plugins. However, unless something happens I'm a bit scared the competition will catch up and take over the market. IMHO, Logitech really needs to take the next step and start implementing features that will enhance your music listening experience not just make it possible to listen to music.

I'm not sure they will [wow that is unclear: I'm not sure the competition will catch up is what I meant], at least if Logitech figures out that 3rd party development is a huge factor of SB, even if some users don't know it, the 3rd party stuff is a sort of skunk works for the core package. Heck, I think Random playing was originally a 3rd party plugin (by KDF if I recall right). Something that we now take as completely basic. Last.fm was (and still is if you choose that route) a 3rd party application. PublicRadioFan has been mostly superceded by RadioTime, but it was first. Sirius as well.

3rd party creates a nice breeding and testing ground for new ideas, and those that are easy enough to steal can end up being absorbed. (Hah, your plugins are trickier to steal... you've upped the ante on complexity a bit).

The whole point of Free Software isn't that it's 'free' as in cost, it's the wild ass tangents that it can go on absent corporate restraints. Certainly some restraints are needed, especially as things get more complex, but encouraging the experimentation is where the innovation is, and re-absorbing that experimentation into releases makes the product better. This is something that historically SlimDevices relied on.



I haven't touched any of my third party applets or plugins since I posted the other thread and don't plan to do it unless something changes that makes the inspiration come back. I think I only said that I will take a break from third party development, I didn't say I'd take a break from the community.

And I hope you don't, your input is valued.

DaveWr
2009-12-15, 11:24
I think I only said that I will take a break from third party development, I didn't say I'd take a break from the community.


Well that's good news - we still have a man of vision and capability within the ranks. Should at least provide some conscience searching within the Logitech community.

erland
2009-12-15, 11:35
My fear about convergance is that you will see devices that do everything in a mediocre fashion rather than devices that do something really well. These devices would be the hybrid bikes (road bike/mountain bike combo) of media streamers - yuk!

Since the SB does audio really well, perhaps they could build upon that and add other capabilities without damaging the core audio capability. That would at least keep their current user base happy.

I wonder if the SB line can move from being niche devices without embracing convergance. And can the SB line survive long-term as a niche device?

I think Logitech needs to make a choice:
1. Either be really good at the audio part
2. Or use the technology in the Squeezebox and mix it with some video hardware and make generic streaming devices.

Alternative 1 isn't the mass market (at least I don't think so), but alternative 2 is. The competition in alternative 2 is a lot harder then in alternative 1, at least as far as I've seen.

If people can choose between a device that can do audio and a device that can do audio+video and the price is similar, most people in the mass market segment is going to select the device that can do both.

As mentioned earlier audio and video are completely different use cases, still I'm pretty sure most people in the mass market segment would prefer an all in one device. Kind of similar to why they prefer a small stereo with built in CD player, amplifier or radio over a HiFi system built on separate components.

People in the music lover segment, might realize that audio and video is totally different before the purchase. These people will be interested in a audio only device as long as it also gives a clear advantage over a combined audio+video device, it's not enough to just being able to play the music files, it got to enhance the experience through great sound quality and music library control and managment. People in this segment also want to have integration with other audio related products. They want to easily bring the music outside in the garden or on their portable player, they want to bring it in the car, they want to easily be able to purchase new music and download or rip+tag it.

<off topic>
Generally there is a problem with most video devices on the market, they assume that you somehow has got a lot of video files and stored it on a hard drive. It's very rare with video devices that takes care of the purchase/download step to actually get the video to your hard drive so it's accessible. I think AppleTV does this through its rental services but unfortunately it doesn't work very good in Europe. Tivo sounds pretty good, unfortunately no commercial actor has thought about doing the same thing in Europe, here we have to rely on home built MythTV systems to get similar functionality.
</off topic>

pippin
2009-12-15, 12:01
I still don't believe audio+video is the mass market and audio alone is not, at least in the long term they will be separate and audio will be the bigger market.
I do agree that maybe a lot of new users will try the integrated solutions first before they learn they need something else.

I also believe it's too late to enter the video market, margins are already down.

So what I believe SB really needs is an optimized experience for audio mass market. And I don't think this is about hifi and local database optimization, I believe it's indeed about social network integration.
But not in the form of just communicating stuff to the outside and showing my facebpok wall, but it has to be integrated to the music discussions there. It needs playback capability for all the major social netwoks and plugins (especially YouTube and mySpace because that's where the music is) and it has to be easy to integrate with what other people do.
A lot of my friengs communicate new music they learn about through Twitter or facebook, what I would really want is instant access to all of that on my SB. And if I discover something, I need a quick way to communicate it, and on a way that others can immediately lissen to it as well, which means as a link.
THIS is the way how you get the next generation of customers to adopt the SB, not just printing logos on packages.

Phil Leigh
2009-12-15, 12:47
We don't list the Squeezebox because it is incapable of HD Video.

IMHO the Squeezebox is going to get seriously squeezed (sorry!) from upcoming Media Players. The future is one central box, connected to your Hi-Fi and TV, that can playback ALL media files. The Squeezebox has some positive aspects (the remote screen is one huge one) but is otherwise severely limited and expensive compared to the newer Media Players.

Let's imagine that a Media Player such as the WDTV Live was released with a TFT screen bluetooth remote. What advantage would a Squeezebox have over such a device?

It will sound better than a multi-function AV piece of crap...

Philip Meyer
2009-12-15, 13:01
I don't believe video streaming is worthwhile either. Many people rip CDs for use with iPods, but honestly, do many people bother to rip DVDs? That's another level of complexity for no gain, as far as I'm concerned. i.e. with an audio library, I can play random music, etc. Would I like to play random chapters across my film library? No.

I also don't buy into social networking as being a killer feature. I don't think of going to my squeezebox to discover what other people have been listening to recently. I may see friends album review through emails/tweets/facebook posts/blogs, etc and think I'll try a bit of that. I'll then go to iTunes/LastFM/Spotify/MySpace/All Music Guide and try some snipits. A way to easily send music from my browsing to a player would be my thinking, but I wouldn't think of doing all the above on a little Squeezebox player UI.

A killer feature would be something like MusicIP and LastFM combined, built into Squeezebox Server. Analyse music library and playing habbits to suggest music you might like instead, etc. It already does a lot of this, but only via third-party apps, integration with other apps. That kind of requires ratings and play stats history, such as provided by Erlands plugins. A normal user struggles to set all this up (MusicIP is virtually dead, Erlands plugins aren't going to work much longer, etc).

JJZolx
2009-12-15, 13:33
Reading this thread has me convinced that Squeezeboxes as audio source components have a limited future. Logitech will continue to sell Boom and Radio all-in-one table top players, but you have to wonder whether players like the Touch and Duet can survive for more than a couple more years.

Last night I was talking to a friend who just bought a Blu-Ray player that not only streams Netflix and Blockbuster and YouTube video, but also does Pandora. I just read that a Sony Blu-Ray player plays Slacker. We've seen Logitech all but bet the future of Squeezebox on support for music services such as these, while those same music services are now being bundled into A/V components that cost less and do more than a Squeezebox.

Logitech must be aware of the same thing. With each passing day there's less and less to distinguish Squeezebox from other products. The readers of this forum could list dozens of reasons why the Squeezebox is better: audio quality, platform independence, extensibility, support for many audio file formats, and on and on, but little of that is marketable to the masses. Meanwhile, what is (or was) marketable is becoming increasingly commoditized.

MrSinatra
2009-12-15, 15:45
Jim,

you are right on. too many of the enthusiasts here can't see the forest thru the trees. why would someone spend 5 times the amount on something complicated AND limited, when they can get a dvd player they understand how to use that does TONS more and costs way less!!!???

like i said earlier, the only reason i use slim anything is for audio quality. but most people aren't as demanding regarding that as i am, or others in this forum. other than that, imo, there is no "mass marketable" reason to use this expensive stuff over other stuff.

if i was logitech, i'd be looking to create a new paradigm. basically i would have three boxes: a server only box, a client only box, and a combo server/client box. all these boxes would support local video and all of them would support video services like netflix, as well as the audio/audio services SBS supports now.

i would consider stopping to support all these different platforms, and support only my box, as that would create direct revenue streams tied to server development. it would still be open source, a linux based box, but the hardware is the key, and having a defined benchmark hardware wise could only aid in server development.

in any case, if logitech wants to sell more, the ONLY way they can do that is to add more. video is the logical next step. simply making the audio features better, is not likely imo, to move a single SB more (to new customers).


I still like the product to survive, it's still a great product line with huge potential with or without third party plugins. However, unless something happens I'm a bit scared the competition will catch up and take over the market. IMHO, Logitech really needs to take the next step and start implementing features that will enhance your music listening experience not just make it possible to listen to music.

I haven't touched any of my third party applets or plugins since I posted the other thread and don't plan to do it unless something changes that makes the inspiration come back. I think I only said that I will take a break from third party development, I didn't say I'd take a break from the community.

just in case i was unclear, i certainly did not mean that i thought you had left "the community" and i'd be very sad if you did. what i meant is that given how frustrating developing for it as a 3rd party dev has been for you, i'm surprised you'd want to start this conversation given that its much more broad and intense and even more likely to be ignored. ie. if they aren't listening regarding your 3rd party concerns, what chance is there they will listen to anything said here, a much bigger topic?

stephenkca
2009-12-15, 16:45
This has been an interesting thread so far. I'm going to jump in with a couple comments.

FWIW, I agree with the camp that sees audio and video as two entirely different animals. Children happily ask to watch the same Disney film over and over again, and teenagers might watch the same slasher film 18 times over, but even first rate video is largely once through watching except maybe for film students. OTOH, good audio gets played over and over again by what I suspect is the majority of people. Logitech shouldn't try to be all things to all people with SB. Video might be a nice to have, but the core functionality should focus on audio.

The big game changer, of course, has been the transition from music being distributed in hard media (records, tapes, CD) to digital media. What this has done is forced the issue of music metadata to the foreground, and I think that points to a killer feature. I think it's reasonable to say that it used to be a relatively small part of the population that accumulated such a large collection of audio that organizing it for accessibility became a big challenge, and those people tended to be of a certain age just because it took time and money to accumulate the collection. In the last couple years I've had the, er, interesting experience of observing how teenagers and young 20s adults consume music. In a lot of respects the behaviours and motivations are the same as when I was that age, but without the limitations of physical media to slow down accumulation. My wife's eldest son has almost 10,000 cuts on his computer. It took me the better part of 20 years to accumulate a similar collection (paying for it :-/). The problem is knowing what you have and being able to access it. A superlative system would provide excellent metadata combined with an excellent UI that allows navigation of the collection by metadata. Squeezebox Server does the latter fairly well, and certainly much better than certain popular devices with names beginning with "i". It's probably true, as some others have commented, that the dream of providing robust metadata to go with the UI is too ambitious to take on, but perhaps a clever combination of good standards and social networking might achieve it over time.

Another very positive attribute of SB is that the devices and software understand the content as data through and through. In the long term, with increasingly ubiquitous network connectivity, the notion of carrying around a collection of music on a physical device will look as anachronistic as carting around a bunch of disks in cardboard sleeves. (For that matter, degrading the quality of your content to transmit it over a network or fit it onto a device will look like a poor compromise to deal with insufficient hardware.) Local caches of content aren't likely to go away, but the boundary between them and caches or streams coming from the cloud will become increasingly fuzzy. I think Logitech needs to keep its eye on this ball.

Finally, I agree with those who suggest that strong support for third party developers is very important. This allows people to provide functionality that customizes the platform to serve the needs of subsets of users, which recognizes that one size will never fit all well in the realm of music.

erland
2009-12-15, 17:10
if i was logitech, i'd be looking to create a new paradigm. basically i would have three boxes: a server only box, a client only box, and a combo server/client box. all these boxes would support local video and all of them would support video services like netflix, as well as the audio/audio services SBS supports now.

i would consider stopping to support all these different platforms, and support only my box, as that would create direct revenue streams tied to server development. it would still be open source, a linux based box, but the hardware is the key, and having a defined benchmark hardware wise could only aid in server development.

in any case, if logitech wants to sell more, the ONLY way they can do that is to add more. video is the logical next step. simply making the audio features better, is not likely imo, to move a single SB more (to new customers).

And what would be the advantage compared to other competing audio+video devices ?
As Jim mentions, there are other competing devices that already do this and they do it with a single box.

I'm pretty sure a solution with three different kind of boxes would be be more expensive to develop and create compared to the all in one boxes by the competitors that have similar features. So it will be hard to compete with the price with a setup like this and I personally believe price is very important in the mass market segment. Possibly a cheap client device could make it competitive for users that want audio+video in several rooms, the question is just how many users in the mass market segment that's in this group ? I think there are a lot more people that want the same audio in several rooms compared to the number of people that want the same video in several rooms.

Another question is how much similarities there are between streaming video and streaming audio. I don't have enough knowledge myself to say for sure, but there might be too much differences so it's hard to reuse any knowledge from the current Squeezebox. My video usage is typically to turn on the video and watch it for at least 30 minutes before I touch the remote or user interface again, this is completely different compared to my usage of a audio device where the remote control is used a lot more.

I personally think it will be a lot harder to compete in the audio+video segment than the only audio segment, but Logitech is used to the audio+video segment so they might have some advantage due to this. They question is just how much the current Squeezebox knowledge is worth in this market segment.



just in case i was unclear, i certainly did not mean that i thought you had left "the community" and i'd be very sad if you did. what i meant is that given how frustrating developing for it as a 3rd party dev has been for you, i'm surprised you'd want to start this conversation given that its much more broad and intense and even more likely to be ignored. ie. if they aren't listening regarding your 3rd party concerns, what chance is there they will listen to anything said here, a much bigger topic?

They might listen even though they don't comment it officially. As you saw in the other thread, there were at least one Logitech employee that said he had read all the posts even though he just posted once in the end.

I didn't start this thread to get any comments from Logitech, I started it to try open some eyes so people start to realize that supporting more formats and streams might not be enough to compete in the future. Logitech really need to take the next step, else the competition will catch up.

Historically I think a lot of the creativity has been introduced through third party development while Logitech/SlimDevices has focused on the basics. I'm not trying to degrade the work done by Logitech/SlimDevices, the basics is often the hardest part and it has too be in place for the rest to work. I'm just saying that I really think some creativity regarding new features is needed to make the product line survive, simply supporting the basics will make it really hard to make it attractive compared to competing products. I think we need more than a device that can play your music, it got to enhance your music listening experience.

I don't believe in being silent and hope that someone will do the right thing, it's better to try to say what you think and let someone else decide if it's worth listening or not.

MrSinatra
2009-12-15, 17:34
FWIW, I agree with the camp that sees audio and video as two entirely different animals. Children happily ask to watch the same Disney film over and over again, and teenagers might watch the same slasher film 18 times over, but even first rate video is largely once through watching except maybe for film students. OTOH, good audio gets played over and over again by what I suspect is the majority of people. Logitech shouldn't try to be all things to all people with SB. Video might be a nice to have, but the core functionality should focus on audio.

why? what is the business rationale for that POV? its like a gas station saying it shouldn't also sell milk, just focus on gas. (not a great analogy but i hope it makes the point ;)

and i keep hearing this idea about video not being important in this thread. well, i guess all the companies selling dvd players should give up the ghost then? youtube should shut down? i mean first of all, its not just once watched movies, altho a lot of people collect movies/tv the way we collect music, (do dvd sales not make that obvious?). its also video services, like netflix, and then there are these strange apps called "families" that like their home movies and pics on their TV for repeated viewing. ;) i didn't mention it, but i'd think my proposed server hardware would have to be vortexbox-like, in that it could rip/play CDs, rip/play dvds (unencrypted), edit metadata, and record video inputs like mythtv.

while it would be one box, it wouldn't necessarily have to be one app fits all. it could be "smart" like vortexbox.

also, for the music freaks, one could have visualiztions on their TV, mixing album art, now playing, and winamp type visuals, etc...


What this has done is forced the issue of music metadata to the foreground, and I think that points to a killer feature.

<snip>

It's probably true, as some others have commented, that the dream of providing robust metadata to go with the UI is too ambitious to take on, but perhaps a clever combination of good standards and social networking might achieve it over time.

currently, SB does nothing but interpret metadata. i thik this makes sense for things as they currently on, but again, in the longterm, i think most people will be frustrated by the lack of its "all-in-one" design for something as basic as metadata among other things.

erland
2009-12-15, 17:47
i didn't mention it, but i'd think my proposed server hardware would have to be vortexbox-like, in that it could rip/play CDs, rip/play dvds (unencrypted), edit metadata, and record video inputs like mythtv.

So you are suggesting that they ought to build a media center solution and compete with Microsoft MCE, MythTV, MediaPortal and similar products ?

Or did you just added that last "and record video inputs like mythtv" part for fun ?

If you really are talking about a media center solution, it's a VERY LONG road and it really needs a LOT more resources and it something TOTALLY different to what Logitech is used to do. IMHO, it's also something that no one has succeeded to do really well. Also, I really can't see the similarities compared to the current Squeezebox products.

snarlydwarf
2009-12-15, 18:15
Historically I think a lot of the creativity has been introduced through third party development while Logitech/SlimDevices has focused on the basics. I'm not trying to degrade the work done by Logitech/SlimDevices, the basics is often the hardest part and it has too be in place for the rest to work. I'm just saying that I really think some creativity regarding new features is needed to make the product line survive, simply supporting the basics will make it really hard to make it attractive compared to competing products. I think we need more than a device that can play your music, it got to enhance your music listening experience.


See, I think that is true, but that an improved API that made it easier to write plugins would help. I think the 'extension downloader' is a great thing, too... it makes adding plugins to SBS trivial.

I don't think Logitech can get over the hump needed for anything like 'social networking' and such... they would have to leverage existing services. Facebook and Twitter, while big, don't really seem interested in music. MySpace is interested but... ugh...

The real leader in that space is Last.fm, though there isn't any real socializing for most people, the music recommendations and listening to neighbors is good... but SBS already has that.

I don't believe in convergence... people have enough wireless problems without pushing video around their network. With current pretty HDTV's, it really sucks to have overcompressed blotchy video.

pippin
2009-12-15, 18:22
Facebook and Twitter, while big, don't really seem interested in music. MySpace is interested but... ugh...

The real leader in that space is Last.fm, though there isn't any real socializing for most people, the music recommendations and listening to neighbors is good... but SBS already has that.


Hm. Last.fm is not about hosting new music, which MySpace is. And YouTube. They would be needed from a playback perspective.

MySpace is still (although losing a bit of weight) pretty big as a marketing tool for new bands, this would be a big win for SB if it doesn't want to grow into an old image.

Facebook and Twitter may not do a lot of music on their platforms but they are used to communicate a lot of links. What would be cool would be an easy way to import these links while also being able to play the stuff. THIS is the real challenge: being able to play some stuff that's being presented through a link or a flash plugin, requires some intelligence on the client side.

snarlydwarf
2009-12-15, 18:35
Hm. Last.fm is not about hosting new music, which MySpace is. And YouTube. They would be needed from a playback perspective.

Last.fm hosts tons of new music... they used to be mostly indies, until they started getting the major labels to add support. That's part of how they got such a good deal on their licensing: "well the indies let us play music for virtually nothing.." and the majors bit and cut them a great royalty deal.



MySpace is still (although losing a bit of weight) pretty big as a marketing tool for new bands, this would be a big win for SB if it doesn't want to grow into an old image.


They would need to provide some sort of API to stream 'music I might like' though. As far as I can tell, they don't.



Facebook and Twitter may not do a lot of music on their platforms but they are used to communicate a lot of links. What would be cool would be an easy way to import these links while also being able to play the stuff. THIS is the real challenge: being able to play some stuff that's being presented through a link or a flash plugin, requires some intelligence on the client side.

And cooperation from the sites.

Emusic also has some streaming services http://www.emusic.com/toolbar/download.html .. they used to be almost exclusively indies, but now have a some major catalogs.

But not a lot of social to it.

MrSinatra
2009-12-15, 19:18
So you are suggesting that they ought to build a media center solution and compete with Microsoft MCE, MythTV, MediaPortal and similar products ?

basically, yes. it should be hardware that does not need a computer, (but could work wih one), think tivo but better. (tivo is terrible at music btw, and requires a computer for music, router, etc)


Or did you just added that last "and record video inputs like mythtv" part for fun ?

ha, why wouldn't i be serious?


If you really are talking about a media center solution, it's a VERY LONG road and it really needs a LOT more resources and it something TOTALLY different to what Logitech is used to do.

i'm not so sure its that big a deal. logitech wasn't used to slim type devices when it bought slim. its "logitech jukebox" was simply goofy by comparison, altho it did have a neat color remote. vortexbox has most of it down audiowise, and they're no big player. logitech could buy the rights to mythtv or something similar and put that on a linux server box they sell with SBS and other apps. they could combine the apps later, or not. i think the main kernel of my idea is that logitech figure out how to monitize the server as hardware, as well as make it more versatile.


IMHO, it's also something that no one has succeeded to do really well.

exactly why the opening is still there for logitech. whats so frustrating about all of the options available today, is that nothing does it all the way you'd think its obvious something should.

tivo is to me almost perfect in its handling of TV. but it isn't great at local video, net video (altho it can do some net v good), nor can it rip anything, or burn anything, and it isn't great at sharing among other tivo boxes.

my point is i should be able to say:

audio, video, anywhere i want it, (via client box or combo box). rip, burn, on the server box or combo box. local and remote storage available to all clients. those should be the main goals imo, and nothing today is doing all that, just bits and pieces.

a sampling:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&SubCategory=484&N=2050130484&SpeTabStoreType=5

http://www.linksysbycisco.com/US/en/products/NetworkStorage

http://www.linksysbycisco.com/US/en/products/Video

http://www.apple.com/appletv/

http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&categoryId=27898&N=4294966114

and lots more i'm not linking.

whats interesting is how many more there arethat do SO MUCH MORE, MORE EASILY, and CHEAPER, than what slims stuff can do. again, i see the HQ part as the only thing currently that keeps me with slim for now, and that could easily change. and even so, that alone makes it a niche item for audiophile-ish types. if i'm logitech, i see that as a big problem, how can it gain marketshare when it costs more, and does less, and is harder to use?


Also, I really can't see the similarities compared to the current Squeezebox products.

thats odd, i can't not see them. ;) even in a combo box, there's still a server/client relationship. you could have multiple clients supported by one server. and on and on...

erland
2009-12-15, 19:55
i'm not so sure its that big a deal. logitech wasn't used to slim type devices when it bought slim. its "logitech jukebox" was simply goofy by comparison, altho it did have a neat color remote. vortexbox has most of it down audiowise, and they're no big player. logitech could buy the rights to mythtv or something similar and put that on a linux server box they sell with SBS and other apps. they could combine the apps later, or not. i think the main kernel of my idea is that logitech figure out how to monitize the server as hardware, as well as make it more versatile.

Believe me, media center solutions is a big deal. There is a reason why most video streaming devices doesn't include any recording capability. It's fairly "easy" as long as you limit it to watching streamed video from a internet source or a hard drive. As soon as you start to involve recording it gets complicated.

This is also IMHO the biggest problem with all video streaming devices, they don't handle the recording part so you need to have another device to handle that. The other device which handles the recording is typically a media center solution which also can stream video which make the first device obsolete.

I really think that a media center solution is the best thing for the living room, if someone just can make it good enough for everything. So far, none has succeeded IMHO.



exactly why the opening is still there for logitech. whats so frustrating about all of the options available today, is that nothing does it all the way you'd think its obvious something should.

I'm not questioning that there is a opening because it really is and has been so for 5-10 years. No one has been able to fill the hole satisfactory so far.
The thing that makes me think this is the wrong way is that Logitech is a hardware company, they have huge experience of making consumer hardware. However, media center solutions are mostly about software and software is very different to hardware in many aspects. If big software companies like Microsoft and Apple hasn't been able to come up with something satisfactory I seriously doubt that it's a good idea for Logitech to do it.




whats interesting is how many more there arethat do SO MUCH MORE, MORE EASILY, and CHEAPER, than what slims stuff can do. again, i see the HQ part as the only thing currently that keeps me with slim for now, and that could easily change. and even so, that alone makes it a niche item for audiophile-ish types. if i'm logitech, i see that as a big problem, how can it gain marketshare when it costs more, and does less, and is harder to use?

I completely agree, they have to do something to gain an advantage compared to the competitors. Audio quality isn't going to be good enough as soon as the traditional HiFi companies starts to catch up.

MrSinatra
2009-12-15, 20:53
Believe me, media center solutions is a big deal. There is a reason why most video streaming devices doesn't include any recording capability. It's fairly "easy" as long as you limit it to watching streamed video from a internet source or a hard drive. As soon as you start to involve recording it gets complicated.

This is also IMHO the biggest problem with all video streaming devices, they don't handle the recording part so you need to have another device to handle that. The other device which handles the recording is typically a media center solution which also can stream video which make the first device obsolete.

I really think that a media center solution is the best thing for the living room, if someone just can make it good enough for everything. So far, none has succeeded IMHO.

would you agree vortexbox is almost the whole audio side of a media center solution? (i don't know if it burns, but i'd think that wouldn't be hard to add if not, u could add streamripper too)

all i'm suggesting is that by adding something like mythtv to a vortexbox, and selling it as an all in one combo box, you could basically cover the video side as well.

it wouldn't have to be perfect to start, it would just need to have all the hardware necessary so the software could fulfill the potential eventually.


I'm not questioning that there is a opening because it really is and has been so for 5-10 years. No one has been able to fill the hole satisfactory so far.
The thing that makes me think this is the wrong way is that Logitech is a hardware company, they have huge experience of making consumer hardware. However, media center solutions are mostly about software and software is very different to hardware in many aspects. If big software companies like Microsoft and Apple hasn't been able to come up with something satisfactory I seriously doubt that it's a good idea for Logitech to do it.

thats exactly why they are doing the touch imo, they are embedding the server into the hardware on purpose so they can commoditize the product as a stand alone item and get direct revenue for the server development, not just clients.

apple and microsoft didn't come up with SBS either, does that mean slim and sean and dean shouldn't have?

my point isn't that logitech should write something from scratch, they should buy something like mythtv, the way they did slim, and incorporate it into a piece of hardware, and in so doing, monitize the software in the hardware.


I completely agree, they have to do something to gain an advantage compared to the competitors. Audio quality isn't going to be good enough as soon as the traditional HiFi companies starts to catch up.

its certainly a frustrating situation. if you don't think going video/media center route is the way, then what do you think is the way?

erland
2009-12-15, 23:30
would you agree vortexbox is almost the whole audio side of a media center solution? (i don't know if it burns, but i'd think that wouldn't be hard to add if not, u could add streamripper too)

Yes, from what I've seen Vortexbox should solve the automatic ripping, tagging and organization on the disk.

The only thing that possibly is missing is a good tagging software to adjust the tags if you aren't satisfied with the automatic tagging.



all i'm suggesting is that by adding something like mythtv to a vortexbox, and selling it as an all in one combo box, you could basically cover the video side as well.

Unfortunately the only media center product that isn't more geeky than SBS is Microsoft MCE and that won't run on the same machine as Vortexbox, since Vortexbox is based on Linux and Microsoft MCE only runs on Windows.

MythTV requires a lot of configuration before it will work. I also think Logitech would have to spend a lot of resources to pre-configuring the software to make it usable for the mass market, I'd also imagine that they'd have to spend a lot of resources to support it becase MythTV is definitely not ready for mass market usage. It works very good for TV and video after you have configured it, but it's not easy to get there and even then the user interface is somewhat geeky.

I've not much personal experience with the other Linux based media center solutions like LinuxMCE and VDR. I've tried to setup VDR and failed and I suspect LinuxMCE isn't that easy to setup either. From what I've seen regarding their user interface both seems a bit geeky.

So, it's a lot of work independent if they write the software themselves or not because there is nothing that's finished and works besides possibly TiVo (which I haven't used myself).

If Logitech want to go into the media center market they need to purchase some company that already have resources with experience in this area.

It's not possible to make a good media center in the $399 price range today, I think you would almost have to duplicate that amount to get something useful. The reason is that it requires hardware support for decoders and TV-cards to make it quiet enough to have in the living room. I'm not sure the mass market is ready to get a media center solution in this price range yet, but I might be wrong. Vortexbox used for only audio can run on pretty cheap hardware but a Vortexbox solution that also should support video playback and recording of hi definition material won't.



apple and microsoft didn't come up with SBS either, does that mean slim and sean and dean shouldn't have?

my point isn't that logitech should write something from scratch, they should buy something like mythtv, the way they did slim, and incorporate it into a piece of hardware, and in so doing, monitize the software in the hardware.

Even if they would get the media center software to work good enough it would have to be integrated into the same user interface to make it acceptable to the end users. If it isn't it will cause a support headache.

It's not just about developing the software it's also about supporting the users and maintaining the software.



if you don't think going video/media center route is the way, then what do you think is the way?

Instead of repeating myself I'd just suggest that you read through the thread, there are loads of suggestions only audio related earlier in the thread both from me and other persons. There are a lot of enhancements that could be done in this area to make it attractive, I'm not yet convinced it will make it attractive to the mass market though. There is a risk the mass market users will choose a combined audio+video device instead of a audio only device because they don't understand the extra experience the audio only device provides.

As I mentioned earlier I think there is one video area that is of some interest, making it possible to preview music from YouTube and show music video before you purchase an album. Besides this simple use case I really think it will be easier for Logitech to compete by focusing on enhancing the music listening experience.

If you still feel it's a good idea that Logitech turn the SB/SBS into a media center solution I think we will just have to agree on that we have different opinions regarding this.

ymilner
2009-12-16, 01:10
Unfortunately the only media center product that isn't more geeky than SBS is Microsoft MCE and that won't run on the same machine as Vortexbox, since Vortexbox is based on Linux and Microsoft MCE only runs on Windows.

MythTV requires a lot of configuration before it will work. I also think Logitech would have to spend a lot of resources to pre-configuring the software to make it usable for the mass market, I'd also imagine that they'd have to spend a lot of resources to support it becase MythTV is definitely not ready for mass market usage. It works very good for TV and video after you have configured it, but it's not easy to get there and even then the user interface is somewhat geeky.

I've not much personal experience with the other Linux based media center solutions like LinuxMCE and VDR. I've tried to setup VDR and failed and I suspect LinuxMCE isn't that easy to setup either. From what I've seen regarding their user interface both seems a bit geeky.
As a happy user of both Slim/Logitech gear and SageTV media center with HD-200 media extender, I had a dream once that one would buy another and create a merged product. Sage is cross-platform commercial PVR/media center solution, and the only one that has hardware extenders so far. I understand there would be numerous challenges to that, but as an end-user I would love this idea!

pippin
2009-12-16, 01:35
Last.fm hosts tons of new music... they used to be mostly indies, until they started getting the major labels to add support. That's part of how they got such a good deal on their licensing: "well the indies let us play music for virtually nothing.." and the majors bit and cut them a great royalty deal.

Well, they don't really HOST it, they play it...
The difference here is the whole idea of the thing. Last.fm still acts a bit like a radio. They stream things to you.
On MySpace, you've got the musicians' home page and they present their music. You have to explore yourself but then you don't have to care about things like rights deals.


They would need to provide some sort of API to stream 'music I might like' though. As far as I can tell, they don't.

They'd obviously have to. I know they have a back-end API, no idea whether you could use that for playback, too.


And cooperation from the sites.

No. They do have APIs


Emusic also has some streaming services http://www.emusic.com/toolbar/download.html .. they used to be almost exclusively indies, but now have a some major catalogs.


Well, as I said: it's not about streaming.
I've got some idea about how this could be done with twitter, maybe I try it out in iPeng...

MrSinatra
2009-12-16, 02:36
If Logitech want to go into the media center market they need to purchase some company that already have resources with experience in this area.

agreed. (it certainly would be helpful)


It's not possible to make a good media center in the $399 price range today, I think you would almost have to duplicate that amount to get something useful. The reason is that it requires hardware support for decoders and TV-cards to make it quiet enough to have in the living room.

i'm not sure that true, nor would my solution require a combo box, you could just have a client in the living room, but a combo box would probably be cheaper overall than a two piece system.

hardware is so cheap these days, gets cheaper all the time, i think they could do it.

having said all that, i'd pay top dollar for something with all the things i envision. i mean, if there are crazies out there buying the transporter for $2k, i think there's a more mass market for something like this. (yes, i've brashly said buying a transporter is crazy, flame me! [not you erland, i know you wouldn't])


I'm not sure the mass market is ready to get a media center solution in this price range yet, but I might be wrong. Vortexbox used for only audio can run on pretty cheap hardware but a Vortexbox solution that also should support video playback and recording of hi definition material won't.

look at some of the links i've posted. there are things coming close. even more if you google it. besides, you don't need all the action to be done in software, you can offload a lot of the video stuff to real time on the fly hardware.

btw, play with someones tivo, i think from your POV of simplicity in use, it will blow your mind.


Even if they would get the media center software to work good enough it would have to be integrated into the same user interface to make it acceptable to the end users. If it isn't it will cause a support headache.

eventually i would see that as a goal. but an intro interface could say audio or video. pick one and go to SBS or SAGETV or whatever.


Instead of repeating myself I'd just suggest that you read through the thread, there are loads of suggestions only audio related earlier in the thread both from me and other persons. There are a lot of enhancements that could be done in this area to make it attractive, I'm not yet convinced it will make it attractive to the mass market though. There is a risk the mass market users will choose a combined audio+video device instead of a audio only device because they don't understand the extra experience the audio only device provides.

As I mentioned earlier I think there is one video area that is of some interest, making it possible to preview music from YouTube and show music video before you purchase an album. Besides this simple use case I really think it will be easier for Logitech to compete by focusing on enhancing the music listening experience.

If you still feel it's a good idea that Logitech turn the SB/SBS into a media center solution I think we will just have to agree on that we have different opinions regarding this.

sorry, i thought you were agreeing in an earlier post. if you think just making SBS alone be better at audio via software is the answer, then yes, i do disagree, completely and absolutely. i wonder how anyone could think otherwise? as you say, its hard to be convinced, since its simply foolish to think the mass market will gravitate to slim stuff that costs more, does less, and is harder to use. i'd call that POV insane in fact. sure, its a niche, some audiophiles will do it just like some will buy a transporter, but its crazy nonetheless.

my friends love music, but they don't love expensive, they don't geek out. they see EASY to use things that WORK with stuff they already use, and cost anything from $50-$150 and best of all, do TV too! i mean, come on, SBS will NEVER compete with that. being audio only, expensive, and geeky may not make them bankrupt, but its no contender in the mass market.

imo, they DRASTICALLY need to lower their prices, especially if they are going to stay as audio only. i'm guessing you do agree with that part. i think their increase in sales would cover the decrease in revenue per unit, but its hard to know exactly what price point would be optimal... i just think its a lower one than now.

anyway, i wasn't trying to argue with you at all, just trying to answer your questions. i appreciate the thoughtful replies.

MrSinatra
2009-12-16, 02:58
As a happy user of both Slim/Logitech gear and SageTV media center with HD-200 media extender, I had a dream once that one would buy another and create a merged product. Sage is cross-platform commercial PVR/media center solution, and the only one that has hardware extenders so far. I understand there would be numerous challenges to that, but as an end-user I would love this idea!

indeed. i'm not understanding the resistance to a vortexbox like audio/video device.

http://www.sagetv.com/

its not open source, (right?) but if logitech bought it it could be. or they could buy something else that is open source.

i would expect it to not be Tivoish to start, i agree with erland its a big undertaking, but as long as the hole is there i'll hope someone fills it...

...and if someone does, that would be the end of slim stuff.

Muele
2009-12-16, 04:45
Current Killerfeatures (sorry to interrupt the ongoing discussion about mediaservers):

Price. For half the money you get something that can essentially do the same as SONOS. (Though apparently with a lot more hassle for most users.)

Logitech brand. Logitech may not be known for software or HIFI. But they have a very wellknown brand, compared to most other players in the music-streaming market. New customers do tend to find "safety" in a known brand.

Product Lineup. Though an active zone would be really nice, I think the squeeze lineup (Once complete again) is much more suitable (For me at least). Control without the need for a fancy lcd-remote is important.

Fancy LCD-remote. Apart from supporting online services (which aren't available in Denmark anyway) This is one thing that really sets out Sqeeze from the DNLA-crowd.

I would like to ad third party developed stuff as a killerfeature. But to a new customer learning about the products from normal marketing it is not. Maybe even the other way around: "Is Logitech not able to make the suficient software for this themselves?". For new customers learning about the products from existing customers, it is another case. And certainly for existing customers it's vital.
---
That leads me to what customers could be focused on. I would say that me and my family have about 80% chance of buying at least one more Squeezeproduct. And 50% of buying even more. All that given that I like what is available and the quality of the hard- and software is good enough. Whereas my three closest neighbourghs are more in the area of a 0,0002% chance of buying into the concept.
---
I will not try to list ideas for new features that may lead Squeeze to a bright future.
But just about anyone i heard of that wanted to get into the streaming game at home, starts out looking for one single device for both video and audio. The use cases may be different, but most people have both their dvd-player and cd-player hooked up to the same AV-reciever/Stereo. And buying one or more mediastreamers will not change that. So it's only natural that they want it in one unit. If it's a good idea technically, I don't know, but It's what most people expect to buy when at first they venture into the streaming world.
---
Edit: I just wanted to mention the main drawback IMO: The need for a fullblown server or at least a powerfull NAS. That is keeping potential customers away for a fact. (Yes, the Touch is going to solve that (at some extent?), but I'm trying to focus on current "features"

oktup
2009-12-16, 05:08
Have to say, I agree that video is not the way to go. The idea of an 'all-in-one' box is nice. But to succeed in the mass market - against the likes of Apple, Sony, etc - the product has to 'just work'.

I think the consensus on this forum is that even the Squeezebox - a mature product trying to solve a much simpler task (ie audio, not video) - still isn't pick-up-and-use to the average Joe. Surely that should be accomplished before even thinking about adding video support too? Doing video is going to add a whole new world of difficulty - network-related problems will be much worse, storage requirements higher, then there's codec issues, video formats, image formats (presumably need to view photos etc too), different connector types, output formats, regional standards etc - and that's just the underlying 'physical' stuff. For the actual data sources, in order to 'just work', this box has got to be able to rip DVDs, rip Blu-Rays, stream from websites, download from USB/memory cards/phones, support 'netcasting' TV (eg BBC iPlayer et al), upscale, downscale, cope with DRM, and transparently hook up to a local network and the internet. That's before you even start considering if/how it should also support recording video, receiving 'normal' TV, etc.

I imagine it would difficult to get agreement on what, exactly, such a device should do, let alone actually develop it.

Oh, and your product space is also going to be attacked by increasingly clever games consoles, Blu-ray players, integrated TVs, phones/laptops with HDMI or even wireless streaming, and who knows what next.

Much too much, IMHO.

oktup
2009-12-16, 06:34
In terms of whether there's a demand for 'audio only' solutions, in a world of 'media boxes'. I think there is, personally. Most TVs now, here in the UK, can receive radio stations broadcast over digital TV channels. I have yet to see anyone put the TV on to 'listen to the radio'. Some people will watch music TV channels for a while, sure, but people also put music on while they're doing other things, or to 'really listen to', and in those cases, a 'radio' is preferable to a TV. A lot of people will want music, but not a TV, in their dining room, or bedroom, or garage, or kitchen. The radio, as a product design archetype, works.

So, I don't think radio is destined to evolve into the media server. I think the Touch concept is actually pretty spot on. An audio player/interface that can (as a bonus) double as a digital photo frame (surely the screensaver/plugin par excellence).

I think the main competition is 'Chumby One'-type gadgets. They're arguably converging to the same thing, just coming from a different starting point. Not sure who has the edge, but I wonder if Chumbys might be squeezed out by polished audio players on the one hand, and cleverer mobile phones on the other. Or maybe they've found a great niche in between, who knows.

But I reckon that's what Team Squeezebox should be pondering, rather than the 'home server linked to a big TV' angle.

snarlydwarf
2009-12-16, 09:02
Well, they don't really HOST it, they play it...

There is some odd language issue here...

Hosting = storing, indexing, etc... like hosting a web site.... last.fm does this.

Playing = output.. they can send you streams as either part of a recommended station, neighbor station, etc, or you can (from the website) choose to play an individual track...

How on earth is that different from MySpace Music? (Except that MySpace Music does not offer the streams...)



The difference here is the whole idea of the thing. Last.fm still acts a bit like a radio. They stream things to you.

If you ask them too, yes...




On MySpace, you've got the musicians' home page and they present their music. You have to explore yourself but then you don't have to care about things like rights deals.

And Last.fm has artist pages with tracks by that artist, a bio, events, videos, shoutboxes, links to journals, links to other sites (official home page, discographies, etc etc...) Artists that own their own music are invited to upload it to last.fm... same as MySpace

I still don't see a difference except LastFM you don't have to dig around to find the page, and the pages are not 'official'. And 99% of them suck with unreadable text on noisy dark backgrounds....

It's clear you don't actually use last.fm. That's fine, but please at least investigate it before describing what services they provide.



They'd obviously have to. I know they have a back-end API, no idea whether you could use that for playback, too.

A backend, undocumented, closed API is not an API...



Well, as I said: it's not about streaming.


That is your opinion.

pippin
2009-12-16, 09:49
And Last.fm has artist pages with tracks by that artist, a bio, events, videos, shoutboxes, links to journals, links to other sites (official home page, discographies, etc etc...) Artists that own their own music are invited to upload it to last.fm... same as MySpace

OK, as you guessed, I never saw that. I do use Last.fm from time to time but what I've seen so far was mainly centered around what _I_ listen to and others that I know or don't know listen to...


I still don't see a difference except LastFM you don't have to dig around to find the page, and the pages are not 'official'. And 99% of them suck with unreadable text on noisy dark backgrounds....

At least I don't run in danger of getting presented the 9,427th Pussy Cat Dolls song, as Last.fm always insists to do although I did already ban the other 9,426 of them...


A backend, undocumented, closed API is not an API...

It's well documented. Much better than, say, Squeezebox APIs. I know people who write pretty big software around it. There's a lot of those, you might have heard about one of them, called "YouTube" (although functionality has increased quite a bit since that's been started, it was originally little more than a link provider).

I don't know whether it's closed but that doesn't count, a lot of APIs are closed meaning you need a contract to be granted access, that's fine.

I believe the big issue is that it's all DRMed, that's the thing that sucks an what requires you to get MySpace into the boat.

GeeJay
2009-12-16, 20:45
But just about anyone i heard of that wanted to get into the streaming game at home, starts out looking for one single device for both video and audio. The use cases may be different, but most people have both their dvd-player and cd-player hooked up to the same AV-reciever/Stereo. And buying one or more mediastreamers will not change that.

It did for me. Once I bought my first SB3 I ditched the CD jukebox. Now, on those rare occasions when I need to listen to a CD I just pop it into the DVD-player. It can handle basics like that quite well.

That's my fear if Logitech ever tried to go to the combined audio/video route. Sure, they could make a device that handles all the basics of audio streaming well while adding video capability, but could they give me the customizable experience to which I've grown accustomed, without creating such an over-complicated mess that it doesn't work well? My guess is they'd have to cut out the features (3rd party plugins) that make their product special.

Better to be a niche product, and earn a nice margin on it, then go mass-market and become just another commodity player.

Muele
2009-12-16, 23:57
[QUOTE=GeeJay;496381] It did for me. Once I bought my first SB3 I ditched the CD jukebox. Now, on those rare occasions when I need to listen to a CD I just pop it into the DVD-player. It can handle basics like that quite well.

[QUOTE]

Ok, I didn't express myself clearly enough. What I meant is that any (initial) mediastreamers are going to be placed in the AV-rack. If it's for replacing or supplementing existing gear is irellevant at this point, I think.

Personally I don't really think a combo-device would be the right path for Logitech to choose. Focus on musik and other audio, and make it a pleasure to use, and enhance the interaction with your own music, music in the cloud (and the musik of your friends).

audiomuze
2009-12-17, 09:22
On a different, but related note, I have a (likely very naive) question... How difficult/ feasible would it be to create a front-end entirely independent of SBS, but leveraging CLI or something else to have SBS handle playback. This way, one could conceivably develop an entirely independent database app with an API and include many of the features we're not seeing now in the base build. In other words, take control of the user experience whilst just piggybacking off SBS to handle playback. The API would allow plugins to be added and apps like iPeng to hook into the underlying database, thus enabling users to get the same benefits via their remotes etc. Clearly this wouldn't work with the Controller and like hardware, but frankly, who cares?

Phil Leigh
2009-12-17, 11:03
On a different, but related note, I have a (likely very naive) question... How difficult/ feasible would it be to create a front-end entirely independent of SBS, but leveraging CLI or something else to have SBS handle playback. This way, one could conceivably develop an entirely independent database app with an API and include many of the features we're not seeing now in the base build. In other words, take control of the user experience whilst just piggybacking off SBS to handle playback. The API would allow plugins to be added and apps like iPeng to hook into the underlying database, thus enabling users to get the same benefits via their remotes etc. Clearly this wouldn't work with the Controller and like hardware, but frankly, who cares?

You mean like Moose? (for Windows)

erland
2009-12-17, 11:45
On a different, but related note, I have a (likely very naive) question... How difficult/ feasible would it be to create a front-end entirely independent of SBS, but leveraging CLI or something else to have SBS handle playback. This way, one could conceivably develop an entirely independent database app with an API and include many of the features we're not seeing now in the base build. In other words, take control of the user experience whilst just piggybacking off SBS to handle playback. The API would allow plugins to be added and apps like iPeng to hook into the underlying database, thus enabling users to get the same benefits via their remotes etc. Clearly this wouldn't work with the Controller and like hardware, but frankly, who cares?


It's definitely possible if you are talking about creating a user interface and use SBS as backend, this is what iPeng and Moose does already today. iPeng uses a bit more of the server than Moose does, the advantage is that iPeng is able to make all third party plugins in SBS available as long as they support the Controller. The last version of Moose I used had a scanning/synchronization mechanism to synchronize its database with SBS and just sends the play, stop commands to SBS while most other things are handled locally in Moose.

However, if you are talking about just using SBS for playback and not as a backend for library management and browsing/searching it gets more complicated.

The main problem as I see it is that there isn't any way to integrate your logic in the SBS scanning process. Hooks in the scanning process would make it a lot easier to enhance the SBS database with more information and also make it possible to integrate directly with the database from third party code to enhance the server with new features. It's possible on OSX and Linux where you don't have to compile perl executables, but on Windows it gets harder because you need to build a *.exe file and cannot just modify the perl code.

Replacing the browsing menus is also pretty hard as SBS isn't built for this type of customization. As long as you only want to support your own third party interface everything is find, but if you want it to work on old players (Classic, Boom, Transport) or you like it to work on a Controller part (in Duet, Radio, Touch) or iPeng it gets more complex.

As long as Logitech can't/won't prioritize discussions regarding this kind of integrations it requires a very dedicated developer to do something, you are basically on your own if you like to do something like this.

I've had some thoughts regarding implementing my own server and just use SBS for playback, but I'm not sure if the communication towards the Squeezebox players allow one server to handle the control and one to handle the streaming. Also things like synchronization and fade in/out might get hard if you don't handle the current playlist in SBS.

Anyway, it is possible and there are several ways to do it, but all requires fairly amount of work.

audiomuze
2009-12-17, 22:29
...

Anyway, it is possible and there are several ways to do it, but all requires fairly amount of work.Thanks for the response Erland. Seems that the transition from thin to fat devices has complicated things considerably, making such a development a doomed undertaking unless you make a decision to support only thin or fat clients. Regardless, as there's unlikely to be much in the way of support from plugin developers (supporting two apps etc.), it seems the best approach is to wait and see what ultimately happens to the SBx range and then decide from there. Two things are sure for me: 1) I won't be buying any of the new SBx devices; and 2) should things continue on their current trajectory, I'm abandoning ship as soon as something offering a better user experience interacting with their music library comes along -- should be relatively easy to sell my Transporter, Boom, SB3s and Duets via fleabay.

kakklank
2009-12-18, 01:09
I've mentioned a lot of this before but I'll repeat it for posterity seeing as there now appears to be some impetus from users wanting more from their interaction:

Rote basics:
----------------
- A documented API for plugin developers

- Ability to add additional fields to underlying database during scan time and to expose these fields in the interface much like one can browse Genre, Year etc. at present

- Ability to generate Dynamic playlists using whatever fields and associated values a user chooses

- Support for track ratings

- Integration of MusicIP technologies into SBR - there's an SDK available for both thin and fat clients MyDJ Embedded and MyDJ Desktop

- If MusicIP's considered too risky, then integrate Allmusic's Tapestry, or better yet, do both. Again, it's geared specifically to playlisting across one's collection.

- Checkout http://tapestry.allmusic.com/ - go create a playlist for yourself and see just how damned good it is.

- Integrate Allmusic's LASSO Media Recognition as as an opt-in subsription service. Bascially what you'd get is automated media recognition and tagging of audio, inluding existing FLACs, MP3s etc. Some facts http://www.rovicorp.com/products/online_stores_portals/insight_osp/lasso.htm?link_id=rightnav

- Official integration of the Biography and AlbumReview plugins/capability into SBS via licensed Rovi API to enable reliable view of Artist Biographies and Album Reviews whilst listening, as well as the ability to navigate hyperlinks to related artists/ albums that are in your collection and optionally the allmusic website. Being able to interact with your music library in this way would be fantastic and listening sessions could easily become an enlightening adventure.

- When playing something in your collection, a "you might also want to play" window/tab showing similar artists/albums in your collection

- Party mode - yes, people do want to use their SBx's when hosting parties, and no, we don't want our playlists wiped at the touch of a button. Why is this so hard to understand?

- Support for multiple libraries - I don't want to hear wifey's stuff and she doesn't want to hear mine. Neither of us wants to hear the kid's stuff.

Nice to have's:
-------------------
- A means of optionally sharing library stats re track/ artist plays etc with other SBx users
- XSPF (http://xspf.org/quickstart/) support to tenable people to transparently share playlists

MrSinatra
2009-12-18, 01:13
http://tapestry.allmusic.com/ gives me a webpage not found error?

kakklank
2009-12-18, 01:46
http://tapestry.allmusic.com/ gives me a webpage not found error?

Strange, it resolves for me. Try http://www.amgtapestry.com/radio/

MrSinatra
2009-12-18, 01:51
yep, working now. :)

kakklank
2009-12-18, 01:55
yep, working now. :)

Be sure to check out the Descriptor playlisting too.

How cool would both types of playlisting be embedded in SBS and applied to your own collection :-)

mherger
2009-12-18, 02:01
> - Checkout http://tapestry.allmusic.com/ - go create a playlist for
> yourself and see just how damned good it is.

In what way is this different/better than Pandora, Last.FM, Slacker et al.?

AFAICT Slacker is based on AMG too. And it has given me some really... surprising results :-)

--

Michael

kakklank
2009-12-18, 02:14
In what way is this different/better than Pandora, Last.FM, Slacker et al.?

AFAICT Slacker is based on AMG too. And it has given me some really... surprising results :-)It's better than the services you've mentioned in that:
- you are able to playlist from your own library at CD quality or better as opposed to having to stream a lower quality playlist from the Internet
- it doesn't cost you any ongoing subscription fee
- you don't have to live in the USA to use it aka Slacker etc.

I've no idea what technology Slacker is based on, can't use it and therefore can't comment on it's playlists. ;-)

mherger
2009-12-18, 03:05
> - you are able to playlist from your own library at CD quality or
> better as opposed to having to stream a lower quality playlist from the
> Internet

Can tapestry do this? I was refering to tapestry, not MusicIP (which I use and love a lot, btw).

> - it doesn't cost you any ongoing subscription fee

How much would you be willing to pay for some licensed algorithm (eg. MIP embedded or similar) as a one off fee?

We're in a business where one buck additional production cost is a lot...

> - you don't have to live in the USA to use it aka Slacker etc.

That's definitely a plus. Living in Switzerland I don't have official access to any of these services :-(.

--

Michael

DaveWr
2009-12-18, 05:37
>
How much would you be willing to pay for some licensed algorithm (eg. MIP embedded or similar) as a one off fee?


Michael

Ten / twenty Euro it enhances one's music collection usage substantially, and it is a mjor differentiator.


Dave

kakklank
2009-12-18, 06:50
Can tapestry do this? I was refering to tapestry, not MusicIP (which I use and love a lot, btw). That's exactly what Tapestry is aimed at - playlisting from your library given a song/ artist, genre and/or descriptor metadata. No doubt for those that want to be Internet connected it can also generate "other artists you might like" type stuff from outside your collection.

MiP's great too - I rely on it at present for playlisting. Given a choice though I'd likely opt for Tapestry because it enables a richer experience. In an ideal world I'd have both means of generating a playlist.


How much would you be willing to pay for some licensed algorithm (eg. MIP embedded or similar) as a one off fee?For Tapestry, if properly implemented I'd happily part with $50-$100 as a one-off and I'd be prepared to pay a nominal or volume based annual subscription fee to deal with metadata addition for any new albums I add.

For MiP I'd pay a once off fee, say $50 for perpetual analysis and useage. Of course, if their mixing algorithm were improved/ enhanced, new features added, I'd be happy to pay for them also.


We're in a business where one buck additional production cost is a lot...Only because your product positioning is currently aimed at the commoditised mass market. It shouldn't be -- the quality of your audio offering is superior to everything the else in the mass market, but your presentation is wrong. Fix the presentation - what this thread is about, and you can comfortably reposition at the hi-fi end of the market.

MrSinatra
2009-12-18, 11:05
> - it doesn't cost you any ongoing subscription fee

How much would you be willing to pay for some licensed algorithm (eg. MIP embedded or similar) as a one off fee?

We're in a business where one buck additional production cost is a lot...


i'm confused...

he says its free, then you ask how much he'd be willing to pay, and he says he would pay... why? pay for what? i thought musicip was free too, what am i missing? what are you asking he pay for? (i know i'm just totally missing the obvious here somehow, please establish the context)

kakklank
2009-12-18, 11:32
i'm confused...

he says its free, then you ask how much he'd be willing to pay, and he says he would pay... why? pay for what? i thought musicip was free too, what am i missing? what are you asking he pay for? (i know i'm just totally missing the obvious here somehow, please establish the context)

Whatever solution was chosen, utilising an API for commercial purposes would attract a licensing fee, which would need to be passed on to users. This is the fee Michael and I were discussing.

MrSinatra
2009-12-18, 11:41
Whatever solution was chosen, utilising an API for commercial purposes would attract a licensing fee, which would need to be passed on to users. This is the fee Michael and I were discussing.

ok, i'm really trying to cement my dummy credentials here... so if SBS were going to have an "app" for tapestry, like they do for say pandora or some of the others, Michael is saying allmusic would charge a licensing fee for it, for use of their API, that logitech would be responsible for?

it seems to me it should be the other way around... allmusic should want to be on logitechs app, and if they would charge anyone it would be the customer directly. seems to me logitech doesn't have much incentive to be the middle man for allmusic.

or have i totally misunderstood?

andyg
2009-12-18, 11:47
We looked at AMG before, it is crazy expensive.

kakklank
2009-12-18, 12:43
it seems to me it should be the other way around... allmusic should want to be on logitechs app, and if they would charge anyone it would be the customer directly. seems to me logitech doesn't have much incentive to be the middle man for allmusic.

or have i totally misunderstood?allmusic/Rove is in the business of selling access to its metadata to enhance the customer experience. They've no real interest in dealing directly with the end-user. Having said that, they do extract a fee from the end-user when making use of their metadata in dbpoweramp. Personally, I think there is a value proposition in that SBS would be significantly enhanced with the inclusion of this type of functionality.

kakklank
2009-12-18, 12:57
We looked at AMG before, it is crazy expensive.

Is it crazy expensive for a commoditised mass-market product or crazy expensive for something aimed at the hi-fi market?

andyg
2009-12-18, 13:00
On Dec 18, 2009, at 2:57 PM, kakklank wrote:

>
> andyg;496826 Wrote:
>> We looked at AMG before, it is crazy expensive.
>
> Is it crazy expensive for a commoditised mass-market product or crazy
> expensive for something aimed at the hi-fi market?

Don't know the answer to your question, but it was crazy expensive for us at the time we looked at using it. :)

kakklank
2009-12-18, 13:23
Looking at the Rovi website, Pandora, Slacker and Qsonix make use of AMG technologies. Surely if these costs are within the reach of relative startups they're within the reach of an established company like Logitech? Even dbpoweramp has negotiated a metadata agreement for ripping CDs. I'd be surprised if the benefit/ appeal of an enhanced user experience didn't outweigh the incremental cost, and if properly implemented it would be a major differentiator, perhaps even in a mass-market ipod generation context.

MrSinatra
2009-12-18, 13:30
are you only talking about metadata??? i thought the site could play music too, based on what you had in your collection, like last.fm...?

(see, i think i've totally misunderstood)

kakklank
2009-12-18, 21:39
are you only talking about metadata??? i thought the site could play music too, based on what you had in your collection, like last.fm...?

(see, i think i've totally misunderstood)

What we're talking about is embedding the kind of functionality you'd have seen at the URL I pointed you to into SBS and having it apply to your own library so you can:
1) create dynamic playlists from your own library based on the metadata (which is what Tapestry uses to do its thing)

2) when just playing an album/ artist, have SBS recommend other albums/ artists in your collection as something you may want to give a spin based on the currently playing artist/ album

3) being able to read an artist biography and/ or album review on your touchscreen device or PC or whatever interface you're using whilst listening to the album.

4) Being able to follow hyperlinks embedded in the biography and review to other artists/ albums/ tracks etc. in your library and/ or on allmusic.com much like you can on allmusic.com today. If the hyperlinked album/ artist/ tracks exists in your library you'll be able to navigate to it and play from your library

5) optionally extend recommendations to music not currently in your collection with a link to sample tracks etc. on allmusic.com or other resource

sxr71
2009-12-20, 01:18
That's exactly what Tapestry is aimed at - playlisting from your library given a song/ artist, genre and/or descriptor metadata. No doubt for those that want to be Internet connected it can also generate "other artists you might like" type stuff from outside your collection.

MiP's great too - I rely on it at present for playlisting. Given a choice though I'd likely opt for Tapestry because it enables a richer experience. In an ideal world I'd have both means of generating a playlist.

For Tapestry, if properly implemented I'd happily part with $50-$100 as a one-off and I'd be prepared to pay a nominal or volume based annual subscription fee to deal with metadata addition for any new albums I add.

For MiP I'd pay a once off fee, say $50 for perpetual analysis and useage. Of course, if their mixing algorithm were improved/ enhanced, new features added, I'd be happy to pay for them also.

Only because your product positioning is currently aimed at the commoditised mass market. It shouldn't be -- the quality of your audio offering is superior to everything the else in the mass market, but your presentation is wrong. Fix the presentation - what this thread is about, and you can comfortably reposition at the hi-fi end of the market.


Why would anyone pay for this? The only real difference between it and keeping the free MusicIP server running is it would ADVERTISE music to you and give you an easy way to buy it.

Well that's what Apple's Genius does anyway. They don't really care about audiophiles yet since their still making money off the 256Kbps. Soon enough Apple will use that to raise the price of a song and offer you another "upgrade" to lossless for more money. They did it once and they'll do it again. Until then I guess we can use the results to just order the CD instead.

I didn't see any feature in Tapestry that allows you to select your own music instead of the stream. Both Genius and MusicIP have advantages. Genius lets you easily browse the album and try other songs, it does not force you into any specific order if you want to sample songs in the iTunes store. MusicIP on Squeezebox is great because you can run it on any song or album at any depth level.

kakklank
2009-12-20, 03:56
Why would anyone pay for this? The only real difference between it and keeping the free MusicIP server running is it would ADVERTISE music to you and give you an easy way to buy it.

Well that's what Apple's Genius does anyway. They don't really care about audiophiles yet since their still making money off the 256Kbps. Soon enough Apple will use that to raise the price of a song and offer you another "upgrade" to lossless for more money. They did it once and they'll do it again. Until then I guess we can use the results to just order the CD instead.

I didn't see any feature in Tapestry that allows you to select your own music instead of the stream. Both Genius and MusicIP have advantages. Genius lets you easily browse the album and try other songs, it does not force you into any specific order if you want to sample songs in the iTunes store. MusicIP on Squeezebox is great because you can run it on any song or album at any depth level.

Go do some reading, inform yourself and then come back and argue about what something does or doesn't do. I don't have the mental energy to engage in a debate with someone that hasn't the wherewithal to inform themselves before firing off meaningless drivel.

sxr71
2009-12-20, 23:21
Go do some reading, inform yourself and then come back and argue about what something does or doesn't do. I don't have the mental energy to engage in a debate with someone that hasn't the wherewithal to inform themselves before firing off meaningless drivel.

Not ONE person other than you finds anything magical about Tapestry. If anything it looks like a very nascent, beta form of Pandora/Last.FM/Slacker/other far more mature music suggestion engines.

verypsb
2009-12-20, 23:37
Not ONE person other than you finds anything magical about Tapestry. If anything it looks like a very nascent, beta form of Pandora/Last.FM/Slacker/other far more mature music suggestion engines.

It's nice to see services on the Squeezebox, but almost none of them are supported outside of the USA (and from your examples NONE are supported), so they're NO viable option for most users in Europe. Tapestry can use your local music and is supported, while MusicIP is dead.

A killer feature would be a working Spicefly Sugarcube (based on MusicIP)/Tapestry/'Play More Of The Same' out of the box. Not one you need to set up yourself by adding free services and much fiddling with Squeezebox Server to get it up and running.

DaveWr
2009-12-21, 02:58
+1

Dave

kakklank
2009-12-21, 03:30
It's nice to see services on the Squeezebox, but almost none of them are supported outside of the USA (and from your examples NONE are supported), so they're NO viable option for most users in Europe. Tapestry can use your local music and is supported, while MusicIP is dead.

A killer feature would be a working Spicefly Sugarcube (based on Music IP)/Tapestry/'Play More Of The Same' out of the box. Not one you need to set up yourself by adding free services and much fiddling with Squeezebox Server to set it up.

:D Someone who gets it and understands that the Tapestry demo is intended to demonstrate function rather than form. FWIW, AFAIK iTunes and WMP also make use of AMG's metadata.

raven22
2009-12-23, 04:15
I didn't read the whole thread, so sorry if it was mentioned before. But to me MusicIP integration in SBS would be an absolute killer. Together with the Sugarcube plugin MusicIP is really great to have the perfect playlists.

Honva
2009-12-23, 05:28
There has been links posted in other sections of the forum to competing products, like the HP Dreamscreen 100, the Chumby and Sono's devices and and I'm starting to realize that the competition really is starting to catch up.

So let's discuss a bit what feature the Squeezebox devices have today that makes it a lot better than above mentioned products or what feature could be added to the Squeezebox devices to make sure it keeps being ahead of the competition.

So what's your answer to the following questions ?
- What does the Squeezebox devices do a lot better than competing products today ?
- What features could be added to the Squeezebox devices to make them a lot better than the competing products ?

Software:
1. Better reliability of Squeeze Server. Too many bugs in software even after so many years since introduction.
2. Support multiple libraries.
3. Faster web interface in SqueezeServer.
4. Killer feature: Time shifting and scheduled recording of internet radio. That is PVR like feature in internet radio. Allows user to pause, rewind, fast forward internet radio like a PVR.

Hardware:
1. Introduce a model that can play HD video, has hdmi, component video to complete the system. Right now, people put squeezebox in the room still need a separate network video player. However, most network video players also plays music. This is kind of making squeezebox redundant.

2. Models like Squeezebox Radio and boom should be able to connect to internet radio directly without any server (squeezeserver or squeezenetwork). Able to function like a simple internet radio.

3. This is a real killer feature. Integrating other accessories from logitech into the squeezeserver line. E.g. Security cameras, thermostat control for home temperature, remote temperature monitoring, lighting control, web interface control to schedule internet radio recording and even video recording. Goal is to transform squeezebox-server line to a platform, like how Apple transform iPhone to a platform.

jasell
2009-12-23, 12:41
One of the features of SBS that make it to stand out is the ability of adding plugins. Make that even easier, so that "normal" people can make their add-ons and customization.

Speed, or being able to work better on low performance NAS an similar. Not 3 hours of scanning for a normal sized library.

Provide more products like squeeze play and Moose to increase performance. It's npt acceptable to wait several seconds while clicking in the native WEB UI.

Add a functionality to bring the SBS on the road, to kind of compete with the iPods.
(while comuting or when visiting friends or when going on vacation). You keep your main library home, secure and backup up, then you bring a "copy" or you stream over internet.

More hardware add-ons to control main music system, like SBS controlled power to turn on/off amplifiers etc. Make it easier to upgrade you old 1980's system to 2010 digital era standard.

JJZolx
2009-12-23, 16:28
Aren't there already a dozen or so ongoing wishlist threads in other forums?

Asking "What _is_ the killer feature" made a little sense here in the beta forum, but "What _should_be_ the killer feature" makes absolutely no sense. If Squeezebox hasn't found its "killer" feature by now, it's never going to. You're not about to invent one. None of the features being hashed and rehashed here will be killer. They're enhancements. Evolutionary blips. Not a single one of them will make Squeezeboxes jump off the shelves if implemented.

erland
2009-12-23, 17:51
Asking "What _is_ the killer feature" made a little sense here in the beta forum, but "What _should_be_ the killer feature" makes absolutely no sense. If Squeezebox hasn't found its "killer" feature by now, it's never going to.

You might be correct considering the fact that almost no functionality has been added during the last years that will greatly enhance the experience. Sure, the stability might have improved and there support for some new on line streams and the web interface has been improved a bit and support has been added to new hardware, but most of these are just more or less maintenance fixes on an existing product. I still think there is room for actual enhancements, like those mentioned earlier in this thread, but for some reason Logitech doesn't seem to be able to get to them because there is always some maintenance that's more important. I suppose the main problem is lack of resources and not lack of ideas.



You're not about to invent one. None of the features being hashed and rehashed here will be killer. They're enhancements. Evolutionary blips. Not a single one of them will make Squeezeboxes jump off the shelves if implemented.

To me it's critical that Logitech is able to evolve to the next level of features, because if they aren't, the competition is going to do it and then I'll personally switch platform. I'm guessing that if the competition is able to take these steps, it's going to make the Logitech solution less attractive. It might not be a single feature that makes the difference, but a number of important enhancements in the right direction will make the difference when a user should select which product to purchase.

Why do you use the Squeezebox instead of competing products ?

Are there no features that the competition can add that will make you switch to their products ?

mherger
2009-12-23, 22:15
> You might be correct considering the fact that almost no functionality
> has been added during the last years that will greatly enhance the
> experience. Sure, the stability might have improved and there support
> for some new on line streams and the web interface has been improved a
> bit and support has been added to new hardware, but most of these are
> just more or less maintenance fixes on an existing product.

SB Touch a maintenance release of SB3? Agreed. And Windows 7 is just a service pack for Windows 1.0. You must be kidding.

erland
2009-12-23, 22:44
> You might be correct considering the fact that almost no functionality
> has been added during the last years that will greatly enhance the
> experience. Sure, the stability might have improved and there support
> for some new on line streams and the web interface has been improved a
> bit and support has been added to new hardware, but most of these are
> just more or less maintenance fixes on an existing product.

SB Touch a maintenance release of SB3? Agreed. And Windows 7 is just a service pack for Windows 1.0. You must be kidding.

I suspected someone would react on that sentence, however SB Touch isn't available yet, is it ?

Still, from a music listening point of view, what does the SB Touch really provide to enhance the music listening experience compared to Classic ?

Sure, it makes it easier since you don't need the server, but from a listening point of view when you have everything setup, what's the big new features that isn't available on a Classic ?

I'm probably missing something, but the only advantage I can see when I'm sitting in the sofa with my IR remote is the color screen. Music store integrations, smart playlists, flexible browsing and other similar stuff would enhance the experience so much more.

I'm not trying to say that you haven't done much the last year, I'm completely aware that there is a lot of hard work behind all the SBS/SqueezePlay releases. I'm just saying that the focus has been mostly on simplifying the setup and support new hardware and some new online streams. These are things I as a customer just expect should work.

There is one thing that comes to mind that enhances the experience from a music listening point of view and that's the Controller hardware. However, I'm sorry to say that I still feel that an iPod Touch with iPeng is both cheaper and better, but that's just me.

My feeling is that you have two choices to go forward:
1.
Ignore any advanced users and make all focus on making it dead simple to setup and get the device to play, decrease the price and put all focus on selling it on the mass market. In this segment you are going to compete with devices that also can do video and you are going to compete with other internet radio devices that are cheaper than the current Squeezebox products.

2.
Start focusing on enhancing the listening experience and compete with other audio only devices like Sonos and new devices from HiFi manufacturers.

At the moment it feels like you are in some middle area between these and I'm personally not sure there is a long term market in that area. I'm sure I'll personally switch to devices focused at 2 as soon as they catch up and pass the Squeezebox in functionality.

DaveWr
2009-12-24, 01:44
> You might be correct considering the fact that almost no functionality
> has been added during the last years that will greatly enhance the
> experience. Sure, the stability might have improved and there support
> for some new on line streams and the web interface has been improved a
> bit and support has been added to new hardware, but most of these are
> just more or less maintenance fixes on an existing product.

SB Touch a maintenance release of SB3? Agreed. And Windows 7 is just a service pack for Windows 1.0. You must be kidding.

With due respect, that set of statements is the core issue. Touch is a new piece of hardware, with a new architecture. It may be fantastic, clever with MySB, limited local server capability but Fundamental library searching, playlist creation and other features have not developed. Excluding Facebook and Flickr, which are not music related.

Dave

MrSinatra
2009-12-24, 01:59
in defense of mherger...

i happen to think that creating a piece of hardware with server onboard IS a big deal, and important. from the very start, i wondered why all clients HAD to be thin? the touch proves this is not necessary, and i think it opens up a market for people not big into computers, but big into music.

technically its also a big shift to create an embedded non-webui ver of server in the hardware. i'd say that goes beyond evolutionary, as it is a radical change in philosophy.

my beef is that i don't understand how they expect it to be used? if you want to control it, it needs to be near you, but if you want it on the stereo, it needs to be near that, presumably out of arms reach. i wonder if its truly appropriate for the new customer?

and even more broadly, i worry that "audio only" devices are a niche market, soon to be trumped by A/V network media players/adapters? i think its obvious that computer/net video is the next big thing, and they all will allow audio, so how many people will go for the redundancy here?

not really making my point, but interesting, esp considering prices:

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/streaming-media-player,review-1479.html

erland
2009-12-24, 02:11
in defense of mherger...

i happen to think that creating a piece of hardware with server onboard IS a big deal, and important. from the very start, i wondered why all clients HAD to be thin? the touch proves this is not necessary, and i think it opens up a market for people not big into computers, but big into music.

technically its also a big shift to create an embedded non-webui ver of server in the hardware. i'd say that goes beyond evolutionary, as it is a radical change in philosophy.

I agree, it IS a big deal from a setup point of view, it simplifies the setup for people that are satisfied with the built-in server with less functionality. However, my point was that it does not enhance the music listening/controlling experience compared to a Classic.

MrSinatra
2009-12-24, 02:20
However, my point was that it does not enhance the music listening/controlling experience compared to a Classic.

and i don't disagree with that.

in any case, a killer feature we're unlikely to see would be one where people could share libraries. so say you want to listen to my stuff, our apps could "friend" each other, like on facebook, and you could listen to what i have, and i could listen to what you have.

i know, i know... copyright hell. but as a 3rd party app...?

i'd be interested in just browsing the text of other peoples collections online at mysb.com

DaveWr
2009-12-24, 02:23
I agree the philosophy change is a big deal. Personally not convinced for the better:

Thin clients effectively have all their user experience server controlled. Now we are into plugins that have to reside as applets in the new devices. Third party developers need LUA and Perl skills if old SB3 etc not to be ignored. When the Controller came out, there seemed an expectation that many apps would follow. Didn't happen.

The architecture now has 'half a computer' in the client. This is a mixed blessing, requires Tiny SC, and a Web architecture for control. This could be the start of a Lock-in to MySB for customers. Not really the original open source philosophy.

The need to make MySB / SBS seamless otherwise customers will suffer. Currently this seems to be in its infancy. The external Web control for devices like Harmony Remotes is OK - no interactive changes, but SBS and mySB lots of scope for differences and consequent bugs.

The effort required in these fundamental changes provides a different experience / method, but could have advanced the core music / audio handling capability instead.

As I have previously stated, I believe I, and many forum members, are not the target market, for Logitech's view for the future of Slim Devices. So maybe take my comments as interesting but irrelevant.

David

kakklank
2009-12-26, 01:47
i agree, it is a big deal from a setup point of view, it simplifies the setup for people that are satisfied with the built-in server with less functionality. However, my point was that it does not enhance the music listening/controlling experience compared to a classic.

+1

arztde
2009-12-26, 13:12
However, there is a video use case that makes sense together with music and that's watching music videos. A YouTube client which you can used to preview new music before buying it would be a great enhancement to the Squeezebox line, especially since Spotify doesn't seem to be something that Logitech focus on.

I agree you also that music is different from video. For this i can not understand the new Squeeze line with radio and the apps. because make not much sense to integrate services like facebook. But anyways I use also the Xtreamer and flip did help for the NAS of this company the eTRAYz to set up the SqueezeServer. lots of thanks from my side here.

But in most multimediaplayers Fotosection is not much supported and my idea is to make the xtreamer runing squeezeslave for example maybee with full DTS or 5.1 support of audio and have the possibility with the remote to make something like a nice fotoshow. here in fact you can support on a big screen emotional with prerecordet and changed music.
I remember i did put a lot of work and money into Dia photos and 2 prjection systems to have guidet by music the change of the Dias.
Somehow something like this i miss. For me it means a pluginthat is able to organize fotos with music. here it will be fine to have a softwareplayer direct on the Xtreamer. More for fotos you like to have private and not online or to make a combination with fotoframes. Why not to put an old LCD monitor you do not use anymore as a picture frame on the wall. Maybee to run diverent LCDs with different music in different rooms. Maybee you was on a concert and make some fotos and they match inside a show together with the music just play.

As far i understand correct, the new models use fotos only from online services but i am very shure i do not like to upload my private fotos there. Also when i did saw the size of the display of the radio once you have to stay with a magnifier in front to see something. alsoi did not see any photo forwarding to the LCD on yours pc or stand allone LCD/TV.
Do not know its possible but somehow i like this idea.

lesliew
2009-12-27, 19:17
I'm not so sure its a killer feature but I would like to see a replay / Rewind buffer for Pandora & other Internet Radio streams, something like Sirius Radio or Tivo where a 30 minute buffer is provided. you can either skip back to the beginning of the track(s) or search within the track.

The ability to have a rewind/replay buffer for each player streaming from your system would be needed.

I find myself listening to a lot more Pandora radio nowdays and often would like to listen to a track repeatedly without having to wait for it to come around in the playlist again.

mherger
2009-12-28, 00:11
> With due respect, that set of statements is the core issue. Touch is a
> new piece of hardware, with a new architecture.

Without a lot of software it's just an embedded computer without any functionality. SB Touch hardware has been out with beta testers for more than a year now. But the software/firmware is still under development.

erland
2009-12-28, 01:14
> With due respect, that set of statements is the core issue. Touch is a
> new piece of hardware, with a new architecture.

Without a lot of software it's just an embedded computer without any functionality. SB Touch hardware has been out with beta testers for more than a year now. But the software/firmware is still under development.

Michael, I don't think anyone have any doubts that there has been a lot of work with the Touch and that's needed for the Touch to work. The issue I'm trying to bring up is that with the limited number of of Logitech resources available it seems like you only have time to update the architecture/software to support current and new hardware, after that there isn't any time left to enhance the system with features that would enhance the music listening experience and make it easier to manage/control of your library. IMHO it's features like those mentioned in the initial posts in this thread that are going to make it possible to compete as an audio only device.

I'm very impressed what Logitech have been able to do with the limited number of resources they have. I'm just starting to worry a bit that other competing products with similar functionality are soon going to be available and then Logitech needs to have something that makes them unique.

kakklank
2009-12-28, 04:28
Michael, I don't think anyone have any doubts that there has been a lot of work with the Touch and that's needed for the Touch to work. The issue I'm trying to bring up is that with the limited number of of Logitech resources available it seems like you only have time to update the architecture/software to support current and new hardware, after that there isn't any time left to enhance the system with features that would enhance the music listening experience and make it easier to manage/control of your library. IMHO it's features like those mentioned in the initial posts in this thread that are going to make it possible to compete as an audio only device.Erland, Michael's an intelligent guy and I've no doubt he gets what you and others are saying, however, it's what he doesn't say in response that's very telling...I think we're wasting our collective breath harping on about this stuff, it's clearly not something that features on the agenda. Time to sit back and see where the chips fall.

I'm afraid that for those of us more interested in the listening experience than having a touchscreen located atop your preamp we're probably going to have to switch platforms at some point in the future.

DaveWr
2009-12-28, 04:41
+1

Logitech clearly have a different future customer set.

Dave

Patrick Dixon
2009-12-28, 05:05
I think the danger is that the developers have a different agenda to the users: to the developers the new code, platform and the fancy graphics is what the product's all about; to the users it's how easy, reliable and enjoyable it is to play music.

I suspect that the developers are so busy with the code, they don't actually have time to sit down and listen to music - which is where the beta testers come in ... but then much of the beta comment seems to fall upon deaf ears.

kakklank
2009-12-28, 05:57
... but then much of the beta comment seems to fall upon deaf ears. Make your voices heard, return their hardware and make it clear you're not prepared to waste your time when you derive no benefit. Let them get iPod kiddies to do their beta testing.

pippin
2009-12-28, 06:11
I think the danger is that the developers have a different agenda to the users: to the developers the new code, platform and the fancy graphics is what the product's all about; to the users it's how easy, reliable and enjoyable it is to play music.


Developers will have a different agenda from users.
Marketing will have a different agenda than developers.
But most importantly:
Users will have a different agenda than other users!

Patrick Dixon
2009-12-28, 08:04
Make your voices heard, return their hardware and make it clear you're not prepared to waste your time when you derive no benefit. Let them get iPod kiddies to do their beta testing.

Logitech spend time and money on their beta program, and the beta testers all want to help. But at the end of the day it's up to Logitech as to how they run it to maximise their benefit. Maybe they are just more comfortable with focus groups, but personally I think focus groups are death to innovation.

Philip Meyer
2009-12-28, 10:34
>But at the end of the day it's up to Logitech
>as to how they run it to maximise their benefit. Maybe they are just
>more comfortable with focus groups, but personally I think focus groups
>are death to innovation.
>
I am always a bit weary of focus groups. There are things that should be done to get decent feedback. Selecting diverse people, sufficient period of time with product, avoid influence from other people's opinions, etc.

My wife finds the recent products a bit harder to use, and was confused by changes to functionality in existing products (loss of presets, change in names, change in menus, change with MyApps, radio stations that are not in the Internet Radio menu).

I can understand the push to get new hardware out and total concentration on software to support that, but when will this cycle ever ease up in order to catch up with bugs and enhancements.

There's a buildup of bugs/enhancements that have been pushed back to a future release again, and I can't see that many of those will happen in the next release either. eg. The ambitious schema change that blocks progress on many requested functions.

It seems to me that resources will be stretched even further - the need to support SBS, MySB and TinySC, each time there's a change. And now there are also less developers, and its harder for third-parties to get support to implement plugins.

eganders
2009-12-29, 07:52
Michael, I don't think anyone have any doubts that there has been a lot of work with the Touch and that's needed for the Touch to work. The issue I'm trying to bring up is that with the limited number of of Logitech resources available it seems like you only have time to update the architecture/software to support current and new hardware, after that there isn't any time left to enhance the system with features that would enhance the music listening experience and make it easier to manage/control of your library. IMHO it's features like those mentioned in the initial posts in this thread that are going to make it possible to compete as an audio only device.

I'm very impressed what Logitech have been able to do with the limited number of resources they have. I'm just starting to worry a bit that other competing products with similar functionality are soon going to be available and then Logitech needs to have something that makes them unique.

First off, congrats on hitting 5000 posts!

Second, I think your observations are right on point. The question is how to get Logitech to recognize that there is a significant portion of current owners who know and care, and how that ultimately influences their own, and others, buying decisions; thus making it worthwhile for Logitech to invest sufficiently in programming and development.

More than ever, the SqueezeBox product line needs believers, and a strong product line champion at the helm. The unfortunate alternative is to become just another commodity product. Like you, I'm concerned that recent changes may already indicate the latter. The next several months will tell the story.

rheckly
2009-12-29, 08:53
Hi
I love SBS and one of my most important points was handling of huge number of sounds. In my young years I bought a lot of CD's - so when I ripped them all I have now a library > 50'000 Sounds. Yes I know - I spend a lot of money in this ;-)
But this was a problem within Sonos - they were not able to handle librarys bigger than 50'000 Sounds. So I gave it back - this was around 2 years ago and I don't have any updates that this has changed.

My big requirement is in Squeezeplay. I love this little tool having on my pc to remote control the players instead the slowly web interface.
I would like the idead to have Squeezplay as well at my working place - so I can configure this tool using like a VPN to connect to my library at home and would be able to stream music to my local PC @ work. So all the customizing should be within this tool. For sure some firewall ports etc. must be handled - but as well some security on the SBS (login, etc.).
Today I'm doing this with SSL VPN etc. - but not everyone does have this.

This is from my point of view.

Thx
Roger

audiomuze
2009-12-29, 09:10
I'm just starting to worry a bit that other competing products with similar functionality are soon going to be available and then Logitech needs to have something that makes them unique.They have Facebook... :D

Seriously though, I fully agree with you Erland. I hope this isn't the end in train but my gut feel tells me it is.