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View Full Version : What If Logitech Partnered with VortexBox?



maggior
2010-04-22, 12:30
This was brought up in another thread recently and for the life of me I can't find it. It's probably good to break a discussion of this into a separate thread anyway.

I think this could be a good idea. It's obvious that the Touch will always have limitations as a server. VortexBox could allow Logitech to offer a reasonably priced alternative. It's been developed from the beginning as an appliance, which would position it well with the rest of the product line.

Though it's improved a lot since the beginning, CD ripping and tagging has been the weak area of Vortex box when compared to something like dbPowerAmp IMO.

So, what if it was taken a bit further. What if VortexBox offered a version had an HDMI connection? And had GNOME or KDE desktop installed? With WINE? And a wireless keyboard/mouse (Logitech makes them I think ;-)? They could also partner with Illustrate, the creators of dbPowerAmp, to include that in the bundle. All preconfigured to run right out of the box!

And while we are at it, throw in a version of squeezeplay with an HD skin that looked nice on a big screen TV?

That could be a pretty sweet product I think. One stubmling block I can think of is I wonder if there is a license issue with WINE that would make VortexBox/Logitech leary of including it in the box.

I'm sure Agilis would jump for joy if a partnership like this were proposed, assuming the terms were beneficial.

What do you guys think?

snarlydwarf
2010-04-22, 12:40
I think it would be a support nightmare.

Adding KDE/Gnome/WINE would raise the support level needed.

There isn't a license issue with redistributing WINE. It's GPL.

JJZolx
2010-04-22, 12:42
Because Logitech sells peripherals that it can put in clamshell packaging or shrink wrapped boxes and sell via retailers by the truckload. Look at their online and phone sales and just how laughingly, horribly bad it is. Not a single salesperson has any idea of what the company is doing. Look at how bad their first tier support is for the Squeezebox product line. They would never be interested in selling something in such low volume, and couldn't support if they wanted to.

erland
2010-04-22, 12:54
This was brought up in another thread recently and for the life of me I can't find it. It's probably good to break a discussion of this into a separate thread anyway.

You might be thinking of my post here:
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=537827



So, what if it was taken a bit further. What if VortexBox offered a version had an HDMI connection? And had GNOME or KDE desktop installed? With WINE? And a wireless keyboard/mouse (Logitech makes them I think ;-)? They could also partner with Illustrate, the creators of dbPowerAmp, to include that in the bundle. All preconfigured to run right out of the box!

I'm not sure people want another computer, they want a box that rip and play music. If you want detailed control of the tagging, use a standard computer, pretty much everyone have a computer in the house so this shouldn't be a major problem. The issue that VortexBox solves is that you can just insert your CD in a box and after a while it appears on your Squeezebox in the living room. As long as you use common music and doesn't care if the tagging of genre is slightly incorrect it does a really good job IMHO.

In the latest version it integrates Subsonic so you can even edit the tags from your laptop using a web browser.

The problem with HDMI connection is that people are going to want more, when you start to give them access to it on the TV they are going to want it to play video and record/playback TV. It's quickly going to grow into a media center solution and then it have to compete with Microsoft MCE, MediaPortal, MythTV and similar solutions which does TV and video a lot better than VortexBox ever will, mainly because it's going to be restricted by the hardware.



And while we are at it, throw in a version of squeezeplay with an HD skin that looked nice on a big screen TV?

I'm not sure people want their TV powered on to be able to listen to music, at least I don't. If they like the TV on they can get a media center solution like Microsoft MCE or similar instead.



What do you guys think?

As I said in the other thread, I think it would be a great partnership.

However, I don't really want it to grow as you describe. It should be that little box that's silent, small and focus on what it is suppose to do.

I'm just hoping Logitech won't spend time implementing their own server box, there are so many other things which they ought to focus on which no one else can solve for them. The server box can really be made by someone else, VortexBox is proof of that.

I don't have a VortexBox appliance hardware myself, but I'm running the software on a laptop and really love it. It's perfect to just insert a CD and it will be ripped automatically.

maggior
2010-04-22, 13:26
Thanks Erland, that was the post. Seeing what thread it was under, it's no wonder I couldn't track it down again.

I was thinking in terms of Vortex box doing all of the heaving lifting for development and support and Logitech would OEM it and slap a Logitech logo on it. Though they would then want it to be piano black and have some funky shape too.

Erland, you make a good point that once you have a keyboard, mouse, and require a screen you've morphed the appliance into yet another computer. I was thinking of those things as optional, part of an upgrade package.

If there was a way to deal with dbPowerAmp via a web page, that would be ideal. That also eliminates the need for KDE and WINE. I think they have set the bar regarding CD ripping, so anything that doesn't include AccurateRip will always be second best IMO. If somehow that could be incorporated into VortexBox, then I think they would have the whole package. But I'm sure we aren't talking the sort of volume that would make any sense for Illustrate to provide custom software to Vortex box for this purpose.

VortexBox, as it is, is a bit of a niche product. What I'm talking about would make it even moreso.

The fact of the matter is that as-is, the Vortex box IS a PC in an appliance's clothing, so its functionality could always be expanded down the line if it made sense.

agillis
2010-04-22, 14:39
The whole point of VortexBox is it's a server appliance so we will never have a desktop. We don't need dbpoweramp becasue we already have a ripping solution that works.

As for partnering with Logitech. I would love that but it seems unlikely Logitech would want to sell something they didn't design themselves.

Also I'm not sure what advantage there sre in a partnership. VortexBox is already designed to work perfectly with SqueezeBox and you can already buy VortexBox appliances from the same stores you buy a SqueezeBox from such as Amazon.

Also it would be to bad if we had to stop support for other devices such as Sonos. One of the goals of VortexBox is to be the perfect back-end for any player.

iPhone
2010-04-22, 15:14
Personally I think it would kill Vortexbox. They are doing well in their own right. Released 1.2 in March and 1.3 in April. Plus by being independent, they can add the items that Logitech will not touch.

Slim Devices has been around for years and never sold servers. Look what happened when they tried to partner with an NAS maker. I kind of think keeping them separate is the best of both worlds. Logitech makes good NMPs and Vortexbox makes great server software and sells their own server appliance. Don't think they should mess with a good thing.

Besides, Logitech has a linux server now with TinySC running on the Touch. Granted its not an all in one solution because of no ripper, but if one can use the Touch with a USB drive, one probably already has a ripped library (or can rip).

erland
2010-04-22, 15:17
As for partnering with Logitech. I would love that but it seems unlikely Logitech would want to sell something they didn't design themselves.

Also I'm not sure what advantage there sre in a partnership. VortexBox is already designed to work perfectly with SqueezeBox and you can already buy VortexBox appliances from the same stores you buy a SqueezeBox from such as Amazon.

I was personally thinking something similar to what they've done earlier with ReadyNAS. Logitech wouldn't have to sell it and support it themselves, they'd just have to recommend it officially for users that don't want to have a "computer" running. Basically put a link on their web site to the "recommended VortexBox server solution".

The advantage for VortexBox is obvious, the advantage for Logitech is that they get rid of some complains from users that want a server solution that isn't a "computer". Many of these doesn't seem to want a third party solution unless it either has a Logitech logotype or at least is officially recommended by Logitech. I'm not sure exactly how this would work with VortexBox, but I know Logitech has done it with ReadyNAS before and they have also some similar things with the iPhone applications (adding a link to them from their official site).

The advantage for the customer would be that they would be able to get a solution with a partner which Logitech officially works together with to offer a good server solution. It would also probably be possible to create some discounts if you buy both a Squeezebox and a VortexBox appliance.

maggior
2010-04-22, 17:15
The whole point of VortexBox is it's a server appliance so we will never have a desktop. We don't need dbpoweramp becasue we already have a ripping solution that works.


Yes, you are right. After Erland's post, I can see where I went totally overboard with what it could be. The more I thought about it, anybody that cares about the rip process and wants full control over the process (i.e. what tools are used), they will already have a setup. And they can continue to use that setup by accessing the VortexBox via network share.



Also I'm not sure what advantage there sre in a partnership. VortexBox is already designed to work perfectly with SqueezeBox and you can already buy VortexBox appliances from the same stores you buy a SqueezeBox from such as Amazon.


The point would be that if there was an official plug for VortexBox from Logitech as a "recommended server solution" for when the Touch isn't enough (i.e. you have more than 3 other players, or whatever the documented minimum is) it would lead more customers that way. More business for you and probably less support headaches for Logitech. There would also be more instantly happy users and perhaps users that would feel comfortable making the plunge knowing that the mysterious server end will be covered by an appliance.



Also it would be to bad if we had to stop support for other devices such as Sonos. One of the goals of VortexBox is to be the perfect back-end for any player.

Understood. Of course it is easy for us to lose site of that fact since we are 99.9% exclusively SB users :-).

maggior
2010-04-22, 17:17
I was personally thinking something similar to what they've done earlier with ReadyNAS.

How successful was that? I remember that. Also, that was back in the Slim Devices days - I wonder how easy it would be for Logitech to form a partnership in the same way SD and ReadyNAS did back then.

iPhone
2010-04-22, 17:25
How successful was that? I remember that. Also, that was back in the Slim Devices days - I wonder how easy it would be for Logitech to form a partnership in the same way SD and ReadyNAS did back then.

Mind you I don't have any inside knowledge and very few details, but wasn't it just basically a ReadyNAS with SlimServer pre-installed? I think the benefit for the NAS company was one would have to order one with drives to have SS pre-installed instead of a bare bones no drive NAS. Other NASs of the day when ordered with drives also came with SS pre-installed they just didn't have a link on the Slim Devices website or a package deal which was available on the web order page. I remember a bundle something like a ReadyNAS with SS pre-installed and two SB3s in the sales link.

Muele
2010-04-23, 01:06
Hehe

All this talk about the Vortexbox appliance makes me wonder if I should buy one...

I installed the image on a laptop and it worked like a charm. But my music is currently on a usb-disk, and that made the vortexbox so not-an-appliance-at-all that I ended up quitting and going back to the win-xp installation I had before (actually a fresh install, but whatever...)

But I'm sure it's another story when running as it's supposed to. And at less than 400$ it's probably close to unbeatable.

And yes, Logitech should definately link to Vortexbox.org the same way it links to the iPeng site. but a closer relationship than that is probalby not a good idea.

jimbres
2010-04-23, 04:23
Hehe

All this talk about the Vortexbox appliance makes me wonder if I should buy one...



To cut down on my power usage, I recently replaced an old Dell P4 power hog running Ubuntu with a VB appliance & couldn't be happier. The GUI pretty much explains itself & the setup is rock solid.

I prefer to do my ripping on my Windows box using dBpoweramp, so I don't use the ripping tools built into VB.

maggior
2010-04-23, 06:13
Hehe

All this talk about the Vortexbox appliance makes me wonder if I should buy one...

I installed the image on a laptop and it worked like a charm. But my music is currently on a usb-disk, and that made the vortexbox so not-an-appliance-at-all that I ended up quitting and going back to the win-xp installation I had before (actually a fresh install, but whatever...)


If you purchase the box, it is an appliance since it already has an internal drive in it - no need to connect a USB drive.

I installed it once on an old machine to try it out and I was greatly impressed. I'm glad it's seeing some success. A lot of people seem to be clamoring about the USB drive usability issue with VortexBox. With the Touch and all of the talk of connecting USB drives to it, it's turned into USB Drive Madness! Seeing how features have been added, it wouldn't surprise me if Agilis and team did something about it in an upcoming release.

Siduhe
2010-04-23, 06:29
I'm another recent convert to Vortexbox. We had a perfectly usable server powering the software before, but it was a power hog (the BIOS didn't support WOL) and not exactly user friendly for my better half. It's a very, very slick solution. Plug and play for those that want a turnkey solution but with the ability to mess around under the bonnet if you want.

As for the USB point - I haven't found that to be an issue at all - I've see the thread on here but it doesn't reflect my experience. There are some fairly clear instructions to follow on the vortexbox forums and then all works as expected. Although I agree that the developers may make that aspect more plug and play in future too.

iPhone
2010-04-23, 07:18
Hehe

All this talk about the Vortexbox appliance makes me wonder if I should buy one...


Buy one or built your own DIY Server running Vortexbox as I did. The appliance is a very good deal for what one gets and its turn-key right out of the box. I had an Atom MB, RAM, and drives so it made sense for me to shop around for a case big enough to hold the drives.

I think the Appliance is the perfect solution for people that can get all their music on a 2TB drive or smaller.

I am also doing what Jimbres is doing. I rip with dBpowerAmp and use the Vortexbox Server as my 24/7/365 music server. I have 3 CDs that dBpowerAmp would not rip, feed them to the Vortexbox and it ripped all three of them.