What Mark Cuban is missing about HDTV

Hey, I know he’s a billionaire. Owns the Dallas Mavericks. And invested in an HD movie company.

I can still teach him something.

Today he said that it’ll be a long time before your PC will connect to an HDTV because your PC doesn’t have the right connections.

I say that’s poppycock.

Here’s how I hooked mine up: Ethernet. Your PC has one of those connectors, right?

My Media Center-run PC hooks up to my Ethernet jack, which hooks up to a Wifi router. My Wifi router sprays its packets down (via 802.11a) to a Wifi antenna on my Xbox 360. Those packets get decoded, and sent from my Xbox 360 over its HD component cables to my Sony 60-inch HDTV. Which displays them for me to watch.

I hear Microsoft is selling something like 15,000 Xbox 360s every day.

Mark, if you want to fly me down to your house I’ll be happy to connect a similar system for you. It’s easy and it ROCKS.

Once you do that, you can play Rocketboom (or ScobleShow, if you like long and boring videos about the tech industry) from your PC to your HD screen. Plus music. Plus photos.

It’s the best way to hook a PC up to an HD screen and has the added benefit of being “wife approved.” Why? Cause the ugly PC doesn’t sit in your living room with your TV. Just ask Maryam how important this is to getting along with women. You don’t want to look like a billionaire geek who has no sense of style, do you?

86 thoughts on “What Mark Cuban is missing about HDTV

  1. Cuban is talking about HD content, not watching content on HD TV’s. Most of that content is NOT hd. Perhaps some of it is but you can’t count on the perfect storm of high speed broadband, wifi, high end PC, media center, media center extender, and HD TV. That is a lot. Robert, I know that we live in a nerd bubble. But it is a bubble. Step outside it and you will see. Is it easy, yes, for us. Is it cheap, no. The average TV price is still way below $1000. Is it coming, yes. Is it coming soon, probably not. Do I like to ask questions and then answer them, yes. ;-)

  2. Cuban is talking about HD content, not watching content on HD TV’s. Most of that content is NOT hd. Perhaps some of it is but you can’t count on the perfect storm of high speed broadband, wifi, high end PC, media center, media center extender, and HD TV. That is a lot. Robert, I know that we live in a nerd bubble. But it is a bubble. Step outside it and you will see. Is it easy, yes, for us. Is it cheap, no. The average TV price is still way below $1000. Is it coming, yes. Is it coming soon, probably not. Do I like to ask questions and then answer them, yes. ;-)

  3. Robert, your wife’s MacBookPro is as noisy as your Xbox360? She seriously needs to take that in for repair-there really should be no comparison fan noise-wise. A properly working MacBookPro is dead silent compared to an Xbox360 (or a PS2 or TiVo box for that matter).

  4. Robert, your wife’s MacBookPro is as noisy as your Xbox360? She seriously needs to take that in for repair-there really should be no comparison fan noise-wise. A properly working MacBookPro is dead silent compared to an Xbox360 (or a PS2 or TiVo box for that matter).

  5. It’s funny how we all feel compelled to precede any criticism of Cuban with “I know he’s a billionaire but…” Does anyone think the broadcast.com deal was a product of intelligence and not dotcom insanity? Some good work to be sure but truckloads of luck.

    Then he says “only idiot would by YouTube” moments before people WAY smarter than him (by any metric you choose including bank balances) buy it. He says a PC won’t connect to a HDTV and Scoble elegantly ans simply proves him wrong. He’s not smart, he’s not even telling the truth. He’s just spouting attention grabbing one-liners designed to promote his own business interests, nit the truth.

  6. It’s funny how we all feel compelled to precede any criticism of Cuban with “I know he’s a billionaire but…” Does anyone think the broadcast.com deal was a product of intelligence and not dotcom insanity? Some good work to be sure but truckloads of luck.

    Then he says “only idiot would by YouTube” moments before people WAY smarter than him (by any metric you choose including bank balances) buy it. He says a PC won’t connect to a HDTV and Scoble elegantly ans simply proves him wrong. He’s not smart, he’s not even telling the truth. He’s just spouting attention grabbing one-liners designed to promote his own business interests, nit the truth.

  7. Lot’s of people missing Cuban’s point, including you Bobby. It’s not about buying a computer and hooking it to the TV. Those services will be implemented by the incumbant providers and the relevant CPE. It’s not going to be your Windows Media Center that fetches your Rocketboom or You Tube downloads or feeds. Cuban’s premise is how many are going to go get the two thousand dollar TV, only to drop a grand on a computer to park by it so they can get Web HD (or any Web) content? Very, very few as evidenced by the sluggish Win Media Center sales (or deployments of Mini’s and Front Row). Tivos (and like set top DVRs) already straddle both the sat or cable connection and Internet and it’s not going to be too long before that sort of purpose built box becomes the box that is going to get and play your Web content on your big TV.

    Bub

  8. Lot’s of people missing Cuban’s point, including you Bobby. It’s not about buying a computer and hooking it to the TV. Those services will be implemented by the incumbant providers and the relevant CPE. It’s not going to be your Windows Media Center that fetches your Rocketboom or You Tube downloads or feeds. Cuban’s premise is how many are going to go get the two thousand dollar TV, only to drop a grand on a computer to park by it so they can get Web HD (or any Web) content? Very, very few as evidenced by the sluggish Win Media Center sales (or deployments of Mini’s and Front Row). Tivos (and like set top DVRs) already straddle both the sat or cable connection and Internet and it’s not going to be too long before that sort of purpose built box becomes the box that is going to get and play your Web content on your big TV.

    Bub

  9. *Sigh* I started posting this morning and then finished before those lasts posts were made. I see that the topic is now being clarified to mean “streaming” and there are bandwidth issues regarding this.

    I guess I never considered “streaming” as being a requirement, or even desirable. Maybe I’ve been TiVo-fied (as a user from day one) such that when I sit down, I want to have a local library from which to watch, and the ability to tell a device what type of content I want to be receiving.

    To me, the whole live broadcast model is dead for all content that’s not time-based sensitive.

  10. *Sigh* I started posting this morning and then finished before those lasts posts were made. I see that the topic is now being clarified to mean “streaming” and there are bandwidth issues regarding this.

    I guess I never considered “streaming” as being a requirement, or even desirable. Maybe I’ve been TiVo-fied (as a user from day one) such that when I sit down, I want to have a local library from which to watch, and the ability to tell a device what type of content I want to be receiving.

    To me, the whole live broadcast model is dead for all content that’s not time-based sensitive.

  11. Ya, I love the man, but that was a weird thing for Mark to say. I’ve had my Mac connected to my HDTVs for years now. I’ve used several methods to connect including my favorite, eyeHome from ElGato http://www.elgato.com

    Lately, I’ve been going from my Mac to TiVo, and have been putting my media drives (Several TeraBytes of content) into HTPCs such as TVisto, TViX and MviX. (see Amazon)

    I definitely look forward to the iTV with FrontRow as while these other Mac friendly options work well, they’re not very elegant.

  12. Ya, I love the man, but that was a weird thing for Mark to say. I’ve had my Mac connected to my HDTVs for years now. I’ve used several methods to connect including my favorite, eyeHome from ElGato http://www.elgato.com

    Lately, I’ve been going from my Mac to TiVo, and have been putting my media drives (Several TeraBytes of content) into HTPCs such as TVisto, TViX and MviX. (see Amazon)

    I definitely look forward to the iTV with FrontRow as while these other Mac friendly options work well, they’re not very elegant.

  13. As Mr. Cuban points out one of the real problems is how to get HD content to the computer in the first place. He’s made this argument elsewhere and it’s valid to a point. Cable broadband bandwidth even at 6 Mb/s is inadequate for this. To get sufficient broadband bandwidth for HD would require the cable companies to stop walling off most of the bandwidth available on their pipes into the home for their own proprietary use and that’s probably not going to happen. That’s the whole network neutrality thing.

    Technically, it’s not that difficult to connect PC’s directly to HDTV’s either as suggested here or through a DVI/HDMI or component cable. Likewise, most recent computers certainly have the processing power to decode MPEG4 or VC1.

    The real showstopper isn’t technical it’s legal. That XBOX component connection you mention is not a secure video path, so any protected HD content that you were to get on your PC wouldn’t be playable over your component connection. Only HDMI/HDCP connections can do that and the XBOX as of this time can’t do HDMI to my knowledge.

    I find Mr. Cuban almost invariably disingenuous when it comes to discussions about HD. The technical issues he raises are generally smokescreens to disguise the public policy issues that are really the roadblocks to any attempt to bypass industry authorized methods of distributing and consuming content.

  14. As Mr. Cuban points out one of the real problems is how to get HD content to the computer in the first place. He’s made this argument elsewhere and it’s valid to a point. Cable broadband bandwidth even at 6 Mb/s is inadequate for this. To get sufficient broadband bandwidth for HD would require the cable companies to stop walling off most of the bandwidth available on their pipes into the home for their own proprietary use and that’s probably not going to happen. That’s the whole network neutrality thing.

    Technically, it’s not that difficult to connect PC’s directly to HDTV’s either as suggested here or through a DVI/HDMI or component cable. Likewise, most recent computers certainly have the processing power to decode MPEG4 or VC1.

    The real showstopper isn’t technical it’s legal. That XBOX component connection you mention is not a secure video path, so any protected HD content that you were to get on your PC wouldn’t be playable over your component connection. Only HDMI/HDCP connections can do that and the XBOX as of this time can’t do HDMI to my knowledge.

    I find Mr. Cuban almost invariably disingenuous when it comes to discussions about HD. The technical issues he raises are generally smokescreens to disguise the public policy issues that are really the roadblocks to any attempt to bypass industry authorized methods of distributing and consuming content.

  15. The point of the post isnt that you cant. Its that most PCs arent out of box capable. Sure Macs have DVI out, but most dont have the processing power. If they did, QT would be the default transport for high def already since it does such a great job with any resolution.

    For PCs, its only the last 2 years that PCs have had enough CPU or Graphics power to push HD out a compatible port. Which means even IF those computers are compatible with HDTVs and can play HD content, they are small in number and those without arent going to run out and get HD compatible PCs .

    Hooking up an XBOX to remotely stream. Get real. Possible. Yes. Has been for a while. To stream HD, works for some content formats. Certainly doesnt have a chance of becoming ubiquitous and the obvious solution to playing HD content from the net to an HDTV. THe Xbox w HD DVD had a far far better shot of being a ubquitous inhome media server that connected the net to HDTV but MIcroSoft chose to make Online a Walled Garden. A mistake they may never live down.

    Works great when you are trying to subsidize your hardware costs, but kicks you in the ass when you are trying to become dominant outside of gaming. Its a back to the 1970s strategy of the mini and mainframe software strategy. Maybe they have hired some former Xerox Parcers ?

    THe question I was answering, and maybe I didnt write it as well as some others would of was

    “Will HD content from the Net to a consumers HDTV replace traditional distribution methods of content from a satellite or cable plant to a vendor provided box connected to an HDTV ?”

    The complexity of alternatives in these comments just proves my point that they wont, and the comments dont consider the bandwidth issues of downloading or streaming content that pretty much has to be encoded at 9mbs or more for 80pct of the most popular content.

    thanks for reading and commenting on the blog. Thats what makes blogging fun !

  16. The point of the post isnt that you cant. Its that most PCs arent out of box capable. Sure Macs have DVI out, but most dont have the processing power. If they did, QT would be the default transport for high def already since it does such a great job with any resolution.

    For PCs, its only the last 2 years that PCs have had enough CPU or Graphics power to push HD out a compatible port. Which means even IF those computers are compatible with HDTVs and can play HD content, they are small in number and those without arent going to run out and get HD compatible PCs .

    Hooking up an XBOX to remotely stream. Get real. Possible. Yes. Has been for a while. To stream HD, works for some content formats. Certainly doesnt have a chance of becoming ubiquitous and the obvious solution to playing HD content from the net to an HDTV. THe Xbox w HD DVD had a far far better shot of being a ubquitous inhome media server that connected the net to HDTV but MIcroSoft chose to make Online a Walled Garden. A mistake they may never live down.

    Works great when you are trying to subsidize your hardware costs, but kicks you in the ass when you are trying to become dominant outside of gaming. Its a back to the 1970s strategy of the mini and mainframe software strategy. Maybe they have hired some former Xerox Parcers ?

    THe question I was answering, and maybe I didnt write it as well as some others would of was

    “Will HD content from the Net to a consumers HDTV replace traditional distribution methods of content from a satellite or cable plant to a vendor provided box connected to an HDTV ?”

    The complexity of alternatives in these comments just proves my point that they wont, and the comments dont consider the bandwidth issues of downloading or streaming content that pretty much has to be encoded at 9mbs or more for 80pct of the most popular content.

    thanks for reading and commenting on the blog. Thats what makes blogging fun !

  17. Okay, I just bought an XBox and an HDTV, so I’m a major newbie at this. I can view media center content through the XBox on the TV, but media center won’t play mov files. The rocketboom hd files all seem to be mov, so how do I see them in high def through the XBox?

  18. Okay, I just bought an XBox and an HDTV, so I’m a major newbie at this. I can view media center content through the XBox on the TV, but media center won’t play mov files. The rocketboom hd files all seem to be mov, so how do I see them in high def through the XBox?

  19. Can’t answer the mini size picture on your HDTV. I’ll look into that. (Thanks for letting me know.)

    No dvi port? Get an adapter.

    Anyway, if the point is that HDTV isn’t consumer friendly/ready, I think we’ve all proven that :)

    Lets leave the Wii out of this. Nintendo isn’t making home entertainment systems, they are making game systems. Different markets, different strategies. When everyone has EDtv, they’ll come out with a new system. When everyone has HDtv, they’ll come out with a new system. They didn’t use cutting edge components in their box, so they don’t need to wait five years for full profitability to refresh and bring out something new. They can do that in two years.

    High framerate FPS games are a niche, with a niche size audience. It doesn’t look that way, since the majority of the gaming market likes that kind of thing, but the majority of the gaming market is a tiny slice of the general population. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a reason why we are still called geeks instead of mainstream.

  20. Can’t answer the mini size picture on your HDTV. I’ll look into that. (Thanks for letting me know.)

    No dvi port? Get an adapter.

    Anyway, if the point is that HDTV isn’t consumer friendly/ready, I think we’ve all proven that :)

    Lets leave the Wii out of this. Nintendo isn’t making home entertainment systems, they are making game systems. Different markets, different strategies. When everyone has EDtv, they’ll come out with a new system. When everyone has HDtv, they’ll come out with a new system. They didn’t use cutting edge components in their box, so they don’t need to wait five years for full profitability to refresh and bring out something new. They can do that in two years.

    High framerate FPS games are a niche, with a niche size audience. It doesn’t look that way, since the majority of the gaming market likes that kind of thing, but the majority of the gaming market is a tiny slice of the general population. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a reason why we are still called geeks instead of mainstream.

  21. My Fujitsu notebook connects perfectly to my Sony HDTV over a VGA cable at 1360×768. Okay it’s not digital, but it’s direct and I can view HD shows.

  22. My Fujitsu notebook connects perfectly to my Sony HDTV over a VGA cable at 1360×768. Okay it’s not digital, but it’s direct and I can view HD shows.

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