Neuros OSD, the Open Set Top Box

neros osd
(via BoingBoing) Damn, I had this idea, I swear. But I am glad someone is doing it. The open (as in open source) set-top box, the Neuros OSD running on Linux. This is the beginning of something great. Consumers are finally going to get the home audio device that will do what they want it to do.

The device has not been released yet, most of the good apps still need to written for it. And how will they get written? There are bounties for various apps: Flickr photo browser, YouTube viewer, PVR for satellite radio. I imagine someone will also make a podcast/video podcast downloader/streamer, and Tivo-like video recording features. I come home, turn on the TV, and watch my favorite shows: Ze Frank, Rocketboom, and DiggNation. That would be great. It features Ethernet (wired and wireless), USB. Pre-order here.

What about MPAA/RIAA?: Dream Scenario
You might ask if this company can stay around in the face of sue-happy-Hollywood. If they get up in arms, I have an idea. We can beat them at their own game. What if we (the free culture/hacker/open source/creative commons/blogger/podcaster community) were to come up with a way to tag content digital as Creative Commons, and make it so the device can play only Creative Commons licensed material and fair use coppies? This would be a great strategy to play right at the tipping point of the popularity of this device. When it becomes so hot and everyone has one and everyone is ditching their DVD players and DVRs for the Neuros OSD, there will be a strong demand for Creative Commons material, and traditional media outlets will need to licence Creative Commons. Copyright dies, fair use lives.

Apps: Let the Disruptive Innovation Begin!
So, there are the obvious apps mentioned above. But here is the real doom scenario for anit-free culture corporate stakeholders: built in BitTorrent with data encryption, open and built-in content purchasing platforms (DRM free of course), fair use iTMS iPod content ripper (protected M4A to MP3 converter) that auto inserts ID3 tags.

I did have my heart set on Apple’s new iTV. But why pay more for a device that does less? Why wait for Apple to make the updates that are going to be MPAA/RIAA flavored when any developer who knows and wants to can make apps for it that do what people really want?

Update:
There is a lot of criticism about paying low bounties. Cory Doctorow has replied to one of these critics with some great points.

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