[mythtv-users] MythTV production run
James L. Paul
james at mauibay.net
Tue May 4 15:01:07 EDT 2004
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On Monday 03 May 2004 17:57, Larry Howe wrote:
> I think the three most important things about getting more people to use
> linux (e.g. MythTV) are volume, volume, and volume. After volume, the next
> three most important things are ownership, privacy, and privacy.
I wouldn't equate Linux and MythTV that way. Productizing MythTV and selling
it as an end-user DVR system does _not_ equate to another person "using"
Linux. I doubt the majority of end-users have any idea what OS their phone,
DVD player, or microwave oven applications are built upon. I'd like to see
Linux chosen often for embedded or end-user products, but their doesn't make
customers of those products "Linux users" in any traditional sense.
> Someone did mention volume and how there may not be too much advantage to
> more volume. I have a bit of a counterexample. I made some custom hardware
> a few years back and I could only break even when I made a couple at a
> time. When I did get an order for 20 or so at once, then I could turn a
> profit. This is of course a classic chicken and egg problem, more people
> don't use it because more people don't use it, etc.
Volume isn't everything, quality is often better than quantity. And as good as
MythTV is, (and no doubt will continue to get better) it's just not ready for
a sealed end-user product at this stage of development. True, it's a great
building block for creating such a product, I won't argue that, but there are
still some alpha and beta quality components at this time.
As for economy of scale, sure, the more boxes you produce the lower the cost
per box. So what? If you are planning to invest the time and effort to create
and distribute a stable, consistent, and supportable product for end-user
consumers, I doubt you will find a way to make a profit from selling the
hardware. (And I'm leaving marketing and licensing out of this entirely,
which is considerable!)
> In terms of ownership and privacy, this is something I think needs to be
> emphasized more in all linux advocacy. Someone mentioned digeo.com on here
> and how it is "the competition" for MythTV. It is not the competition for
> MythTV. If you look at the digeo literature you'll see that it not only
> monitors your viewing, it then cleverly inserts targeted advertisements
> INTO THE NAVIGATION MENUS. So it is only the competition for people who
> don't mind that sort of thing.
Why do you imagine they do this? Could it be they are unable to make a profit
from selling hardware? Unable to profit from selling service? What do you
propose to generate profit _without_ selling adds or viewer data? Powerful
people and companies have run the numbers have been running the numbers for a
long time and I haven't seen one yet that is turning a profit, much less
doing in on hardware alone.
> For me personally, maybe it's my age, but I've had one too many ads fed to
> me, and I don't want more of them popping up in new places. How many people
> would be willing to spend $20 per month for a supported MythTV that has
> more features, and isn't trying to sell them stuff? And would $20 per sub
> per month be enough to support a business of supporting mythtv boxes?
How many users would you need at $20/month to support the infrastructure you
would need to turn a profit? Assuming you sell the boxes at break-even and
convince customers that you have the longevity to charge them $20/month for
the next several years, and your data service licensing only takes a small
chunk of your renevue, and you only need one or two employees to handle user
support and updates, and you continue to compete the cable company settop
boxes and exploding DVR market, will the profits exist, much less be
satisfying and worth all the effort and risk? I honestly don't know. I'm not
optimistic on the venture though.
> I would be willing to put up some money (but not all the money) to support
> a short production run (20 boxes maybe?). I can also help with sales and
> marketing but someone else would
> have to do the design and offer the support. My feeling is we would have to
> hit near the $300 price point to even be able to sell 20. Any takers?
Would the time and effort to create an end-user quality product and the
support of 20 users to sell $6000 worth of product be worth it at all? Even
if you were amazingly resourceful and were able to create a boxed product at
a cost of $250 (including hardware, software integration, testing and
installation, packaging) are you really willing to aqcuire product support
responsibilities of 20 users for a mere $1000? I know I sound cynical, but
the real pessimism is my belief that there would be no profit at all. I see
huge likelyhood of taking a loss. A loss that would be buying you support
responsibilities that would make sure you keep on losing.
It sure seems great at first, at least it did to me as a hobbyist. I can cram
some hardware together cheaply, using some old parts I had around. I can get
the software working easily enough, and deal with the occasional crash or
problem. I can upgrade and fix things when necessary like when the XMLTV
script gets outdated. I don't have to worry about paying license fees for
programming service because I'm a hobbyist. I don't have to write
documentation or worry about operating with anybody else's entertainment
center other than my own. My friends see my system and say things like "Wow!
You should sell that!" and so I think about it. The more I do, the more sure
I am I don't want to ever start down that path.
I only recommend you very seriously research everything you will be getting
into should you decide to start down that path. If you can make the numbers
satisfy you, then I would encourage you to give it a try, and wish you well.
> Quoting sukeband at vzavenue.net:
> > Hey everyone,
> > I know the subject of selling commercial mythtv boxes has
> > been probably talked about to death, but I’d hate to see
> > talents and skill of the major developers on this, go
> > unrewarded monetarily. I’ve been playing around with the
> > software for a few months now and, I feel like it's nothing
> > short of brilliant.
> > Is anyone adverse to the idea of marketing prebuilt systems
> > and having any some of generated go to the major developers?
> > Does anyone see a fairly large market for these? If this is
> > the case, I don’t see a problem taking advantage of that, if
> > it went towards the betterment of the players in the
> > community, especially the people that made this project
> > possible?
> > What are your thoughts on this guys?
> > -Rob
> ----- End forwarded message -----
> mythtv-users mailing list
> mythtv-users at mythtv.org
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