NAB 2000

I’m back from Vegas where I spent the past couple of days wandering around this year’s NAB convention. I was pleased that so many of the vendors were aware of Linux and either had or were working on Linux software for their products. There were several MPEG boards, some audio boards, and a variety of other non-driver software. One audio board manufacturer had some stuffed penguins and a sign that read “ask us about our Linux drivers”. The Broadcast 2000 guys even had a booth there. I was also pleased to find in reading through some of the trade journals being distributed there that, for the most part, the video hardware manufacturers understood the whole DeCSS thing. I read one editorial that said they understood that what we were trying to do was develop software to play our DVD discs, not pirate movies. I was less pleased that the MPAA guys didn’t have an exhibit this year – I was hoping to spook them by visiting their booth while wearing my DeCSS T-Shirt. And, of course, I stopped by the Play booth for a few minutes to watch Kiki Stockhammer demonstrating the latest version of the Trinity software (maybe when she gets back from NAB she’ll fix her web site).

Well, back to work now… I’ve got several hundred emails and quite a few phone messages that piled up while I was gone.

More New Toys

Maybe I spoke too soon on the Optibase card. I got a call from a Dallas Optibase rep today saying they’d have a card for me tomorrow. We started playing with the Sigma Designs card today and it’s pretty cool. Once we evaluate them, there’s still a ton of coding to do to get this project done on time. It’s going to be a long couple of weeks…

New Toys

The UPS guy just dropped off a Sigma Designs NetStream 2 card. We’re evaluating MPEG 2 cards for a project that’s got to be completed in the next couple of weeks. An Optibase VideoPlex Xpress card may be in the running too if they can get it to us in time. Unlike Sigma Designs who offer evaluation units and cheap pricing through distributors like Tech Data, Optibase appears to be a much smaller operation. They didn’t have any eval units handy and their products aren’t carried by any major distributors. Also, Optibase is a Microsoft-only company and refuses to develop or allow others to develop Linux drivers. Sigma Designs has working beta version Linux drivers and isn’t afraid to release the technical details required to do driver development. You always have to wonder what’s being hidden when a company won’t tell you how their product works!