View Full Version : TVease.net set to release new machine called the "Zodiac"

April 30th, 2007, 07:27 PM
Whats going on everyone? We want to get some feedback from everyone if we can.

We are releasing a new machine soon called the Zodiac. Here is a quick breakdown of the specs and capabilities:

2.8 Ghz Dual Core Intel Processor
1 GIG DDR2 533 ram
1 TB of storage (raid0 setup with 2 500gb drives)
2 Hauppauge low profile 150 tuners
19 in 1 card reader
18X Dual Layer DVD Burner
Wireless 802.11G out of the box
Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
Windows MCE remote included

The case is only 3.5 inches tall and looks like a high end DVD player.

7.1 Digital audio via optical in and out, coaxial out, or 2.5mm out.
Up to 1080P video out via VGA, DVI, Component, Composite, or S-video.

Allot of awesome features we have coded ourselves.
The drive is partitioned for OS, Restore, Media. This way if you have any issues, you can boot into restore, double click the icon and restore your machine to factory defaults without losing all the media you have put onto the machine.

One Button Backup. You can plug a USB drive into the system and press the One Button Backup button and the machine will automatically copy all your media files, and your MySQL files to the USB drive. This way if there is ever an issue, no need to rip all your things again. You could also take your backed up media files to a friends house and import them to his Zodiac.

Easiest setup around. The system comes fully configured and ready to use. When you plug it in the first time, you will go through the setup routine. It will ask you how you want your video connected, how you want your audio connected, wireless setup, and your zap2it account and your done.

All the work is done for you. You answer some questions.

We have also built into the system bit torrent downloads, 3000 plus streaming internet TV channels and all the MythTV plugins already installed.

We are thinking about selling this machine for 1399. What do you all think? Sound good or bad?

Here is a picture of what the case is going to look like.


May 1st, 2007, 08:31 PM

Any feeback what so ever would be a great help.

We have been selling MythTV and Ubuntu based media centers for about 6 months now and things are gowing awesome. We are just looking for feedback about our next machine we are going to release.

May 1st, 2007, 09:20 PM
very nice setup. It is expensive, but that's to be expected of a media center. Some suggestions on getting the price down;

- Does the processor need to be this powerful? you could probably make do with the cheapest intel dual core. Or even one of the AMD X2's (though those are not as good with heat and power consumption)

- Actually that's pretty much it. Perhaps offer some flexibility with the size of the drives to possibly lower the price?

But I have to say, this is a pretty sweet setup. Why aren't you more advertised? I've never heard of you before. Have you tested Linux MCE at all? It's still probably pre-alpha right now, but it seems to have a very interesting take on the whole media center thing.

May 3rd, 2007, 08:42 PM
Looks good. Does it have firewire out in the back? Would be good for supported cable boxes. I'm surprised it doesn't come with a QAM/ATSC tuner. With the Dual core (Pentium D or core2duo?) this sucker has plenty of power for HDTV, and at this price I'd want it. Does it have expansion for another tuner?

May 3rd, 2007, 09:01 PM
Wow, this truly sounds awesome. When I can afford one, I will definitely get one. This is the type of thing I really need.

Couple of questions: 1) does this have gnome installed or what? can I plug in my usb keyboard and mouse and use it, if it became necessary? 2) is there anyway I can access it via a network? for example, if I have a computer in another room, both hooked up to a router, can I have access to write files to the "zodiac" (like if I downloaded some videos or something). Sounds really really nice.

May 3rd, 2007, 10:19 PM
I'm hesitant to buy/build an HTPC: I want to see what happens with cablecard.

As of Jul 1, 2007, to receive digital signals from my cable co, I have to have a cablecard television/pvr/box or a cableco-provided set top box. I haven't seen cablecard hardware/software for the PC just yet.

May 3rd, 2007, 11:04 PM
I'm hesitant to buy/build an HTPC: I want to see what happens with cablecard.

As of Jul 1, 2007, to receive digital signals from my cable co, I have to have a cablecard television/pvr/box or a cableco-provided set top box. I haven't seen cablecard hardware/software for the PC just yet.

My understanding is that as of July 1st all newly deployed set top boxes from cable companies must utilize cable cards. This is more a restraing on the Cable Cos than users in an effort to force Cable companies to better support cable cards so their can be more third party cable devices.

Sounds like your cable company is trying to screw you guys really bad. So you mean they are going to encrypt all QAM stations? I don't even think that's legal for local stations. You should complain to the FCC. Unless you are with a fiber company like Verizon FIOS, which can skirt around this issue for now.

I think it will be a LONG time (if ever) before Linux can use cable cards. Vista (DRM central) will have support, but you'll probably never (well, I shouldn't say never, but it will be difficult) be able to build you own HTPC with cable card support due to CableLABS certification requirements.

May 3rd, 2007, 11:19 PM
all the more reason to use regular cable.

May 4th, 2007, 05:37 AM
all the more reason to use regular cable.

1. For how much longer?
2. Why would I buy an HDTV tuner card and HDTV monitor/projector just to process analog signals whose specification hasn't been updated in over 40 years? Oh yeah, I won't. I'm sticking with this old Sony for a while longer.

I fail to understand why it's so important to protect the content travelling on a digital signal when the same programming is available through analog signals, which have no such protections.

*bangs head on table*

May 4th, 2007, 05:49 AM
Wow, lots of responses. Ok, here we go.

1. We dont advertise allot because there are only 2 of us building them. We have to limit the orders we take already. The 2 models we are currently selling, are selling very well. We have sold 115 media centers in just about 4 months. I have built, tested, and shipped them all myself. We are bringing an actual building facility online now. We should have it up and running by the time we release the Zodiac so we can take the limit off of our orders. Right now we limit it to 10 a week because that is about all I can build a week while still working my full time job.

2. That is our top of the line model of the machine. There will be several versions available to meet all needs. Here is a break down.

Zodiac Gemini is listed above.
Zodiac Dual, just like Gemini except 500Gb instead of 1 TB of storage.
Zodiac Uno, just like Gemini, except 500GB and 1 tuner.
Zodiac, just like gemini except no tuners and a 160GB HD.

The highest priced machine will be 1399, with the lowest priced machine being around 750. Right now our media centers start at 499 and go to 1199. Check em out at our store, link is below in my sig.

3. Not true about the cable card. Its law that if you pay for HD and a DVR box, your cable company has to provide a DVR machine with a firewire port enabled. This port streams the content showing on what ever channel you are watching. You can take that firewire and plug it into the zodiac and watch any encrypted channel you want. Even record like normal. The zodiac treats the cable box as another tuner, so you would actually have 3 tuners. You can record 3 things at once. Its crazy.

4. Yes there are fire wire ports on the back. On the front also. The silver part at the bottom opens. It has optical in, firewire, and usb on the front left. It also has controls on the right so that you can change the channel and control the machine from the front panel if you would like. There is a 19 in 1 card reader behind the center black panel on the front also.

5. There will be an open PCI express slot if you would like to add something later on.

What I do at my house is just get regular cable and plug it into my Zodiac. (its cool to own the company and build them, we get them first). Then I have an OTA HD antenna that i use to get my HD channels. Anything else I want, I download from pirate bay. Total cost monthly is 35 dollars. With Tivo you have to pay the monthly fee also, none of that with ours. No monthly fees at all.

May 4th, 2007, 03:49 PM
you skipped my questions.

May 4th, 2007, 04:06 PM
Sorry about that.

Yes you can hookup your keyboard and mouse but do not need to. It comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse.

It comes with a fully install of Ubuntu Edgy. You can use what ever software you want on it. We want everyone to tweak them and make them their own. If something goes wrong, you just boot into the restore partition and restore the system to factory. This is done without losing any of your media files on the system also.

You can samba share yes.

May 14th, 2007, 11:50 AM
Sounds good to me, we could do with something like this in the UK market.

October 13th, 2007, 11:00 PM
Thread split: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=575150