Over-the-Air Digital TV with Linux
Interview with Jack Kelliher, CEO and Cofounder of pcHDTV
AS: How did you become interested in building HDTV cards for Linux? Was it because the technology is open source, or was it a personal interest?
JK: Actually, both. I had an early HD card for Windows but almost exclusively used Linux and wanted one for Linux. As there were open-source MPEG players available and a niche market for Linux, I felt that it was a very doable project that could grow into a small business.
AS: What have been your challenges in making the pcHDTV products successful?
JK: Of course, the first challenge was developing the card, drivers and modifying a player to handle HD playback, followed by problems in production. We thought we had a fairly small window of opportunity, as the FCC was planing to enforce the broadcast flag [a set of status bits sent in the data stream of a digital television program that indicates whether the data stream can be recorded, or if there are any restrictions on recorded content], which would not have been very compatible with Linux. Luckily, the Supreme Court struck this down, although Congress has considered it a couple times since.
AS: What do you find exciting about Linux after many years of working with the technology?
JK: The extraordinary advances in open-source software, like MythTV, and very usable video viewing, editing and animation applications—even medical applications, like MRI viewers.
AS: How do you see your products evolving?
JK: We want to support PCI Express in the future, and we are considering a small USB product as well.
AS: What are your thoughts about targeting your product for European users (non-ATSC users)?
JK: We have been and are continuing to work on a world-wide solution, and this has been using up most of our time. The project is fairly large for us, but we hope to introduce something by the end of the year.
pcHDTV HD-5500: pchdtv.com/hd_5500.html
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950: hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hvr950.html
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1800: hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hvr1800.html
Alolita Sharma has been involved with open source since the early days of Linux. As a software engineer and industry consultant, she promotes disruption through open source. She is cofounder and CEO of Technetra and OSI Board Member. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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