Java Web browser in less than 100 KB - a strong, potential browser for TiVo
This was specifically written for those TiVo Inc. developers & management that lurk the forums. But, if some else gets a great idea out of this - that's cool too.
One of the most requested items is being able to browse the Internet by those with broadband. It could be here sooner & properly if the information below is considered & acted upon. It could assist in driving TiVo sales by making TiVo the preferred home Entertainment client. It could also reducing market penetration of Microsoft HTPCs & the forth coming Apple Mac Mini HTPC.
I hope I have your attention. Please continue.
With a small footprint, a 100 KB browser would take microseconds for broadband transfer - if not cached on the TiVo itself.
Well, Opera.com offers Mini Opera - a modern, full featured browser, written in Java and smaller than 100 KB. Being developed primarily for mobile devices, it features their "Small-Screen Rendering" (tm). Standard Televisions don't offer HDTV or Computer monitor resolutions ... but they do offer more visual real-estate than smart phones & mobile devices.
With Small-Screen Rendering(tm), the page is reformatted to fit inside the screen width and eliminate the need for horizontal scrolling. All the content and functionality is still available, it is only the layout of the page that is changed. This innovation is the key enabler for surfing on a mobile device.
Where to check out the goods:
Please, get in contact with Opera and see what opportunities exist.
Going to http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/operamini/ will get you the Mini Opera's FAQ, Help and Forum. There's plenty of information, demonstration videos (the Small Screen navbar link), and more. (They also have Opera Mobile but I don't know if it's Java based.)
They even mention "Small-Screen Rendering" (tm) is built into Opera 7> for Windows - just press Shift+F11.
How to check out the goods:
Going to http://mini.opera.com with a standard browser redirects you a standard Mini page. Going to http://mini.opera.com with a Desktop WAP browser or phone will get you to the JAD download page. It provides a Lo-Fi browser less than 70 KB and the Hi-Fi browser under 100 KB.
I used `wget http://mini.opera.com/` in Linux/Cygwin on that page to find the JAD URLs. TIP: If using the cmdline app `wget`, add this line to your ~/.wgetrc to let the server know you're using a WAP browser:
user-agent="UPG1UP/4.0 (compatible; Blazer 1.0)"
You can then see how large the browser is; Unzip it to see all the different classes, etc. It should run just fine in any Java MIDlet environment. Being Java, it should not be much effort for Opera to update it for running in standard Java - if even required. Obviously, this is provided the backend business deals can be negotiated and the technology contracted.
There is a caveat to this browser - it currently doesn't support Flash. But that's because most phones and smart devices don't have a Flash plug-in or player. However, Linux x86 does have a Flash plug-in. It might not be an issue to have Macromedia recompile Flash for the TiVo (Linux MIPS I believe). Even if they don't right away, other things need to happen first - such as making the browser happen.
Convenient, alternate character input:
Having a browser usually requires keyboard input. Using the on-screen character input may not be desirable for some users. In fact, more & more people getting used to entering characters using their Mobile Phone's keypad for SMS Text messaging & Web Browsing. Leverage this open convention.
Could new TiVo Remotes be silk screened so the numeric keys also have the alphabet on the case in the same format as a phone? The remote already has a 4-way, Select, Enter and other buttons a mobile phone has. Older remotes wouldn't even need to be replaced since it's a convention - but a Popup, on-Screen layout reminder would be helpful.
This could allow the user to use a second, familiar or alternative input than the on-screen input. Don't forget that web site names are case-insensitive, but some URLs paths are not. So some other keys may like Instant Replay & Skip-To-End may need to be leveraged as Shift, Tab, etc.
What do I get out it
If my ideas were ran with, it would be great if I got a second TiVo, some swag, or even just some TiVo points out of it. I won't be heart broken though.
What I do want is an even better product. I think my ideas above have some real, viable possibility and can contribute to that end. Even if I don't get to help with the beta testing, I look forward to some great new features - such as the new Yahoo clients, content push and yes ... web browsing.
Finally, thank you TiVo
This really is great product. And it keeps getting better.
BTW, be sure to promote another special for a year contract at $16.95/month including the box. I found out about that special by accident. I would never have been able to afford to get into TiVo with the upfront costs to make good on the rebate. I'm sure others would join the ranks if they only knew.
Last edited by Mr Markus : 12-14-2005 at 03:19 PM.
Reason: Forgot to include email notification to myself