Ok, our new TakeTV arrived, and this time it works perfectly. (The first one we got was a pre-production unit with a bum remote.) Here are a few more things we noticed about the TakeTV and its accompanying Fanfare video download service:
- The TakeTV interface still has a very unpolished, raw look and feel to it. It's also just the bare essentials, with only a few options for video settings (just aspect ratio, NTSC / PAL, and which video type you prefer: letterbox, pan and scan, fill, etc.).
- On the upshot, being flash-based and light weight, the system boots near instantly and videos take just a couple of seconds to load.
- It properly recognized our XviD and DivX files, but didn't like AVC1 encoded movies, and surprisingly enough, didn't like our standard encoded MPEG-4 Handbrake-ripped DVD. (It's supposed to play back MPEG-4 files, maybe we did something funny, who knows.)
- On the other hand Fanfare looks very slick, but the interface -- done in Flash -- is way too busy, making it sometimes difficult to tell what's going on. It's definitely in need of some simplification and polish.
- Downloaded DRMed videos are, surprisingly enough, in XviD. But they're wrapped SanDisk's proprietary TrustedFlash rights protection. Files are .smbt.
- Downloaded videos are about 350MB per 30 minutes. That's 1.6Mbps (200KBps); given that high a bitrate you'd think these videos would look friggin' great, but the sad fact is they look more like 600-800Kbps, tops, so don't be too disappointed when your Fanfare downloads don't look all that amazing.