What is PV/Twonky's target market for TwonkyMedia Server?

General discussion about the media server. Feature requests. Hints, tips and tricks.
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john.glasson
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What is PV/Twonky's target market for TwonkyMedia Server?

Post by john.glasson » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:55 pm

I'm curious to know where forum members and Twonky themselves see the market to TwonkyMedia Server. I hope that some PV/Twonky employees will contribute to this thread!

Twonky's Windows based products seem the most reliable - it's clearly more straightforward to maintain this version since there are only a few variants of windows. But given the many uPnP server alternative options (several of which are free) I wonder whether PV get much revenue from this source?

Twonky's NAS OEM customers must be important to them: a steady revenue stream and a large enough market to justify support effort.

The unsupported NAS market most be more problematical: too many different varients, and potential for dis-satisfaction from lack of support.

I originally bought 4.4 to run on a Synology. Shortly afterwards, Twonky announced that they were dropping support for NAS; but in fact I have had some good support and anyway 4.4.x has been mostly trouble free.

My Synology was too old to run 5.x, so I bought a WD My Book. But now that I'm an OEM customer I get no support from Twonky. I have had issues with 5.1 which must affect other users too. If I'm correct in thinking that the OEM maket is the main revenue stream for TMS, then I'd have hoped that Twonkly would be responsive to its OEM customers.

What do others think?

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Re: What is PV/Twonky's target market for TwonkyMedia Server?

Post by Twonky_Rick » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:58 am

Although I work for PV, I don't necessarily represent PV on this issue. Having said that here is my perspective on your questions:
Twonky's Windows based products seem the most reliable - it's clearly more straightforward to maintain this version since there are only a few variants of windows.
We don't intentionally favor any OS or platform over another. The fact that we support Mac, Windows and Linux is one of our big advantages. If you are aware of any Mac or Linux issues that affect all users, please make me aware of them by sending mail to tmm-beta@pv.com. For now I'm only looking for things that work well on the PC platform and are "broken" on Mac or Linux.
But given the many uPnP server alternative options (several of which are free) I wonder whether PV get much revenue from this source?
TwonkyMedia server shipped with over 2 million products in 2009. We expect this number to double or maybe even triple next year. So the answer to your question is, even though there are many free media server solutions, this is still a good business for PV.
Twonky's NAS OEM customers must be important to them: a steady revenue stream and a large enough market to justify support effort.
Although the NAS market is very important to us, the companies who manufacturer the NAS devices we ship on are responsible for end-user support. As a result, all issues should be reported to them. When they feel an issue is important enough to fix, they contact us and an update is released. Although we'd like to be able to release updates for every NAS product, in some cases our contract with the manufacturers prevent us from doing so.

- Rick
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Re: What is PV/Twonky's target market for TwonkyMedia Server?

Post by mgillespie » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:10 am

I have never had any problems with my NAS setup(ARM based Sheevaplug) it's 100% rocksolid, and performs exactly the same as my Windows test install.

Self-install NAS has many problems, but few of them are problems with the product, most of them are related to the users trying to use them, lack of reading the documentation, trying to install an incompatible version or the fact many NAS setups are locked down and/or have non-standard OS layouts, ancient glibc or uclib versions etc.

As for the free mediaservers, I never had much luck, hence why I bought a TwonkyMedia licence a few years back, last time I checked, the free products havn't really improved that much, and when you compare them to TMS servers features, platform availability, memory usage and performance they still rate sub-par.

It's also worth remembering that this is a support forum, so it does give a rather one-sided view of things, as people only tend to post when they have problems, for every person having a problem with a NAS setup, there are surely hundreds that aren't having any problems (I don't know this, as clearly I don't have the details of the number of downloads), however it's clear there is a requirement for the NAS builds, and that there are many more people using them that there are those that are having problems with them, purely because they still exist and the list of supported devices is growing.
Please note: Moderators here are voluntary and do not work for PacketVideo or Twonky, please do not attack us. Any posts are personal opinion, and may not be those of PV/Twonky.

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Re: What is PV/Twonky's target market for TwonkyMedia Server?

Post by john.glasson » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:35 pm

TMM_Product_Manager's helpful reply much appreciated. One point I am unclear on though: does the '2 million products in 2009' refer specifically to Windows based bundled shipments or is that the total OEM figure? If such data is not commercially sensitive, it would be extremely interesting to know in rough % terms the split between TMS Windows-bundled licences, NAS-bundled licenses, and individual purchases: Windows and NAS.

The question of PV support for OEM's individual customers is a difficult one: clearly PV need to see the economies of a single point of support with the OEM and certainly PV can't release individual 'fixes' for OEMs' customers. But it would seem worth keeping a dialog going with these customers - they are PV's customers too, and PV would surely want to keep their finger on the pulse of their users' views and get early warning of any issues.

You mention 'For now I'm only looking for things that work well on the PC platform and are "broken" on Mac or Linux'. I've been very impressed by how consistent TMS is between the different platforms. The only issue I've had has been the release of a libstdc++.so.6 dependent version (which is not available for some older NAS). In the PC market, it's not unusual to maintain compatibility for at least two older Windows releases. I can't say that I'm entirely in agreement with mgillespie on this point ('ancient glibc or uclib versions etc'): it's always frustrating to have to upgrade hardware that in other respects is working fine because a software vendor drops support for its OS. PV did make available a libstdc++.so.5 version of TMS 5.1.1 RC3 (for some Synology NAS) but so far as I can see it's been dropped at 5.1.2.

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Re: What is PV/Twonky's target market for TwonkyMedia Server?

Post by DaemonBeetle » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:13 pm

john.glasson wrote:I'm curious to know where forum members and Twonky themselves see the market to TwonkyMedia Server. I hope that some PV/Twonky employees will contribute to this thread!

Twonky's Windows based products seem the most reliable - it's clearly more straightforward to maintain this version since there are only a few variants of windows. But given the many uPnP server alternative options (several of which are free) I wonder whether PV get much revenue from this source?
I'm running Twonky on Linux and have had no problems with it. Loading playlists can be a little slow, but I have a lot of playlists ;)
No longer running Twonky

Twonky_Rick
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Re: What is PV/Twonky's target market for TwonkyMedia Server?

Post by Twonky_Rick » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:38 pm

TMM_Product_Manager's helpful reply much appreciated. One point I am unclear on though: does the '2 million products in 2009' refer specifically to Windows based bundled shipments or is that the total OEM figure? If such data is not commercially sensitive, it would be extremely interesting to know in rough % terms the split between TMS Windows-bundled licences, NAS-bundled licenses, and individual purchases: Windows and NAS.
The 2M number includes both embedded (e.g. NAS) and bundles (e.g. CD in a box). It does not include any online sales. I can't really share additional details -- because we are a public company and there are limitations about what can be said.
The question of PV support for OEM's individual customers is a difficult one: clearly PV need to see the economies of a single point of support with the OEM and certainly PV can't release individual 'fixes' for OEMs' customers. But it would seem worth keeping a dialog going with these customers - they are PV's customers too, and PV would surely want to keep their finger on the pulse of their users' views and get early warning of any issues.
Agreed. There are many examples of NAS-related issues that were reported by end users here that have been fixed.
You mention 'For now I'm only looking for things that work well on the PC platform and are "broken" on Mac or Linux'. I've been very impressed by how consistent TMS is between the different platforms. The only issue I've had has been the release of a libstdc++.so.6 dependent version (which is not available for some older NAS). In the PC market, it's not unusual to maintain compatibility for at least two older Windows releases. I can't say that I'm entirely in agreement with mgillespie on this point ('ancient glibc or uclib versions etc'): it's always frustrating to have to upgrade hardware that in other respects is working fine because a software vendor drops support for its OS. PV did make available a libstdc++.so.5 version of TMS 5.1.1 RC3 (for some Synology NAS) but so far as I can see it's been dropped at 5.1.2.

Although we'd like to be able to always go back and fix things, we don't always have time to do so. At this point in time, we're hard at work on TMS 6.0 and want to move forward.

- Rick
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Checkout my blog: http://mostly-tech.com/

john.glasson
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Re: What is PV/Twonky's target market for TwonkyMedia Server?

Post by john.glasson » Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:46 am

Thanks for the reply, TMM_Product_Manager. I look forward to TMS 6.0!

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Re: What is PV/Twonky's target market for TwonkyMedia Server?

Post by joergnapp » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:27 pm

TMM_Product_Manager wrote:
You mention 'For now I'm only looking for things that work well on the PC platform and are "broken" on Mac or Linux'. I've been very impressed by how consistent TMS is between the different platforms. The only issue I've had has been the release of a libstdc++.so.6 dependent version (which is not available for some older NAS). In the PC market, it's not unusual to maintain compatibility for at least two older Windows releases. I can't say that I'm entirely in agreement with mgillespie on this point ('ancient glibc or uclib versions etc'): it's always frustrating to have to upgrade hardware that in other respects is working fine because a software vendor drops support for its OS. PV did make available a libstdc++.so.5 version of TMS 5.1.1 RC3 (for some Synology NAS) but so far as I can see it's been dropped at 5.1.2.

Although we'd like to be able to always go back and fix things, we don't always have time to do so. At this point in time, we're hard at work on TMS 6.0 and want to move forward.

- Rick
C'mon, this ain't a real reason. You have the time to compile it for NSLU - and the executalbe is completely useles because of this issue, but you don't have the time to compile it on a system whitout libstdc++.so.6 and with libstdc++.so.5? I can't think of any good reason for this. Very frustrating!

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Re: What is PV/Twonky's target market for TwonkyMedia Server?

Post by DaemonBeetle » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:29 pm

joergnapp wrote:C'mon, this ain't a real reason. You have the time to compile it for NSLU - and the executalbe is completely useles because of this issue, but you don't have the time to compile it on a system whitout libstdc++.so.6 and with libstdc++.so.5? I can't think of any good reason for this. Very frustrating!
You're assuming they have such a platform with a compiler on it to hand. They may well not have, hence why they don't just crank out binaries. If they take the time to build and test such a platform it'll eat into the effort they would otherwise be spending on other things, like TMS 6.0.

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