Friday, October 10, 2008

Snapstream Discontinuing Sales of Beyond Media Software

Beyond Media Today on the Snapstream forums, Snapstream announced that they are officially discontinuing the sale of their HTPC front-end software, Beyond Media as of November 1, 2008.
It's important to note that Snapstream is continuing their focus on BeyondTV and Snapstream Enterprise.

Here’s the announcement from the Snapstream Forums:
Hey SS community,
On November 1, 2008, we will be discontinuing the sale of Beyond Media. As you might have noticed, since it's launch, Beyond Media has taken a back seat to our TV product, Beyond TV. And as we map out our development plans for the future we just don't foresee being able to dedicate time to work on Beyond Media. Of course, we will continue to provide technical support for the product, but in the next few weeks you'll see it disappear from the site. We are sorry for any inconvenience that this decision causes but we hope that you will understand where we're coming from.
This will come as no surprise to many current and former Snapstream Beyond Media users out there given the lack of updates or any significant support over the past several years.  Rakesh Agrawal alluded to this direction in an interview with me last November as well.  I used Beyond Media in conjunction with BeyondTV on my HTPC’s for several years, but late last year, it became obvious to me that Snapstream had moved on from trying to be a true HTPC software company and instead focused on the consumer-based BeyondTV PVR software and their fast-growing Enterprise software.

                  Screen-shot of Beyond Media Music Playback

Beyond Media was never integrated into BeyondTV so you basically had to switch between programs to go back and forth between the PVR app and DVD/Music/Photos functions of Beyond Media.  Beyond Media’s updates practically stopped years ago leaving users like me having to work around the bugs and other problems of Beyond Media.  This was extremely disappointing to users like me who wanted a complete HTPC program and ultimately drove many who wanted more than just a PVR to do one of the following:
  • Continue to use BeyondTV with a long-in-the-tooth Beyond Media
  • Continue to use BeyondTV with Media Portal, Meedio or MCE for the non-PVR functions
  • Switch to SageTV, Vista Media Center or one of the many other HTPC programs available.
There once were many excellent plugins for Beyond Media – one of the best DVD Library applications among them, but most of those have not been supported or updated for a very long time.  While I’m sad to see Beyond Media go, I think it is the right thing for Snapstream to do since they have no intentions to update the program in the future.  I continue to recommend BeyondTV to those looking for a good software-based PVR that doesn’t want or need the Movies, Music, Photos or other plugins that often come with HTPC software.  Otherwise I recommend SageTV, GBPVR, Vista Media Center and MythTV in that order.

Are you a former (or current) Beyond Media user?  Let us know in the comments along with your thoughts and memories of Beyond Media.
Snapstream Announcement