Ever wish you could help design the TV of the future? If so, you're in luck: Canonical developers are currently soliciting the open source community's feedback to help plan features for Ubuntu TV.  Here's what they want to know, and how you can have your say.

First introduced back in January of 2012, Ubuntu TV is an ambitious project.  It's also one that, for the moment, remains pretty open ended, in the sense that its specifics have yet to be nailed down.

And that's why the team behind Ubuntu TV has invited members of the public to describe the use cases they envision for the platform on the Ubuntu wiki.  So if you think you have a brilliant idea for how next generation, open source TV should work -- or if you just want to make sure your personal needs are taken into consideration -- you're encouraged to share your thoughts.

Ubuntu TV, In Users' Eyes

So how exactly do community members envision Ubuntu TV?  The full list of use cases is too extensive to detail here, but some of the more insightful and feasible requests that I like include:
  • Inclusion of a simple, user friendly media server, like Rygel, into the Ubuntu distribution itself to make it trivially easy to play media content from an Ubuntu computer on Ubuntu TV.
  • DVR functionality, like pausing and recording live TV, should be built in to Ubuntu TV.  This may seem like an obvious feature, but since the coding will likely be less than trivial, I hope the Ubuntu TV team is able to implement it.
  • Built in software for cutting out commercials from recorded TV.  If there's one thing that drives me crazy about many commercial DVR packages, it's their lack of an easy way to skip commercials.  It would be great to see an open source solution take the cake on this front.
  • Support for integrating the TV with mobile devices.  Until Ubuntu itself makes a real foray into the mobile world, allowing Ubuntu TV to connect to and share content with phones and tablets would be a welcome move.  Of course, it's also one that may be easier to conceptualize than to put into code, given the range of mobile devices that would need to be supported.
Some of the other proposals are a bit far fetched: The suggestion for Netflix support is probably dead in the water, for instance, since Netflix has yet to show any genuine interest in making its software work on Linux, ever.  Similarly, the idea for building bluetooth into Ubuntu TV, while cool, seems a bit unrealistic since it depends on hardware functionality that may not be present on all devices.  But it's always good to dream.

For now, a lot remains to be seen regarding how Ubuntu TV will actually shape up.  Here's looking forward to a real preview (and not just conceptual mockups) in the hopefully not too distant future.