Of all the amazing and wonderful things I saw this weekend at London's OpenTech conference, none came close to the stupendous Promise TV box. This is a home-built personal video recorder made out of commodity PC components (primarily a LOT of high-capacity hard-drives).
What the Promise does is grab the entire broadcast TV multiplex — all the channels being broadcast in the UK — slices them up according to the free, over-the-air electronic programming guide, and stores an entire month's worth. Why program a TiVo to get certain shows for you when you can record every single show on the air, all at once, and then use recommendations, search, a grid, or any other means you care to name to figure out which of those thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of programming you want to watch.
The promise.tv team have produced a breadboard prototype and a single, product-like box that looks like the kind of thing you might stick under your TV. They've put up a placeholder site to collect email addresses of people who want to find out more when they do a more formal launch. I've just signed up — I can't wait to see more of this. I'd buy one in a hot second.