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April 19, 2014

set-top-box

Kodak wants in on your living room

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 10th 2008 6:26PM
Kodak
Kodak, like pretty much every other electronics company out there, has its sites set on your living room. The company has announced a new Theatre HD Player which is designed to hang out by your television sit and connect to the internet for easy access to the online Kodak Gallery.

The $300 Theatre HD Player will also be able to handle video from sites like YouTube, audio from RadioTime, and images from sites not owned by Kodak, including Flickr. As the name would suggest, the box supports HDTV (720p). It also comes with a gyroscopic remote control which you can use a bit like a wireless mouse.

The box will also let you display images stored on a PC, memory card, or any USB storage device. You can even plug a Kodak EasyShare digital camera right into the Theatre HD Player to show your images on your TV screen. Of course, plenty of cameras also come with A/V cables that let you do pretty much the same thing, but it's nice not to have to carry a specialized cable around.

The Theatre HD Player should be available in September.

[via Crave]

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Sezmi unveils a broadband connected set top box

by Brad Linder, posted May 1st 2008 10:02AM

Sezmi

Building B has pulled back the curtain on its set top box, which for some reason it's calling Sezmi. While the name makes the box sound like some sort of blogging service, it's actually a content delivery system that combines over the air high definition television with broadband video delivery.

The box has a 1TB hard drive for storing video the company pushes out over the internet, which lets it work as a sort of video on demand unit. But it's also got a terrestrial antenna for tuning into your local network affiliates, assuming you can get good reception. We use a terrestrial antenna in my household, and while most networks come in crystal clear, we have a hard time picking up CBS or PBS.

It's not clear at this point what kind of content will be available through Sezmi, as the company hasn't announced any partners yet. There's also no word on the pricing yet, but Building B has begun private beta tests of the Sezmi with a larger pilot launch scheduled for later this year.

[via NewTeeVee]

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Blockbuster to launch a set top box for streaming video

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 10th 2008 5:38PM
BlockbusterTired of looking at that empty spot next to your TiVo, Windows Media Extender, Apple TV, and Xbox 360? Blockbuster's got just the thing -- another set top box capable of streaming internet and downloaded video.

There aren't many details about the box yet, but Blockbuster is reportedly set to announce it later this month. The box will offer hardware to compliment software the company already owns. Blockbuster acquired Movielink last year. The service provides users with the ability to rent or purchase digital movies which can be downloaded to a computer.

But PVR Wire readers aside, most people don't have their televisions connected to their computers, so a set top box seems like a good idea. You know, until you count up the other set top boxes you've got lying around. As Dave Zatz points out, it would probably make a lot more sense for Blockbuster to develop technology that would allow the company to send video to existing devices like a TiVo, video game console, or even a network enabled DVD player.

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Hauppauge to release set top boxes, portable media players

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 7th 2008 2:56PM
Hauppauge
Hauppauge is probably best known for its line of TV tuners that let you watch and record live television on a computer. But it looks like the company is expanding it product line in a big way.

At CeBIT Hauppauge announced several new products, including:
  • A 149 Euro portable media player that can pick up live digital TV using the UK's Freeview standard
  • The 199 Euro HD-PVR USB TV tuner that encodes 720p and 1080i video on the fly using the H.264 codec
  • The HVR2200, a 129 Euro dual-tuner Freeview card
And today, the company has announced plans to release a set top box using the DiVX Connected software platform. There's not a lot of information about this box, but I assume it'll allow users top access web content from sites like YouTube and Google Video. Once upon a time, DiVX was showing off this set top boxes that could access the company's Stage6 video sharing service, but that site was shut down recently. You'll also probably be able to stream content over a home network from any PC in the house.

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Software upgrade turns satellite receivers into PVRs

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 27th 2008 10:03AM
Canal+Personal video recorders with a USB port for an external hard drive are a dime a dozen these days. But French satellite provider Canal+ is offering something a bit different. Canal+ customers can turn their existing HD set top box into a PVR by adding an external hard drive.

What's new here is that the box didn't start out as a personal video recorder at all, just a satellite receiver. Sure, they've always had a USB port, but it was one of those ports that was set aside for future use. And now that the future is here, Canal+ has pushed out a software upgrade to all 250,000 boxes installed in customers' homes.

As far as I can tell from the press release, customers can use the PVR function for no additional charge. But my French is a bit rusty, so if anyone feels like perusing the Canal+ web site to uncover more details, please let us know what you find out in the comments.

[via Gizmodo]

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Cisco announces new set top box without Scientific Atlanta name

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 14th 2008 4:56PM
Cisco 8500HDC
It's been over a year since Cisco acquired set top box makers Scientific Atlanta, but the upcoming 8500HDC DVR series is the first line of set top boxes we've seen that will bear the Cisco name instead of Scientific Atlanta.

The boxes will come in several flavors, including the 8550HDC with analog and digital tuners, and 8540HDC digital tuner box. Each box will be internet capable, with support for things like viewing online media and sharing photos and video on multiple devices connected to a home network. It looks like you should also be able to access digital media stored on a PC connected to your home network.

No word on when the new boxes will be available, but it's a safe bet you'll be able to get them sometime later this year from your area cable provider, not your local Best Buy.

[via EngadgetHD]

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Archos TV gets official: PVR + online video device

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 4th 2008 1:31PM
Archos TVArchos is preparing to show off the Archos TV at CES. The company first announced its answer to both the Apple TV and TiVo last summer. It doesn't look like the specs have changed since June, but it's nice to get confirmation that Archos has actually built working models which it can show off. Hopefully that means they'll be shipping soon.

In case you've forgotten, the Archos TV is an internet connected device that lets you watch streaming video from the web or from other computers on your home network. It also packs full web browser, and a hard drive for downloading video from CinemaNow or for storing recorded television programs.

The Archos TV will come in two varieties, with an 80GB version selling for $249 and a 250GB model selling for $349. The set top box also comes with a funny looking QWERTY remote control for searching for videos or web surfing.

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Netflix: Coming soon to a TV set top box near you

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 3rd 2008 10:53AM
Netflix LG
There've been rumors for a while that Netflix was planning to build its own set top box for delivering movies directly to your TV. Now it looks like the DVD rental service is building a platform that will work on many different set top boxes. The first partnership is with LG, but Netflix is looking for other companies to work with.

According to HackingNetflix the goal isn't just to provide one set top box, but to make the Netflix software embedded in boxes ranging from DVD players to video game consoles. And of course, cable boxes.

The box will be internet connected, and users will have access to the same 6,000 movies current Netflix users can currently get by clicking Watch Instantly from the Netflix website. No word on how much the box will cost, but once you buy the hardware, you'll need a Netflix monthly subscription to view the content.


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Comcast TiVo rollout begins (with a few hiccups)

by Brad Linder, posted Dec 21st 2007 10:31AM
Steve Garfield's Tivo software installNow that Comcast is making TiVo software available to the general public (and by general public, I mean a handful of people in Massachusetts), blogger Steve Garfield decided to sign up. And lucky for us, he's documented his ordeal so you know what to expect.

OK, that's not fair. Odds are that thanks to the guinea pigs early adopters like Garfield, Comcast will have some time to work out the kinks by the time it makes TiVo software more widely available.

But right now, getting TiVo service on your Comcast box isn't exactly what I'd call easy. Garfield says first he got an email letting him know that service was available, but he couldn't find any way to sign up online. After calling Comcast support and chatting with a rep online, he was still getting nowhere until an executive called him out of the blue to confirm an appointment Garfield hadn't actually made. He was told that they would be installing a new box, and he would be able to keep his old box until he watched his recorded programs. This was just flat out wrong. What Comcast actually did was download new software to his Comcast box to provide TiVo service. No recordings were deleted.

Long story short, Garfield's service is working. And thanks to his noble sacrifice, there's a good chance that if you're in a supported area, Comcast agents might actually have a clue what you're talking about when you call to request TiVo service.

[via Tivo Blog]

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Comcast customers (who don't work for Comcast) finally getting TiVo

by Brad Linder, posted Dec 19th 2007 11:02AM
Comcast TiVoComcast is finally beginning to offer people who don't actually work for Comcast (or presumably know someone who does) the chance to get TiVo software on their Comcast branded set top boxes. The cable provider and PVR maker have been collaborating since last year, and we've been hearing for months that Comcast was beginning to deploy TiVo software in New England. But up until now there wasn't any way for the average cable customer to call up Comcast and request the service.

Now several users are reporting that they've received emails from Comcast letting them know they can sign up. TiVo service will set you back an extra $2.95 per month on top of your regular cable/PVR rental bill.

Right now the service only appears to be available in select areas of Massachusetts. But you can sign up on Comcast's web page to get an email letting you know when service is available in your area.

[via TiVo Lovers and Zatz Not Funny]

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BabelTV: web browser, word processor, and PVR all in one box

by Brad Linder, posted Oct 26th 2007 3:31PM
Babel TVBabelTV is a new company offering an all-in-one set top box in the UK The box acts as a FreeView tuner, personal video recorder, and web browser. In other words, you can watch web video, live, or recorded TV.

Basically, there's a PC under the hood, which means you can also run applications for word processing, e-mail, and media playback.

The BabelTV doesn't need a huge hard drive, because all of your files are actually stored on a central server. When you need to access a file, a temporary copy is made on your set top box. This makes it easy to recover your files if your box is broken or stolen.

While you can put together a full fledged media center PC for under $1000, at £295 ($602), the BabelTV looks like an appealing option for UK customers.

[via Engadget]

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Comcast TiVo boxes spotted in the wild

by Brad Linder, posted Oct 22nd 2007 3:01PM
Comcast TiVo boxesIt's finally happened. Comcast has started rolling out TiVo software to a handful of New England customers. Dave Zatz has managed to snag some screenshots of the interface, as well as pictures of the Motorola set top box and the co-branded TiVo/Comcast remote control.

And you know what? I'm not really that impressed. Sure, it's pretty cool that you can order on-demand videos from Comcast and schedule TiVo recordings using the same box and remote. But as far as we can tell, the interface looks almost exactly the same as the first screenshots we saw almost a year ago.

I'm sure that over the last 10 months Comcast and TiVo have been working out a lot of the kinks under the hood and testing the heck out of this service to make sure it works as smoothly as possible. But I kind of would have expected a few bonus features to have been thrown in over the last few months. Maybe it's just me, but it's hard to get excited about something that kind of looks like last year's technology.

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