DivX unveiled a media streaming system today and SlashGear was invited to witness the new open hardware platform behind the set top box. As many reference designs are, the physical box itself is pretty plain with silver chassis that looks more like a wireless router.
The set top box features many connection ports such as component, HDMI, composite and Ethernet. The box also has a built-in WiFi to accommodate Wireless streaming of media.
The good news is the feature list for set-top boxes should be increasing. Set-Top boxes should also become consumer electronics devices, sold and marketed to the consumer instead of video service providers.
Essentially the reason for the price hike is the FCC is finally enforcing previous rulings which push for user-marketed boxes, whereas the current market is setup so that the various cable companies select the boxes they want to allow their customers to use and only market those boxes to the consumer.
It's something of a moist relief that manufacturers are helping broadcasters to save me from myself. Every day of my miserable life I'm but a step away from accidentally pirating something recorded on my PVR, and unintentionally damaging the trusting, loyal relationship I have with the people who supply me with endless reality TV and formulaic comedy docu-drama. Thank the lucky stars for Thomson and their NexGuard fingerprinting and encryption technology, which can embed a unique code that includes the serial number of your set-top box into anything you record from it. That way, should you inadvertently produce several thousand copies of, say, Desperate Housewives for your own, personal use, you can be tracked down and roughly flogged.
Netgear, one of the leading players in wireless networking industry announced a new set top streaming media box named EVA700. Equipped with 802.11G wireless and 10/100 Ethernet, EVA700 is the first top set player in the market that is verified as an Intel Viiv technology compliant. By default, the EVA700 wireless encryption is protected with WEP, however you can update its firmware to support WPA-PSK. I’m surprise it does not have HDMI or DVI output, as it uses RCA jack output and RCA component output. The EVA700 pricing is set at $269.
While we sit and twiddle our thumbs waiting for AT&T to get their U-Verse IPTV service offered worldwide, the company has partnered with Dish Network to release a networkable DVR/home media center in order to tide us over. Dubbed the Homezone, the new set top box features Dish Network connectivity (duh), Internet scheduling capabilities that allow you to schedule shows online rather than from the box itself, and downloadable movies via Movielink for $4.99 a pop. Anyone in San Antonio or Ohio can rent one now for $10/month, but without anything that truly stands out as a must-have feature, would you really want one?
Yeah, THIS should go over real well. Like a lead balloon. ABC is apparently trying to convince personal video recorder makers to start leaving out the automatic commericial skipping features that helped make the devices to popular. ABC President of Advertising Sales Mike Shaw apparently feels that the demand for this feature isn't too great, which not only proves that he not knows what he's talking about, but raises some serious questions about how one so stupid could become the head of advertising at a major studio network. Don't expect TiVo or any of the other guys to actually comply with this request, as it would kill the sales of their main cash machines. And ABC, you might want to rethink who's running your advertising division.
Hot on the heels of our story this morning about the HAVA Video Streamer set top box, it appears that Best Buy has begun selling the Sling Media SlingBox for $149.99 starting today. The device normally retails for $199.99, and while this doesn't appear to be a Sling Media-initiated drop, why would Best Buy want rid of these devices so badly? Is it possible that we could be seeing a new SlingBox debuting soon? Or is it just a sale that Best Buy felt was a good idea for this week? Only time will tell...
Up to now, the Slingbox has been the reigning champ of TV retransmission, taking your programming from your cable or satellite setup and forwarding it to a computer or other device. Well, Snappy Multimedia is looking to make you forget about your Slingbox with their competing set top box, the HAVA Video Streamer. While it basically does everything the Slingbox can (it even has a weirder name), the HAVA has a number of extras that will make DVR enthusiasts salivate, including Wi-Fi access point capabilities, DVD-quality transmission, and the abilty to connect to a network via Wi-Fi 802.11a/g (802.11b doesn't have the necessary bandwidth for this technology; time to upgrade!) rather than Ethernet. Basically, this allows you to put the HAVA in a different room than your broadband connection without having to trip over networking cable. Oh, and did we mention that multiple users can watch TV via the HAVA at once? The IPTV wars are officially on.
Tired of standard-definition programming on your new high-definition multimedia center? Matrix-steam is here to the rescue. The company has introduced their IMX1020 set top box, designed to broadcast high-definition programming right over a broadband Internet connection. Sounds too good to be true? It's not. Developed as part of the Matrixstream end-to-end Television over Internet Protocol (IPTV), the IMX1020 allows users to watch television up to 1920x1080 resolution (commonly referred to as 1080p) without requiring more than a standard cable or DSL connection. So, if you're tired of paying large sums of money to your current service provider, you'd do well to read on.