Hillcrest and Broadcom make motion-remotes simple with new BT chips

Sony and LG both turned to Hillcrest Labs last year for help with their motion-control remotes, and now it seems the company is looking to spread its love more generically. Hillcrest has inked a deal with Broadcom to make a pair of Bluetooth chips that integrate the Freespace MotionEngine, the Broadcom BCM35230 digital TV system-on-a-chip (SoC) and BCM20730 single-chip.

The new chips use a digital-output, 3-axis MEMS gyroscope from InvenSense, and can be used to control on-screen cursors, browsers and UIs. Considering the growth in smart TV, more intuitive ways of controlling ever more complex STBs has to be a good thing.

Press Release:

Hillcrest Labs Unveils Low Cost, Embedded Motion-Control System for Next-Generation Connected TVs

Company to Showcase Collaborative "Smart TV" Solutions with Universal Electronics at CES 2011

LAS VEGAS, NV and ROCKVILLE, MD — January 5, 2011 — Hillcrest Labs, a leader in motion-control technology and interactive television applications, today announced a new low cost, embedded motion-control system for TV manufacturers. The new turnkey solution is designed to support new motion pointing and gesture-enabled user interfaces for navigating the Web, Internet-based applications, and games on televisions. It will be showcased at the International CES show, January 6-10, 2011, in Las Vegas, NV, in the Broadcom Meeting Room, Hillcrest Labs suite at the Renaissance Hotel, and the Universal Electronics (UEI) booth on the CES show floor.

Specifically, the Company announced that Hillcrest's patented Freespace(R) MotionEngine is now integrated with Broadcom's new BCM35230 digital TV system-on-a-chip (SoC) and Broadcom's new BCM20730 single-chip Bluetooth(R) solution, enabling a turn-key, cost-effective, and fully-featured motion control solution for connected televisions. In addition at CES, Universal Electronics, the world's leading manufacturer of TV remotes, will showcase a new Freespace and Bluetooth-enabled TV remote control, utilizing the world's first single-chip, digital-output, 3-axis MEMS gyroscope from InvenSense, that is compatible with the new system from Broadcom and Hillcrest. The demonstrations will include a TV user interface optimized for motion pointing, which includes Hillcrest's HoMEcast(TM) video application and a Webkit browser engine.

"As the demand for Internet-based content on TV continues to rise, manufacturers are seeking differentiated, turn-key, and economical solutions that enable immersive and intuitive user experiences for consumers," said Chad Lucien, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Hillcrest Labs. "We are proud to have collaborated with Broadcom and the market leaders in remote controls and MEMS devices to create a turnkey solution that enables TV manufactures to quickly add Freespace motion control, pointing applications, and Bluetooth to connected televisions."

"Broadcom is at the forefront of producing very low power chipsets that will enable a growing portfolio of innovative remote control devices for Internet-connected TVs and home entertainment devices," said Craig Ochikubo, Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom's Wireless Personal Area Networking line of business. "We are very pleased to have worked with Hillcrest Labs to incorporate their pioneering Freespace technology into our new class of Bluetooth and digital TV chipsets."

Unlike alternative motion control technologies, both the new chipset and compatible TV remotes use fully-integrated motion sensors that do not require additional external cameras or lightbars in order to control the onscreen viewing experience. In addition, the low cost Bluetooth-based solution does not require line-of-site, which enables consumers to control their TVs without the need to aim at the TV. The new system is compatible with a variety of smart TV platforms including Linux, Android or Google TV-based solutions.

Broadcom is a leader in applying Bluetooth wireless technologies to an increasingly diverse range of consumer electronics and media devices. As a leading supplier of integrated solutions for digital TV, set-top box, Blu-ray disc players and other technologies, Broadcom is able to help drive the proliferation of Bluetooth based gestural and other advanced remote controls. Bluetooth is particularly well suited for the applications because they increasingly require higher data bandwidth than are available from other nascent radio technologies also targeting these devices.

For the past two consecutive years, Hillcrest Labs was named an International CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards Honoree. For 2011, Hillcrest was selected for Kylo(TM), its free Web browser for television, and in 2010, the company was selected for its Loop(TM) pointer, an in air mouse designed for consumers who connect their computers to a television. Companies that have licensed Freespace for use in their products include: Eastman Kodak, LG Electronics, Logitech, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., Universal Electronics (UEI), and others.

Additional information about Broadcom is available at www.broadcom.com.

Additional details about Freespace or Hillcrest Labs are available at www.hillcrestlabs.com.