Being interrupted by banal comments and questions during your favorite TV show - "who is that again?"; "I thought they died in the last episode?"; "what do you mean, the laws of physics don't apply?" - is one of the worst things about coexisting on the same planet with other people, but obviously not everybody feels the same way. A new set-top box in Japan, the Entisu EN-NL1068, daisy-chains between your cable, satellite or DVD player and your TV, overlaying comments from the Nico Nico Douga messageboard. That way, rather than just being pestered by whoever is on the couch with you, you can be alerted to brain-spam from thousands of others.
Remember the bizarrely named IN Media !ROFL set-top box from a few months back? The company has just announced that they're using Android with the IP STB, apparently including Android Market access so that users will be able to download applications and games and play them on their HDTV. Details are scarce, but IN Media also says they support cloud-based streaming from online storage, together with video-on-demand through services like Netflix and Blockbuster.
Intel has agreed to purchase Texas Instruments' cable modem division, with the chipmaker planning to use it as a showcase for their Atom-based SoCs. TI's existing staff will be folded into the Intel Digital Home Group; it's unclear at this stage whether Intel intend to shift the cable STBs to the Google TV platform, having been a launch partner for the Google-led technology.
There have been several new products lately that have turned up with strange product names. Not long ago there was the new phone called the :) that turned up. Today IN Media has announced a new set top box for IPTV called the !ROFL. ROFL is internet parlance for rolling on floor laughing and most geeks know what it means at a glance.
Expect more Linux-based touchscreen tablets, mobile devices and set-top boxes over the next couple of years, as Canonical prepare to push touch functionality in their Ubuntu distribution. According to director of business development Chris Kenyon, the OS manufacturer is targeting "the digital home or something you carry around" - though not smartphones - with new builds that prioritise finger-friendly UIs and stripped down packages that boot quickly and offer speedy access to core mobility functionality.
It's a morning of acquisition talk today, with Google confirming that they've bought Agnilux, a company started by ex-PA Semiconductor employees. The move has caused much speculation as to what exactly it is Agnilux have been working on; initially there was talk of low-power server chips, obviously of interest to Google since the company has massive server farms driving its various search and cloud-based services. More recently, however, someone familiar with the deal told the NYTimes that in fact Agnilux is made up of "systems guys focusing on hardware-software integration ... not chip design" that could help Google make more efficient tablets.
ASUS’ plans for its next-generation of set-top boxes have been tipped, with the company expected to add wireless HD support to an upcoming model. According to DigiTimes’ usual shadowy industry sources, ASUS are using Taifatech’s TF-600 chipset, presumably in a new O!Play box, which is capable of streaming Full HD video over wireless or wired networks.
It's not just the new Boxee Beta that the company is excited about. Having confirmed last month that they were working with hardware partners to deliver a pre-built Boxee set-top box, the company has announced that the first unit will be from D-Link. The D-Link Boxee Box - shown here in render form - is expected to arrive in Q2 2010, and will have integrated WiFi together with an HDMI output.
Set top boxes are very common today to pick up over the air HD broadcasts and to view cable channels. If you live in an area where broadcasters transmit over the air HD signals you may need a set top box to send those signals to your TV. ePVision has announced a new HDTV receiver called the PHD-205LE that offers lots of connectivity and features.
It might not mean much to the Android smartphone lurking in your pocket (or that you'd like to have there), but MIPS and Sigma Designs have been demonstrating an Android-based set-top box capable of 1080p high-definition video. The STB prototype is being positioned as "a major milestone toward the creation of a reference platform" for Android-powered home entertainment devices, with the two companies adding support for Sigma's hardware graphics acceleration and decoding.