If you’ve been wondering “what will Boxee do next?” there appears to be an answer. A tipster has sent The Verge pics of a new set-top box, still built by D-Link, that ditches the original’s angular design for a more conventional shape and integrates live TV tuning support as well as DVR capabilities. There’s no word on the storage capabilities, but the box advertises an included antenna and remote (lightly refreshed, losing the QWERTY keyboard) and implores owners to “stop wasting money on stuff you don’t watch.” Boxee’s healthy support for internet content, both streamed and locally stored, is still intact and a survey suggests support for viewing content on mobile devices. Not mentioned? Cloudee integration or any cable TV support, encrypted, ClearQAM or otherwise. There’s a few more pics beyond the source link, we’ll start updating our CES watchlist now.
Motorola may have held a fancy event for the launch of its 2012 RAZR line up, but it’s saved the unveiling of its new raft of set-top boxes for the IBC show floor. No fewer than 10 models running Moto’s KreaTV OS are on display at the event, possibly putting a dampener on rumors of Google selling the business off. Four of the set-tops are earmarked for IPTV services, with the different options accounting for variations in storage capacity and processing power. An additional four bear the Microsoft Mediaroom branding, and are distinguished by their differences in HDD capacity, wireless performance and feature set. Two cable boxes round out the selection, offering cost-effective simplicity and DVR capability, respectively. If you’d like more info on the ins and outs of each model, check out the PR below for the family newsletter.
You may be familiar with EchoStar’s satellite-based (Dish Network) and Sling Media (Slingbox) products, but the company also manufactures set-top boxes for third-party providers, as well as free-to-air services in the UK. It’s this last grouping that’ll be able to take advantage of the Android-based device we saw today, assuming it does in fact make its way to market. The HDX-410 runs native Ice Cream Sandwich, and is available in two versions — one supports IP content and local storage exclusively, while a second can also accept terrestrial Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) programming, letting you play back live TV shows in addition to content from a local server, pulled from the web or stored on attached media or an inserted microSD card. It connects to the web using Ethernet or WiFi, and includes USB ports on both the front and the rear, Bluetooth, HDMI out, digital audio out and a standard-definition connection. It’s also paired with a QWERTY keyboard-equipped remote manufactured by Philips with gyroscopic or directional-pad curser control, along with pinch/zoom gesture capability.
We had a chance to check out the ICS box at EchoStar’s IBC booth today, where the device was running Android 4.0.4 and an early version of the company’s hybrid app, which groups “favorited” content alongside terrestrial channels, letting you use the standard channel up/down button to navigate through stored TV shows, IP content or live programming quite seamlessly, as if all of the media was playing from the same source. It’s clearly not yet ready for primetime, but the interface was sleek and speedy — the set-top box performed very well overall. EchoStar reps were unable to confirm whether or not the HDX-410 would be coming to market at all, but they did add that the solution may be made available to third-parties in the future. Click past the break to take a closer look in our hands-on video.
Sky+ has been on a bit of a tear refreshing its set-top boxes, and it’s not about to stop now. When ready, a new update for the satellite TV provider’s devices will let you undelete recorded programs; deleted shows are now moved to a separate space and only removed permanently either through age or if you really, really don’t want to watch. If you’re more interested in watching content that’s always available, both Anytime and Anytime+ will be rebranded as On Demand, while the Sky Guide is adding a dedicated store tab for movie rentals. Catch Up TV is also nearing with the update and should aggregate the last week’s worth of shows from Sky in addition to BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 and ITV Player. The gotcha, as we know all too well from these kinds of firmware revisions, is the timing. You’ll have to have either a Sky+ HD 1TB box or the Sky+ HD DRX890 to get the upgrade early on, and Sky is staggering its deployment in a move that could leave some subscribers twiddling their thumbs.
It was just two days ago that a Google product manager let slip that Google was working with Hisense on a low-cost Google TV box. At the time, we didn’t know much — not even a product name — but Google did intimate this mystery item would sell for under $100. Now, Hisense is stepping in to clarify a few key details. For starters, this thing is called the Pulse, and it will arrive in November priced at “under $99,” more or less as expected. Other than the fact that it’s built on Android (duh), it supports resolutions ranging from 480i to 1080p and has HDMI, USB and Ethernet sockets. (It also has WiFi, of course, in case you’d rather not make use of that wired internet connection.) Hisense also says it will ship with a double-sided remote, with a full QWERTY keyboard on one side, and a touchpad and dedicated Netflix button on the other. The Pulse is slated to arrive in mid-November, but there’s a good chance we’ll see it before then — it’s going to be on display at IFA, where we’ll be reporting live this week.
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