Thursday, July 20, 2006

Video's future?

In a recent blog I documented how Audioholics had made a good case for why high-definition disc media will remain a 'niche' market. The final point discussed the emergence of online content.

While I don't think we are going to see the demise of disc-based video for a long time, I do believe that the major growth area will be in 'on-line' content. And it doesn't look as is this will (necessarily) mean settling for second-rate picture quality.

The IMX series Set Top Box is one of the first 'boxes' to offer support for all the dominant HDTV formats streamed from an internet connection.

High bandwidth users (1.5 Mbps+ access speed) can view videos in real time via live streaming. For users with lower bandwidth, the IMX Set Top Box preloads videos to a cache.

The primary advantages of a system like this are that you can choose just about any video you want, either to watch once, or to buy, from a number of online providers. Sorting your collection is no longer shelf-based, but moves to an 'iTunes' style database, with your collection stored on a hard drive, either in your house, or on an off-site server.

Other features include:

Electronic Program Guide - Create a custom viewing experience by selecting videos from a variety of viewing categories to suit personal tastes.

Video Preview Function - Start watching videos even before downloading is complete.

Multi-room support - Viewers can have multiple STBs connected to different TVs in the same house. One central STB can act as the digital media server for the home, while other STBs stream live off the same server. This enables viewers to download videos for the entire family, and play each video on separate TVs simultaneously in the same household.

Automatic Software Updates - The IMX Set Top Box has a built-in software update feature that automatically keeps the IMX Set Top Box up-to-date with the latest software features. The IMX Set Top Box also features a built-in help guide to provide initial support to subscribers.

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