While we’ve seen the Google TV platform spread to additional manufacturers and some new lower-priced form factors, LG Uplus (not the same as LG Electronics) is the first we’ve seen offering a set-top box for its IPTV service based on it. new and existing customers alike can opt for the U+TV G, which will blend live TV streams, video on-demand and Google TV apps. Rapper Psy will be playing a large part in a national campaign to promote the offering, and after making Korea the tenth country Google TV is available in, Google says it will continue to work with providers around the world. Jumping inside the cable box is a notable move for the project, however at home hasn’t significantly improved integration beyond that originally offered by Dish Network, and it’s not even built into the Google Fiber set-top box.
That purple-striped Roku HD seen skulking about the FCC last month has now been observed in the wild by our friend Dave Zatz. It’s apparently on shelves now, with all the features of the box recently introduced as the Roku 2 HD, but without the 2. As he muses, Roku may be taking a “new iPad” style naming approach to its hardware going forward, a theory supported by the support site listing where it’s already elbowed out the old Roku 2 HD. As far as differences, it’s mostly the same with the exception of full size composite outputs around that should make it more friendly to HD-less environments, while the Bluetooth (for the optional gaming remote) and microSD slot options have been eliminated. We’ve heard from Roku that this refreshed model has a slightly larger footprint due to those composite jacks, but will stay at the same price of $59.99.
Busy days at Broadcom, which has already forgotten about its earlier 5G WiFi announcement and launched a barrage of new chips for set-top boxes and home networking. The line-up supports the latest MoCA 2.0 standard for greater network bandwidth over coax wiring, but even more interesting is what some of the SoCs can do for smart TV and streaming. The BCM7425 dual-tuner HD gateway SoC will support Sling Media’s “place-shifting” platform, potentially making it easier for set-top manufacturers to enable TV streaming to mobile devices. A similar deal has been inked with Myriad over its clever Alien Vue software (shown above), allowing Broadcom-equipped boxes to run apps designed for Google TV and HTML 5 without the need for extra dedicated hardware. In short, if your service provider fails to make TV content smarter or easier to access in 2012, they won’t be able to blame it on Broadcom.
Thanks to one of our readers getting an early install, we’ve already dug deep into Comcast’s next generation Xfinity TV DVR, but on Thursday Brian Roberts will show it off in full (along with “new broadband speeds”) at the 2011 NCTA Cable Show . According to the press release the new guide that blends internet content with TV broadcasts will include customizations and sharing tied to Facebook along with hardware built by Pace around an Intel CPU — if anyone needs a suggestion for a service to add after Skype, we’re thinking OnLive could be a good fit. The detail we’re waiting to hear is when it will be upgrading the pitiful boxes currently available in our neck of the woods, but until then we have another tipster to thank for pointing out a cache of demo videos posted on the portal for initial testers in Georgia. The 17-minute compilation of walkthrough videos is embedded above, just try not to drool too hard over the HD formatted UI.
Woah there, Mr. Speedy. We’ve barely caught up with the 10Gbps Thunderbolt interconnect, debuted in the new Macbook Pro, and now Intel’s hyperactive researchers are already chattering away about something five times faster. They’re promising a new interconnect, ready in four years, that will combine silicon and optical components (a technology called silicon photonics) to pump 50Gbps over distances of up to 100m. That’s the sort of speed Intel predicts will be necessary to handle, say, ultra-HD 4k video being streamed between smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes and TVs. Intel insists that poor old Mr. Thunderbolt won’t be forced into early retirement, but if we were him we’d be speaking to an employment lawyer right about now.