We’ve got used to super small computer systems from TV boxes-in-a-plug to HDMI TV sticks, and tiny development boards such as Raspberry Pi Zero W. But InnSpire pushed the concept further with InnCable as the computer, or in this case the TV box, is placed inside an Ethernet cable, or more exactly a cable with Ethernet on one side (optional with PoE for power), and HDMI port on the other.
Currently InnCable targets hotels, so it’s mainly designed as a TV box in a cable, rather than a computer as a cable. Some of InnCable smart cable’s key features and specifications include:
- SoC – “Blazing fast processor”
- Video Output – HDMI
- Networking – Ethernet and WiFi
- USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
- Serial – RJ-12 port for serial connection to another device
- Power Supply – PoE (power over Ethernet) or 5V micro USB cable
The cable can be controlled with an RF remote control that does not require line of sight, an important features since the idea is to hide the cable behind the TV or furnitures in hotels. The company can also provide a remote control API of you want to develop your own remote or mobile app.
You’ll be happy to learn that the cable is fanless (somehow I can’t help giggling as I’m writing this), and supports Dolby Digital 5.1 / AC3 audio. It runs Android with the company’s InnSpire 3.0 middleware that provides IPTV, iOS and Chromecast streaming.
While the company now focuses on the hotel industry, ZDNet reports they are also discussing residential and other applications. I’m pretty sure Chinese manufacturers will beat them at the latter game, just wait two or three months, and Android smart cables with not-so-polished firmware will start to show up on Alibaba… In the future I could also imagine more powerful Thunderbolt 3 cable computers with display, power, and data carried over a single cable, but it’s a longer term prospect as it would ideally require Thunderbolt cabling in the home.
Thanks to Nanik for the tip.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.