Freebox Revolution Set-Top Box: Internet, TV, VoIP, Mobile and Gaming

Free (Iliad) has just announced the Freedom v6 Révolution on the 14th of December 2010.  This solution that offers 28 Mbps internet access, digital television (IPTV/DVB), telephony (DECT, VoIP, Mobile…), Network Access Storage (NAS) and Gaming is actually  based on two boxes designed by Philippe Starck: Freebox server: Handles networking (ADSL 2+ /wifi), NAS, telephony… Freebox player: Handles multimedia functions with the blu-ray player, digital television support… Free also released the technical specifications for both devices: Technical Specification of Freebox Server ADSL / ADSL2+ ANSI T1 413 / ITU G.992.1, G.992.3, G.992.5 Annex A 4 Ethernet  ports 10 / 100 / 1000 Base-T SFP Port 2 USB 2.0 Ports e-SATA Port Stereo audio input/output with integrated speakers FXS Port (Telephony) WiFi 802.11b/g/n 3×3 450 Mbps 2.4 Ghz Base Station DECT CAT I/Q Internal 250 GB Hard Disk ARM9 Processor @ 1.2GHz with 512 MB RAM Noise < 37dB (while HDD is working) WiFi Authentication: WiFi WEP 64 and 128 bits …

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Webtube HD Casing, Hardware and FCC Approval

WebTube HD – one of the first Android set-top box – now commercialized in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (Retail price: 249 Euros), just passed FCC approval. The interesting part of the FCC Approval is that we do get the external and internal pictures, so we can get a better look at the hardware. First let’s have a look at Webtube HD Casing. As we already knew, this media player is designed and manufactured by InnoDigital Co. Ltd. The news is that it will be distributed by Yonsei Corporation Ltd, a rather recent Japanese Company apparently only setup to promote Webtube HD. (Japanese name: ブラウザBOX) See Webtube HD internal pictures for FCC approval below. We already knows the following HW specs from Webtube HD website: OS : Android Memory : 512 Mbyte DDR / 2 Gbyte Flash Memory USB(option) : 1 port (for option) Audio : MPEG-1 layers 1,2 and 3(MP3) Video : MPEG4, H.264 High Definition(720p), NTSC/PAL RCU : 15keys …

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Media Player based on SMP8653 – Magic Box HDP500

Magic Box HDP500 manufactured by gmini (apparently a Russian company)  is a new media player featuring the 500-Mhz SMP8653 chipset from Sigma Designs. It does not use Android OS yet, and as far I know no company has yet released SMP8653 Android based products. Having said that,  it comes with most of the connectivity you would expect from a decent set-top box: USB connector (device: USB storage,host: laptop/PC connection), Audio/Video Composite ouput, Component (YPbPr)  output, HDMI and optical digital audio output and and Ethernet port. On the software side, it is a full featured 1080p media player,  with video, music and picture galleries, Internet Radio, UPnP support… It could also be used as a NAS with the USB host connection to your PC. The missing features are: no support for digital TV (e.g. DVB-T, DMB-TH), no Wifi support, no web applications/web browser, no movie download (BT/Emule),  no Real media video support although SMP8653 is supposed to support it. Those features …

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Tackling Overscan in Media Players and Digital Signage

Overscan is an extra image area around the four edges of a video that may not be seen reliably due to manufacturing limitations of monitors. So that as you can see on the figure above, there is a title safe zone, where everything would be seen in any monitors (Blue Zone) and the gray zone where parts may be seen in some monitors but not others. This mainly depends on the video output used. You won’t have problem with VGA or LVDS monitors,  since the former are able to underscan (to compensate for overscan) automatically, and the latter are generally configured manually. However, with HDMI monitors (unless those which can support underscan) or monitors using composite or component outputs,  you’ll have to handle overscan problem. Overscan will be much more pronounced with older CRT monitors where horizontal and vertical overscan may reach about 10% and 5% respectively, whereas modern displays will usually have up to 5% horizontal and 3% vertical …

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Sigma Designs Android Demo

Here’s a demo of Android running on Sigma Designs SMP8654. They made their own GUI and start Android from there. To see the android part just go to 2:35 directly. Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)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. http://www.cnx-software.com Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

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