March 19, 2013
| by Rachel Cericola
Intel just debuted a new reference design kit for IPTV set-top boxes (STBs) and media servers. However, it’s what’s inside that has us interested. The company has tapped Hillcrest Labs for a little motion control.
The kit will include Hillcrest’s patented Freespace in-air pointing and motion control technology. By adding Freespace Motion Engine software into the Intel Media Server Reference Design (MSRD) kit, TV operators will be able to offer subscribers the ability to control a TV with “mouse-like navigation and point-and-click simplicity.”
Intel’s MSRD is designed for OEMs and system integrators, so they can develop Intel-based set-top boxes and media servers based on Intel’s Atom processor CE5300. It includes perks such as hyperthreading, virtualization, an advanced 3D/2D graphics engine, integrated power management, and a H.264 B-picture hardware encoder. The MSRD will be available starting in April 2013, via Intel and its distribution partner Videon Central.
Hopefully, this is just the beginning. Hillcrest says that its Freespace MotionEngine software can be added to all sorts of electronic devices, from set-tops and smart TVs to game controllers, mobile handsets, PC peripherals, and more. Currently, the tech is inside LG and TCL smart TVs, as well as some of Roku’s set-top boxes. Sony, Universal Electronics (UEI), SMK Electronics, Atmel, Logitech and others have also licensed the technology.
“Computers and smartphones have used motion-based, point-and-click interfaces for years because they are the most efficient way to navigate large volumes of content,” said Chad Lucien, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Hillcrest Labs. “Intel has seized onto this idea for TV, and is now driving innovation for serving TV service providers. We’re extremely proud that Intel has selected the Freespace MotionEngine for use in its new set-top box reference kits.”
LG’s Magic Motion remote uses gesture-based control, presumably via the Hillcrest technology. Read a hands-on review of that device here.
If you’re rather control your TV with your voice than with your hand, check out the VoicePod here.
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.