While checking out the booths at ANGA we came across a company by the name of Vu+. What caught my eye was Linux written in big letters on the side of the booth. Anything Linux will usually get me to walk into a booth. We met with two associates one from Vu+, Victor Heo and one from Marusys, Rose Chang who gave us a tour of their companies products and introduced us to HbbTV.
What is HbbTV? Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) is both an industry standard and promotional initiative for hybrid digital TV to align broadcast, IPTV, and broadband delivery of content to the consumer through either connected TVs (Smart TVs) and set-top boxes. HbbTV is a pan-European specification for interactive TV applications. There is a HbbTV consortium that is regrouping digital broadcasting and Internet industry companies, it is establishing a standard for the delivery of broadcast TV and broadband TV to the home, through a single user interface, creating an open platform as an alternative to proprietary technologies. Products and services using the HbbTV standard can operate over different broadcasting technologies, such as satellite, cable, or terrestrial networks. The bottom line is they want to provided customers with a seamless TV experience using open standards.
Vu+ and Marusys (have a business relationship) showed us two products that use Linux as its platform although they have other products as well. We specifically looked at the Prismcube Ruby 3. Rose Chang from Marusys gave us a tour of the prismcube and its capabilities. Which included both LAN and built-in Wi-Fi for ease of use for web browsing and streaming services on your large screen TV. PRISMCUBE is equipped with all essential I/Os such as HDMI1.4, USB 2.0 port, S/PDIF. Connect smartphones, tablets, iPhones and iPads as a remote control via Air-Player. Add on's such as YouTube, Facebook, Podcasts and web browsers are all available and all on an open platform. Marusys states customers can utilize Live TV and IP-based services with ease. Thanks to the versatile platform as a media player, PRISMCUBE provides various media formats for music, video, and photos. Enrich TV watching experience to the fullest extent. (XVID, AVI, MKV, RM/RMVB, MP4, Mov).
These products also integrate XBMC, which is rapidly growing open source software media player spanning Linux, OSX, and Windows. In my Digital Home Symposium presentation at this years SCTE Cable-Tec Expo I will be discussing the impact of XBMC and similar media aggregation on the digital home. They are fantastic for the subscriber, but offer new challenges for the cable operator, because just like PRISMCUBE they are capable of integrating content from multiple content providers (i.e. MSOs and OTT). Products like PRISMCUBE and others are exciting because they demonstrate the convergence of over-the-top and provider content becoming integrated in a seamless, commercialized solution. This differs from the current environment where you have a set top box from your cable provider and another box where you stream Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, etc.
If your interested in finding out more about their products and companies I recommend you contact them directly at www.vuplus.com or www.marusys.com. If you are interested in Prismcube go to www.prismcube.com.
Personally I am looking forward to more discussion on HbbTV and what it means for the American cable market.
Update: Prismcube is owned by MARUSYS, not by Vu+. Vu+ has no relation to Prismcube. The trademark of Vu+ belongs to CERU Co., Ltd.