LONDON – Hillcrest Laboratories Inc. (Rockville, Maryland) has announced that Intel's reference design for IPTV set-top boxes (STBs) and media servers will use Hillcrest's Freespace pointing and motion control technology.
Control of the TV or STB still requires a handheld remote control but allows mouse-like gestures to control the unit, Hillcrest said.
The Freespace MotionEngine software that is included in the MSRD by Intel offers the ability to detect mouse-like gestures, including swiping and drag-and-drop at high resolution and is based on RF, rather than infrared or optical, remote control technology. This also allows non line-of-sight operation.
The MSRD is based on a dual-core Atom-based system chip that includes 3D/2D graphics rendering, an H.264 hardware decoder power management. The design kit will be available in April 2013 from Intel and through its distributor Videon Central.
"With Freespace, we're creating an out-of-the box, motion-ready reference solution for operators and OEMs globally," said Ran Senderovitz, general manager of the service provider division marketing at Intel, in a statement by Hillcrest.
Sounds like a winner to me. The way I'm set up now, with a PC acting as a TV Internet STB, my remote mouse operates much like this Intel pointing device. I just move and click the mouse on the couch next to me, and watch the pointer on the TV screen.
It works extremely well, and is a much more flexible device than a standard TV remote could ever hope to be. Once you've set up your "favorites" and become familiar with your favorite TV portals, browsing the TV web is a piece of cake. And you can always search for new stuff online when you're bored.
I just love the non-line-of-sight-operation of a remote control of a TV.
Putting a infra-red receiver on a product can be tricky in order to ensure the reception is adequate. I have experienced that I have to point a remote control to the left hand corner, out of the TV, to make a channel or volume change. It can be annoying. With the RF remote control, the alignment issue will just be gone. The production quality will be easier to control. The challenge is to avoid changing TV channel in the bedroom while I actually want to change channel in the living room. Device pairing and long ID will solve the problem. ;)
I love to hear more about "Hillcrest's Freespace pointing and motion control technology".
This seems like an application that could be put into a typical smart phone with software. Smartphones have bluetooth. The STB could just as easily have that capability.
Putting it into a smartphone would allow for the motion gestures, as described in this article, but it would also allow for a graphic UI with touch controls, or a combination of the two.
The biggest challenge I see from the smart phone scenario would be dueling remotes by people that disagree on what to watch.
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