Myka, which recently began shipping an IPTV set-top box (STB), is offering a $100 discount to entice developers to roll up their sleeves and contribute to its device’s open-source, Linux-based software stack.
Myka positions its eponymously-named “Myka STB” as a BitTorrent client for televisions, and has coined the term “TorrentTV” to characterize this capability.
“The more popular a large video file [is], the faster it can be transferred with BitTorrent,” notes Myka. “The result is quick, easy-to-use, high-quality, video downloads from major studios and content providers without tying up you computer for hours.”
In addition to BitTorrent downloads, the Myka STB will, over time, feature a growing variety of content and download services, “all seamlessly directed right into the TV in your living room without the need for consumers to monkey around with compatibility issues,” Myka says.
Future Internet-based content sources seem likely to include YouTube, Hulu, and various television networks’ streamed video, plus Internet radio aggregation services such as Shoutcast.
Simple, extensible UI
The Myka STB features a simple, html-based user interface (UI) that should be easy for developers to modify and extend, according to Myka (a demonstration video appears below).
Here are several UI screenshots supplied by Myka…
Myka’s STB includes a web browser, but is not capable of playing FLV files (Adobe’s Flash media format) — hence, no YouTube. However, FLV support is planned for the future, a spokesperson said.
One interesting feature of Myka’s STB is that users can configure its content downloads remotely, via Myka’s website. This partitioned architecture (see diagram, below) makes the STB and its UI simpler and easier to use, claims Myka.
Myka’s partitioned architecture
Hardware features and specs
The Myka STB is compact and uses minimal power, according to the company. It’s based on a Broadcom BCM7403 system-on-chip processor and generates HD video at resolutions up to 1080p. As the photo below shows, the device offers a rich variety of A/V connection options.
Myka lists these key features and specs for its STB:
- Processor — Broadcom BCM7403 SoC (PDF download) with 450 DMIPS performance
- Memory — 256MB RAM; 16MB flash
- Connectivity — WiFi and Ethernet
- Internal hard drive — 80, 160, or 500 GB
- Expansion — 2x USBs (1 front, 1 rear)
- Video connections — HDMI, Composite, S-Video, SPDIF
- Video formats supported:
- MPEG-2 MP@ML (ISO/IEC13818),up to 10Mb/s
- H.264/AVC MP HP up to L4.1
- VC1 AP@L3,Simple and Main Profile
- WMV 9 Simple and Main Profile
- DivX 3.11,4.11 and 5.x support
- MPEG-4 part 2 SP/ASP
- Aspect Ratio:4:3 and 16:9,auto format detection
- Out Definition:480i,480p,576i,576p,720p or 1080i
- Audio formats supported — MPEG (Layer1,2), MP3, AAC, WMA
Myka UI demonstration
Here’s a short video demonstrating the Myka STB’s user interface:
Myka set-top box demonstrated
(Click image to play video; Source: Myka)
Myka’s device joins an increasingly crowded field of IP-STBs eager to challenge TiVO’s place atop millions of consumer TVs. These include Roku’s Netflix-enabled Digital Video Player (shown at right), Blockbuster’s video-on-demand STB (based on 2Wire’s Digital Mediapoint STB), Syabas’s Popcorn Hour STB (aka NMT), Apple’s popular AppleTV box, and devices from LG, Samsung, and others.
The Myka STBs are expected to ship in “4 to 6 weeks,” according to the company’s website. Prices currently are listed as $279 (80GB), $319 (250GB, and $389 (500GB) depending on the size of the internal hard drive. A special discount of $100 is available for a “developer friendly” model, according to the company. The package includes the Myka STB along, a remote control, cables, a Myka web account, and a “30 day, money back guarantee,” Myka says.
Lots more info can be found on Myka’s website.