Milan-based TVBlob and Telsey are the latest to join the race for devices that bring web-based video content to a regular TV set. Called the BlobBox, it is a hybrid set-top box for analogue and HD televisions that allows users to watch and record digital terrestrial television (HD PVR, built-in HDD), download podcasts from all over the world using Miro and BitTorrent, as well as browse services such as YouTube, GMail, and Wikipedia.
According to the company, users are not limited to watching content from premium providers alone, but instead enjoy access to popular web services, in addition to play, watch and browse all of the content that they already have on their PC or home network.
The Blobbox software, which is based on Linux and includes a full-featured web browser, does more than access internet video and record digital television. It makes TV interactive and personal by enabling features such as favourites and downloads. Most importantly, everything is controlled with just the television and remote control.
TVBlob, maker of the set-top box software, has already worked to optimise popular Web 2.0 sites like YouTube and Picasa for the TV, and is supporting others such as companies, podcasters and bloggers via an open source TV development community and a free Software Development Kit, which permit them to create their own television channels, or even invent new services for TV.
“Websites were originally created for PCs, and many are now being optimized for more and more user devices such as mobile phones,” explains Telsey R&D manager Riccardo Costacurta in a statement. “A similar process will happen for TV because watching from the sofa with a remote control is a whole new way of seeing and interacting with the internet.”
The Telsey Blobbox is available online. It requires a standard television with analogue or HDMI input and a broadband connection.