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Linux being embedded in 500,000 set-top boxes

Jan 26, 2000 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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League City, TX — Eagle Wireless International, Inc. announced today that it has received the initial $12.5 million order which is part of a $125 million contract between Eagle and Urbana.ca for 500,000 Linux based set-top boxes. The set-top box configuration incorporates both the Linux operating system and Wavelet technology.

The set-top box units are being installed in a pilot project conducted by Urbana.ca in Ontario, Canada. The box provides the vehicle to deliver local Internet access and enhanced services, such as monitored smoke detection, via a television set and has many residential and commercial applications. An initial shipment of 115 test units was initiated on December 15, 1999 against the order to begin Urbana.ca's pilot project. Full production units are scheduled to begin shipping over the next ninety days from Eagle's manufacturing partner in Singapore. As a part of an overall agreement between Eagle and Urbana.ca, Eagle will customize certain features of its set-top box for Urbana.ca in exchange for the right to be the exclusive supplier of all set-top box products to Urbana.ca. In addition, Eagle has granted Urbana.ca the exclusive Canadian distributorship for their set-top box products in return for a commitment from Urbana.ca to purchase a minimum of 500,000 set-top box units over a 21-month period of time.

What's in the Box?

Eagle Wireless selected the Linux operating system as one of its core product operating systems and will offer Linux for its Convergence Set-Top Box (CSTB) products. Eagle markets these products under the name of “BroadbandMagic.com” which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eagle Wireless International, Inc. BroadbandMagic.com demonstrated its Linux Technology in two different locations at the recent Western Cable Show in Los Angeles, California, and plans to have these and other Linux products available for the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2000. Eagle utilizes Sigma Designs' RealMagic MPEG2 core technology to provide DVD playback, streaming MPEG2 video, and digital video editing. In addition, Eagle will also support a variety of other compression technologies, e.g., Wavelet technology from USA Video Interactive Corporation, www.usvo.com, among others.

Eagle's STB plans include a series of STBs focusing on the Convergence STB (CSTB) appliance model rather than the conventional STB. The MPEG2 decoder is embedded in Eagle's proprietary Socket 7 compatible motherboard.

Eagle's CSTB is believed to be the first to embed this function on the motherboard. Also embedded on the motherboard are two USB ports, a 10/100 Ethernet connection, 16-bit stereo sound, advanced graphics outputs, and an IR receiver for an IR keyboard/mouse combination. Embedding these functions allows room for a PCI slot, which can be configured for any number of enhancement devices including, but not limited to, a variety of smart card and commerce features. Eagle's architecture is structured around the convergence of video, voice, and data into one functional unit. This architecture allows for consumer, commercial, and educational needs to be accommodated with the same basic architecture.

The CSTB will allow homeowners, as well as small office/home office (SOHO) and larger enterprises, to capitalize on the future bundled voice, video, and data services. These bundled services are being installed in most new homes for “Future Proofing” the homeowners' investment. Streaming video, video on demand, e-commerce, voice-over IP, cable, and Internet services are all attainable with this new family of CSTBs.

The higher-end CSTB models will be capable of recording video for later viewing, as well as stereoscopic 3D viewing of DVDs. Inputs from cameras and game consoles are also possible, making the box much more versatile than a conventional STB.

About Eagle Wireless

Eagle Wireless International, Inc., and subsidiaries, is a leading supplier of broadband wired and wireless equipment and services for the Internet, Multimedia Set-Top-Box, one- and two-way wireless messaging, specialized mobile radio (SMR), remote data acquisition and meter reading, and Integrated Wired and Wireless Convergence product markets. The Company is headquartered in League City, Texas, near the NASA Johnson Space Center south of Houston.

About Urbana.ca

Urbana.ca Inc. is an e-commerce, transaction and content company that creates Intranet and Internet-based systems in conjunction with local area governments and high profile corporations. Delivered through a set-top-box, local communities can be provided with community-based entertainment and information services widely used in all facets of everyday life. The Company's headquarters are located in Ontario, Canada.

 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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