A US startup has introduced the iCEBOX - a television, internet access device and DVD player in one - and is offering it free to US users as part of a tie-in with an online bank.
NadaPC is giving away the units in exchange for its $21.95 a month, three-year internet access service and the opening of an account with online finance company, CompuBank. The company expects to announce international plans in the near future.
The device was developed by CMI Worldwide and will be manufactured by Samsung Electronics. It features a 56K modem, a dedicated printer port and an audio and video jack to allow DVDs to be viewed on a larger screen. The device can also be used for home security by plugging it to a video camera.
Although the iCEBOX does not include a hard drive or other storage device, future versions will include a USB port to accommodate peripherals such as floppy disk drives.
The device joins an already crowded internet appliance market. Compaq unveiled the iPaq Home Internet Appliance, which is tightly integrated with Microsoft's MSN Companion Service, while Gateway is working with America Online to develop web terminals for launch later this year.
Matt Sargent, an analyst at consultancy ARS, said NadaPC's coupling with an online bank is a new spin and expects more vendors to develop systems that promote third-party services. "If [vendors] do that, it makes sense to try [and] bundle services in with the system. No-one is there yet, but it is the direction vendors are going," he said.
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