Motorola has rolled out a home entertainments technology that it claims will revolutionise the way we watch television.
The multimedia architecture, codenamed ?Blackbird?, is an open architecture standard for set-top boxes that combines a number of functions including digital video disk (DVD), videoconferencing, high speed Internet access, 3D gaming and digital television reception.
Motorola is confident the technology will bolster its semiconductor business as chips will be required for the set-top boxes. Dataquest estimates that multimedia will be a $10.5 billion industry by 2000. Motorola wants a significant slice of this business.
By combining its PowerPC processor and communications capabilities with VM Labs' ProjectX Media Architecture, Motorola has created the industry?s first practical 'soft' set-top box, maintain analysts.
Powered by an independently programmable central processor, communications and multimedia engines, Blackbird is able to instantaneously adapt its role from one function to another, handling most types of audio, video and graphics streaming. It can also route data to a PC or another home entertainment device.
"This is an important milestone in the industry?s transition from its legacy of islands of unconnected appliances to its future of seamless, friendly and powerful interconnectivity," says Jim Reinhart, general manager of Motorola?s media processing and platforms division.
"Not only will we provide users of this platform with an extraordinary interactive experience, we will also establish the hub for tomorrow?s in-home networks," he continued. "This enabling technology should prove exciting to anyone involved in the design or development of multimedia applications."
Motorola is currently shipping developer editions of the Blackbird system. Next month, Motorola will announce a series of technology, distribution, manufacturing and integration partnerships. Products based on Blackbird will appear towards the end of next year, confirmed a company spokesperson.
Blackbird-ready set-top boxes are expected to cost from $300 to $700.
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