The first round was a flop with Alice, and this will be a flop also. It just won't work with their crappy low-speed outdated infrastructure.
French digital video specialist Technicolor has snatched away a central set top contract from UK's Amino, the set top company that has so far blazed a trail in the hybrid Intel-based set top market. Technicolor has announced that it will supply the next generation set top for Telecom Italia‘s Cubovision. The MediaPlay range of …
I had the misfortune of getting a free trial of Alice IPTV back when the service was first launched, and I can say that although the crap infrastructure was a major problem, there were two other issues that were just as big, if not bigger. First of all, the selection of movies was crap; they were few and mostly old.
Secondly, the quality of the software in the IPTV box was also crap - very unresponsive and prone to streaming issues. This last problem in particular is significant because it effectively made the infrastructure issue much worse; a good box could at least have the decency not to crash just because it lost connection for a moment.
I suspect a lot of the more expensive set-top-boxes do use x86 processors, however I'm absolutely certain that consumers do not care in the slightest.
A 'technical' consumer might look at the power consumption in running, 'soft' standby and 'powersave' standby, and if it's their second STB purchase what the box will actually do in the latter two. (Once bitten, twice shy and all that)
The only ones who really care are enthusiasts 'hacking' on a given STB care, but only so they know which toolchain to select for cross-compiling.
I have no idea what the CPU in my Foxsat HDR is. It might be interesting to know, but I'm not bothered enough to spend much energy finding out.
The *manufacturers* care, if it saves them a few euros per box.
Any respectable embedded chip will offer more power per watt than x86. Cooler = cheaper and more reliable.
Almost any embedded chip will offer more work per Megabyte than x86. That means for a given cost (ie size) of flash memory, you can do more on (eg) ARM than x86, or for a given set of functionality, you can pay less with ARM than with x86.
Those two factors alone account for why almost no consumer or professional electronic equipment uses x86. In general, the only compelling reason to use x86 is to be able to run legacy Windows. (I was aware of some specialist industrial stuff where iRMX compatibility has historically been a requirement. The volume involved is negligible).
I'd still like to hear who's designing and making these x86-based set top boxes.
"I have no idea what the CPU in my Foxsat HDR is"
That's correct, you have no idea, that's OK.
Why would anyone use an x86 plus all the associated gubbins, when various system on chip (SoC) vendors provide the the vast majority of it on one chip, for less money, less space, less power than x86?
Anyway in the case of the Foxsat HDR the SoC appears to be a Broadcom 7403.
It's not even ARM, it's MIPS.
Raspberry Pi uses a not that dissimilar conceptually Broadcom chip, except the RasPi has an ARM core, and they turn it into a whole usable USB-powered computer that sells for £25 (or a couple of quid more if you want the in-built hardware video codec enabled). So something Pi-class plus a satellite tuner module and a hard drive would cost what, roughly, in comparison with a Foxsat?
Don't get me wrong, I've seen the £50 Fortec Star and equivalent unbranded boxes - they work, but the software is utter rubbish. But Humax prices are taking the mickey, as are smart TV prices in general.
x86 truly doesn't stand a chance in this market which is going to become increasingly price sensitive soon.
Foxsat-HDR~# uname -a
Linux Foxsat-HDR 2.6.12-4.2-brcmstb #1 Tue Sep 20 10:21:24 KST 2011 7403a0 GNU/Linux
Five minutes, without needing a screwdriver, finds the source of that uname output: