IBC 2000: Nokia unveils Net appliance running Linux

Nokia has unveiled at IBC in Amsterdam a prototype of an ‘infotainment’ appliance combining the Internet and digital television broadcasting in a living room device aimed squarely at consumers. Based on open standards and technologies, ranging from an x86-based hardware architecture to HTML and the open-source Linux operating system and Mozilla browser, the Nokia Media Terminal was designed to allow Internet and digital TV-based content to be viewed on TV sets as well as computer displays. "Using open standards is very important; since this is not a stand-alone device, we wanted to make sure that it can communicate with as many other devices as possible," said Katarina Hägg, a spokeswoman at Nokia Home Communications, the unit of the company that developed the device. "Since the product is based on open technologies, we also wanted to give something back to the community," she added. "We are doing this by making available the source code to a DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) API we have developed with our German partner Convergence." The source code will be released via the Web at http://www.linuxtv.org/, she added. Scheduled to ship in volume late in the second quarter of 2001, the Media Terminal is a global product, but is aimed primarily at the European and US markets. It will probably ship first in Scandinavia, said Hägg. Nokia is currently in talks with service providers about bundling the Media Terminal with their offerings, she added. End-user pricing for such packages will probably range between US$150 and $600, depending on how heavily the service providers are willing to subsidize the hardware, Hägg said. The Media Terminal's Internet technologies were developed in cooperation with chip giant Intel, Nokia said in a statement. Designed to support full Internet access and push-type Internet services over TV broadcast networks, initial versions of the device will support DVB broadcast networks. An ADSL version will also be made available, Nokia said, enabling full Internet media decoding capabilities for TV viewers. Other main features of the Media Terminal include split-screen TV/Internet, pause/replay of live broadcasts, digital TV recording to a hard disk, video on demand, file audio player, email, 3D games and digital TV/radio. It can also be connected to devices such as printers and digital cameras, Nokia said. To support such features, the Media Terminal will be powered by a 366MHz or faster Intel Celeron processor and also will include a 20GB or larger hard drive, according to information from Nokia's Web site.

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