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Motorola Acquires IPTV Embedded Linux Developer

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the new-toys-for-motorola dept.

Television 38

segphault writes "Ars Technica is covering Motorola's acquisition of Kreatel, a European company that designs Linux-based Internet Television Protocol (IPTV) technologies, including a set-top box powered by embedded Linux." From the article: "I'm not big on television (I generally prefer to wait for the shows I like to be released on DVD), but the sheer extensibility of Linux-based IPTV technologies is more than enough to capture my imagination. If provided with a good on-demand service that lets me watch what I want, when I want to watch it, I would definitely be interested. As tantalizing as this Kreatel stuff is, it appears as though the SDK isn't available to average consumers yet. I hope that Motorola has the sense to realize that a devoted fan base of eager Linux device junkies will be a good thing for the platform."

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Truly fascinating. (-1, Troll)

Marcus Cato (947641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524828)

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Re:Truly fascinating. (-1, Offtopic)

Keith McClary (14340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524861)

Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany.

Former Communist, but that's all forgotten now. Does she believe in wiping Palestine off the map?

All hail Ed Zander (3, Funny)

stox (131684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524830)

What a turn around this man has done with Motorola. There are an awful lot of great people at Motorola, and finally they have a CEO who actually listens to what they say.

Massive fan base (2, Insightful)

divisivemind (888140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524873)

I'm not sure how large that 'devoted fan base' is in the grand scheme of things, but the concept of true on-demand content delivery has proven itself time and time again. Tivo et al are but the first step in this process. This sounds like a truely promising step in removing the stream of BS from television and provide an avenue around the 'strategized marketecture' that is increasingly commonplace in mass media. Most of us would gladly pay for programming w/o the coupled advertisements, and I hope they can work that into their business model.

Cisco+SciAtlanta, Motorola+Kreatel (4, Informative)

paugq (443696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524878)

A few months ago Cisco bought Scientific Atlanta and now Motorola buys Kreatel (it makes sense, although Forbes said Motorola still had an advantage over Cisco [forbes.com]).

There's few independent players left in the STB arena. I wonder how long until somebody buys Amino [amino.com], I3Micro [i3micro.com] or FedTec [fedtec.com].

Re:Cisco+SciAtlanta, Motorola+Kreatel (1)

realcoolguy425 (587426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524989)

and they could all buy each other and form one giant super company called Ciscifedtecorolamicrokretalanta ! that has a rather nice ring to it.

Re:Cisco+SciAtlanta, Motorola+Kreatel (1)

Martin Spamer (244245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525794)

The irony is that Motorola lots its IPTV skills when it closed down its world leading Stream Master project a couple of years ago to save money after the dot-com crash. Now they've come to realise that IPTV is the future of DTV they've needed to reaquire those skills.

Also, Alcatel bought iMagicTV [imagictv.com] to replace those lost skills. In fact nearly every leader in IPTV field from a couple of years ago did the same thing post dot-com crash, and are all stuggling to get back in the field.

Carlye group [thecarlylegroup.com] are reported as after Kingston's KIT [www.kit.tv] project but will probably have to to take on the whole Kingston Communications group to get it.

Re:Cisco+SciAtlanta, Motorola+Kreatel (2, Interesting)

jmcneill (256391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525830)

The irony is that Motorola lots its IPTV skills when it closed down its world leading Stream Master project a couple of years ago to save money after the dot-com crash.

The Streamaster 5000 was a very nice piece of hardware indeed. After that project was shut down we were stuck with Acorn/Pace set-top boxes, which, although we had them running quite well, would have been no match for the PPC/Nuon combination in the Streamaster. Years ahead of its time.

As Martha would put it... (0, Troll)

threedognit3 (854836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524927)

An acquisition is a good thing. That's our show for today...stay tune for our up coming shows...blah..blah...blah..

Blurring (0, Redundant)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525040)

Something about this headline makes me go all groggy. The words start to swim in front of my eyes . . .

Acquiring Motorola-developed embedded IPTV-Linux
Linux developers acquire embedded Motorola IPTVs
Embedded Linux-developed IPTVs acquired by Motorola
IPTV acquires Motorola, develops embedded Linux

Either this is the most generic Slashdot headline in recent memory or I need to get some sleep. Or it could be both.

Re:Blurring (1)

olivierva (728829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525575)

What is intersting is that the Kreatel box is running the Mozilla browser as a front end. This means you can develop AJAX applications on the box although only XMLHttpRequest() is activated and not the XSLTProcessor() (something as google maps is not possible), probably will not happen because it's to processor intensive. Mozilla as a frontend will certainly 'blur' the borders between traditional internet applications and iptv development because the same technologies are being used. This also means (I hope) IPTV gets more what I would call 'w3c standerized' which is imho a good thing for backend development since more clients (like mobiles, browsers, stb's) are using the same range of technologies. As some people would argue this is an important steps towards web 2.0 Olivier

Moving away from ad driven content is a huge plus (2, Interesting)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525059)

For decades, advertising firms and the companies they represent have held sway over the content of television. Not a few good shows haven't arisen despite the reigns of commercial liability, but if broadcasting companies really want to expand their markets, they need consumer demand in complete control without advertisements. Too many times has a well written program been cast off because they couldn't find companies willing to advertise on the show because of controversiality or because they didn't have a large portion of one demographic (You know, when all those big companies removed their advertisements from "Ellen" is one example that comes to mind). Perhaps a more massive switch to complete on demand viewing could change that.

Corporations might even be forced to put more money into product developement that insipid, mass advertising campaigns.

Oh, average consumers? (2, Funny)

bugg (65930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525079)

the SDK isn't available to average consumers yet

Oh man, I can't believe it. I know when I go to Consumer Electronics Store, all I hear are the salespeople and customers discussing whether the SDK is available.

This means better selection for a la carte and VoD (1)

redphive (175243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525096)

One thing that I can see this benefiting in the cable world is the delivery of low penetration (no not porn) services to those who are willing to pay for them. Rather than locking up a full channel in an MPEG stream for Broadcast or worse, VoD, cable operators would be able to provide this through future STBs with IPTV support. Most of the higher end set top boxes Motorola provides (6412/6416) come with a DOCSIS modem built in.

As a cable operator I would hate to see IPTV become wide spread as there is such a well suited deliver mechanism in place through HFC networks as it is. But for those operators that want to provide a wider range of services to meet everyones needs, this could be achieved through IPTV. Without having to undergo expensive bandwidth upgrades, or invest in expensive statistical MPEG4 muxes, or even switched digital broadcast, this could be a very good for Motorola.

IP is great, but I don't see it as being the solution to all problems, and a HFC Broadcast/Narrowcast/Switched Digital Broadcast /IPTV mix is attractive for providing cable customers with the greatest range of choice with the most economical solution for the cable operator.

Also for Motorola's sake, other hardware providers are doing the same thing and are already begining to eat away at Motos market share. With OpenCable not far on the horizon, this is a must do for them.
 

Re:This means better selection for a la carte and (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14542535)

Actually, IPTV simplifies the job of the cable provider. As cable modems get faster, you can eventually stop worrying about TV altogether. Heck, you can even dedicate the television bandwidth to IP and make it even faster.

Re:This means better selection for a la carte and (1)

redphive (175243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14542607)

I would agree that to some extent IPTV will play a role, as I said in my previous post. But cable systems are very efficient in broadcasting the same channel to a large number of people. IPTV my be more suitable for those channels that only have a handful of viewers or VoD. I like where IPTV is going, I am just not fully convinced that it is the endall solution for ALL channel delivery.

I wrote IP/TV in 1995 (really!) (1)

karl.auerbach (157250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525101)

Way back in 1995 I wrote the real time core of "IP/TV". We sold the company to Cisco in 1998 and Cisco still holds the US registered trademark "IP/TV".

In any event, even way back a decade ago we were thinking how to move entertainment grade video - but there some things that people should be aware of. The first is that in the minds of many the entertainment stream is merely a container for advertising. The ability to do personalized, fast-cut, commercial inserts was one of the holy grails. One of the others was to do customized product placements (e.g. change a generic can into a can of Pepsi or Coke on a per-viewer basis.)

Good video and audio does take a goodly chunk of bandwidth - more than comes in to most US homes even with cable or DSL. And if the typical home scenerio plays out, many homes will be taking several parallal feeds at the same time.

Probably not (1)

maxx_730 (909644) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525260)

"As tantalizing as this Kreatel stuff is, it appears as though the SDK isn't available to average consumers yet. I hope that Motorola has the sense to realize that a devoted fan base of eager Linux device junkies will be a good thing for the platform." Fat chance they won't release it. I am moderator of the biggest english forums for motorola linux based phones, and they didn't do anything to help us hack it. Heck, the GPL wasn't even included in the box and they didn't say where to get the kernel sources too. All we have to develop native apps now are some hacked headers and a few leaked from the SDK which does exist. Taking this in mind i doubt motorola will take any notice of the "Linux device junkies". Hell, i love motorola but i wish they'd act a bit more like nokia in this case.

Re:Probably not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14525592)

Hell, i love motorola but i wish they'd act a bit more like nokia in this case.
I've had a handful of Motorola phones; the V66, the V300, V333, Startac, Timeport, and a couple others. The Startac was the only really reliable one. I had at least FIVE V66's that I kept having to send back to T-Mobile because they just plain didn't work.

If you're hitting a button at exactly the wrong time, you get the White Screen of Death, and it goes through a soft reset. (This happened to me often.) Text messages would get dropped because of it. The phone actually can't keep up with my keying in text messages -- it lags. Badly. The screens would go bad. The speakers would go bad. The SIM ports would go bad. Keys would go bad. The chargers would go bad (and not just from gunk on the contacts).

Sorry. I'm keeping my Sidekick II. (Even though the userbase is a bunch of rabid morons and the third-party program is a steaming pile.) I used to love Motorola, but they just suck now.

Wow, only 17 comments (1)

Yuioup (452151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525593)

Wow, only 17 comments on a front-page article.

I for one would like to welcome out new digg.com overlords...

other IPTV on lInux companies (1)

Dreamszz (655390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525622)

Don't forget:
ANT that also makes an XHTML browser called Galio
http://www.antplc.com/solutions/index.htm [antplc.com]

Amino that has ready STBs that run Linux on an IBM PPC chip@252MHz
http://www.aminocom.com/products/iptv/ [aminocom.com]
I tested the AMInet110 recently.

Oregan is working on an IPTV stack as well
http://www.oregan.net/product_concept.html [oregan.net]

very interesting all in all :) Although I think I'd prefer to put a PC in the livingroom specifically for browsing instead of doing it on a TV, no matter how large the display is. An old laptop or a tablet PC or so.

Re:other IPTV on lInux companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14525965)

And there is sentivision [sentivision.com] with complete IP set tob boxes based on linux with the SDK available.

Kreatel isn't the only one.. (4, Informative)

jmcneill (256391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525748)

Disclaimer: I work at (what used to be) one of the original IPTV middleware companies.

Having seen some Kreatel hardware, I can say that it's pretty cool, but certainly not unique. Amino [aminocom.com] makes the smallest Linux-based IPTV set-top box that I have ever seen. Their AmiNET110 is incredibly small. IIRC the only chip inside is an IBM system-on-a-chip (405GP, for those who care); not much else.

Anyway, the Kreatel hardware I've dealt with is huge in comparison. Both very cool products.

Re:Kreatel isn't the only one.. (1)

freek254 (613417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526494)

Anyway, the Kreatel hardware I've dealt with is huge in comparison.

Huge?

See the picture on http://www.kreatel.se/products_ipstb.htm [kreatel.se]. Compare the size of the remote and the STB. The STB is approx the same size as an ordinary book. If that's huge, the Amino STB better ship with a magnifying glass, in case you misplace it.

Fredrik

Re:Kreatel isn't the only one.. (1)

jmcneill (256391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527707)

We worked with an older model Kreatel box. Still, the models shown on the Kreatel web site are larger than the AmiNET110 [aminocom.com].

Maybe you misinterpreted the quotation you copied from my post. Emphasis mine: Anyway, the Kreatel hardware I've dealt with is huge in comparison.

First Linux STB? Not by far! (2, Informative)

Toshio (153889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525788)

If somebody would actualy know something about area of IPTV, one would know that we already have a nubumber of Linux based STBs. Amino [aminocom.com] being the most successful ones. Oh, I don't know... We have been deploying them from the start of 2004, when most of the people didn't even know what IPTV should mean. Swisscom on the other hand started testing Microsoft OS (Windows MCE) based STBs at the same time... and the still don't work properly. And those units cost more than ten times the cost of Amino 103 unit... BTW: Windows MCE is complete Windows XP with couple of applications. With W-MCE only SW licence without HW costs $200, with at least $200 for HW to run the beast. Amino on the other hand "Just works", costs in $30 a piece if you order in bulk. Thats SW and HW together!

Anyway, I know it's Slashdot, but not checking the facts is so 20th century journalism...

Re:First Linux STB? Not by far! (1)

konfoo (677366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526768)

If you had said 1995 I would say you have been in the business for a decent amount of time. 2004, not really.

Open Source IPTV on Linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526056)

These guys [quixotic-research.net] are doing some interesting open source IPTV code for Linux. They are using the PowerPC-based boxes from Hauppage ( Media MVP ), which make a nice cheap platform for experimentation.

Why Linux... (1)

hzs202 (932886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526235)

"Ars Technica is covering Motorola's acquisition of Kreatel, a European company that designs Linux-based Internet Television Protocol (IPTV) technologies, including a set-top box powered by embedded Linux."

Could someone please explain why major coroporations choose to embed linux kernel? Are there technical limitations against embedding the more refined *BSD kernel as opposed to the buggy Linux kernel?

Does Kreatel breaks GPL? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526337)

If somebody distributes a Linux-based product, they are supposed to release the exact source code of the GPL part of the product. Linux kernel is covered by GPL.

I don't see a way to download the GPLed part of the software used. Do others see where it is hidden? Does Kreatel release the GPLed part of the software with the Kreatel products?

Some of us use Linux for more than just an STB (2, Informative)

konfoo (677366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526821)

We ( http://www.logici.com/ [logici.com] ) use it for our STBs, edge video router, VOD server, STB management system... pretty much everything in the chain that delivers IPTV video from the headend to the viewer. We use XML and XUL wrappered by plain HTML and javascript, so clients have the ability to customize the UI, and the UI itself is (for all intent purposes) 'Video/EPG AJAX'. I've worked on a lot of systems in the last 10 years that deliver IPTV video. The nimbleness of this particular approach blows all the others out of the water. Where 'legacy' systems required a team of developers and months of time to get a new 'version' out for a customer, this can be done by one person adept at gimp/photoshop and javascript/html.

Kreatel is not European (2, Informative)

Gnutte (907952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527039)

"Kreatel, a European company"

It's Swedish. They are based in Linköping, the same city that the Swedish figherplanes JAS 39 Griffin are from. I3Micro is also Swedish (based in Stockholm).

...
.

Re:Kreatel is not European (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14529424)

Sure, and Sweden is in Europe. If you don't believe me, ask the EU, which they joined in 1995.

iptv is never very well designed, it seems (1)

clydemaxwell (935315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532710)

reminds me of Cisco's IPTV device, which uses a mangled linux kernel to start up windows server 2000, for god knows what reason.
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