Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): Sigma Designs, "The Voice," Time Warner Cable

--Sigma Designs Unveils Reference Design for Ultra-Thin Set-Top Box
--NBC Reality Show, "The Voice," Offers Extensive Social Media Integration
--Time Warner Cable to Launch Version 2.0 of its iPad App Later this Month

Due to the large volume of news generated over the past few days, we are covering today's stories in abbreviated round-up/summary form:

  • Sigma Designs has unveiled a platform reference design for an "Ultra-Thin" set-top box that it claims will enable "an experience only found in devices that are combined with networking gateways" and "will add more fuel to the growing market of set-top-boxes by enabling these products to stream high-definition content from the Web, in 1080p, via networking through the AC power adapter, all in a device so small that it fits in the palm of your hand. Sigma Designs' Ultra-Thin Reference Platform is unlike existing set-top boxes," the company's press materials continue. "This revolutionary self-installable, ultra-thin design doesn't require a power cord; it plugs directly into AC power outlets for easy installation by consumers and uses Sigma's award-winning HomePlug AV with ClearPath for the most reliable networking over the home's electrical wiring. With a state-of-the-art media processor, this new platform decodes multiple HD IPTV streams and connects to a HDTV through a simple HDMI connector. The new system also integrates Z-Wave RF technology for the most advanced remote control functionality. With Z-Wave, the Ultra-Thin can be placed out of sight, behind the TV or in a cabinet without affecting its functionality and can be used to control not only the TV, but also over 500 available Z-Wave devices including lighting, door locks, thermostats and more. This is the first design of its kind to weave together the comprehensive functionalities and necessary processing power to address most every need for the consumer to control their connected home. Sigma Designs will make the fully integrated ultra-thin set-top box reference design available to service providers and their set-top equipment suppliers. These customers will have the advantage of quick time-to-market through these turnkey solutions, whereby they will have a single agreement and point of contact for direct support."
  • Mashable has published a detailed overview of the extensive social media integration offered by the new NBC reality show, "The Voice." "In this day and age, digital and social media for a successful television show can't be an afterthought--it has to be established in pre-production and developed throughout the show," supervising producer, Nicolle Yaron told Mashable's Lauren Drell.
  • Internal Time Warner Cable documents obtained by Engadget provide some information on an upgrade to the MSO's iPad app and to certain Cisco, Motorola and Samsung set-top boxes that is slated to take effect June 28th. According to the company, version 2.0 of the iPad app will include a complete seven-day EPG with full program descriptions, the ability to use the iPad as a "STB remote control for channel tuning," and the ability to schedule and manage DVR recordings.
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