Extender Combos with HD DVD/Blu-ray & IPTV Functionality?
Extenders have yet to ship but it looks like Sigma Designs and Microsoft
are working to get additional features out in the form of Extenders integrated
into HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc Players, as well as IPTV set-top boxes (STB).
By now everyone should know that it is very likely the
first v2 Extenders will use the
Sigma Designs EM8622L reference design, which is supposed to allow rapid
development and shipping of Media Center Extenders by cutting down the work the
OEM has to do in order to get the finished product ready.
The next step up might be coming with the Sigma
Designs SMP8630 processor. The SMP8630
supports the same basic formats and outputs as the EM8622L (MPEG-2, MPEG-4
ASP/AVC, HDCP-HDMI, etc), but also features some additions geared toward HD
DVD/Blu-ray playback and IPTV STB’s such as AACS support and the ability to use
Windows CE for Microsoft’s IPTV platform (MediaRoom).
This means that your future HD DVD/Blu-ray Disc Player might
just have Media Center Extender functionality built right in. In addition, future Microsoft IPTV STBs could
do the same which might be more of a benefit to those outside the US where more
telcos currently have IPTV services deployed using Microsoft’s TV platform (some current boxes could get software upgrades to add the Extender feature too, just depends on the OEM). Hopefully we will see some combo units out sometime next
year, whether they are Sigma based or not.
With the format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray, much of the thought as
to who will win is based on the price on the units. While $300 is
too much in my opinion for a standalone Extender, the value goes through
the roof if I can get an HD DVD player that doubles as an Extender for the same. Plus, in another four months or so the going
price for HD DVD players should be around $150-$180 (currently HD DVD is from
$220-$300 for the cheapest standalone) which is my prime price for a standalone
Extender to start with. Adding HD DVD playback for the same price would open my wallet, how about you?