June 10, 2013

Espial, Pace’s New Set-top Box to Spark up Cable Show

Like peanut butter and chocolate, sometimes the best things can come out of a combination of two separate items that ultimately work well together. Espial (News Alert) and Pace took an act on the road to The Cable Show, running June 10 – 12 in Washington, D.C., and showed off just how a combination of separate technologies can make a set-top box (STB) and user experience to rival most any out there.

The box in question takes Espial’s STB client and reference design kit (RDK)-based user experience systems and couples them with Pace’s IP STB systems. With all of these together, the end result is a larger overall construct that can offer an array of options for its users. For instance, the overall system not only boasts an HTML5 interface, but also an established storefront for video-on-demand services, as well as a set of video applications and even some social media integration capabilities.

The combination of these subsystems, meanwhile, offers some distinctive advantages of their own. Since Espial’s STB client is focused on new open Web standards—not just HTML5 but also CSS3 and RDK—the end result is a better overall user experience and a decreased development cost for those developing for such a system. Better yet, Pace’s IP client allows for improved performance over many competitors in the field, improving the overall viability of such a device, and the whole thing can work with both Ethernet and MoCA technologies for added versatility in the field.

The value of the extra features that the Espial / Pace system brings in can hardly be underestimated either. Many television providers are discovering the value of social media integration; Dish Network just brought it into the field with Dish Social only recently, and Dish isn’t alone in the market as individual shows promote a social media aspect. The sheer number of applications out there boasting HTML5 as involved in some way are increasing on a scale too rapid to easily ignore, and the field of set-top boxes—especially when issues like the Smart TV system or smart Blu-ray player are added into the mix—is likewise hard to turn down. There are still plenty of users out there who have eschewed cable for the savings and variety presented online, and likely will be more to come.

Espial and Pace’s new set-top box, meanwhile, should offer plenty of value for not only developers, but also for users. That should make this new piece both a hit at The Cable Show and well beyond when it reaches the market.

Edited by Alisen Downey


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