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Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 12:35 GMT
Digital box to 'master' home devices
Steve Perlman and the Moxi MC, Moxi Digital
Steve Perlman's box will be made under licence
By BBC News Online's Alfred Hermida in Las Vegas

In the future, one shiny grey box on top of your television could handle all your videos, DVDs, music and TV channels, as well as let you send e-mails and chat with other people online.

The Moxi Media Center
An all-in-one digital entertainment platform
80 gigabyte hard drive
Linux operating system
Powered by Moxi-developed middleware
Uses Macromedia Flash and Realplayer
FireWire port for additional hard drives
Uses 802.11a wireless technology
This is the vision of Steve Perlman, a computer pioneer who has launched his Moxi Media Center at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, US.

"We set out to create something that is going to revolutionise the world of home entertainment and that is what we have done," said Steve Perlman at the launch of the Moxi Media Center (MC).

The Moxi MC is one of a series of new products that is trying to bridge the gap between the television and the computer.

For years, technology companies have tried to turn the TV into the focal point for all digital entertainment content in the home. But so far they have had limited success.

Mr Perlman hopes all that will change with the Moxi Media Center.

"We wanted to simplify things, bring them together and make them just work," said Mr Perlman, who sees the MC as the "master of ceremonies for the home".

The Moxi MC is an all-in-one entertainment centre.

It brings together digital content from television, the internet, DVDs and CDs and makes it accessible to televisions and computers throughout the home, without the need for lots of wires and remote controls.

Once connected to a satellite dish and cable television, everything on TV is available on demand.

You can even pause and rewind live TV, or watch one programme while recording another.

Merger rush

Once set up, the Moxi MC creates a home network, either through cables or wireless. By placing what Moxi calls Media Extensions in other rooms, you can then access the set-top box remotely.

"With one device we take care of the whole house," said Mr Perlman.

The idea is to allow people to watch a TV show or listen to their favourite music in any room at any time, with all of it stored on the Moxi MC.

The set-top box includes:

  • A personal video recorder
  • A music jukebox
  • A CD/DVD player
  • Instant messaging and e-mail
  • A wired or wireless home network
Before creating Moxi Digital, Steve Perlman was best known for selling start-up WebTV to Microsoft for an estimated $500m.

He has several key backers, including the internet giant AOL and Echostar, one of the largest satellite TV companies in the US.

Moxi Digital will not make the set-top boxes but will license the software and the hardware technology to cable and satellite companies.

The company estimates the cost will be comparable to other more basic set-top boxes currently available in the US. It says the average cost would be $500 for the typical two-television home in the US

Moxi has already signed a deal with Echostar and it expects to test the set-up boxes in the spring. Others are rushing to merge the television with the personal computer, VCR or DVD player and stereo.

They include Tivo, which pioneered personal video recorder technology that allows viewers to pause live TV and record shows on to a hard disk.

RealNetworks, makers of Real Player, announced at the show that it had struck deals to include its technology in Tivo digital video recorders.

Microsoft is also exploring ways of marrying the TV and the PC, using the latest version of its computer operating system, Windows XP, to create a one-stop entertainment centre.

BBC News Online's Alfred Hermida
"One gadget that really does it all - that's the holy grail"
See also:

08 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Selling the digital dream
06 Aug 01 | Business
Murdoch faces DirecTV rival
17 May 01 | New Media
Sony puts TV in computer
22 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
10 ways Tivo will 'change your life'
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