Nanotech, an IPTV technology company which modestly claims on its website to "deliver the future of television...", has announced that it is building its own 4K media player
Nothing too remarkable about that these days but what stoked our interest is that it's going to employ Nvidia's Tegra 4 chipset - a mobile powerhouse processor and GPU that will likely give the Set Top Box most of the characteristics of a small smartphone and a games console - and all with 4K capabilities.
This makes complete sense to us, for several reasons.
First, why should users have to put up with archaic user interfaces for their television viewing? Using a conventional Set Top Box is like visiting the dark ages of user interfaces. We can only be grateful that we're not still exposed to a command line - although entering an IP address from a remote control is about as tricky a job. Having a rich graphical capability built into the box will hopefully lead to a better user experience.
Second, there are some very good cross-platform games engines now. For example, Unity works in browsers and across most hardware platforms. Gaming, and the "gamification" of television viewing (outside of and inside programs) is waiting to happen, for better or for worse!
And finally, 4K needs a lot of processing grunt. You need a chipset that's designed from the ground-up to deal with it.
Nanotech CEO Interview
In an interview published in the Herald Online, Nanotech CEO said
"Tegra 4 offers native 4K video support in hardware, including support for security and digital rights management with features including HDCP. Beyond 4K, the power of the NVIDIA processor helps us deliver a world-class experience with games, web browsing and a variety of other optimized apps."
We think high-powered, 4K-capable boxes like this might be the way forward not just for 4K content delivery but also because with powerful 3D graphics built-in, they might just become lower-cost competition for Xboxes and Playstations. It all depends, of course, on the degree of take up from users, and on some degree of standardisation, which is where this sort of venture normally starts to flounder!