You may be familiar with EchoStar's satellite-based (Dish Network) and Sling Media (Slingbox) products, but the company also manufactures set-top boxes for third-party providers, as well as free-to-air services in the UK. It's this last grouping that'll be able to take advantage of the Android-based device we saw today, assuming it does in fact make its way to market. The HDX-410 runs native Ice Cream Sandwich, and is available in two versions -- one supports IP content and local storage exclusively, while a second can also accept terrestrial Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) programming, letting you play back live TV shows in addition to content from a local server, pulled from the web or stored on attached media or an inserted microSD card. It connects to the web using Ethernet or WiFi, and includes USB ports on both the front and the rear, Bluetooth, HDMI out, digital audio out and a standard-definition connection. It's also paired with a QWERTY keyboard-equipped remote manufactured by Philips with gyroscopic or directional-pad curser control, along with pinch/zoom gesture capability.
We had a chance to check out the ICS box at EchoStar's IBC booth today, where the device was running Android 4.0.4 and an early version of the company's hybrid app, which groups "favorited" content alongside terrestrial channels, letting you use the standard channel up/down button to navigate through stored TV shows, IP content or live programming quite seamlessly, as if all of the media was playing from the same source. It's clearly not yet ready for primetime, but the interface was sleek and speedy -- the set-top box performed very well overall. EchoStar reps were unable to confirm whether or not the HDX-410 would be coming to market at all, but they did add that the solution may be made available to third-parties in the future. Click past the break to take a closer look in our hands-on video.