EchoStar HDX-410 set-top box runs native ICS, supports terrestrial broadcasts (hands-on video)

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.%Gallery-164692%

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EchoStar Goes Hybrid with New Android™-powered DVB and IP STB

STEETON, England, Sept. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- EchoStar (NASDAQ: SATS), a leading supplier of added-value, connected device solutions to the digital TV industry, announced today that it is expanding its portfolio of Android™-powered set-top boxes (STB) with the introduction of a new hybrid DVB and IP solution the HDX-410.

This highly effective product is designed to receive DVB and IP-delivered content and services whilst home networking support ensures that it can also act as a powerful multi-room solution. The HDX-410 will enable TV operators and telcos to deliver a wide range of DVB and IP-based services to their customers cost effectively, including broadcast and on demand TV plus Smart TV applications. The HDX-410 supports the industry's leading digital rights management and middleware solutions and ultra-low power operation to meet European energy efficiency requirements.

The HDX-410 platform is based on widely-established open standard technologies. Compatibility with industry standard protocols ensures that the HDX-410 can interact with other devices within the home, enabling TV operators to extend services from a central gateway to other display devices throughout the home network. Offering a wealth of connectivity, interfaces include high quality HDMI®, wireless networking to the 802.11n standard, Ethernet, S/PDIF and USB 2.0. Being highly compact in design, the HDX-410 will fit unobtrusively into any location within the home.

Shipping with software that supports the most advanced methods of advanced video coding (AVC), the HDX-410 boasts support for MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC-1 and VP8. This ensures that TV operators and service providers can combine and deliver the best user experience, high quality video and audio whilst optimising the available bandwidth to deliver entertainment services cost effectively.

The HDX-410 supports the Android™ 4.0 operating system and includes Adobe® Flash® Player 11.x and a WebKit-based browser. The Android™ community developed and highly efficient suite of application development tools is freely available and provides an extensive, scalable Internet-centric application development platform. This enables an operator to access an extensive pool of experienced and highly skilled entertainment application developers to readily support the supply engaging apps and services.

"Following close collaboration with the market following the introduction of our first Android-powered IP platform at IBC last year, we were aware that it was important to follow up with the addition of broadcast and DVB support to add to the versatility of the product," commented Rhod Williams Senior Vice President and General Manager of EchoStar in Europe. "Initially appealing primarily to IP and over-the-top service providers, this updated platform adds an even higher level of flexibility and targets TV operators who wish to combine broadcast TV services with entertainment delivered over the IP channel in a single cost effective platform."

Incorporating the latest advanced System-on-Chip silicon solution, the product will be showcased for the first time at IBC2012 on both EchoStar's stand (#1.F76) and in Marvell's balcony suite (hall 1, #BM3).

EchoStar's HDX-210 Android™-powered IP STB has been nominated for 'best IPTV technology or service' at the Cable and Satellite International Awards to be announced at IBC2012.