Cisco smart TV, Over the Top set-top box companion, dual-reception portable TVs

TV may be forecast to grow at a lower rate in 2011 than in 2010, but it’s still big business at the Consumer Electronics Show in Lost Wages this week, with announcements of an Over the Top set-top box companion, Cisco’s entry into the smart TV market and RCA’s dual-reception portable TVs.

Amino announced today a companion set-top box, called the Freedom Jump, for adding Over the Top (OTT) functionality to paid broadcasting services. This allows a complementary service to standard cable and satellite TV, adding movies-on-demand, catch-up and music services and, of course, social networking, which may become a bigger part of TV with Google’s recent investment in Miso.

The Freedom Jump is based on the Amino Freedom hybrid/OTT media centre and is powered by a CE4100 Intel Atom processor running the MeeGo operating system. It also supports Flash and has full high-definition 1080p capability.

While Apple and Google are establishing ground in the connected or smart TV sector, Cisco is set to join them soon, according to unnamed sources cited by the Wall Street Journal.

Cisco will take a different approach to its rivals, however, by selling its internet-connected smart set-top boxes to cable TV operators, who will then loan them to subscribers of their TV packages. Cisco will let the operators change the software interface and decide on pricing, which is likely to make them jump on board. It’s not yet clear if deals with cable TV operators have already been signed.

Cisco is expected to formally announce the product, along with others, at CES later today.

RCA announced a lineup of portable digital TV sets, including 3.5-inch and 7-inch pocket models, that can receive both digital TV and mobile DTV. All of them are Lithium Polymer battery-operated and allow playback of up to four hours. Prices are $109 and $169 for one of two smaller models, while the larger model is $169.

RCA also announced a car tuner and receiver for vehicle infotainment systems, a device that allows dual-reception of either hybrid ATSC or mobile DTV while being no bigger than a pack of cards.

portable TVs