Parks Associates Blog

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Syabas: Roku Ain't the Only Game in Town!

Thanks to the folks at Syabas, who reached out to me at CES and set up a briefing. We've known Syabas as a company in the "CE middleware" space that provides media server and DLNA-based softare. We covered them in our 2008 report Home Servers and Consumer Storage: Analysis and Forecasts.

Syabas has some interesting solutions in the connected CE space that are focused on the delivery of premium Web content to a variety of consumer electronics devices. As you'll recall, I spent quite a bit of time at CES talking to a number of companies in the "widget on the TV" space. Although the Intel and Yahoo! Widget Channel solution got a lot of attention at CES, it's not the only game in town. Companies from AnySource Media, Oregan Networks, Opera Software, Dreamer, and others are all quite active in the "Web on CE" market.

Syabas' solutions in this space include the Networked Media Tank, SayaTV, and the Media Service Portal. I'm interested in learning more about how these solutions can interact with standards such as DLNA and would be combined with silicon to create a networked CE device capable of receiving a variety of rich media from the Internet.

However, there's a lot more to the Syabas story than software. They offer a product called Popcorn Hour that can pull in content from networked devices and streamed content from the Internet. This product is available in a wide variety of markets, including North America, Europe, and Asia. In fact, many of the reviews that I've read are coming from international markets, where online video use is high, and a product that can bring Web video to the TV is going to be in strong demand. The Popcorn Hour/Networked Media Tank A-110 was an award winner at the 2009 Storage Visions Conference. The folks at Syabas say that it will deliver content from multiple formats and protected under a variety of DRM schemes. They also indicate that Media Service Portal gives them the ability to quickly add content to an easy-to-use interface that organizes the Web content on the TV screen. One thing that Popcorn Hour is able to do is pull in information about most-watched programming and bring that up for easy viewing.

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