General-sale digital-TV set-top boxes and DLNA

At the moment, most add-on “over-the-air” digital-TV converter boxes sold through general retail don’t come with UPnP AV / DLNA media-client functionality. But this feature could be offered as something to differentiate units in a product line or differentiate a unit from one offered by a competitor.

There will be a lot of interest in these boxes over the next few years as various countries either switch off analogue TV service and go “all dgital” or enrich their digital-TV platform. This is espeially so as people want to make sure that they can receive the digital TV service on other TVs in their house and at other locations. Integrating the DLNA functionality in these set-top boxes can allow the boxes to become two devces in one – a network media adaptor as well as a digital-TV set-top box.

It will then work with Internet TV / vodcast gateway software that provides DLNA-based directory software for Internet TV services and vodcasts, thus allowing access to this kind of content on the regular TV. The same could hold true for any multimedia content held on a PC or network-attached storage connected to the home network.

Similarly, this concept can work with DLNA-compliant PVR set-top boxes and provide access to content that is recorded on the PVR unit. It can also provide access to “multi-room PVR” functionality like the ability to pause a show in one room and pick up where you left off in another room. Such functionality has been provided for in version 2 of the UPnP AV MediaServer and MediaRenderer device specifications.

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