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Boxee and Nordic Take Remote Controls into the Future

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 8:48am
Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA today announces that the double-sided remote controller in the Boxee Box by D-Link - incorporating an operationally simple navigation interface on the front and full QWERTY keyboard on the flipside - uses the company’s 2.4GHz wireless connectivity technology.

The Boxee Box removes the hassle of hunting and pecking for TV shows and movies on the Internet and allows users to view such content on a TV rather than having to sit in front of a computer. Access to many major on-line movie rental libraries is also available, plus the ability to send and receive recommendations with friends on Facebook and Twitter, assign individual accounts to multiple users within a household, and view personal (home computer, network or cloud) media files such as videos, music, and pictures.

The Boxee Box RF remote's QWERTY keyboard provides advanced navigation that traditional infrared (IR) remote controls are unable to support due to lack of bandwidth and bi-directional communication - something considered crucial by Boxee.

"When you move from terrestrial/cable to Internet TV you move from accessing content via a listings-based Electronic Program Guide (EPG) to search-based browsing of millions of potential content channels," explains Andrew Kippen, VP of Marketing at Boxee. "This shifts the paradigm from browse to search where a QWERTY keyboard and responsive remote control become mandatory."

In operation, a Nordic nRF24LE1 2.4GHz system-on-chip (SoC) ULP transceiver and microcontroller in the remote control handset communicates with and a Nordic nRF24LU1+ 2.4GHz single chip USB 2.0-compliant dongle transceiver in the Boxee Box. The wireless connectivity required to support a fast and reliable advanced QWERTY keyboard feature offering high immunity to interference from other 2.4 GHz radio sources operating in the vicinity is managed by Nordic's Gazell RF software.

In addition, RF eliminates the need for IR’s line-of-sight access, allowing devices to be controlled through objects and even interior walls (up to a range of 15m and assuming wall construction materials do not excessively attenuate RF signals).

“For a younger generation, the Internet provides everything they need - from Facebook to YouTube to Amazon to Yelp," continues Kippen. "With sites like Netflix and Hulu it’s quickly becoming the place to turn for everything entertainment as well. However, people are missing out on the full experience because many are stuck viewing the content on a tiny 15-inch computer screen with a keyboard and mouse. If you tried to buy a 15-inch TV today people would laugh at you, but we continue to watch online because the range of content available on the web is amazing and so we simply suffer the inconvenience.”

"The Boxee Box changes all this by providing a simple and enjoyable way to access digital content stored on the Internet or elsewhere on a TV. Users can search for favorite shows or movies by name, for example, and Boxee does the rest - including downloading relevant artwork and program summaries. It really is that simple."

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