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My holiday gift - Google TV – Watching the convergence of Internet and TV – Opportunity for new type of wireless HID remotes | Cypress Semiconductor

My holiday gift - Google TV – Watching the convergence of Internet and TV – Opportunity for new type of wireless HID remotes

 We recently upgraded our TV to an LED TV. My wife knew that I was shopping for a blue-ray player. She went ahead and bought me a Blue-ray player with internet TV, equipped with Google TV. After playing with this for over a week, I am convinced that the convergence of internet and TV is finally happening. Why now? After all, people have been talking about this convergence for almost a decade now. Here are the following reasons for “why now?”.

 
  1. Content – The amount of quality content available on-demand from content providers like Netflix and Hulu that stream movies, documentaries and soaps are on the rise. The monthly subscription for these services is way less (and in some cases free) than what I used to pay as late fees if when I forgot to return my DVD rental from the store down the street.
  2. Internet connection speed – DSL and Cable Modem connections are fast enough to stream uninterrupted good quality video, which looks pretty good even in a large screen (and this is through a Wi-Fi connection within the home).
  3. Apps – Google TV is Android based, which means app developers around the world can develop applications meant for TV. I enjoy applications like Pandora radio already which allows me to listen to internet radio. In addition, I can also listen to music from websites that stream internet radio like last.fm and raaga.com (Indian and Bollywood music). Developers can also leverage apps developed for Smart Phones and Tablets to customize them a TV screen. I eagerly await the release of more apps created by various developers around the world and available through a market place.
  4. Almost all new TV’s, blue-ray players and set-top boxes have either a wired connection (Ethernet) or wireless connection (Wi-Fi) with the ability to connect to the internet. Most of them also ship with some native Apps installed. In fact, I also saw some Apps pop-up in my cable TV set-top box after the most recent firmware upgrade.
 
This is also going to change the way in which the devices used to interact with the TV work. For a company like Cypress and its associated ecosystem, there is huge opportunity for growth in the devices that people use for remotely interacting with a TV (think wireless keyboard/mice, optical navigation, gaming remotes, etc).
 
The traditional IR remotes with just buttons and IR communication are not going to make the cut for remotes for internet connected TV appliances. The reason is the following:
 
  1. Need for more buttons – Think Keyboard. Imagine selecting alphabets from my TV screen using just the up, down, left, right and select buttons and typing all the interactions I want to have on Facebook and Twitter. Even typing the name of a website takes quite a bit of time using just up-down-select style navigation.
 
  1. On-board finger tracking device for on-screen cursor navigation: For the TV to be an effective internet browsing device, the need for a cursor that can be moved freely anywhere in the screen is important. The traditional remotes have no way to move a cursor with fine resolution across the screen. This is going to drive the need for optical navigation finger tracking devices on the remote. The alternate approach is to also use a touch-pad similar to the ones you will find in laptops, if size is not a constraint.  For remotes that are space constrained laser-based optical navigation tracking sensors would be ideal. Unlike the PC industry, where the mouse and keyboards can be on separate devices, in these remotes they need to be on the same device.
 
  1. Go RF – No more IR. You are going to be holding and typing on the remote using both your hands. Pointing the remote to ensure line-of-sight with the internet connected TV appliance simultaneously will be ergonomically challenging. In some cases the remote control human interface device might be resting on a surface while typing, making IR an unsuitable option.
 
Cypress is well positioned to offer solutions with great time-to-market for this emerging trend with human interaction devices for multimedia due to the programmable products it offers in this space: Wireless RF HID solutions, Optical Navigation Sensor Solutions and TouchPad solutions. If there is interest in this area you want to share, ping us or pick up the phone and call your favorite Cypress FAE or sales guy.  
 
Signing off!
 
Happy Holidays!
 

Palani

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