Amino Communications will debut a very small IPTV (Internet Protocol television) set-top box with integral Personal Video Recorder at IBC in Amsterdam on 10th September. The AmiNET500 is the latest addition to Amino’s range of small, low-cost, high performance set-top boxes and contains an 80Gbyte hard disk drive which is capable of storing around 40 hours of program material. The product has been developed in response to requests from telcos experiencing consumer demand for PVRs as part of their IPTV services.

IPTV is developing rapidly as it enables video-on-demand and interactive services to be delivered over broadband telephone networks. Subscribers can watch digital-quality TV programs and have access to a wider selection of movies than presently available, while benefiting from full interactivity. Where network bandwidth is insufficient to provide direct access to on-demand video streams, content can be uploaded to the AmiNET500 for subsequent playback with full trick-play features including fast forward and reverse, skip back and forward, and slow-motion frame-by-frame.

The new device will also support leading conditional access systems and rights management software to address content owners concern about protecting their assets from illicit copying. “We are working with conditional access vendors to ensure that Hollywood, and the major broadcast channels will be happy with the resulting solution. Any content which is delivered in encrypted form will also be stored as encrypted content, and each viewing will require validation with the originating server,” said Ebsworth.

Recent surveys have shown that 83% of PVR users are either satisfied, or very satisfied with the service, and that over 70% would want the facility on all TVs in their household. With the AmiNET500, a single PVR can stream recorded content to other set-top devices around the home – offering a lower cost approach than siting a disk drive enabled box with every TV.

The AmiNET500 measures just 184 x 240 x 56mm. It comes with Linux operating system and a Java based PVR application capable of supporting all the features a user would expect such as: pause live TV, instant record, instant replay, and is also capable of streaming content to other set-top boxes via a home network, and making scheduled recordings from an electronic program guide. The first member of the product line is targeted at the US market, and is available from October. A European version will be available early in 2005.