Toshiba Places STB takes on Google TV
Toshiba, a name not currently associated with web-on-TV, are looking to right this wrong with their forthcoming Toshiba Places service.
Places offers an array of Web content, from news and weather, to photos from Flickr and videos from sites such as YouTube.
OK, so that’s nothing new – every Internet TV solution has been doing this for the past few years. So what makes Toshiba’s effort so different?
Internet TV on your desktop
Places offers a new twist over standard Internet TV in that it can be accessed not only from forthcoming Toshiba TVs, but also from a regular browser. Yes, that’s right – Internet TV, which brings the browser to the TV, can be seen through the browser on your PC.
So is it just a Web site then? Well, sort of! In fact, it’s more a media portal, optimized for use on TVs, laptops, PCs, and, of course, Toshib’a forthcoming Folio Android tablet. You can therefore see whatever media you want on whichever screen you happen to be using.
This makes a lot of sense, as it frees your content from your TV, allowing you not only to see it on different sceeens across the house, but also on different screens across the world (i.e. wherever you have Web access).
Places placed on an STB
But that’s not the most interesting bit – Toshiba will also be releasing Places as a set-top box, compatible with any regular HDTV, letting you get in on TV on the web without buying a whole new screen.
You can, if you want, buy an HDTV with Places built-in (such as the forthcoming and utterly superb Toshiba 55LZ1 Cevo), but you don’t have to. Simply buy the set-top box and plug it into any HDTV.
It’s not clear at this point if the set-top box has any tuner at all or if in terms of video content this will simply be streamed, but it does have an attactive interface and the set-top box approach is novel.
Just how this will stand up to the competition and the impending Google TV, we will have to wait and see. Toshiba’s Places set top box is confirmed for France and may well come to the UK, as the test device has been running iPlayer.