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UPDATED:On Saturday at SXSW, I got a look at Syabas’s upcoming set-top Popbox, which was unveiled at CES last January and integrates both web video content as well as just about anything else that might be on your computer (as seen in the video demo embedded below).
Popbox is the latest product from Syabas, which has been creating hardware for connecting TVs to PCs for a while. When asked what differentiates Popbox from Roku, Popbox marketing lead Jeff Reine pointed to the content that is available beyond video, which includes casual games, social networks like Twitter and Facebook, music, and photos. Reine also said that according to developers he’d been working with, it was far far easier to build apps for Popbox than to build them for the Roku box, primarily due to Popbox’s use of Flash Lite.
Developers are given complete control over their apps — “it’s the mall approach,” Reine said, wherein a mall offers slots to various stores, who then decide how to use the space — and the SDK is coming out soon. The banner ads seen on the box interface in the video above are not paid ads, but rather opportunities to promote partners within the channel.
Popbox is aiming for global distribution, and while there’s no official street date yet, the box should hit the streets sometime this spring. UPDATE: Popbox will be released first in the U.S., but currently has no plan for international distribution.
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