updated 03:35 pm EDT, Fri September 26, 2008
KDDI intros au BOX set-top
To further its fixed mobile broadcasting convergence that combines a fixed phone, mobile phone and broadband service, KDDI will demonstrate its new au BOX at the CEATEC show in Japan that kicks off on September 30. The set-top box will allow users to download music and video content from the Internet to enjoy on their cellphones or TVs without the need for a PC. It will be launched in conjunction with Japan's Okinawa Cellular Telephone Co. and be offered on a rental basis with a subscription to users.
The Linux-based au BOX features an interface developed by MCCI, a USB driver and firmware developer for handsets and mobile devices. It will connect to TVs via video jacks and can be used as a CD/DVD player, with a CD ripping function of tracks directly to users' mobile handsets or 200MB of its built-in 1GB flash drive in the ATRAC3plus format, among others. Connecting to the Internet is made possible via the included network cable and Ethernet jack, where users can purchase and download songs and movies from the LISMO music service and video store.
Another feature is the au BOX' ability to convert and transfer videos from connected camcorders and devices to formats that can be viewed on mobile phones.
Rentals of the au BOX will begin in November, via au mobile phone service, EZweb service or Hikari one TV service. Individual movie rentals will cost the equivalent of about $3. The charges are done via mobile phone or TV service billing. KDDI plans to eventually replace its Hikari one TV set-top boxes with the au BOX, which is fully compatible with the current service, which offers access to 40 channels delivered over fiber optic cables.
The au BOX features built-in speakers, while connections include two USB ports, an Ethernet jack, two RGB audio and video connections (one input, one output), and an S-video in and out. [via Tech-On]