Neuros Prepping Linux-Based OSD Embedded Media Center with Hackable Firmware

neuros osd blackHere’s a product to watch (via Boing Boing)! I’m not sure how the market will react to such a device, but the Neuros OSD has the potential to replace two categories of products in the living room with its $229 price tag: standard, no frills digital media adapters & full-blown media center PCs. According to Neuros, “the OSD is open, expandable, flexible and standard and uses software that is upgradeable and relentlessly enhanced. By taking these attributes and applying them to an ‘embedded’ consumer electronics device, the OSD can evolve and grow to meet all the expanding needs of the digital consumer in a device that, unlike a PC, is small, inexpensive, silent, and designed specifically for the job.”

Yeah, yeah… so what’s so special about that? Having the green light and the tools to hack the hell out of it by the manufacture insures that users/developers will keep rolling out new add-ons for the device to do things that Neuros didn’t even intend. Think of it as the ultimate Makers‘ gadget. What’s more, Neuros has already started posting “Bounties” to encourage development.

From Neuros’ “Hacking for Cash: Bounties on the Neuros OSD” blog post:

YouTube or Google video Browser
Bounty: $1000

Flickr Photo Browser
Bounty: $600

Digital Music Receiver + WiFi PDA (or PSP) as the remote
Bounty: $500

TiVo for Radio
Hook up the OSD to a FM/AM or Satellite receiver and do timed recordings or FF/RW and Pause Live Radio.
Bounty: $700

VoIP on the OSD
Plug a USB phone into the OSD and make calls without touching any of your PCs.
Bounty: $500

Download Package Manager
This would allow the OSD to download apps directly through the network without having to reflash the whole memory, kernel and all, as is currently done.
Bounty: $500

* I’d like to see a PVR app that stores content to an external USB drive and can be managed via browser interface.

Pretty neat, huh? Well, now we know what’s possibly coming down the pipe, but how about what it can do today and its specs. According to ThinkGeek, the sole distributor of the clear casing Beta version, they state the following:

Current Product Features
(Subject to change as more features are coded into the OSD firmware)

  • Standalone Linux Based Media Player connects to your TV
  • Record from any external analog audio/video source such as a DVD player or Cable box
  • Automatically encode video/audio for playback on mobile devices such as PSP and mobile phones
  • Playback a variety of media formats on your TV including MP4, AVI, ASF, MP3, OGG, WMA, AC3
  • Timed recording feature allows scheduled recordings in advance
  • Storage via media cards (SD/MMC and CF) or external USB hard drive
  • IR Remote Learning and Playback
  • Future Implementation for Network Attached Storage functionality
  • Updateable Open Source Firmware
  • Linux OS (2.6 Kernel)

Hardware Specifications

  • TI DM320 Multimedia SOC with 200 MHz ARM926, 120 MHz C54x DSP processor
  • MPEG4 encoding and decoding (as many formats and wrappers as possible)
  • D1 (720×480)resolution at 30 fps
  • MPEG2 encoding and decoding
  • Ethernet
  • Linux (2.6 Kernel)
  • Dual Core Processor ARM9/TI DSP
  • SD/CF/MS card slots
  • USB host
  • IR Blaster
  • IR remote

I/O Ports

  • IR receiver
  • USB Host
  • Multi-card (SD/MS/MS PRO/MS DUO/MMC)
  • Compact Flash (including microdrive)
  • Dual color LED (green and Red)
  • Power connector
  • Serial connector (to conrol tuner boxes and connection to PC for developer debugging)
  • IR Blaster (for controlling tuner boxes)
  • S-Video input
  • Ethernet 10/100
  • Composite Audio and Video input and output (RCA connector cables included)

Filed in: Streaming Media Devices