Syabas Pushes Back PopBox Ship Date to July 23rd, Reveals Initial Line-Up of Apps for the OTT Device

--EZTakes Seeks to Enable Organizations to Develop Custom Roku Channels

Syabas, a Fremont, Calif.-based company that specializes in over-the-top set-top hardware and software, said last week that it has pushed back the ship date for its new PopBox OTT set-top box to July 23rd. The box, which features a user interface design from Moxi UI designer, Dewey Reid, and which will be priced at $130 and $150 for Ethernet and WiFi versions respectively, was previously expected to be available by the July 4th weekend. "We had been working feverishly to make the July 4th weekend--but although the firmware is good to go the software as of today just wasn't quite where we wanted it to be, so we made the call to delay getting the boxes shipped out from Amazon's warehouses until July 23rd," the company said in a post on its corporate blog, adding that "compared to what we've seen out there thus far, the UI we've put together is truly a cut above, and we're also pleased with the fact that the box plays just about everything we can throw at it--movies in the most popular formats, home videos, etc."

Syabas also revealed the line-up of apps that it says will be available for the Popbox when it ships: Funspot Games (Accedo Broadband), Picasa, Livestation, YouTube, Blip.tv, Next New Networks, Channels.com, Photobucket, Twitter, ShoutCast, Weatherbug, Revision3, MediaFly, Clicker, Video Detective, and MotorzTV. "Although this is the 'at launch' list of apps, we want to make it clear that the PopBox that ships is, TODAY, capable of supporting all foreseeable app partners in the future WITHOUT requiring a hardware upgrade, and, although we can't name names, we continue to work on finalizing software development with additional content providers," Syabas stated in its blog post. "This version of the PopBox does contain the required hardware security and other mechanisms to fulfill premium content providers' application requirements in the future." Syabas's blog posting concluded by stressing (apparently in answer to a question frequently asked of it by consumers) that the PopBox "only works with HDTV's and not standard-definition TV's."

In other OTT news: A company called EZTakes has announced that it is "now offering a combination of professional services and an optional off-the-shelf solution that can enable just about any organization to have its own custom-branded" broadband video channel on the Roku OTT platform. The company says that it has developed an application for the Roku Player which was recently approved by Roku and added to the latter's official channel store. "EZTakes' 'sweet spot' is to utilize our existing, and proven, backend content delivery infrastructure to create customized, private-branded Roku channels for media companies," the company states on its Web site. "As an option, we can also provide the ongoing services to manage, upgrade and support the implementations we create, allowing our customers to achieve an industrial-strength Roku presence in the shortest period of time and at the lowest possible cost." According to EZTakes, its backend platform includes, among other things, publishing workflow, content management, geo-filtering, pricing (for rentals and sales), security, server management, billing, customer service, revenue share accounting and reporting. The company cautions that any channels it develops for clients must still go through Roku's channel approval process.

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