Seasoned cable execs know that Hillcrest Labs has rolled out a lot of cool tech wares over the years—most notably its motion-sensor remote (it used to resemble a flying saucer) that remains one of the most interesting navigation systems around. While U.S.-based MSOs have been slow to adopt the tech, the global explosion of connected “smart” TVs has breathed new life into Hillcrest’s business.
So perhaps proving that the spoils go to those who stick it out, Hillcrest on Thurs announced a mult-year deal with TCL Multimedia, one of China’s largest TV makers, to embed its “Freespace MotionEngine” tech into its upcoming line of Android-based smart TVs. “Freespace motion is vital to the best Smart TV user experiences as it enables the full range of TV, Web, games, and apps that our Android platform offers,” said TCL dir, product planning Shaoyong Zhang.
The deal is part of a larger move by Hillcrest to tap into massive growth around smart TVs. Its Freespace tech is now available for any Android 4.2 (JellyBean)-based smart TV or Google TV-based set top—not a bad space to be in considering that 7 of the top 10 global LCD TV OEMs use Android or Google TV platforms. Hillcrest has already licensed its tech to LG’s line of connected TVs and Roku’s popular streaming media players. And it just announced that Intel will use Freespace on its new set-top reference kits for operators and OEMs.
As it has for many years, Hillcrest will once again demo its Freespace tech at the Cable Show next month. Perhaps it’s time to check it out…