Scientific Atlanta Planning Games Console

In what’s beginning to become a crowded market, Scientific Atlanta have announced that they are working on a games console. No specifications have been released yet, but the company claimed the device could compete with current games consoles from Sony and Nintendo. Chief Executive James McDonald said their new product would offer “the same performance you get out of those game boxes.”

Scientific Atlanta do not expect their Explorer hardware to be available to buy on the high street but will instead be installed by cable operators in subscribers’ homes. Games will then be downloaded to the box on a pay-per-play or perhaps a “buy outright” charging scheme.

Set top box builders and suppliers are working on ever more sophisticated hardware to compete for the coveted space under your television – getting the most compelling media gateway into millions of homes is worth a lot of revenue.

It will be interesting to see how the new console compares with Infinium Labs’ notorious Phantom console, summarised here a few weeks ago. What content will be available for Scientific Atlanta’s new console? It’ll need a lot of software to be able to compete with the systems already in the market, and with the potentially huge library of adapted PC games available to the Phantom.

Also allegedly about to emerge is the DISCover Console – a PC based system that boasts of the simplicity of a console. It allows users to play games simply by dropping the disk in the DISCover’s drive, rather than having to install and configure each game. The DISCover may cause problems for both Infinium and Scientific Atlanta based on the technology they eventually use: their website claims “‘DISCover® technology is protected by U.S. Patent No. 5,721, 951: a “home entertainment system for playing software designed for play in home computers.’ No one can manufacture a game console that plays PC games without infringing on this patent.”

Scientific Atlanta

DIScover, Not console yet, but you can buy a nice hat.

The Phantom still sleeps

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?