aioTV Forges ‘Missing Link’ To 4K

aioTV, the Colorado-based middleware provider, has launched PassBox 4K, an app platform that enables video service providers to offer Ultra HD content to the television over broadband alongside their legacy video services.

aioTV said PassBox 4K supports HDMI 2.0, a faster TV data link that supports the kind of throughputs and frame rates that will be required for fast-action Ultra HD content. The company will demonstrate the product the first time at the NAB show, which runs April 5-10 in Las Vegas.

aioTV claims its HDMI pass-through approach provides a “missing link,” because it allows the viewer to view regular TV, OTT fare, or streamed 4K content without having to change the TV’s source input.

“The problem we are solving is how to get 4K to the TV and do so in a way that leaves legacy as is and unites it all into one EPG experience,” said Mike Earle, aioTV CEO, in a statement. “With PassBox, 4K legacy channels stay intact on the legacy set-top and the 4K comes via IP, all into a seamless unified guide to the consumer.”

aioTV has recently shown off a version of its Android-powered PassBox that allow MVPDs to blend in OTT services by linking the device to Digital Transport Adapters and other types of set-top boxes and deliver OTT via HDMI links.

aioTV is starting to focus on 4K as MVPDs and OTT providers creep into the Ultra HD market. Among recent examples, Comcast, DirecTV, and Netflix all have plans to launch 4K streaming apps later this year.

Comcast’s version will initially be offered over IP to new Samsung 4K/Ultra HD sets. The operator recently showed off QAM-delivered 4K  video to a curved, 55-inch Samsung 4K set slated for a spring 2014 release, and an IP-based feed running over its DOCSIS 3.0 network to a 20-inch Panasonic tablet running at between 18 Mbps to 22 Mbps. Comcast expects to offer set-tops that can decode 4K video later this year. At Wednesday’s Next TV Summit in New York, Matt Strauss, Comcast Cable’s senior vice president and general manager, video services, said the Xi3, an all-IP HD client box for the X1 platform, will be Ultra HD-capable.