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Hillcrest Sets Its TV-Optimized Browser Free

Hillcrest Labs, hoping to provide a bigger selling point for its motion-sensing pointer technology, has released the source code for its Kylo Web browser designed for big-screen TVs to the open source community.

Kylo, a Mozilla-based browser, is designed to view online content on TVs connected to the Internet. Hillcrest said it will provide the Kylo source code under the Mozilla Public License (MPL) 2.0 to let developers create different versions that extend its features and enables new uses. As such, developers can copy, modify and redistribute the Kylo platform and source code without a separate commercial license, and without paying royalties or fees to Hillcrest.

Hillcrest's business strategy is to encourage CE manufacturers to license the company's Freespace pointer technology, for example by using the Hillcrest "Scoop" remote control in conjunction with the Kylo browser.

"Releasing Kylo to the open source community is a natural progression for the TV browser," Steve Scheirey, vice president of TV software and services at Hillcrest Labs, said in a statement. "Kylo has always been a distinct initiative apart from our core Freespace business. By releasing Kylo's source code, we expect to see new innovations and product enhancements from a much broader development community."

Shortly after Hillcrest released the first version of Kylo in March 2010, Hulu blocked access to the browser. The Internet TV venture, which sells $8-per-month Hulu Plus subscriptions for access to premium content on connected TVs and other devices, still blocks Hillcrest's Kylo from playing videos.

The open source version of Kylo is available for free via download at GitHub and

Rockville, Md.-based Hillcrest has licensed its Freespace technology to companies including LG Electronics, Logitech, Roku, SMK Electronics, Sony Computer Entertainment, Universal Electronics (UEI) and Eastman Kodak.