Myka: IPTV Done Right?

May 4, 2009

mykaBy now we’re all at least somewhat familiar with networked video appliances like AppleTV, Popcorn Hour, etc. And while those products have their fair share of fans, some home theater aficionados are left wondering, what else is out there? Are these closed, proprietary systems really right for me? Well as it turns out there is an open source solution on the horizon and from all accounts it appears to be quite promising.

The Myka is a download/streaming media player and self described “magic box” for watching hi-def movies on your television. Heard that one before? Yeah so have I, but the Myka would appear to be a little more than your typical movie box. One thing, the first thing really, that sets the Myka apart is the fact that it’s open source. Open source as in actively encouraging developers to write custom interfaces and even custom applications (think the iPhone app store, albeit on a much smaller scale).

In terms of the hardware itself, of course the first comparison most will draw is the Mac mini, but again as the Myka is open source and significantly more flexible, sans a third party operating system; those comparisons are purely cosmetic. The Myka uses a Broadcom 7403 system-on-a-chip for its video processing and as such includes native support for H.264, VC-1, AVC, MPEG4, MKV, WMV9, FLAC, Wi-Fi, Dolby Digital Plus, DivX, HDMI 1.3a, 1080p/24 and the kitchen sink. Well ok, no kitchen sink but it might as well; spec-wise this things a powerhouse.

Now that I’ve gushed, let’s temper that with a little real-world objectivity. Myka doesn’t (thus far) have any partnerships with what I’d call mainstream content providers, think Disney, Fox and alike. They do however have an agreement with EZTakes, see what I mean about “main stream” content, I’m not knocking eclectic content but man can’t live by indie flicks alone. That said, apparently a deal with Netflix may be in the works but at this stage of the game and given the fact the platform could be updated to work with just about anyone’s content service; I’m still intrigued and looking forward to getting my hands on a review copy.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Media Servers