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The Future of Screens

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Embedded Computing Design – by Rob Koch

At the end of 2019, Apple, Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance announced they were joining forces to develop and promote the adoption of a new IP-based connectivity standard for the smart home. Since then, the focus on a unified, open source platform has attracted more stakeholders from a wide range of categories in the smart home market. This includes HVAC, lighting, appliances, locks and TVs, which some experts predict will eventually serve as the hub of home connectivity.

There is no question the TV screen has become a focal point of the home. It's not surprising, considering the abundance of entertainment, news, and information available round the clock today. Arguably, it was cable that brought TV to a whole new level and consumers to a new era of choice in what they could consume.

But, while the multitude of viewing options for consumers has expanded dramatically over the decades, cable platforms historically have offered a poor user experience. Most everyone with cable—or anyone who has stayed in a hotel room—has had the displeasure of scrolling through guides and channels ad nauseum to find something suitable to watch. That's because the platform was sold by manufacturers as one big monolithic solution, which included the backend, hardware, and the software that runs on that hardware and the user interface (UI). Things began to change in 2012, however, when Comcast introduced RDK (Reference Design Kit), which started out as a cable-focused platform for video set-top boxes.

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