English Computing Dictionary
Online Media
A company formed by {Acorn Computer Group} plc to
exploit the {ARM} RISC in television {set-top box} decoders.
They are wooing {British Telecommunications} plc to use the
box in some of its {video on demand} trials.
The box will be based on an {ARM8} core with additional
circuits to enable {MPEG} to be decoded in software - possibly
dedicated instructions for interpolation, inverse {DCT} or
{Huffman} table extraction. They have already moved audio
{MPEG} to sillicon. The box will use Acorn's {RISC OS}
{operating system} as the control environment and is also
looking at putting {Oracle} and {Microword} on it. Online
will reduce component numbers and therefore cost by
transferring functions presently on boards into the single
RISC chip.
The interactive set-top boxes are not limited to the
television - personal computer videoconferencing and extended
networking are being developed. Acorn already has
partnerships with {Bell Northern Research} and {Northern
Telecom} Limited, News International, Alcatel NV and its
majority shareholder Ing C {Olivetti} & Co SpA.
The company is presently wholly owned by Acorn, but eventually
expects to bring in external investment. Online will start a
four phase trial in Cambridge with Cambridge Cable Co,
Advanced Telecommunications Modules Ltd. - the Hermann Hauser
company promising super-cheap Asynchronous Transfer Mode - and
Anglia Television, later this year.
[Article by nobody◊tandem.com cross-posted from
tandem.news.computergram, 1994-07-7].