2Wire has unveiled the MediaPoint, a thin-client set-top box that's designed to deliver HD video via broadband. The MediaPoint box will have a small footprint (just 7 inches square) and a good array of features, including HDMI output, wired and wireless network connectivity, USB expansion options, and UPnP and DLNA compatibility for streaming media from sources on the home network. The catch? MediaPoint won't be available to consumers--at least, not directly.
That's because 2Wire is effectively acting as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer). 2Wire's customers--broadband service providers--can customize the MediaPoint box to their specific needs, and then distribute the box to their customers under their respective brands. It's a model that's worked for 2Wire in the past, with products like its MediaPortal being marketed to end users by third-party providers such as SBC (now AT&T).
How long before a customized version of the MediaPoint hits the streets? We're hearing that the first deal's already been struck, and it'll be a matter of weeks--if not days--before you see a yet-to-be-named service provider offering its own version of the MediaPoint, possibly at a sub-$100 price point.
The question for you: do you have room under your TV to squeeze in the MediaPoint? Or is it already too crowded under there, with the cable/satellite box, one or two game consoles, Netflix Player, DVD/Blu-ray player, Windows Media Extender, Vudu, TiVo, and/or Apple TV?