The Broadnow device, available in Japan, is the first of several products that Panasonic makes that receive video and audio over high-speed Internet connections. MontaVista, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based start-up that sells Linux and programming tools for consumer-electronics devices, said it will demonstrate the device next week at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Francisco.
The Broadnow box can receive regular TV signals as well as Internet information. And the system can be programmed to record specific video or music to a hard disk and watch or listen to it later, similar to the technology offered by TiVo's personal video recorders.
Linux, which works in many ways identically to Unix but which is created through the shared open-source development model, got its start in servers. However, MontaVista and some competitors are working to adapt it to "embedded" computing systems such as consumer-electronics devices, network routers and in-store kiosks.
Panasonic is one of several consumer-electronics companies that invested in MontaVista, along with Sony, Toshiba America and Yamaha. The start-up debuted a version of Linux for consumer-electronics devices in January.
Panasonic in January announced an Internet videophone, also powered by MontaVista's Linux.