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Motorola USB Transcoder Concept Demo

When I wrote about the Motorola USB transcoder on Monday, I have to admit I didn’t think I’d get too many more details. The product being shown at IBC is a concept demo. It’s not a go-to-market product. At least not yet. Nonetheless, I got details galore.

It turns out the MCU3E (or MCUBE) takes content from a set-top (recorded or live), transcodes it, and sends it wirelessly to other devices via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It can transcode HD or SD video in MPEG-4 AVC or MPEG-2 format to MPEG-4 AVC or MPEG-2 VGA (640 x 480 resolution), ½ VGA (640 x 240) or QVGA (320 × 240) formats for use on a portable media player. Or it can transcode to SD or HD formats for another set-top. The MCU3BE can also change bit rates as necessary from 2-18 Mbps input to rates on the order of 200 to 400 kbps output (i.e. more feasible for wireless network transfer).

In the other direction, the MCU3E can be used to send personal content from a device to a set-top for storage and display.

I love this approach to “media mobility”. (Pardon the buzz phrase.) It uses current behaviors (who doesn’t use USB drives?) to make the transfer of video content possible from a device lots of people have (a set-top) to lots of other devices. It also doesn’t rely on always having a live network connection. Once content is transferred, there’s no network needed, just the device you carry with you.

Now, granted, there are a lot of things to work out with the MCU3E to make it really useful for consumers, including determining a reasonable business model that satisfies consumers, service providers and content owners. (Wish for the moon, right?) Still, it’s good to see the technology being demonstrated. Once people see cool stuff, they often find a way to make it happen in the real world. Let’s keep pushing that technology envelope.

Full gallery of pics below.