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Android set-top box proof of concept: Vestel DVB-T2 BiShop

More Android-based IPTV action from TV Connect, this time in the form off Vestel’s snappily titled Vestel DVB-T2 BiShop unit. At this stage, the device is entirely a proof of concept of what Vestel is hoping to achieve; that is, deliver a basic digital TV viewing experience that’s augmented with Android apps and features, chief among these being Twitter.

What’s on display here is just the beginning. Vestel is hoping that on its UI there’ll be a main view of the TV programme you’re watching with scope to add extra things such as Twitter columns and the Google search bar so you can look for things such as cast lists, Google for information on actors, and similar things – we were reminded a little bit of Microsoft’s Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone.

Though unfinished, this at least gives us an idea of Vestel’s intentions. Running Android 2.3 Gingerbread at the moment, we were told that an upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was possible, ditto an app that’d let you access the EPG and set recordings.

It’s early days yet; the box on display here in our pictures isn’t even the box that’s hooked up to the TV – it’s a dummy. The actual box was locked away in the cupboard so we couldn’t see it. The reason for such secrecy was that a “well known company is supplying the silicon,” but Vestel wouldn’t reveal any more than that. We were assured that the company making the chips was very much a household name.

With Comigo offering a heavily skinned version of Android 2.3.4 on its set-top boxes, its clear that Gingerbread is more than capable of running on top of a DVB tuner. We’d like to see Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on more set-top boxes, of course, but the main thing is being able to watch TV, Tweet from a secondary screen and set recordings to go off from our phones and tablets. If any set-top box can do that easily then we really don’t care what version of Android is on there.