OS Platforms, Trend Setters, and the Next Big Wave in Home Entertainment

November 21, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

Why is open source the coolest thing out there right now? Because it’s free and open, and who doesn’t love things that are free in every sense of the word? It’s interesting to see what is happening in the app marketplace as Apple continues their charge forward with closed platforms at a cost and Microsoft inches ahead with their complimentary OS platforms. If you look at the history, Apple definitely dominated in music, and they are probably more revered for their designs, but Microsoft has dominated in everything else, because they’ve made their products more flexible.

Russell Davis, CEO of Trova Networks, a high tech engineering team based in Silicon Valley, agrees. “I’m an Apple fan boy. I love the simplicity of their design. It’s brilliant, but that’s not what the world really wants now. The world wants open source”.

Thanks to Google Android, innovative thinkers, strong engineers and savvy developers are ready, willing, and able to blow our minds on a daily basis with new tools and gadgets that make our lives easier. The only reason we’re not seeing this on a daily basis is because it is ridiculously expensive to develop really cool stuff. It’s likely that many of the greatest creations that OS will empower will get their start in either the Android marketplace or on crowd funding websites.

Great ideas remain just that without financial backing, and in the current economy it’s extremely difficult – nearly impossible – without a clear vision, a strong team, determination, and audacity. Remarkable things are in the works: More than 200 business incubators and accelerators exist around the world, many of them for the development of technology, and the grass roots movement of crowd-funded projects should inspire anyone with a great idea to get cracking.

In particular, the success of OUYA on Kickstarter is a clear signal as to what people are looking for in technology. The answer is OS gadgets.  OUYA appealed to gamers and hackers, specifically, and it raised millions of dollars in a very short period of time. People donated their hard earned money to help this company get off the ground in exchange for very little. This speaks volumes about the public’s desire to see OS tools come to market, and the crowd funding angle keeps the “If you build it, they will come” American dream alive. If you are not excited about this trend, then you might need a magical moment in your life, because this is the kind of stuff that should keep us on the edge of our seats.

What’s next?

What’s the next big idea that is coming down the pipeline and needs our support? I think I may have found it.  Trova Networks announced the development of the first OS set-top box in history that will give users the ability to centralize, interact, and view ANY content that it makes sense to put on a screen. They call it the TROVA. It costs $99 and from what I’ve seen, it works like a ninja.

The existing attempts at providing an alternative TV platform (think AppleTV) have been surprisingly weak, but TROVA knocks it out of the park with an all-encompassing concept and open platform with multiscreen functionality. It’s unlike any other device for home entertainment, according to Trova Networks Chief Technology Officer, Jonatan Schmidt.

“Built on Android and accessed via a broadband connection, TROVA is a portal to programming from anywhere in the world and a marketplace for developers of apps, games, shows, etc.,” Schmidt explains. “You can use it to organize, customize, and interact with your content, and you can do it on your favorite screen in the house – your television. It is a revolution in the way we look at multimedia.”

Envision beams of light shining down on you and your TV as the full implications of TROVA’s potential seeps in. You can watch exactly what you want to watch. You can have your own channel or network if you want. You can reach millions of people without ever leaving your couch. Any content you want is available with the click of a button. Pay only for what you use without ever leaving your seat. This replaces the traditional “push” model of content used by every service provider in history and advances the state of couch-potatoism by light years.

Personally, I feel like this thing was made for me. I gave up on cable TV a few years ago. I have a TV set, but it collects dust and plants. I just stream stuff online, and I’ve grown accustomed to it. Every time I go to my parents’ house and watch a movie on their 50-inch flat screen with surround sound, I feel neglected. The big screen is the only way to watch films. I want to be able to watch movies again, but only the ones I want to watch. TROVA is designed to let me do that.

“It’s an intuitive interface built on the Android platform”, Schmidt explains. “Content is provided on demand from movies to live broadcasts. It can access media sources and use applications, just like a tablet, for the purpose of entertainment, communication or even business”.

The device has far-reaching and profitable implications for creators of content, gamers and game developers, indie producers, and service providers of all kinds, according to Trova Networks. Apps and games can be designed and loaded directly to the Trova Network and shared with anyone who has the service. Indie film producers and other content developers can promote their work via their own channel and/or network that is viewable by anyone within the Trova Network. Basically, anyone who has something to share has a medium to deliver it via Trova’s OS platform.

Ask Schmidt what you can get on Trova, and he’ll tell you: “Anything you want! From any provider and through any device.”  To my knowledge, there are some products that can do some of these things, but TROVA is the only set-top box that can do it all. Android’s open system is robust and gives users the power to create a custom experience in every way, and the supercharged cloud platform securely stores content and virtualizes applications, movies, and games.

Creating something with this kind of functionality is not easy. Using their own money, off time, and resources, Davis, Schmidt, and their team of engineers and technologists have been in development for two years. While the device has a little more work to go to be ready for production, they feel confident about bringing the beta to the public now. After one final push on IndieGoGo for $750,000, a campaign that launched today, the team hopes to see the TROVA revolution in the second quarter of next year. That is, if they receive the much needed financial support necessary to bring the set-top to production-ready models. Will this be the next big wave in television and multimedia history or just a blip on the screen? It’s under your control.


Sharon brings 12+ years experience in publishing to her position as managing editor. She helps make art, words, designs, disputes, ideas, sounds, philosophies, and beliefs come together into something meaningful. While completing her MA at the University of Michigan, she worked at Mathematical Reviews, a journal of the American Mathematical Society and one of the oldest mathematics journals in the world, where she developed a high-level perspective on technology and the probability of burnt pancakes, among other things.

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