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Torrent-ready IPTV STB praised in review

Jul 1, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 10 views

The Myka media-center IP set-top box (STB and BitTorrent receiver is finally shipping in volume — and it has received a rave review. The Linux-based Myka box, which offloads BitTorrent peer-to-peer duties from a PC, was praised as a “great home theater PC for lazy people.”

Myka announced the availability of its Myka system in February, but only recently, it appears, has the device begun to ship in significant quantities. Originally called "TorrentTV" when it was previewed over a year ago, the Myka box is billed as an open source Linux hardware and software platform and a DRM-free (digital rights management-free) alternative to Apple TV.

Myka (rear view)

(Click to enlarge)

The Myka appliance runs embedded Linux on a MIPS32-based Broadcom BCM7403 system-on-chip (SoC), with 256MB of DDR memory and 6MB of flash. It includes two USB ports, and connects to the Internet via Ethernet or WiFi (802.11/g), says Myka. The box also supplies HDMI, composite, S-video, and S/PDIF ports for linking up to a TV, supporting video-out at up to 1080i, as well as 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios. A developer's version is also said to be available, and Mkya is building a developer's section on its website.

According to a review by Tim Conneally in BetaNews this week, Myka "could very well be Linux's finest showing in the home media field to date." Although the box "doesn't carry all the functions one would expect in a home theater PC," writes Conneally, Myka delivers "the fantastic customizability of that [Linux] open environment that still manages to 'just work'."

The Myka appliance can be used as a simple home media server for movies, music, and images, or else as an iPod friendly personal media player, says the review. Mass storage devices can plug into Myka via USB for navigation via remote control, and users can view streaming web video from YouTube and CNN.

A weekly scheduler is said to let users set limits on downloads, to avoid throttling or exceeding the bandwidth caps that have troubled Torrent users in the past. According to Conneally, videos at the maximum resolution of 1080p at 59.94Hz played back at high definition with no lagging or crashing.

Services include UPnP AV, myiHome, FTP, Samba, NFS, Usenet, and of course, the Torrent client, which makes the system stand out from the crowd, according to the reviewer. The system is based in part on the Syabas NMT (Networked Media Tank) entertainment system, writes Conneally, who adds that experienced NMT users can call up additional features based on the NMT platform.

In the end, the Myka device did everything it claimed it could do, including plugging in a wide variety of devices via USB, "with zero failures," writes Conneally. He adds that other products offer similar features, "but actually offer less at a higher cost."


Myka is available now for $200 with a 250GB HDD or $300 with a 1TB drive. More information may be found at the Myka site, here. The BetaNews review may be found here. More information on Myka may be found in our earlier coverage, here.

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