LG Enters the Media Box Wars with the Smart TV Upgrader ST600

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LG sees an opportunity in the burgeoning set-top box market, and it’s releasing the Smart TV Upgrader to take advantage of it. With an arguably clunky title, the Smart TV Upgrader is designed to do precisely what it implies: make your old (dumb) TV smart.

Most – but by no means all – of today’s HDTVs have some degree of “smart”ness about them.  They might include some rudimentary network and streaming capabilities, they might offer access to YouTube or Facebook, or they might run a full-blown OS with access to a growing app environment (as is the case with Sony’s Google TV-powered TVs).

LG Smart TV Upgrader

The Smart TV Upgrader will act in a manner similar to that offered by alternatives such as the Apple TV or WD TV Live Hub – it connects to your television’s video in ports and expands upon its pre-defined feature sets. 

It seems to be both more and less advanced than its competitors’ alternatives – you probably won’t be able to connect a drive and playback any video file locally, like the WD unit, but you will be able to run LG’s applications and even completely browse the web, which is something that only Google’s GoogleTV products can offer so far.

Specifications:

  • Processor: BCM7615
  • Memory: 384 MB DDR, 1 GB Flash ROM
  • Operating System: LG Add-on Architecture + Web Browser
  • Wireless Networking: 802.11 b/g
  • Networking: Ethernet 
  • Expansion: USB
  • Remote control included
  • Supports premium content, LG apps
  • Dimensions: 11cm x 11cm

To make up for its lack of local playback, the ST600 will offer DLNA compatibility as well as access to a number of (as yet undefined) premium content services.

LG will be showing off the Smart TV Upgrader ST600 at CES next week, and plans to bring it to market sometime in Q2 of 2011.

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