Black Lab Media System Set-Top Box Announced, Runs New Linux-Optimized Distro

The new set-top box features some impressive hardware specifications

The developers behind the Black Lab Linux distribution have announced the new set-top box, called Black Lab Media System, based on new Linux distribution.

The Black Lab Linux distributions have been gaining a lot of popularity in the past few months, ever since they had to change their name from OS/4 OpenLinux due to some patent issues. It seems that the change did them a lot of good and they have been releasing new versions and updates very often.

Now, you might wonder, what is a set-top box and why do I need one? A set-top box device is basically a multimedia hub that can perform a number of tasks, which are usually bound to the power of the hardware included.

For example, you can have a set-top box that can only do some simple image and video browsing and display, but other more powerful versions can also include Internet browsing, various applications, and more.

A good example of a potential set-top box solution, although it's not developed for this particular purpose, is the Raspberry Pi. With the right distribution, you can turn it into a media hub without too much hassle.

The Black Lab Media System is a dedicated set-top box that is powered by a new Linux distribution called Black Lab MCOS 1.0, which is based, as you surely guessed by now, on the existing Black Lab Linux OS.

According to its developers, Black Lab Media System will allow its users to listen to music, get an Internet browser, watch videos, and it even comes with XBMC, which should permit access to a great deal of online channels.

The system specifications aren't too shabby either: AMD Dual-Core E2-1800 1.70GHz, 2GB DDR3 320GB HD, Integrated Wi-Fi, HDMI Output, DVI Output, and VGA output (an adapter will be provided). The device itself it built by Zotac, which means that the finishing quality should be very good.

The device runs the new MC/OS, which is based, as we said earlier, on Black Lab Linux. It has been optimized to use less than 512 MB of RAM and to take no more than 2GB of space on the hard driver.

“This is truly a user experience and it’s a system that they can do what they want. If they want a full-fledged PC experience, they can hook up a full size PC keyboard and download a multitude of apps from the Ubuntu Software Center which is included in this release,” note the developers in the announcement.

Black Lab Media System is not yet available for purchase, but the cost has been estimated at $400 (€290). You can already pre-order it today and it should become available starting March 25.


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