a mac inside my boxtop digital cable decoder?!?!?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by chaos86, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. chaos86 macrumors 65816

    chaos86

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #1
    ok so I just moved into the georgia state dorms which (finally) have consolidated their internet, tv, and phone services to one company called purdigital. this is nice because now i get digital cable and way faster internet.

    anyway, i plugged in the box top cable decoder thing today and it went through a startup routine and part of it was a strangely familiar blue screen with a black with white border mouse pointer in the middle of the screen.

    http://thecreativechaos.com/otherstuff/recording.mp4
    (1.3mb, its h264 and you have to download the file and drop any extra file extensions safari adds, I think i uploaded it using the wrong format or something)

    it seems to me that this indicates that its a dumbed down mac in there.
    fyi: its about 10 in x 5 in x 1 in. it has lots of ports on the back:
    2 USB
    digital and analogue audio outs
    vga out
    s-video out
    composite video out
    cable/antenna in
    cable out
    WAN ethernet
    LAN ethernet
    and SMP phone line (i dont know what thats for)

    sadly im on a powerbook and dont have a wired mouse or keyboard to plug in to see if it does anything or to use some open firmware keystokes.



    any speculation from the rumor mongering masses?
     
  2. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #2
    I can't view that MP4 file from here (don't have access to QT7 on a Windows XP machine), but, judging by your description, you may very well be right. It's an interesting development, to say the least, if it's true.

    EDIT: Now that I'm back at my Mac and am able to watch the .mp4, it does seem Mac-like.
     
  3. joecool85 macrumors 65816

    joecool85

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2005
    Location:
    Maine
    #3
    I just downloaded it and played it fine...anyway, I don't think its a mac inside there...could be wrong. But to me it would make sense that its just an OS that happens to have a blue screen on the background.
     
  4. jcgerm macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2003
    #4
    I think it's just the OS that the thing is running. Blue isn't that uncommon of a color, and black cursors aren't uncommon either.
     
  5. dsharits macrumors 68000

    dsharits

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    Location:
    The People's Republic of America
    #5
    It is funny that the cursor is exactly like the Mac cursor. A lot of other cursors have a longer tail on the arrow. Probably just a coincidence.
     
  6. iindigo macrumors 6502a

    iindigo

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #6
    I'm surprised nobody else noticed this, but the only font used on the entire screen minus the main logo is Lucida Grande, Mac OS X's primary and default font. Coincidence? I think not.

    Edit: The font used in the background is none other than Apple Myriad, used in Apple's marketing materials. The "Loading System" text is Lucida Grande.
     
  7. dsharits macrumors 68000

    dsharits

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    Location:
    The People's Republic of America
    #7
    Hmm, interesting. I didn't notice that before.
     
  8. im_to_hyper macrumors 65816

    im_to_hyper

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    Location:
    Glendale, California, USA
    #8
    Could it be that the OS for this cable box is some sort of Unix derivative (mainly Linux) and is it possible that the program was created using a Mac or something?

    Also, is there any way you can open the box to see what sort of chipset it uses?
     
  9. kant macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
  10. cbiffle macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2005
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #10
    Mac mouse pointers are initially in the upper-left of the screen on boot.

    The black-with-white-border mouse pointer is also frequently used by the X Window System, the graphical layer atop most Unices (Linux included). Coincidentally, X also starts its mousepointer in the dead center of the screen, like Windows.

    Considering that Linux is very popular in set-top boxen, I think chances are high that this is a Linux box. Mac parts would be quite an expenditure for what is essentially a TiVo.

    The fact that the text is Lucida Grande tells you one thing: the graphics design was done on a Mac. (Those images are probably stored in flash as e.g. JPEGs and simply displayed.)

    Chances are good that you can do some neat Linuxy stuff with that box, but I think it's unlikely to be a Mac. :-\
     
  11. chaos86 thread starter macrumors 65816

    chaos86

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #11
    one thing i forgot to mention before-- in the re-encoding of the video file (i got it through my eyetv) the colors changed a bit. that plain blue screen is the mac os x blue.
     
  12. im_to_hyper macrumors 65816

    im_to_hyper

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    Location:
    Glendale, California, USA
    #12
    I believe that Mandrake Linux (or whatever its being called now, Mandriva or something) has the Mac OS X blue background upon being installed, if my memory serves. It also has a black cursor.

    As I mentioned before, open the case. If it has some sort of Motorola or IBM processor/chipset then its probably a Mac.

    I highly doubt that, because if Apple had liscensed some form of its OS to a cable box company, word would have gotten out. Linux is very common on these types of things, as mentioned before, and I believe even TiVo uses Linux on its boxes.
     
  13. Daveway macrumors 68040

    Daveway

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Location:
    New Orleans / Lafayette, La
    #13
    I went to a hotel that had internet access on the tv and it was very similar to this. Except this system was Windows based. I don't think windows was in the box though.
     

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