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

chaos86

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 11, 2003
1,011
7
127.0.0.1
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?
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,107
73
Solon, OH
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.
 

joecool85

macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2005
1,355
1
Maine
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.
 

jcgerm

macrumors member
May 28, 2003
91
0
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.
 

dsharits

macrumors 68000
Jun 19, 2004
1,639
0
Plant City, FL
jcgerm said:
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.
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.
 

iindigo

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
719
10
San Francisco, CA
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.
 

dsharits

macrumors 68000
Jun 19, 2004
1,639
0
Plant City, FL
iindigo said:
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.
Hmm, interesting. I didn't notice that before.
 

im_to_hyper

macrumors 65816
Aug 25, 2004
1,100
206
Pasadena, California, USA
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?
 

cbiffle

macrumors member
Jun 19, 2005
40
0
Tempe, AZ
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. :-\
 

chaos86

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 11, 2003
1,011
7
127.0.0.1
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.
 

im_to_hyper

macrumors 65816
Aug 25, 2004
1,100
206
Pasadena, California, USA
chaos86 said:
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.
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.