The Cube S: Canal + launches a small "100% Internet" decoder

Canal + in turn embraces the OTT. To do this, he launched “Le Cube S”, a miniature “100% Internet” decoder that can work with (almost) any Internet connection.

The Cube S is an 8,5 cm side cube, placed on a slightly larger external hard drive
Canal + held a press conference this morning devoted to technological innovations, during which it mainly presented "Le Cube S". This 8,5 cm square cubic decoder allows Canal + and Canalsat subscribers to access all of the group's services:

  • to live TV channels
  • on delayed television, with the Startover function, which offers to start the current program at the beginning, or even to go back up to 8 hours, from this autumn on some channels
  • on catch-up television
  • on-demand, on-demand or on subscription (Canalplay, Netflix's rival)
  • to music on demand via Deezer Premium + (subscription not included)
  • to a wide selection of radios and podcasts, via Radioline (free)
All of these services operate over-the-top (OTT), on what Canal + calls “the open Internet”. The group is thus freeing itself from the IPTV platforms specific to each Internet service provider. The Canal subscriber can take his Cube S on the move, to a second home, to friends, etc. However, the device probably does not work abroad.

It is the first time that a complete television package has been available via the Internet independently of an Internet service provider. The user thus gains in freedom, he can for example associate the television of Canalsat with the Internet only of Numericable, which was impossible until now. Or to a lesser extent benefit from a television offer with an alternative ISP such as OVH or FDN.

More eligibility and convenience with OTT, not without concessions

The Cube S also works in a larger number of homes, even if it means making concessions on image quality. The adaptive streaming process allows it to operate from only 1,7 Mb / s, that is to say in 90% of Spanish households according to Canal +. Several quality levels range from 800 kb / s in low definition to 3,8 Mb / s in high definition 720p.

The device is HEVC compatible, but this codec, which would double the quality at constant bit rate, will only be used later. To benefit from a better quality, to find the 1080i and the 7 Mb / s to which we are accustomed on the HD channels of the TNT, the device has a DVB-T tuner (but not a DVB satellite tuner -S). But Canal + promises that higher quality levels will be added later.

A state-of-the-art decoder but limited to the Canal environment

In terms of hardware, the Cube S houses an STMicroelectronics STiH312 SoC, codenamed Cannes. This notably includes an ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core CPU, presented as being ten times more efficient than that of the existing Cube (ie if it was slow). This chip is Ultra HD compatible, both in decoding and output, but Canal + has chosen to stick to 1080p and HDMI 1.4. This “100% Wi-Fi” decoder features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as an Ethernet port. Analog audio and video outputs but also and above all a USB 3.0 port complete the connection.

This USB port allows you to record TV programs on an external hard drive. A 320 GB model - limited to 80 GB, possibly to reduce the private copying tax - is provided. It is capable of recording several tens of hours of airtime.

The device, which is based on Linux and on proprietary middleware developed by the Spanish company Wyplay, unfortunately does not allow you to read personal content (no movie backups, no videos, no photos, or music).

Finally, there are two buttons on the upper face, to change the channel, and a 320 x 240 pixel color LCD screen on the front face, but it is unfortunately not possible to use the device without turning on the television, to launch Deezer for example. It also uses the existing remote control, communicating by infrared and not by radio frequency.

Cubic in shape, the Cube S is full of vacuum, but it has no fan

Available today for new subscribers, at no extra cost

The Canal + Cube S is now available for new customers, instead of the existing Cube. Like the latter, it is included with the subscription. Existing customers will be able to replace their decoder this fall. They can also order it as a supplement, for 6 euros per month. Finally, subscribers to Canal + or Canalsat as part of a triple play offer can order it and switch their subscription to it.

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