French ISP provider Free is making quite a splash in the world of do-it-all set-top boxes this week with the launch of its new Freebox v6 Révolution
. Designed by renowned industrial designer Philippe Starck, the Freebox promises to deliver broadband web access, HDTV and Internet streaming video, 802.11n Wi-Fi, web browsing though your television set, free calls to fixed and
mobile phones in France, a 3D-compatible Blu-Ray player and even gaming capabilities in one device.
The box is powered by Intel's Atom CE4100 embedded chip and sports a 250GB hard drive that doubles as your network-attached storage, allowing you to download files without a computer and access them from other devices in the same network. Users can access the Freestore app store to download games, which can apparently be controlled with a gyroscopic and accelerometer-equipped remote or a more traditional gamepad. It won’t be replacing your last-generation console anytime soon, but the Gameloft-based initial title lineup doesn’t look half bad for a set-top box.
The Freebox 6 comprises two similarly looking stackable parts, the server and the player. Connectivity options besides Wi-Fi include four Gigabit Ethernet jacks, a pair of front-facing USB ports plus at least two more on the back, all the video and audio outputs you’d expect, and even a couple of Powerline adapters to make home networking easy.
The Freebox Révolution has a one-off cost of €120 for the box (around $160), with a €30 reduction for each year of being a Free client. Installation should set French customers back €96 and monthly service charges start at around €30 – €40 for 28 Mbps via ADSL (100/50Mbps cable Internet is also available in some areas).