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).