Today, I watched a group of young Filipino inventors unveil the first Filipino-made television with an unusual feature: the capability to watch television and access the internet at the same time. Called the Ilumina LCD Interactive Television (iTV), it has the features of a regular 32-inch LCD televisions but enhanced with personal computing functions. The prospect of the Ilumima LCD iTV is very exciting, especially since I’m very fond of multitasking. On a typical evening I’m seated in front of the TV, catching up with local news, world news, or celebrity gossip while I write blog entries and update my social networking sites on the Macbook on my lap.
The brains behind the Ilumina LCD iTV is a group called the Inovent Team, a coalition of young Filipino engineers, industrial designers and programming experts. The beta prototype has been in the works since 2008 and was literally produced from scratch in the garage and dorm of the Inovent team members. The Ultra Alpha Prototype was launched on November 30, 2008 and today (Independence Day), the Ilumina LCD iTV was ready for a soft demo. According to the designers, the Ilumina LCD iTV is a multi-media device with access to Google Gadgets, Plasma widgets, and Mac OS X dock widgets. It is the first convergence product made in the Philippines that synthesizes the functions of an LCD television and the personal computer.
Housed in a uniquely bold and minimalist inspired curved casing, the Ilumina LCD iTV is equipped with a High Definition (HD) webcam, a Blue Ray DVD slot drive, VoIP, DVR, Wifi/LAN, 1.5 tera byte Hard drive, wireless keyboard, and a blue tooth head phone built-in the back of the remote control, which is also motion gesture base. The device allows you to watch your favorite local and cable shows while browsing the internet.
This remote control, which looks rather large and unwieldy, will also act as a blue tooth head phone, and microphone.
Inovent Inc. founder Brian Quebengco describes the new chassis design as “bold and revolutionary. The Ilumina LCD iTV is supposed to have a unique, curve design that lets it stand alone. Currently, however, the beta prototype is made of fiber glass which makes it bulky. Inovent plans to outsource the chassis so they can come out with a sleeker design, as shown in the photo above.
the HD webcam
In a private closed door demo launch today, Brian Quebengco described the Ilumina as a revolutionary product that would change the TV experience of every Filipino. Brian added that the Ilumina LCD iTV aims to “free” the Filipino from the mundane experience of watching television. Unfortunately, I was not able to see all the working features as the motherboard overheated halfway through the presentation.
Before the ilumina LCD iTV died on me, I was able to witness the powering up of the Ilumina LCD iTV which revealed a multimedia interface that allows you to record television shows, download documents from the web, play on-line games, even call your loved ones abroad in the comfort of your living room using the VoIP function. Think of the possibility of the modern family whose loved one is an OFW and will be able to talk to her/his family right there in the living room. This definitely adds value to the iTV as a device that connects families.
The driving force behind the ilumina LCD iTV is “Free Yourself”. The future of the Ilumina LCD iTV will be the center of the living room and it will eliminate a lot of the unnecessary clutter of having too many devices and wires plugged in your TV. Although it still turns on like any regular TV, with a flip of a switch, you can browse the internet, download your favorite TV shows straight to your 1.5 tera byte hard drive and watch TV and talk to someone over Skpye, just to name a few of the functions.
The Ilumina LCD iTV proves that Filipino industrial designers, engineers, and programmers have what it takes to conquer the highly competitive global LCD television industry. Amidst a worsening global economic crisis, it is fitting to launch a purely Filipino inovention , says Brian, because they hope that their inovention would uplift the sagging spirits of the Filipino and give the country something to be proud of.
Brian adds that “it’s what the country needs. For many years, we have been thinking of how to penetrate the market and hopefully have a chance to begin competing against Samsung and Sony. The LCD iTV industry, being very new is our chance. Once this is launched, it will harness the collective talents of our best engineers, designers, programmers, executives, managers, local OEM and EMS manufacturers and slowly build the image of the Philippines as a inoventive country. This will eventually reverse the brain drain we are experiencing. I see a future where the best Filipinos around the world will want to come back and work in Inovent Electronics, Inc. in the Philippines.”
Surely there are other brands out there that claim to be an interactive TV. But is it truly interactive? LG and Sony for instance has a few interactive options. Their interactivity is only 20% of the fully integrated Ilumina LCD iTV. The ilumina LCD iTV is not locked into a system or a content provider.
Really, truly, fully interactive is what Ilumina LCD iTV is about. The Ilumina LCD iTV is expected to hit the shelves in the first quarter of 2010. There is no definite price yet but it could range from 90,000 pesos to 120,000 pesos.
Here is a short video I took at today’s unveiling.
Ilumina LCD iTV specs
High definition (HD) webcam
blue ray DVD slot drive
1.5 tera byte Hard Drive
Remote Control with Blue tooth Phone receiver and motion gesture
The Inovent Electronics team is composed of Quebengco as its founder and leader; chief marketing “inoventor” Mark Ruiz; senior design “inoventors” Peter Can, Jonas Peralta, and Jaed del Mundo; junior program “inoventor” Ryan Bitanga; and junior “inoventors” Victor Yu and Nikko Garcia, who are undergraduates at the De La Salle University (DLSU) taking up electrical engineering and electronics and communications engineering (ECE), respectively.
For more information, email Brian Quebengco at [email protected] or visit their site at Inoventdesign.com