set-top box (thing)
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The set-top box is a piece of [hardware] that [company|companies] like [Microsoft], [AOL], [AT&T], [Motorola], [Earthlink], and the like believe will change the zillions of [TV] watchers into zillions of [subscribers]. This makes perfect sense for [content aggregator]s, since using a set-top box allows [data-mining] of [demographic] viewing tendancies (and product placement induced, impulse internet shopping). This information is priceless to [media conglomerate]s that thrive on [advertising revenue] and brand marketing.
The [idea] is that set-top boxes will [cost] less than [PC|PCs] (lowering the "Cost of Entry") and be [easy|easier] for [average Joe|Joe Blow] to use (by simplifying the [User Interface]).
A [Good Thing] about set top boxes is that many run with [Linux] and [FreeBSD] and use [StrongARM] [CPU|processors].
The big brother of the set-top box is the [Internet Appliance].