French company CANAL+ and Yves Behar/fuseproject are launching Le Cube, a television receiver with a satellite decoder, ethernet connection and built in gyroscopic sensor that automatically rotates the display allowing the box to be used in both a horizontal and vertical position.
The unit is intended to look minimal from a few feet away and reveal it's high detail up close, the remote control features a sculpted soft back surface which creates the illusion of floating when placed on a table.
Excerpts from the press release
LE CUBE, was a chance to make the typical "dumb" receiver, smart and beautiful at the same time. In order to do so we had to conceive of the receiver box, the remote, and the CANAL+ TV graphic interface at the same time: the integrated system brings information, personal preferences and communication to the living room before one has turned-on the TV. LE CUBE is the first step in bringing the new capabilities we have come to expect from cell-phones, computers and the Internet, to the way we interact with our television.
The design of the black square interactive area was not a style exercise, but actually is a precise 128x128 pixels LCD display allowing unique animations and an automatic brightness adjustment to the environment. The decoder is designed to be used in either a horizontal or vertical position; this was done through the implementation of a gyroscopic sensor to automatically orientate the information displayed in the appropriate position.
The Le Cube design consistency is carefully applied on the digital user interface. It is a rare feat for both the hardware design, and the on-screen UI to be designed from the same point of view: White, black and translucent graphic blocks highlight different information hierarchy, while the principle of "information zoning" is the heart of the design. The top left zone is always the main header, while the bottom right zone is always the navigation window. This easy to understand logic of zoning is constant through the 600+ pages of user interface.
Le Cube is specifically designed and engineered for re-use by CANAL+, as to serve more than one customer: it is disassembled and refurbished after it's first use, the exterior can be repainted, and the internal components can be upgraded before it is shipped to the next TV viewer. This green re-use approach to the product has tremendous environmental benefits.