Canon unloaded a bunch of new gear at Photokina 2014, but it is also demoing things the company is currently working on, like the Cross Media Station. Describing it as a “new-concept photo-storage device,” the Cross Media Station (prototype name) is designed to wirelessly offload photos and videos from a camera, and display them on a TV.
The idea isn’t entirely new for Canon. Back in 2010, Canon demonstrated the Cross Media Station concept at its Canon Expo show. That prototype was a large set-top box that recharged device via induction, and connected to a TV via HDMI. Fast-forward to 2014, and the Cross Media Station has reduced down to the size of a Roku or Apple TV. However, it looks like the inductive charging capability has been removed, while NFC has been added.
According to Canon, “through NFC technology, images and movies can be easily transferred from a camera and saved to the Cross Media Station, after which they can be viewed in high quality on a large-screen television. In addition, when connected to a network, the Cross Media Station will allow users to easily share photos and movies as well as output images from a printer, along with other various functions.”
Canon says the Cross Media Station offers high-speed transfers, which probably means some type of Wi-Fi (maybe 801.11ac?). Some new Canon cameras have built-in NFC, although Canon’s announcement doesn’t indicate that it’ll only work with Canon products; it could possibly also work with smartphones. And, there’s no mention of how much storage it’ll contain, or if it requires an add-on hard drive.
With larger storage capacities, most of us never pull photos off our camera’s memory cards. The Cross Media Station offers an easy one-tap solution for backing up your photos and viewing them. Western Digital’s WD TV has a similar approach, but that’s designed more to be media player, whereas the Cross Media Station seems to be all about your camera. But, with little details right now, the Cross Media Station could evolve into something more than what we’re being told right now.
Availability, pricing, and detailed specs haven’t been determined (maybe an official CES unveil?). Also, the announcement was made on Canon’s Japanese and European sites, so there’s no indication if it’ll make it stateside.