ARM Powered Google TV confirmed

Posted by – January 14, 2011

I have it on very high authority from someone at Google (to remain anonymous) that an ARM Powered Google TV platform is coming soon.

The specifics of how Google TV on ARM allows for differentiation (also called fragmentation), if there is support for versions without the whole HDMI-passthrough/IR-blaster overlay features, if Google TV on ARM has 1080p@60fps requirements or if 720p@30fps can be enough, if there will be support for cheaper ARM11 platforms such as Korean Telechips based Android-ready boxes, all of that is yet to be confirmed. But a bloggers logic says that eventually all ARM platforms and setups should be compatible. But as with delay in providing official Google Marketplace on non-standard Android Tablets (in a world of Android makers wanting to compete with iPod Touch and iPad), Google has authority to also decide to block or delay official Marketplace or other official features of Google TV on non-standard and cheaper Set-top-box devices.

I have been rumoring this for many months here on (1, 2, 3, 4) that Google TV on ARM would be a certainty, it’s also been talked about by ARM President Tudor Brown back in November that “If Google TV is to be mainstream, it must be built on a lower power system, …on lower cost technology”.

Recently, an unofficial jailbreak on Google TV also confirmed my speculation that the main reason TV Networks can block Google TV is because of the Flash Plugin officially announcing itself in the browser to be of Google TV user agent. Jailbreaking thus allows to install a hacked Flash Plugin that cannot be detected by websites.

Just as since Computex in June 2010 (Bonux, Keenhigh mediatech), I filmed several interesting ARM Powered Android Set-top-boxes at CES 2011 such as the ARM Cortex-A9 Innodigital WebTube and two more Android WebTV solutions that I still have to upload, all of these ARM Powered Android Set-top-box solutions should be able to run a basic Google TV software just as well.

Consider that Google has to cater to not pre-announcing future products too early as to not cannibalize the sales of the existing Intel powered Google TV boxes such as the Logitech Revue, the stuff from Sony and the upcoming Google TV solutions from Vizio, Toshiba, Samsung, Sharp, LG and others (some of those may already be ARM Powered, who knows..). Thus expect the official announcements to happen closer to the date when the Google TV software on ARM is ready for mass marketing and closer to sales.

I still believe that a sub-$100 ARM Powered Google TV Set-top-box could be one of the most revolutionary things to happen to TV since it was introduced in the late 1920ies. The revolution is when an affordable sub-$100 box (that everyone can afford) provides easy UI and meaningful algorithms for one-click instant access to all the worlds legal or illegal VOD contents. Instant access for all to every video ever made. Any video maker can be instantly broadcast on an infrastructure to be seen everywhere according to an algorithm based on ratings to determine quality and originality. People watch an average of 5 hours of TV per day, it greatly aspires to be revolutionized.