Category: Google TV

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A further update on Linaro status at Computex 2011

Posted by Charbax – June 2, 2011

At Computex 2011, Linaro gave an update on their status, with some new technical demos showing graphics and other hardware acceleration that thy are working on.

$60 Cortex-A9 Android Set-top-box

Posted by Charbax – June 1, 2011

The price is a bulk price, at least 300 pieces need to be ordered, does not include the chosen remote controller that can go from a couple dollars to twenty dollars depending on what type of remote control is used. Also there are different memory and other components that can be configured. Most importantly is the idea to communicate that an ARM Cortex-A9 powered set-top-box could potentially run Google TV basic for ARM as soon as that one is released. It depends if Google decides to support their Google TV implementation on the AmLogic 800Mhz single core implementation, it depends if Google is interested at all in supporting HDMI-out only until their open source Ice Cream Sandwich and allow everyone to make whichever Google TV on ARM implementations they want anyways.

ARM Powered Google TV now confirmed officially by Google

Posted by Charbax – May 14, 2011

You got the tip from me from an anonymous source here since January (I have been speculating about it (2) (3) (4) for over a year), clues about it from ARM President Tudor Brown last year in November, and re-confirming rumors through Samsung in February, Google announced at Google I/O this week that Ice Cream Sandwich combines Android, Honeycomb and Google TV into one release (thus Google TV features on ARM), now it's being reported by PC World that Google TV product manager Rishi Chandra is confirming the ARM Powered Google TV platform like this:

for the price issue, Chandra said that Google has now qualified ARM chips to be used to run the Google TV software, instead of just the Intel Atom chips that currently power the Revue. Moore's Law–the inevitable increase in chip performance driven by increasing transistor density–will push the performance of the cost-optimized ARM chips up high enough to compete with Atom, while helping drive down the overall platform price, Chandra said.

I have thus far video-blogged over 60 ARM Powered Set-top-boxes from all the consumer electronics trade shows over the past 2 years, most are running Android, all of which could in theory run the Google TV software.

Of course, it is up to Google to decide what kind of hardware requirements they want to enfore for Google TV on ARM, if they want those to only feature the full suite of HDMI pass-through features, meaning HDMI input and output, Infrared blasters (to change the channel on your cable/satellite set-top-box), USB hosts, Bluetooth and more, then that would disqualify just about all of the ARM Powered set-top-boxes that I have filmed thus far. I wouldn't know how much more those hardware features require, and perhaps that requires an ARM Cortex-A9 at the minimum to run all the overlay user interface features and preferably 1080p at 60fps support at the minimum.

I think it is more likely and more logical that Google will decide to be as open as possible about Google TV on ARM, and thus support all the SoC that are currently being used and that will most likely be used. I think that means Google TV on ARM could work in "AppleTV/Roku mode", meaning no HDMI inputs, just the Google TV experience of bringing the Web and WebTV on the TV on this separate HDMI port to your HDTV. That is why I expect there to be two kinds of Google TV on ARM:

1. Basic Google TV on ARM, this is HDMI output only, Bluetooth or RF/USB keyboards with mouse pad accessory can be used. This solution could work on 100% of the ARM Powered Set-top-boxes that I have filmed. And I believe this will be included turning every Android Smartphone/Tablet with Ice Cream Sandwich and every Tablet with Honeycomb 3.1 into a Google TV "for free". See the Google Android Team's response to my question submitted on the possibility of turning all Android devices into free Google TV devices when HDMI is used:

2. The Full ARM Powered Google TV experience, including HDMI pass-through, IR blaster, USB hosts, Ethernet, etc.. Since Chris DiBona answers to my question above "There's all this other stuff that goes into a Google TV that isn't in a phone", well then, the Full ARM Powered Google TV will be that type that does it all. But that should not prevent an Android device with a basic HDMI output and not much else to still display many if not most of the Google TV UI features right there on the HDTV.

3. There is also a third scenario that I am envisioning, Google might use their Android Hardware division to plan out a new type of Multimedia TV Docking system for Android, using nothing more than HDMI, USB slave/host and evt MHL (that combines both into one Micro-USB connector). Basically the idea here is a cheap TV Dock that should work with most if not all Android Smartphones that have HDMI, USB (or MHL) to turn those into full Google TV, thus using the USB slave/host to transmit the right infos back and forward and feature in that Dock the right HDMI input and output, IR blaster, USB host duplicators, Ethernet connector, charging and more. The idea is a new Google Open Accessory design that could sell for $49 to dock any Android Smartphone with HDMI/USB or MHL and thus turn those into full Google TV. A solution which could evt also turn any ARM Powered Set-top-box into a full Google TV box also with adding the HDMI in/out, IR and more to those. Maybe it could be called the Google TV adapter, converter or extender.

Here's the 56 minute session on some of the Google TV Honeycomb 3.1 upgrades and development tools at Google I/O:

3 things Google TV needs from Google I/O in 4 days

Posted by Charbax – May 6, 2011

1. Support ARM Processors, to be in sub-$100 box. Even run a full Google TV UI "mode" from the HDMI output of every new Android smartphone (expect Google TV to become a part of Android's Ice Cream Sandwich?)

2. Support apps like BitTorrent/RSS, Seedbox management with SFTP, Rapidshare/Megaupload streaming, make it the easiest way to pirate all movies and TV shows with a remote control on the TV.

3. Unlock Desktop User Agent in the Flash plugin. The only reason TV websites can block Google TV is because of the Flash plugin not hiding itself as a Flash-for-Desktop user agent. It's only a question of Adobe and Google making the decision (if the rights holders keep blocking them), they can make Google TV unblockable. Even make it easy to sign up for fast and reliable proxy services all over the world if certain online web TV are being region blocked (make it easy for the world to stream US based Hulu/Netflix/Viacom/etc, UK based BBC, French based France Television, etc..).

I expect that Google is going to announce all 3 at Google I/O. What do you expect Google TV 2.0 is going to be like?

I think the Google TV software needs to be in every cheap media player, in every set-top-box, and basically, it needs to make it easy for every TV user to easily get access to all web video in as few clicks and as little typing as possible. It may bring a keyboard into every living room, but that usage needs to be as seamless and easy as possible, start typing the name of the show and hit enter to tune in to that show, show options, live, on-demand, legal free/paid/ads if available, "illegal" BitTorrent RSS-subscribe Seedbox/SFTP-service-for-anonymous one click reliable add to queue. Another cool app would be Sopcast, and also the first use of Sopcast through seedboxes for "illegal" 10mbit/s or more live streaming of every TV channel in the world, basically make it as seamless as possible for people to cut the cable/satellite cord and replace it with full freedom of on-demand media choices if they so want to, all designed for leanback mode.

Dehoo shows a Skyviia based Android Set-top-box

Posted by Charbax – April 20, 2011

Here's another new Skyviia ARM9 powered Android Set-top-box.

Bonux launches ARM Powered Android Set-top-boxes

Posted by Charbax – April 16, 2011

They have Cortex-A8 and ARM9 based set-top-boxes, with 1080p YouTube streaming support, full codecs support (they claim), Android UI, could possibly upgrade to Google TV UI when that source code is available.

Rockchip Rk2918 in a Set-top-box

Posted by Charbax – April 16, 2011

Rockchip now provides a Set-top-box reference design based on their new RK2918 ARM Cortex-A8 processor. This could power upcoming Google TV on ARM for cheap.

United One Telechips Android Set-top-box

Posted by Charbax – April 16, 2011

They dual-boot a type of embedded Linux for video playback and they also do Android on the TV.

Performance test on AmLogic ARM Cortex-A9 Android Set-top-box

Posted by Charbax – April 15, 2011

Shenzhen Amidia Electronics Co Ltd makes this AmLogic ARM Cortex-A9 800Mhz Single Core Set-top-box, this video features the performance of this device, web browsing on a HDTV and doing other stuff.

Uptek International Co Ltd makes Android TV Set-top-box

Posted by Charbax – April 14, 2011

Uptek explains how they are doing their Android based set-top-box with customized UI solutions, and even VOD stuff.