Shenzhen Ider Technology is showing two designs for Hummingbird ARM Cortex-A8 powered Android Set-top-boxes. One even has a built-in 2.5″ hard drive compartment. This type of box could potentially soon run Google TV experience OS!
Category: Google TV
This one could run the Google TV for ARM OS, it’s a Skyviia ARM9 based Android Set-top-box, with 3 USB host, up to 1080p video playback support, the UI is being worked on. They also have a Ziilab ARM Cortex-A8 version to be available for about $20 more.
Here’s more backing up what I heard, that the ARM Powered Google TV is coming soon:
Samsung Electronics Co., the largest television maker, may use Google TV software in home- entertainment devices based on its own chips, rather than those from Intel Corp., a person with knowledge of the plans said.
Google may or may not soon be allowed to add Hulu Plus to its Google TV boxes, which may provide the Google TV boxes access to most of the TV shows and other content that currently is being blocked on Google TV by US TV Networks such as Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC and Viacom. Why would they want to block Google TV? Cause it’s the trojan horse that disrupts TV from within, once consumers are only one click away from any YouTube video, only one click away from all VOD, legal or illegal, once this is easy to use and available for all in a sub-$100 cheap ARM Powered Google TV box, this is when those 5-hours per day people watch TV start spending more and more of that time watching content that is not owned or controlled by these networks.
At the same time, something awesome is going on with Google and Sony vs Cable Networks and the Movie industry at the FCC. Arstechnica published this awesome article explaining how Google and Sony are supporting an FCC regulation called the AllVid system.
The trade association is trying to set limits on how easy it will be for devices like Google TV to access pay TV content and reassemble it into something that will reconfigure both television and the Internet.
That’s at the heart of the FCC’s proposal for an AllVid system, which Google very loudly supports. AllVid doesn’t exist yet, but the idea is to mandate an industry-wide gadget that you could plug into your broadband router and connect to your cable TV provider, then watch online video and pay channels through a variety of AllVid-friendly devices. Not surprisingly, Google and Sony love this idea, because it could transform the Google TV from just a neat product into a revolution.
Big cable hates the proposal, because that revolution could leave multi-video program distributors (MVPDs), if not in the dust, at least working in a far more competitive video environment.
Basically, what this could mean, is that content would be separated from technology. Content owners won’t be able to make exclusive streaming partnerships with one set-top-box maker and not be available on the other. What this means, is that Hulu and Netflix must be available on all devices and that there will be a standard user interface to access all those on-demand and streaming contents.
This probably also means that all of those TV Networks in the USA who are streaming their TV shows for free using ads from their websites, would have to provide all that content to all devices through standardized user interfaces. None of these content providers can choose to block any device from accessing any content, and the advertising and pay-per-view models will thus be standardized.
Big cable insists that the metadata used to create on-screen program guides is copyrighted. The Motion Picture Association of America protests that the AllVid idea would put studio content painfully close to sites like The Pirate Bay.
Program guides should not be copyrighted, that is ridiculous. Anyone should be allowed to list what is going to be on TV at any given time. And anyone should be allowed to list movie titles, directors, actors, plot and even display a poster for each of those contents.
The MPAA is correct, this will mean that pirated content will also just be one click away, but that will force content owners to allow for seamless access to all the contents either for free with ads or at very reasonable cost as pay-per-view. And this will also enable the next step for Government regulation, that is to standardize the all-you-can-eat subscription model so that one Global Licence cover the legal and free access to all contents.
- ARM Powered Google TV confirmed (armdevices.net)
- The technical reason TV Networks can block Google TV (for now..) (armdevices.net)
- Hollywood: Google TV would put us in same ship as pirates! (arstechnica.com)
- Can cable block the Google TV revolution? (arstechnica.com)
Shenzhen Geniatech Co. Ltd presents some interesting Android Powered Set-top-boxes. These could be sold for around $100 like the Apple TV or Roku box, but they just run the full Android OS including support for lots of video codecs. While Android is not yet really optimized for use on a TV with a remote control, this type of device will support the Google TV software (in this case, without HDMI pass-through overlay features) pretty soon once Google releases that software source code. As you can see on androidauthority.com, it has an AmLogic ARM Cortex-A9 800Mhz processor. Same ARM cortex-A9 platform as used by InnoDigital for their next generation WebTube product.
This Android Set-top-box uses the Ziilab ARM Cortex-A8 processor platform with 1080p video playback.
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 ARMdevices.net (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.
Status of this ground breaking Google TV Powered smart TV solution made by Logitech. This video features some information on the software updates and developments happening on this platform.
- Logitech Revue hack brings Android Market, requires brute force (engadget.com)
- Hack the Logitech Revue, Google TV… with an Arduino (electronics-lab.com)
The New York Times reports Toshiba, LG, Sharp, Samsung and Vizio have Google TV projects going, that they may have been all planning to unveil those at CES but that Google may have asked them to delay their unveiling until next software update including full Google Marketplace support is ready. Samsung may still show a couple Google TV devices at CES, Toshiba has confirmed they won’t, Vizio might show some Google TV stuff but only privately and maybe not to be blogged about.
So Google faces challenges in getting American TV networks to agree to allow them to stream TV shows from the web on the Google TV platform. I have estimated that if Google and Adobe wanted, if the negociations with US TV networks wouldn’t lead to a solution, that they could unleash a software update to present both the browser and the flash plugin as “User Agent: Generic” making detection by US TV networks impossible and thus forcing them to either remove online TV streaming completely or just regard Google TV as same user terminal as any “normal” laptop or desktop computer.
So let’s assume Google TV will have only a limited showing at CES, perhaps Google is trying to coordinate a giant unveiling of second phase of Google TV at CeBIT in March, by that time, more of the major manufacturers could present boxes, Google would present not only Google Marketplace and smoother software integration, they could launch world wide Google TV support (not limited to US anymore), they could also, as suggested by Tudor Brown ARM President last month, present cheaper ARM Powered Google TV devices such as the concept of a $99 ARM Powered Google TV box.
The $99 ARM Powered Google TV set-top-box is an important target, as that makes it affordable enough that everyone will buy one, providing full performance for 1080p YouTube streaming and the HDMI pass-through and IR blaster features, it would provide for the perfect platform to revolutionize TV.
I don’t have Google TV yet, I’m waiting for ARM Powered version of it, and they haven’t yet released it world wide. But I like to speculate about how it works as I am sure Google TV will revolutionize TV, and the Trillion-dollar/year TV industry.
The probable technical reason TV networks are able to currently block Google TV from accessing their online web tv offerings is probably flash.
The Chrome browser in Google TV can be set to User Agent: Generic (by default though it is set as User Agent: Google TV), thus making it impossible for websites to detect that the user visiting the website is using a set-top-box or a computer/laptop/tablet or other device.
The probable only way for them to detect the set-top-box, can only be the flash plugin. As Adobe probably doesn’t want to irritate the TV networks, due to them all using Flash, they probably also don’t want to allow Google to switch over the flash player in Google TV to User Agent: Generic.
Google probably also prefers to try as hard as possible to make some deals with the content providers instead of forcing Adobe into setting up Flash to be undetectable. As Google wants all these content partners also to allow their content be distributed on YouTube.
In any ways, if Google and the TV Networks don’t reach an agreement soon, I am sure Google will eventually ask Adobe to provide Flash in a totally undetectable fashion. And if that happens, the TV networks will only be able to decide if they want to have any “legal” streaming of their shows online or none at all. And if they decide to remove online flash streaming, the most popular application on Google TV boxes will most likely then be BitTorrent.
- Vizio and Toshiba reportedly to announce Google TV sets at CES [TNW Google] (thenextweb.com)
- Viacom Blocks Google TV Users (adweek.com)
- Viacom is the latest network to block Google TV (geek.com)
- How To Watch The Daily Show on Google TV (gigaom.com)
- How To Watch The Daily Show on Google TV (nytimes.com)
- Fox to Block Google TV: Now Every Major US TV Network Blocking Google TV (crenk.com)
- Viacom blocks Google TV, the madness continues (venturebeat.com)
- Comedy Central, MTV now blocking Google TV (news.cnet.com)