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Posts Tagged ‘smart tv’

Google Formally Launches Android TV. Android TV Set-Top Boxes and TVs to be Available in H2 2014

June 26th, 2014 3 comments

After Android L for mobile devices, and Android Wear for wearables, Google also announced Android for your television at Google I/O 2014, and after definitely killing “Google TV”, renaming it to “Google Services for Smart TV”, the company went for the obvious and called it “Android TV”, which will get messy with all the Chinese “Android TV” boxes that do not run “Android TV” but simply “Android”…

Android TV User's Interface

Android TV User’s Interface

Google apparently used an Android TV reference platform (ADT-1) based on Nvidia Tegra 4 K1 at I/O to showcase their latest implementation of Android the the living room. I’ve embedded the video of the demo below, but the key part of the demo can be summarized as follows:

  • Android TV’s “TV Input Framework” can overlay notifications and other data on top of various video sources such as HDMI, TV tuners, and IP TV receivers
  • Voice control demo (with smartphone) with requests such as:
    • “Breaking Bad” to return the video, link to actors description, and their film / series history.
    • “Oscar nominated movie 2002″ will indeed return the relevant list of movies for you to play or download.
    • “Who plays xxx in yyy movie” will return the actor or actress who played a specific character in yyy movie.
  • Google Play Movie TV app adapted from tablet app
  • Android Wear smartatch can control an Android TV box
  • Quick game demo of Leo’s Fortune.
  • Multiplayer / device demo with one player using Android TV with a Gamepad, and another in an Android tablet playing NBA Jam
  • Android TV embeds the functionality of ChromeCast streaming stick which has been enhanced with WebAudio & WebGL support, enhanced Closed Caption support, improvements for the Media Player Library for easier integration with MPEG-DASH Smooth Streaming, and HLS.

Android TV will find its way in Sharp, Sony TV, TP Vision and Philips HDTVs, and well as streaming boxes by companies such as Asus and Razer. Razer has already announced their Android TV micro-console (pictured below), but did not disclose any details, except it will be available in the fall.
Razer_Android_TV

Beside Nvidia, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Marvell, Intel, and other silicon vendors are also actively involved in Android TV.

More details about Android TV for developers will eventually show up at developer.android.com/tv

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Skyworth Announces K100 Smart TV, GS100 and GS300 Set-Top Boxes with “Google services for Smart TV” Powered by Marvell ARMADA 1500 Plus

January 8th, 2014 4 comments

What do company executives do when a product is not selling as expected? They organize a board meeting, deliberate for hours, and come up with a brilliant idea like “Let’s change the name!”. If I count correctly, this year would have been the release of products based on Google TV 4.0, but the company decided to scrap it, and this year, we have devices with “Google services for Smart TV” thanks to Skyworth K100 Smart TV, as well as GS100 and GS300 set-top boxes, all powered by Marvell ARMADA 1500 Plus SoC.

Marvell published a press release yesterday detailing the news:

Continuing its leadership in the Smart Home ecosystem, Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL) today announced a partnership with Skyworth, a global TV maker, to deploy Smart TVs and set-top boxes with Google services for Smart TV. The new offerings are powered by Marvell’s ARMADA® 1500 Plus (88DE3108) system-on-chip (SoC) platform, a full HD media processor designed for a vast array of smart video products

The rest of the press release shows quotes of both companies’ presidents saying how happy they are to wok together, followed by a summary of ARMADA 1500 Plus key features.

That’s all I know for now, and it seems nobody cared as this has not been covered at all in the media, although both Marvell and Skyworth are present at CES 2014.

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Imagination Unveils OpenGL ES 3.0 Compliant Entry Level PowerVR Series6XE GPUs, and Series6XT Architecture Promising TFLOPS Performance

January 8th, 2014 3 comments

Imagination Technologies has announced four OpenGL ES 3.0 compliant mobile GPUs based on PowerVR Series6XE Rogue architecture for entry level ($100) smartphones, tablets, and other low-end consumer devices such as wearables and smart TVs, as well as four high-end GPUs based on PowerVR Series6XT Rogue architecture capable of TeraFLOPS computing power.

Imagination_PowerVR_Rogue_GPU_Roadmap

PowerVR Series6XE GPUs

The new PowerVR Rogue GPUs will deliver the same fillrate performance as equivalent Series5XT multi-processor configurations but offer more in terms of features and functionality, including OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenCL 1.x, and DirectX 9.3.

Four entry-level GPUs have been introduced at CES 2014:

  • PowerVR G6050 – Smallest fully-featured GPU core by Imagination with support for OpenGL ES3.0 and OpenCL 1.x.
  • PowerVR G6060 – Same as G6050, but adds PVRIC2, the company’s second generation lossless PowerVR Image Compression. It reduces bandwidth requirements, and it likely to be used in entry-level tablets, HD TVs and STBs.
  • PowerVR G6100 – Updated and optimized version of the original area-optimized Series6XE Rogue core that features a single Unified Shader Cluster (USC) combined with a high-performance texture mapping unit, enabling it to deliver the same raw fillrates as multi-processor GPUs from the previous generation (Series5XT).
  • PowerVR G6110 – Same as G6110, but adds PVRIC2. To be used in low cost 4K  Ultra HD TVs.
PowerVR G6110 Block Diagram

PowerVR G6110 Block Diagram

PowerVR Series6XT GPUs

PowerVR_Series6XT

The company also announced Series6XT GPUs for high-end devices, providing a boost of up to 50% performance compared to Series6 GPUs (for same cluster / clock speed combination), with features such as PVR3C triple compression technologies, and UltraHD deep color GPU, as well as PowerGearing G6XT power management.

Four high-end GPUs have been introduced at CES 2014:
  • PowerVR GX6250 with two shading clusters.
  • PowerVR GX6450 with four shading clusters.
  • PowerVR GX6650 with six shading clusters.
  • PowerVR GX6240 is an area-optimized core with two shading clusters.

Series6XT GPUs features PVR3C triple compression system-level optimizations of the compute and graphics bandwidth flow to increase the performance and lower power consumption. PVR3C is said to combine lossy texture compression (Imagination’s PVRTC and Khronos’ ASTC), second generation lossless image compression (PVRIC2) and lossless geometry compression (PVRGC).

Screenshot of "Soft Kitty" OpenGL 3.0 demo on a  PowerVR Series6XT GPU (Click to Enlarge)

Screenshot of “Soft Kitty” OpenGL 3.0 demo on a PowerVR Series6XT GPU (Click to Enlarge)

Anandtech has a nice performance comparison table with Seruies6 and Series6XT GPUs.

PowerVR Series6/6XT “Rogue”
GPU # of Clusters # of FP32 Ops per Cluster Total FP32 Ops Optimization
G6100 1 64 64 Area
G6200 2 64 128 Area
G6230 2 64 128 Performance
GX6240 2 64? 128? Area
GX6250 2 64? 128? Performance
G6400 4 64 256 Area
G6430 4 64 256 Performance
GX6450 4 64? 256? Performance
G6630 6 64 384 Performance
GX6650 6 64? 384? Performance

GX6650 should have about the same GFLOPS performance as the Kepler GPU in Tegra K1. I suppose the TFLOPS performance aforementioned refers to future Series6XT GPUs, or possibly another type of workload.

Availability and Tools

All eight GPUs are available now, and the company provides developers with free access to the PowerVR Graphics SDK available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux at www.powervrinsider.com. You may also want to check Imagination’s blog posts about Series6XE and Series6XT for further technical details.
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Marvell Unveils ARMADA 1500 Plus (88DE3108) SoC for Android and Linux Smart Video Platforms

December 5th, 2013 3 comments

Armada_1500_PlusBuilding on top of it ARMADA 1500 SoC for Google TV, Marvell has recently announced the ARMADA 1500 Plus (88DE3108) HD secure media processor SoCdesigned for smart video products based on Android 4.2.2, and Linux, such as media players, OTT boxes, hybrid set-top boxes and smart TVs.

ARMADA 1500 Plus features two ARM Cortex A9 cores, Vivante GC1000 and GC300 GPUs, respectively for 3D and 2D graphics,  and integrates an HDMI receiver and Gigabit Ethernet.

Hisense will be among the first to use the platform with the upcoming H6 Smart TV and Pulse Pro set-top-box, but details have yet to be released for these two products.

Here are the key features of 88DE3108 SoC:

  • Processor – Dual core Cortex A9 with over 6000 Dhrystone MIPS
  • Dedicated 3D and 2D graphics acceleration – dual threaded unified shader (Vivante GC1000 and GC300) with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 and DirectFB.
  • Video
    • vMeta Video Codec – Decoding: H.264, VC-1, MPEG2, AVS, VP8 and several other formats. Real-time encoding: H.264, VP8 to allow the platform to function as a multi-screen source device.
    • Marvell Qdeo video post processing engine for improved HD and 3D video quality
  • Audio – Support for HE-AACv2, Dolby HD, DTS-HD, SRS and other high-end audio formats.
  • Trusted Video Path certified security engine with the following DRM/CAS options: Verimatrix, Widevine, Playready, NDS VGC, DTCP-IP
  • Hybrid architecture – Multiple TS inputs supports PayTV Operators STB requiring both broadcast (DVB-T,C,S) and IP content deployment.
  • Peripherals – HDMI 1.4a, SATA 2.0, SDIO, 2x USB 2.0 host, 10/100/1000M Ethernet MAC with RGMII interface, and more
  • Support for Google services for Smart TVs based on Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2
ARMADA 1500 Plus (88DE310) Block Diagram

ARMADA 1500 Plus (88DE3108) Block Diagram

Marvell ARMADA 1500 Plus appears to be very similar to the older Marvel ARMADA 1500, except the company switch to ARM Cortex A9 cores instead of using its own ARMv7 implementation, it may have added Vivante GC300 for 2D graphics (TBC), fast Ethernet has been upgraded to Gigabit Ethernet, the SATA version has apparently been downgraded to SATA 2.0, and HDMI got an upgraded to v1.4a (vs 1.4). The rest of the SoC appears to be more or less the same according to the block diagrams.

Marvell also provides smart TV and STB reference designs with a complete Android TV and Linux SDK supporting PayTV and OTT services, and including device drivers, schematics, layout files and other documentation. The platforms support Marvell Wi-Fi (2×2 802.11ac) and Powerline (G.hn) technologies.

Marvell_STB_System_Block_Diagram

Typical Set-top Box System based on Marvell 88DE3108

Further information may be available on Marvell ARMADA 1500 Plus page.

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Unu is an Android Tablet, a Gaming Console and a Smart TV

June 13th, 2013 1 comment

In the last year or so, we’ve started using Android set-top boxes or mini-PCs to make our TV smart and play games, and some products such as Ouya and Gamestick, using similar hardware, have been specifically designed for game play. But Unu Tablet, which can be used as a tablet (really), can also transform your TV into a gaming platform, and a smart connected TV, thanks to a docking station, and a game controller.

Unu_Tablet
Here are the known specifications for Unu tablet:

  • SoC – 1.6 GHz quad-core chip (I’m guessing Rockchip RK3188).
  • System Memory – Unknown
  • Storage – 8GB NAND Flash + microSD card slot
  • Display – 7″ IPS display, 1280×800 resolution.
  • Connectivity – WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2 microUSB ports
  • Video Output – mini HDMI jack
  • Camera – 5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera

This Android 4.2.2 tablet comes with a docking station that handles charging and video output, an air mouse with a QWERTY keyboard (similar to Mele F10), an HDMI cable, and an optional Bluetooth game controller.

This concept is not really new, as you can actually already do all that by yourself by purchasing different items, but it’s the first time I’ve seen 3-in-1 package sold and marketed that way.

You can watch an hands-on video shot by Engadget at E3 below.

The Media edition (Tablet + remote + docking station) should cost $200, whereas the Gaming edition with the Game controller should go for $250, with the device becoming available later this year.

Via Liliputing and Engadget

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Pandora TV Box is an All-in-One Android Media Player, Game Console, DVB Receiver, Video Chat System, etc…

June 6th, 2013 12 comments

This morning I received an email from DealExtreme with a link to a teaser video about an upcoming Android device to be available on June 10, that comes with a game controller (PS3 type) to play games. After some research, I finally found this “Android-on-TV” device which is based on Rockchip RK3066 with 1GB RAM, 8GB Flash, lots of ports (USB, HDMI, Ethernet), a webcam, and more. Beside the game controller, it also comes with a remote control, so the device can be used for a whole lot of applications including gaming, video chat, media player, web browsing, and more. It’s something you can already do with existing devices, but it may require some efforts, and this one seems to come all included.

Pandora_TV_Box

Here are the specs of the “beast”:

  • Pandora_TV_Box_On_TVSoC – Rockchip RK3066 dual-core processor @ 1.6GHz +  MALI 400 MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8G NAND Flash + SD card slot (up to 32GB)
  • Connectivity
    • WIFI 802.11b/g/n
    • 10/100M Ethernet
    • Bluetooth 2.0
  • Camera – 2.0 MP camera
  • TV – Apps for Macau and Hong Kong on-demand videos and live TV, and optional DVB receiver (no details provided, but I guess it must be through a USB dongle)
  • Input Devices – 6-axis (PS3) game controller and “air flying squirrel” mouse (I guess that’s means an RF remote with gyro)
  • USB – 1x USB OTG (full size), 3x USB 2.0 host.
  • Video Output – HDMI (720p to 1080p)
  • Audio ports – Buil-in microphone (3 m range) + 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Buttons – Power and recovery buttons
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A

Pandora_TV_Box_Rear_Panel

This Android 4.1.1 “Android-on-TV” box comes with a remote and an optional Bluetooth game controller, a stand to position it on top of your TV, an HDMI cable, a mini USB to USB cable to charge the game controller, and a 12V/2A power adapter. It’s also said to support DLNA and Airplay, and a applications to control the box with your Android smartphone is provided. This device looks like the ultimate Android STB that allows you to do virtually anything you may want to do on your TV. This looks promising, but we’ll have to see how the software implementation, and hopefully this won’t be a “Jack of all trades, master of none” type of products.

Pandora TV Box with its remote, game controller, power supply, and cables.

Pandora TV Box with its Remote, Game Controller, Power Supply, and Cables.

If even though it’s not available on dx.com right now, I could find it on Aliexpress for $145 including shipping. Considering the features and accessories included, the price seems about right, but better wait until it’s on more websites. 7po.com also has a forum thread about the device with more pictures and details in Chinese. The company behind the product appears to be “L.C. Smart Co. Ltd” based in Shenzhen, but I can’t find any details about it, except their username in Sina Weibo (Chinese twitter) is @LCTVBOX101.

[Update: the device is already available from DX.com for $123.90 including shipping]

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Geniatech PT115m and PT115e USB DVB-T Sticks Let You Watch Digital TV on Tablets and mini PCs

May 26th, 2013 7 comments

Last month, I wrote about Geniatech WiTV, a device with a DVB-T or ISBT tuner acting as a Wi-Fi access point that let you watch TV on any Wi-Fi enabled devices. I’ve just discovered Geniatech PT115m (microUSB) and PT115e (USB), tinier and probably cheaper products, which allow you to watch free-to-air channel (DVB-T) by connecting them to the USB or microUSB port of your tablet or mini PC.

PT115m USB DVB-T Stick Connected to a Tablet

PT115m USB DVB-T Stick Connected to a Tablet

Both devices have the following key features and specifications:

  • Geniatech HiDTV app for Android
  • Watch DVB-T TV on Android tablet, with support for Electronic Program Guide, HDTV (1080i), and Automatic Station Searching
  • Digital Personal Video Recording
  • Input Terminal – VHF/UHF,  Receive Frequency – TV 48.25 ~ 863.25 MHz
  • DVB-T Compliant,  2K to 8K FFT Size, Punctured Codes: 1/2, 2/3, 3/4 4/5, 5/6 and 7/8, Bandwidth: 6/7/8 MHz
  • Stream capture – PES & TS
  • Video Format – mpg-II Main Profile & Main Level/H.264 Mpeg4 AVC
  • Audio Format – mpg-II Audio Layer I & II

Beside the micro USB and USB difference, PT115m seems to come with its own antenna, but PT115e connects an external antenna which possibly a better reception.

PT115e Connected to Tablet (left), and PT115m (Right)

PT115e Connected to Tablet (left), and PT115m (Right)

The sticks need a kernel driver to work properly. This driver is said to be present in AMLogic devices, and in some Rockchip devices. For SD resolution, an Android 4.0 tablet powered by Cortex A8 processor is sufficient, but for HDTV, you’ll need a dual core Cortex A9 processor with 512MB RAM, and a resolution of 1024*600 or greater.

Here’s a demo with what looks like PT115e model.

DVB-T on Android is not new, as some XDA members wrote tools and apps for DVB-T support on Archos Gen 8 tablets, but interest seems to have faded, and other DVB-T dongles available are usually larger.

The products were apparently announced at the end of the last, but I can’t find anything on Aliexpress, so it may not be for sale right now. You can find further information on Geniatech’s TV tuners for Android page.

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$80 MK818 / MK818B Android Set-top Box Sits on Top of Your TV

March 31st, 2013 No comments

There are already a few set-top boxes that are designed to be placed on top of a television such as Archos Connect TV. Those usually come with a webcam, which makes them ideal for video conference, and much more convenient than mini PCs with a webcam such as Measy U2C or B12. GeekBuying is now offering such device with the MK818B (aka MK818) powered by RockChip RK3066 with 1 GB RAM, 8 GB Flash, and a 0.3 MP front camera for $84.99.

MK818 / MK818B

They could probably have done without the “so far away, yet this close!” marking at the front of the device…

MK818B has the following specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3066 Dual Core Cortex A9 @ 1.6 GHz + Mali-400MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage –  8GB NAND Flash + SD Card slot (Up to 32GB) + micro SD Card slot (Up to 32GB)
  • Camera – Built-in front 0.3MP camera
  • Video Output:
    • mini HDMI 1.4a up to 1080p60
    • AV/YPbPr up to 1080p60
  • Audio I/O – Built-in Microphone, headphone jack, stereo out
  • Video Container Formats  – MKV(H.264 HP), AVI, RM/RMVB, FLV, WMV9, MP4..
  • Audio Formats and Codecs – MP3, WMA, APE, FLAC, AAC, OGG, AC3, WAV…
  • Connectivity:
    • WIFI – IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
    • LAN – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45)
    • Bluetooth V4.0
  • USB –  1x  USB host port + 2x mini USB (1x OTG, 1x for power)
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 127.8mm x 60.6mm x 15.9mm
  • Weight – <100g

MK818 Back

The device runs Android 4.1, but the firmware will be upgraded to Android 4.2. Beside MK818B media player, the package contains a 5V/2A power adapter, an mini HDMI to HDMI cable, a mini USB to USB cable for power, a mini USB to USB female adapter, and a user manual.

Apart from GeekBuying, you can also buy the device for $80 and up on several shops in Aliexpress. The camera resolution is rather low, but considering all the features packed in this set-top box the price is still quite competitive, even if you don’t need the webcam. If you need lot of storage, and don’t want to connect a USB hard drive, the 2 slots for SD and microSD card will allow you to add up to 64 GB storage.

For those of you who prefer running Linux, PicUntu could be an option with some work, but supporting the camera, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (depending on the module used) is usually problematic as binary drivers may not be available for Linux, and some companies do no release their drivers’ source code.

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