SMP8656 Android STB Divco Tvix Xroid A1

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At last, it seems an Android set-top box based on Sigma Designs SMP865x is going to hit the market soon, most probably Q1 2011. Divco – a Korean company – will bring Tvix Xroid A1 to market. Here are some extracts of the press release:

TVIX M6500A Media Player (SMP8635)
TVIX M6500A Media Player (SMP8635)

Sigma Designs (Nasdaq: SIGM), a leading provider of system-on-chip(SoC) solutions used to deliver entertainment and control throughout the home, today announced its SMP8656 Secure Media Processor™ will enable the new Android-based Over the Top (OTT) media player by Dvico. The TVIX Xroid A1 is the first Android connected media player on the market to use Sigma’s cutting edge media processor to deliver premium quality video and music streaming services.

….

Dvico’s upcoming “Android TVIX” supports all the multimedia functionalities of current TVIX, as well as native Web-browsing and downloading of Android applications. It will offer open API that can be used for Android developers’ group, 3D user interface, and multi-tasking. Dvico will partner with Android developers groups and software companies to further expand its flexible and reliable Android based multimedia player.

Here’s the full text of Divco Tvix Xroid A1 Press Release.

It took nearly one year since the first Sigma Designs Android STB Demo, but this is not surprising as only 50% of the default Android system can be used in a set-top box and a lot of code must be modified to make it suitable for media players & STBs.

For those of you who wonder,  “Over-The-Top” does not mean “extraordinary”, “extravagant”.. but this is a jargon in the world of video broadcasting signifying that “delivery occurs over an alternative means than the main video delivery infrastructure e.g. live video delivery through digital terrestrial and accessing content or applications through the Internet” (Wikipedia).

The full specifications of Tvix Xroid A1 have not been released yet, but according to some posters in MPCClub, this media player should support:

  1. USB 3.0 host
  2. HDMI V1.4, support 3D graphics and movies (but not 3DBD).
  3. Support wireless keyboard for web browsing

That’s all we got for now. Update: Divco TVIX Xroid A1 will be unveiled at CES 2011 (Excerpt from Tivco Website):

We are pleased to announce that Dvico will unveil Xroid A1, the first multimedia player based on Android OS platform, in CES 2011 held in Las Vegas, US, from January 6th to the 9th.
Mr. Trevor Youn, the team leader and chief developer of this project, will answer all the questions and future supporting functions about the new product at the place, so it could be a good chance to taste a potential item in advance, and you may see some demonstration of Xroid A1 adopting a new Sigma Design 8656 chipset as well.
We hope you are the one of them who experience this new media player at CES 2011.

Booth number: #6612 in Korean Pavilion, North Hall.

The problem I can start to see with this kind of devices is that they could almost be replaced by Android tablets such as Archos 70, Archos 101 for people who just want to use them as Media Players. Archos tablets support 1080p HDMI video outputs, play many different video formats and are portable. The only thing missing with tablets is the remote control, but this could be easily fixed with a Bluetooth (or Wi-Fi) remote. I can still see people wanting to have a separate Set-top box for DVR functions and for families. Tvix Xroid A1 will probably have to be well below 300 Euros (without hard disk) to compete in the market place.

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