Solid-Run CuBox: Open Source Platform for Android TV, Media Center and NAS Development

Solid-Run CuBox is a miniature open source development platform based on Marvell Armada 510 SoC (88AP510) and aimed at applications such as multimedia, set-top-box, network attached storage (NAS), thin client, digital signage, automation…

CuBox measures 55mm x 55mm x 42mm (so it’s not a Cube) and consuming less than 3 watts. The device runs Android 2.2 or Linux 2.6 on an 800MHz Marvell Armada 510 CPU (ARMv7 architecture) with 1GB of DDR3 memory and a microSD slot. It also includes eSATA, USB, infrared, S/PDIF, HDMI and gigabit Ethernet interfaces.

open source mini-PC for Android and Media Center development
Solid-Run CuBox

CuBox Developer Platform includes the following key features –

  • Marvell Armada 510 SoC – 800 MHz dual issue ARM PJ4 processor, VFPv3, wmmx SIMD and 512KB L2 cache.
  • 1GByte DDR3 at 800MHz
  • 1080p Video Decode Engine
  • OpenGL ES 2.0 graphic engine
  • HDMI 1080p Output (with CEC function)
  • Gigabit Ethernet, SPDIF (optical audio), eSata 3Gbps, 2xUSB 2.0, micro-SD, micro-USB (console)
  • Standard Infra-red receiver for 38KHz based IR controllers.
  • No JTAG required. Unbrickable for Developers (i.e. you can’t brick the device to the point you have to physically remove the flash, burn it and solder it again to repair it)
  • Linux based distributions like Ubuntu, Debian and others
  • Android
  • Chrome with flash 10.1
  • Gstreamer with GPU acceleration
  • XMBC Media Center
Cubox PCB Diagram
Solid-Run Cubox Block Diagram

Solid-Run also provides examples of typical applications for the device:

  • Android TV

Android TV is a port of Android for set-top-box. The system can also run standard Android applications while maintainig it’s optimized ARM libraries (typically deployed via NDK).

cnxsoft: You’d better port (or wait for the port) of the development platform to Android 4.0 as it supports Google TV 2.0. The first android TV release has been phased out and hardware manufacturer (such a Logitech) also stopped manufacturing Android TV devices.

Solid-Run has ported Android TV to the platform.

  • Media Player

The system incorporates multi format full HD video engine that can be used for media decoding. Together with the 3D engine the user can develop a media player that has rich and smooth GUI, and decode content.

The media player can be controlled via simple infra red controller (using built-in IR receiver), smart phone via network or RF keyboard and mouse via external USB dongle.

XMBC has been ported to the platform and Gstreamer has been optimized to use video acceleration.

  • DVB-S/T/C Set-Top-Box

A USB DVB-S/T/C dongle can be connected to the system, enabling free to air content delivered via satellite, terrestrial or cables.

With the built-in video decoder, all decoding function can be offloaded to a dedicated hardware engine, keeping enough CPU bandwidth to deal with subtitles, menu items, overlaying etc…

  • Digital Signage

Usually any system that can be used as a media player, can also be used as a digital signage player. This is also the case with CuBox has it has  the processing power, graphics and video features to allow rich multi layer scenes, videos and ads.

  • Network Attached Storage

The development platform has a built-in eSata port so that external drives can be connected to the system  and allowing it to be turned into a NAS. The device also has a  gigabit Ethernet port and hardware TCP offload engine able to support multiple HD video streams simultaneously.

You could setup you own system with open source packages like Samba, rTorrent, Transmittion.. or you could also consider using Amahi Home Server.

  • Thin Client

Connect a keyboard, a mouse, an Ethernet cable and a display,  install RDP, VNC or other remote desktop application to easily connect to other PC in the home or office to run Windows application in the device.

The device is available now and can be purchased online for 99 Euros or 135 USD. for further information, visit Solid-Run website and/or read CuBox Product Brief. Support is also available on the forum and technical information on setting up Ubuntu, Android TV and XBMC for the plaform will be available in the Wiki (still work in progress)


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