Google announced Android TV and ADT-1 devkit last June, as the company wants to bring user-friendly Android user-experience to TVs, set-top boxes and game consoles. Mark Gregotski, head of the Linaro Digital Home Group (LHG), has provided a technical overview of Android TV during the on-going Linaro Connect US 2014. You find a summary of yesterday sessions on Linaro’s blog, and the even will last until Friday, where several demos will be showcased.
SoC companies currently involved in Android TV include Nvidia, Marvell, Qualcomm, Mediatek, Intel, Broadcom, and ST micro, so none of usual Chinese Android TV Box players (Rockchip, Amlogic, AllWinner…) are represented. Android (for smartphone) currently support video playback but you may experience dropped frame from time to time, where in the STB market requirements are not stringent. For example, NTT is said to only allow one frame dropped per month! So Android TV aims to improve video playback. Some of the features related to Android TV includes: VP9/H.265 codecs, 4K support, NDK media APIs, TV input framework, improved AV sync, cast receiver (DIAL protocol, Chromecast functionality), 64-bit secure environment, OpenGL ES 3.1 support, Android Extension Pack, subtitle / closed captions enhancements, etc.
The TV input framework will gather several sources for example Cable, Satellite, IPTV, and Terrestrial video input into one single user interface, for example to display a unified EPG, where the user does not even need to be aware of the source. Android TV uses Exoplayer with support for MPEG DASH and Smooth Streaming, and you can find the source code on github. For PayTV, DRM will also be an important part of Android TV with support for Level 1 Widevine and Playready DRM.
The presentation slide are available here.