How to develop Gstreamer-based video conferencing apps for RDK & Linux set-top boxes

CNXSoft: This is a guest post by Promwad that explains the basic steps to develop a video conferencing app with Gstreamer on TV boxes running Linux. The COVID-19 pandemic has become a catalyst for new online services. For example, Zoom became so successful that it overtook IBM in terms of capitalization this month. The software engineers at Promwad were inspired by this success and decided to go even further: what about implementing video conferencing on Smart TV and STBs? Then the users of such an application will have an opportunity to communicate not only at work but also to enjoy remote meetings with friends, cheer for a soccer team, watch a movie together, or do sports with a coach. For some reason, most digital TV operators do not have such a service, although, from an engineering point of view, all these features can be implemented on set-top boxes based on Linux/Android and RDK. Let’s analyze the architecture of a Zoom-like […]

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DV8845 Amlogic S905C1 Android TV Hybrid Set-top Box Comes with DVB-T2 or DVB-C Tuner

DV8845 Amlogic S905C1 STB

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about SDMC DV8919 TV box with Amlogic S905X4 processor capable of decoding 4K AV1 videos beside the usual H.265, H.264, and VP9 codecs. But it turns out the company has other devices based on a “new” Amlogic  S905C1 processor, namely two hybrid set-top boxes running Android TV and equipped with either a DVB-T2 tuner (digital terrestrial TV) or a DVB-C tuner (cable). DV8845 specifications: SoC – Amlogic S905C1 quad-core Arm Cortex-A55 processor @ up to 2.0 GHz with Arm Mali-G31MP2 @ 850 MHz supporting OpenGL ES3.2, Vulkan 1.1 and OpenCL 2.0, and optional 1.2 TOPS NN inference accelerator System Memory – 2GB DDR memory (options: 1GB or 4GB) Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (options: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB) Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.1 up to 4K @ 60+Hz with CEC & HDCP2.2, AV output with composite video and stereo audio Video Playback Codecs H.265 HEVC MP-10 up to 4K @ 75fps VP9 […]

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Broadcom BCM7218X STB SoC Comes with AV1 Hardware Decoding, WiFi 6

Broadcom-BCM7218X STB SoC AV1 Codec

CNX Software first covered AV1 open-source, royalty-free video codec aiming to compete against H.265 and succeed VP9 in 2016. I also tried the reference implementation and both encoding and decoding were really slow at that time and an AMD FX8350 powered computer would only achieve 0.36 fps encoding on a 352 x 288 video, while decoding was much faster at over 1,000 fps. This was really early work, and the final AV1 specifications were only released in March 2018, before companies like YouTube and Netflix started to publish AV1 video samples, and now I’ve noticed the former is sometimes streaming videos using AV1 codec on desktop computers and laptops. This still relies on software decoding, and most Arm platforms and entry-level level Intel computer may not be able to handle AV1 decoding, so hardware decoding will eventually be required, especially on battery-operated devices since it will consume much less power. Which brings me to Broadcom BCM7218X, which is the first […]

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WeTek Air Hybrid 4K HDR Set-top Box Now Available for 119 Euros and Up

WeTek Air

We previously covered WeTek Air,  an upcoming Android TV set-top box taking DVB-T2/C, DVB-S2 or ATSC tuner cards and certified by Google. The company has now officially launched the device, and you can buy WeTek Air for 119.00 Euros without tuner or for 129.90 Euros with either a DVB-S2 or DVB-T2/C tuners. Just two caveats, only 400 pieces are available now, and they will only ship to Europe, although a worldwide launch is planned for the next batch. Here’s a reminder of the specifications: SoC –  Amlogic S905D quad core Arm processor System Memory – 2 GB DDR4 Storage – 16 GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60Hz with HDR-10 support Video codecs – H.265 & H.264 AVC up to 4K60Hz, H.264 MVC, MPEG-4 ASP, VC-1, AVS, MPEG-2, MPEG-1 up to 1080p60 Audio codecs – MP3, AAC, WMA, RM, FLAC, Ogg, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS […]

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SEI 520 is a 2-in-1 Android TV Hybrid Set-top Box and Smart Speaker

SEI 520 Android TV Smart Speaker

SEI Robotics has showcased a new device at CES 2019 that looks like a smart speaker, and SEI 520 is indeed a smart speaker with Google Assistant support, but it also adds a digital TV tuner and a quad-core Cortex A53 processor running Android TV 9.0 operating system to allow you to watch live TV, and stream videos. Preliminary specifications for SEI 520 smart speaker: SoC – Quad core Arm Cortex-A53 processor, possibly Amlogic S905X2 System Memory – 2GB RAM Storage – 16GB eMMC flash Video Output – HDMI up to 4K UHD Video Decode – VP9 and H.265/HEVC Audio Output – HDMI audio + optical S/PDIF Input – Far-field microphone Speaker – No technical details provided Connectivity – Ethernet, 2T2R MIMO WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 Tuner – DVB-S2X/T2/C, ATSC, ISDBT USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 port Misc – IR blaster Power Supply – 12V DC via power barrel jack The device will ship with a remote […]

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WeTek Air Android TV 4K HDR Set-Top Box Comes with DVB-T2/C, DVB-S2 or ATSC Tuners

WeTek Air

WeTek was one of the first manufacturers to launch Android set-top boxes with built-in tuners starting with WeTek Play, later followed by WeTek Play 2 model a few years later. In recent years, the company also introduced other Android media devices for the business sector with WeTek Hyperion 4G LTE Android TV TV box, and WeTek Nix with all DRM required for the IPTV market. But it appears WeTek is coming back to the consumer market with their Google certified WeTek Air TV box running Android TV, and equipped with DVB-T2/T/C (Europe), ATSC (US), or DVB-S2 (Worldwide) tuner. WeTek Air hardware specifications are pretty similar to their WeTek Play 2 model, but with various improved features thanks to a new processor: SoC –  Quad core Arm processor (Likely S905D, TBC) System Memory – 2 GB DDR4 Storage – 16 GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60Hz with […]

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Socionext HV5 Series HDMI 2.1 Video Processing ICs Enable 8K TVs and STBs

SocioNext HV5 Series HDMI 2.1 Processor

HDMI 2.1 specification was released late last year with the main benefit being the support of 8K videos at up to 120 Hz, and a small downside with the requirement for new 48G cables.  Samsung Q900R is one of the first 8K TV on the market, but according to the product page HDMI 2.1 is not supported just yet: Will provide complimentary upgrade for HDMI 2.1 support when available. Please contact customer support for more details So it looks like the Quantum Processor 8K processor found in the TV will be firmware upgradable to support HDMI 2.1. Anyway for 8K video equipment to be useful we’ll need video equipment to support HDMI 2.1 Tx & Rx, and SocioNext has launched what it claims are the first HDMI 2.1 compliant video processor ICs with their HV5 series. The processor family comes with HDMI Tx and Rx with two main series: Interface Bridge Chip SC1H05AC Series This family includes two processor that […]

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$43 Mecool M8S Plus DVB is an Entry Level Android Set-Top Box with DVB-T2/T/C Tuner

Android set-top boxes with tuner usually costs $70 and up depending on hardware specifications, and number of tuners, but if you want something cheap that runs Android and supports DVB-T2, “Mecool M8S Plus DVB” may be worth looking at, since it’s sold for just $55.99 shipped. [Update: Mecool M8S Plus DVB can now be found on Banggood for $42.99 including shipping] In order to achieve such low price, the company had to make some compromises, and the TV box only comes with 1GB RAM, and 8GB storage.  Amlogic however recently published a press release about their “new Amlogic S905X chipset” supporting Netflix and 1GB RAM. S905X is clearly not new, but it’s possible the company made some Android optimizations for their S9XX SoC family that provides a decent user experience even with just 1GB RAM. Mecool M8S Plus DVB set-top-box specifications: SoC –  Amlogic S905D quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor with Mali-450MP GPU System Memory – 1 GB DDR3 Storage […]

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