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Combo media box runs Linux

Jan 23, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 15 views

Blusens Technologies has announced a combination set-top box, digital video recorder, network-attached storage device, and media server that runs Linux on a Sigma SMP8634 SoC. The “BlueBrain” offers dual DVB-T tuners, removable storage, WiFi, and optional HomePlugAV networking, says the Spanish consumer… electronics company.

(Click for larger view of the BluBrain)

The BluBrain can manage, reproduce, and distribute AV content between sources including a DVB-T digital terrestrial broadcasting receiver, NAS storage, Internet video, a remote PC, or other devices connected via A/V connections, says Blusens. Users can record video content to the internal, removable hard disk drive (HDD), and can serve it up throughout a home network or provide remote access over the Internet from PCs and mobile phones, says the company.

The Sigma SMP8634 media processor inside the box first sampled in 2005 with a claim of being the first SoC to support multi-stream decoding of any format, including up to two simultaneous high-definition streams, along with full-screen graphics. In designing the BluBrain, Blusens made use of Sigma's multimedia library and Linux support environment, says the company.

The BluBrain appliance also incorporates a ViXS XCode 2111 chip, which is billed as the “first stream PCI MPEG encoder/transcoder security integrated circuit (IC).” The XCode is said to provide video processing capabilities that can improve storage capacity, format conversions, and placeshifting applications.

BluBrain (lower left) next to HDTV displaying BluBrain interface

Connectivity includes Ethernet and WiFi, as well as dual USB ports for external storage, says Blusen. A removable HDD (capacity unspecified) is provided, as well as a memory card reader. The multiple A/V connections include HDMI, SPDIF, and component and composite video, says Blusens.

The BluBrain appears to be the first device to incorporate a new HomePlugAV-compatible powerline networking technology called the GGL541, manufactured by Gigle Semiconductor. The optional GGL541 chip is said to support 200Mbps bandwidth over power lines, as well as 1Gbps bandwidth over phone lines or coaxial cable.

Blusens touts the BluBrain's DVR place-shifting features, as well as its Web 2.0 functionality, which is provided by integrating LambdaStream streaming middleware, says the company. Other features include an IPTV server and player, and an NFS server.

Specifications listed for the BluBrain include:

  • Processor — Sigma SMP8634
  • Flash expansion — MMC/SD slot
  • Video playback formats supported — MPEG-4 (XviD), H.264, MPEG-2, MKV, etc.
  • Video recording format — MPEG-4
  • Storage — removable internal HDD (customizable by user)
  • Terrestrial broadcast — dual DVB-T tuners
  • Networking — 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet port
  • WiFi — 802.11g
  • Powerline — optional HomePlugAV (GGL541 chip)
  • USB — 2 x USB host for external storage
  • Other features — IPTV server and player; NFS server; remote technical support; “interactive TV”
  • A/V outputs — HDMI; Component video; video Composite; SPDIF (optical and coaxial); 2 x stereo
  • A/V inputs — HDMI; S-Video; Video Composite with stereo
  • Operating system — Linux

Stated Miguel Churruca, marketing director at Blusens, “We are impressed with the variety of codecs the SMP8634 is compatible with.”


The BluBrain is scheduled to ship on March 30, says Blusen, which did not reveal pricing. More information may be found here.

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