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Device Profile: First Technology FGA-60 multimedia display controller

Aug 16, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

First Technology's newest offering is the FGA-60, a Linux-based multimedia display controller that outputs still pictures and video clips (plus audio) to single or multiple CRTs, flat-panels, and TVs. The device is intended for use in signage and advertising applications in transportation, hospitality, and corporate environments, according to the Finland-based company.

The FGA-60 is similar to the previously profiled FXA-50 multimedia display controller, but without a built-in display. Instead, it provides ports for LCD or plasma TVs, or CRT and LCD monitors. It supports external displays at 640×480 resolution, and a 60 Hz refresh rate. Additionally, it can drive multiple displays, according to the company.

The FGA-60 displays multimedia files on a variety of external monitors and televisions

The user of the FGA-60 transfers multimedia files into it via a LAN connection, or GPRS, or by plugging in a USB thumb-drive. Multimedia on the device can be managed by means of the company's Embedded Media Server software.

The FGA-60 is offered in three versions, having the following features:

  • FGA-60-L
    • VGA output (640×480)
    • USB-host connector for USB-memory stick
    • Can load media through LAN connection
    • Includes USB-LAN adapter for LAN connection

  • FGA-60-G
    • VGA output (640×480)
    • USB-host connector for USB-memory stick
    • Can load media through GPRS connection
    • Includes GPRS modem
    • No SIM card included

  • FGA-60-U
    • VGA output (640×480)
    • USB-host connector for USB-memory stick
    • Can play media stored in USB-memory stick

Embedded electronics

The FGA-60, like its companion product, the FXA-50, is based on First Technology's PXA-3 SBC, which is also offered by the company as a standalone product. The PXA-3 is an expanded verson of the company's PXA-1, and is based on a 200MHz Intel XScale PXA-255 embedded processor along with 32 MB DRAM and 16 MB Flash memory. The board includes 16 GPIO (general purpose I/O) lines, a 20-button matrix keypad input, two serial ports, a USB 1.1 device port, two USB host ports, an audio DAC (digital-to-analog converter), audio input/output connectors, a 33-pin FPC 16b digital RGB interface for TFT displays, and a JTAG debug port.

The PGA-60's PXA-3 embedded computer
(Click image for larger view)

The PXA-3 SBC is also offered with an optional digital RGB to analog RGB converter module. When installed in the FGA-60, this option adds an external VGA port supporting normal SVGA (1024 x 768) displays, as well as LCD, TFT, and Plasma televisions, First Technology says.

Embedded Linux implementation

The company did its own development of the embedded Linux operating system and application software that runs inside the FGA-60, according to Tommi Högmander, a company spokesman. “We use our own implementation of the 2.6.10 kernel as the core OS,” he said.

The embedded software stack uses uses a framebuffer-based graphics framework, although using XFree86, Qt/Embedded, GNOME, KDE, Microwindows, Tiny-X, and browsers is also possible.

Why Linux?

“We chose Linux because of the competence the company has with it,” said Högmander. “And yes, we'd use it again in a heartbeat.”


The FGA-60 is shipping now. The devices are not sold individually; there is a minimum of five per order at approximately $570 (460 Euros) each. Further details are available on the company's website.

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