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First Android-based TV unveiled

Apr 6, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

A Swedish firm called People of Lava has announced what appears to be the world's first Android-powered TV. The Scandinavia Window to the World TV runs Android 1.5 on a Cortex-A8 processor, and offers HD with 1920 x 1080 resolution, available in 42-, 47-, and 55-inch models, says the company.

People of Lava isn't alone in planning to bring Android to the TV — Google itself is planning a Google TV offering (see farther below) — but it may be the closest to having a final shipping product. According to a story in LinuxInsider, the TVs will reach stores in September.

Following a beta-test phase this summer, the set will first be released in a 42-inch version, followed by 47- and 55-inch models, LinuxInsider says. The 42-inch version will cost between 2,000 Euros ($2,693) and 2,500 Euros ($3,366), according to the story.

The Scandinavia Window to the World TV

The key advantage of having an Android powered TV is the availability of apps to run on it, says People of Lava, which plans to offer the apps from its Lava App Store. Meanwhile, pre-loaded apps will include YouTube and Google Maps, as well as weather, time, calendar, and the Android WebKit-based web browser.

Downloadable apps will initially include Facebook, Twitter, and email, says the company. In addition, it's said, video and audio players will be provided, as well as an image viewer.

Main apps menu for Scandinavia TV

The Scandinavia Window to the World TV runs on an "SOPC100" ARM Cortex-A8 processor clocked at 833MHz. It is unclear whether this refers to an actual product name, or is just another generic term for SoC (system-on-chip). The acronym SOPC typically refers to System on a Programmable Chip, which is often used in conjunction with programmable FPGAs.

Android browser on Scandinavia TV

Available in 42-, 47-, and 55-inch backlight LED models, all with 1920 x 1080 resolution, the TVs are offered with a wireless keyboard equipped with a pointer and mouse, says People of Lava. Supporting PAL/SECAM and DVB-T TV formats, the TVs also offer IPTV support for formats such as MPEG4 and H.264 HD at 720p, says the company. The Scandinavia TVs are said to offer a variety of inputs including S-Video and Component connections, as well as three HDMI ports. The TVs also ship with a USB port, with optional USB peripherals available.

Basic apps on the Scandinavia TV

Designed in partnership with European design firm Designit, the Scandinavia TVs are constructed from "a unique blend of natural materials, such as stone and other materials," giving the systems an "almost ceramic sense, hard as rock, but with a deep gloss never seen before," says People of Lava. This is said to be the first time the material, which is mainly found in exclusive kitchens and yachts, has been used in home electronics, claims the company.

Specifications listed for the Scandinavia Window to the World TV include:

  • Processor — SOPC100 (Cortex-A8) @ 833MHz
  • Display — 42-, 47-, and 55-inch backlight LED models; 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • TV formats — PAL/SECAM; DVB-T with Common Interface
  • Inputs:
    • PC RGB
    • CVBS
    • S-Video
    • Component
    • 3 x HDMI
    • 2 Scart (DP connector included)
    • 1 x USB
  • Outputs — Coaxial audio; earphone
  • Video formats — MPEG4, H.264 HD (720p), 3GP
  • Audio formats — MPEG-1 layers 1, 2, and 3 (MP3)
  • Other features — Wireless keyboard with pointer/mouse; optional USB peripherals
  • Operating voltage — 100-240V AC, 50-60Hz
  • Operating system — Android 1.5 ("Cupcake") , upgradable

The Android competition: Google TV and MIPs-based set-tops

Assuming People of Lava keeps to schedule, the Scandinavia TV will almost certainly be the world's first ARM-based Android TV, if not the first of any type. It is also the first TV to be built in Sweden for several decades, says LinuxInsider. The story quotes Kurt Scherf, VP and principal analyst with Parks Associates, as saying that the TV's primary competition is likely to be from Yahoo's Connected TV, an IPTV web browsing and widget service available on IPTVs from vendors including Samsung, LG, VIZIO and Sony.

Last month, representatives of Google, Intel, and Sony were said to have told The New York Times that the companies were developing an Android- and Intel Atom-based IPTV and IP set-top box platform with the help of Logitech and Dish TV. Google TV will bring the web and social networking services to TV viewers, and will be offered with open source Android development tools this summer, said the story.

Meanwhile, Android-based STB designs are being developed by MIPS and Sigma Designs. This follows last year's port of Android to the MIPS processor platform, which dominates the STB market along with ARM-based processors.


More information on the Scandinavia Window to the World TV may be found here. The LinuxInsider story may be found here.

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