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First MeeGo set-top box emerges

Sep 14, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

At an Intel Developer Forum (IDF) keynote, Amino demonstrated a new MeeGo-ready set-top box (STB) while discussing its contributions to MeeGo's Connected TV reference platform. Due to ship in the fourth quarter, the Freedom STB is equipped with Intel's Atom CE4100 SoC, supports IPTV and traditional broadcast services, and offers both Adobe Flash 10.1 and Microsoft Silverlight.

Amino Chief Technology Officer Dominique Le Foll joined Intel senior vice president Renée J. James on stage today during James' keynote at the IDF in San Francisco, according to Amino. Le Foll is said to have demonstrated the Freedom set-top and described how Amino was able to quickly develop the STB and bring it to market in "a very short time."

As Le Foll stated, "Time to market is critical in the entertainment market. By choosing the MeeGo open source platform and the Intel Atom processor, we were able to reduce our software development threefold." Le Foll also detailed how the company secured an initial contract with a major Western European tier one operator for the STB.

Amino Freedom

Known for its Linux- and ARM-based STBs, such as last year's A532, Amino recently passed the three million mark in set-top sales, according to the company.

Amino demonstrated a prototype of the Freedom at last year's IDF show, although it was unnamed at the time. The product was unveiled in a pre-release version earlier this year, and won a number of awards, including "Best Consumer Device" at the IPTV World Forum.

The Amino Freedom is said to be a hybrid "Over-The-Top" (OTT) device that combines encrypted broadcast TV services on an open IP platform. The Freedom supports Internet-delivered TV, applications on demand, and gaming, in addition to traditional broadcast services and video-on-demand, says the company.

In his address, La Foll explained how MeeGo — a new combination of Moblin and Maemo Linux distributions backed by Intel and Nokia — enabled the company to more easily bridge these two different TV paradigms.

"MeeGo packaging and full alignment with the upstream Linux kernel has enabled us to activate the security features required for television without having to close the platform to external applications," said La Foll. "This means the Amino Freedom can combine both traditional encrypted broadcast TV with open internet access and applications on a single platform."

(Note the subtle "alignment" dig at Android, which has begun to significantly fork from the Linux kernel, with no signs of any rapprochement in sight.)

MeeGo so far includes reference platforms for Intel Atom-based netbooks, as well as for Atom and ARM-based handsets and In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems. Judging from the Amino announcement, the "Connected TV" environment that includes STBs and TVs should be arriving fairly soon.

Intel's Atom CE4100

The Amino Freedom incorporates the Intel Atom CE4100 system-on-chip (SoC), which was announced a year ago. The 45nm-manufactured CE4100 SoC includes an Atom processor core clocked at up to 1.2GHz. Other ingredients include a NAND controller, a video display controller, a graphics processor, dual DSPs (digital signal processors) for audio decoding, transport/security processors, and general-purpose I/O.

Yesterday, Intel showed off several STB and TV products, including upcoming Google TV devices from Sony and Logitech, as well D-Link's new Boxee Box IP-STB. Today, Intel announced a successor to the CE4100 called the CE4200, once again with a focus on STBs and Internet-ready TVs.

Freedom tech details

On the Freedom, the CE4100 is backed up with 1GB DDR3 RAM and 512MB flash, says Amino. The Freedom is further equipped with a 500GB hard disk drive (HDD), although higher capacity models are said to be available.

The Freedom runs Intel's Atom CE4100.
(Click to enlarge)

The STB offers a gigabit Ethernet port and a USB 2.0 port, plus 802.11n and Bluetooth wireless technologies, says the company. A/V connections are said to include HDMI 1.3 with HDCP, plus composite, component, RGB, S-Video, analog audio, and S/PDIF interfaces. The device runs on a 12V DC external power supply, and typically consumes less than 12 Watts, says Amino.

The Amino Freedom supports 1920 x 1080 graphics resolutions, as well as 720p, 1080i, and 1080p video, says the company. Video codec support includes MPEG-2 [email protected], MPEG-4 pt10, and AVC/H.264 [email protected]

The device is also said to be capable of multi-plane dual HD (1080p) decode and display of video, as well as other low bit rate codec support. Dual audio DSPs offer support for DD+, AC3, Dolby True HD, and more, says Amino. A wide selection of DRM and CA security features are also said to be available.

Equipped with MeeGo, the Amino Freedom is designed to support common Internet media formats such as Adobe Flash 10.1 and Microsoft Silverlight, says the company.


The Amino Freedom will be available in the fourth quarter, says Amino, which did not list specific markets or partners aside from the unnamed European Tier One operator.

More information may be found here.

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