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Linux device links TVs to Internet videos

Sep 12, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 52 views

Sony used Linux to build an IP set-top box (STB) that connects to its Bravia HDTVs, enabling them to display a regularly updated selection of Internet videos. Sony's DMX-NV1 Bravia Internet Video Link is equipped with Ethernet, HDMI, and proprietary USB-based DMeX connections.

(Click for larger view of Sony Bravia Internet Video Link)

The Bravia Internet Video Link receives Internet video and content via an Ethernet link and broadband connection, and streams content to a Bravia HDTV equipped with both an HDMI interface and Sony's proprietary DMeX connection. DMeX resembles a USB port, but is governed by a proprietary protocol. It appears that the DMeX protocol conveys control signals that are generated by the TV's remote control. However, Sony has yet to confirm our request for more information on the technology, and there appears to be very little information about the proprietary port on the Sony site or other Internet sources.

The 6 1/2 x 1 1/4 x 4 1/8-inch Internet Video Link box weighs only 3 lbs, 8 ounces, and can be mounted on a Bravia TV in the back. Interfaces for the box appear to be limited to Ethernet, DMeX, and HDMI connections, plus a power input.

The Sony Bravia Internet Video Link can be mounted on the back of a
Sony Bravia TV (left) or can stand alone (right)

The Bravia Internet Video Link can stream video at resolutions up to 1080i, although of course, typical Internet video is currently delivered at far lower resolutions. Videos from over a dozen Sony partner sites such as YouTube,, and are presented via the company's Xross Media bar (XMB) menu navigation system, which was first introduced on Sony PlayStation consoles (see image on TV screen below). Users can control the interface using their standard Bravia remote. The push interface automatically updates the user with videos, but includes a personalized Yahoo home page for user-driven Internet navigation. The software also includes a version of the Opera browser, says Opera Software.

Sample screen display from Internet Link using XMB interface
(Click to enlarge)

Along with a Linux 2.4.30 MIPS kernel, the DMX-NV1 uses GPLv2 software that includes busybox, uClibc, zlib, curl, libpng, freetype, and openSSL.

According to Sony, the DMX-NV1 Bravia Internet Video Link won the 2008 International CES Innovations award.


The Sony DMX-NV1 Bravia Internet Video Link is available for $300, says Sony. More information may be found here. The link to Sony's GNU Linux source code may be found here.

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