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Linux-ready STB boasts PVR features

Sep 11, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 58 views

Amino Communications announced its latest Linux-based, HD-ready IPTV set-top box (STB), in a compact, fanless box that offers PVR (personal video recorder) functionality. The fanless A532 supports 720p and 1080i video and 1280 x 720 graphics resolutions, and ships with a 160GB hard disk drive (HDD), says the British company.

Amino did not disclose the processor that runs the A532, but the company has typically used ARM-based processors in its STBs. The A532 is equipped with 256MB RAM, 64MB flash, as well as Ethernet, HDMI, and S-PDIF ports, and an optional USB 2.0 port, says Amino.

OEM customers can upgrade from the standard 160GB hard drive to a larger capacity, says the company. The fanless, 6.8 x 7.1 x 1.9-inch box is claimed to offer typical power consumption of 12 Watts, helping it achieve RoHS compliance.

Amino A532

(Click to enlarge)

Boasting HD video and graphics, the device supports "low bitrate advanced video codecs," such as AVC/H.264 [email protected], says the company. Touted PVR features include time shift recording, pause live TV, push-VoD, and with additional middleware, multi-room networked PVR capability.

A Linux image resides entirely in on-board flash memory, and the set-top is designed to support secure bootstrap from a multicast server for fast updates, says Amino. The A532 ships with middleware, a browser, and conditional access and DRM (digital rights management) options. Other options are said to include broadcast front-ends.

Amino's JMACX system is available to customers, enabling full browser control of the device via HTML and JavaScript extensions, thereby enhancing user interface designs, says the company. ADKs and SDKs are also said to be available.

Specifications listed for the Amino A532 include:

  • Memory — 256MB RAM
  • Flash — 64MB
  • Storage — 160GB HDD standard; larger capacity available upon request
  • Video resolution — Up to 720p and 1080i
  • Graphics resolution — Up to 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Codecs — MPEG-2 [email protected], MPEG-4 pt10 AVC/H.264 [email protected]
  • Audio:
    • Analog stereo out
    • Stereo and Dolby 5.1 Surround via S-PDIF and HDMI
    • Dolby Digital pass through to external decoder
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • HDMI 1.2a with HDCP. 10-way Mini-DIN for Composite , Component (YPrPb), RGB, S-Video, and analog audio
    • S/PDIF (optical)
    • USB 2.0 RF modulator (optional)
  • Security features — DRM and Conditional Access support; optional HDCP on HDMI Macrovision on SD outputs
  • Other features — Power/IR, record, and playback LEDs; remote control; optional IR keyboard
  • Power:
    • 5V DC at 3A
    • Less than 12 W typical consumption
    • Input voltage 100-240V
    • AC 50-60Hz, 0.8A max
    • Output 5V DC 3A
  • Operating temperature — 32 to 104 deg. F (0 to 40 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 6.8 x 7.1 x 1.9 inches (172 x 180 x 48mm)
  • Weight –24.0 oz (680 g)
  • Operating system — embedded Linux

In February, Amino announced that it had sold its two millionth unit, while also announcing its AmiNet130M (pictured), which offers MPEG-4 and MPEG-2 in 1080i resolution. Amino launched its first AmiNet STB box in 2002, says the company, with its AmiNet100 IP STB.

Based on low-power ARM-based SoCs and even standalone Texas Instruments' DSPs (digital signal processors) at the lower end, the company's AmiNet boxes have long used Opera browsers as an integral component of the user interface. Amino also licenses its Linux-based IPTV software stack to other hardware manufacturers under the "IntAct" brand, together with Opera, which customers can sub-license directly from Amino.

Other recent Amino news this month includes the following:

  • Tilgin remote management — Broadband services company Tilgin announced interoperability with Amino's IPTV STBs, enabling remote management of the devices via Tilgin's VCM 5.6 Device Management software.
  • JavaFX TV — Amino announced it will use Sun Microsystems' JavaFX TV platform in its next generation IPTV STBs , enabling third parties to develop interactive content for the boxes. Applications are said to include those that target "multiple screens."
  • BeeTV PCC recommendation technology — Amino has partnered with BeeTV to bring its PCC (Personal Content Channel) recommendation-based personalized TV service to Amino's STBs. The PCC uses proprietary contextual recommendation algorithms to identify viewers' habits, taste, viewing history, personal viewing context and other trends. It then "pushes" a personalized channel to users, says BeeTV.

Stated Amino CEO Andrew Burke, "Stylish, powerful and feature-rich, this compact, hybrid compatible [A532] PVR meets the needs of today's fast-moving IPTV market and the demand for products that match consumers' sophisticated tastes."


More information on the A532, and the various partnerships announced above may be found at Amino's website, here.

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