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Media player targets embedded Linux devices

Feb 25, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

[Updated: Feb. 26, 2009] — NthCode announced an embedded media player for IP-ready DVD players, TVs, and other Linux-based devices. NthCode Player automatically connects to home networks, and then catalogs available media, offering WebKit-browser access to media, plus feeds from BitTorrent and RSS, says the… company.

(Click for larger view of NthCode Player)

Until now, Beijing, China-based NthCode has largely been a consultancy, specializing in embedded Linux and Android. In December, founder and CEO Peter McDermott wrote a detailed whitepaper, published on LinuxDevices, on the company's recent project to port Android to the Nokia N810.

Primarily aimed at IP-ready TVs, DVD players, and set-top boxes (STBs), NthCode Player is built around a media crawler that seeks out audio and video in shared folders in networked Windows, Mac, or Unix PCs. The player then updates a catalog with newly available media. For file access, NthCode uses SMB (Samba), and for network configuration, it integrates Zeroconf, which “uses the same link-local addressing as UPnP for auto-assigning IP addresses,” wrote McDermott in an email. “So it's not a full UPnP implementation.”

NthCode Player music interface
(Click to enlarge)

The player includes a WebKit-based browser and home-grown UI, and enables users to find, stream, download, and subscribe to media from web media guides using BitTorrent and RSS, says NthCode. The browser supports “just about every media format commonly used today,” says the company.

Music interface (left), and web browsing on Miro
(Click on either to enlarge)

NthCode Player will ship as a “quality-assured” pre-built binary to commercial device OEMs, as well as to “a couple Linux enthusiast devices,” wrote McDermott. Built on a Maemo and Angstrom base, the player is designed to work with any standard Linux distribution used by the device vendors. The player binary is available on a per-unit royalty basis, wrote McDermott. The code also includes “a number of open source components which we will release in accordance with their license terms,” he added.

NthCode Player offers the following features, says the company:

  • Zero-configuration networking for auto-connect to home networks
  • Media crawler for finding, indexing, and organizing music and videos found in shared folders of network-attached computers
  • Automatic content updates, plus ability to detect when attached computers have entered or left the network
  • Folder sharing that works with “just about any Windows, Mac, or Unix computer made in the last decade”
  • Catalogs video into TV shows, movies, music videos, and video podcasts, and tracks by titles, show season, and episode numbers
  • Catalogs audio into artist, album, genre, and song title, with support for playlists and album art
  • Media streamer plays media directly from networked computers, eliminating need to sync or copy media
  • Supports streamed and downloaded video at up-to 1080p HD resolution
  • Streaming station support for Internet radio and TV stations, using HTTP, RTSP, and MMS
  • WebKit-based browser to find, stream, download, and subscribe to web-based media from open media guides like Miro
  • Integrated RSS feed reader, supporting subscriptions to Internet audio podcasts and video channels
  • Integrated downloader with support for HTTP and BitTorrent
  • UI supports touchscreen and remote-control devices, with draggable lists and an on-screen keyboard
  • Supports H.264, MPEG-4 , xVid,, DivX, WMV, and Flash Video (FLV), in containers including AVI, ASF, OGG, OGM, MKV, MP4, and QT

NthCode team, led by U.S. expat McDermott, second from right

Stated McDermott, pictured with his team above, “We applied our years of embedded Linux software experience to build NthCode Player from the ground up to run efficiently and robustly in the tight speed, memory, and quality constraints of today's consumer electronics devices.”


The NthCode Player will be available in pre-release binary-only downloads for “selected chipset manufacturer development boards and at least a couple Linux enthusiast devices starting this summer,” wrote McDermott. A final is expected to ship to OEMs by year end.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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