News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Movie download device runs embedded Linux framework

Jun 16, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 8 views

Trolltech announced that its graphical framework for Linux device development was used by Roku in the on-demand movie streaming device it recently built for NetFlix. The Linux-based NetFlix “Player” sells for $100, and uses Trolltech's Qt for Embedded Linux, formerly Qt Core, formerly Qt/embedded.

Roku's Netflix Player (pictured at left) was announced last month as a way to reduce tech support calls for Netflix. The device is designed as an embedded Linux alternative to the Netflix Instant application, which runs on Windows PCs. Subscribers can visit the Netflix website using a laptop or PC and add movies to their Instant queue. The selected items can then be browsed using a TV or projector, using the Player's remote control. The remote can also be used to control playback, rate movies, or stop a movie for later resumption.

Netflix Player and remote by Roku

The 5 x 5 x 2-inch Netflix Player incorporates an NXP system-on-chip (SoC), and supports WiFi and Ethernet. It has no hard drive, but buffers content with its 256MB of RAM and 64MB of flash. The device offers a variety of A/V connections to link up to TVs and other media equipment.

Roku is known for its networked music and digital media systems, such as its SoundBridge Radio Internet radio player. Four years ago it released a software development kit (SDK) for its hacker-friendly, embedded Linux-based HD1000 high definition digital media player.

Netflix Player (back)

In March, Oslo, Norway-based Trolltech, which is soon to be acquired by Nokia, announced that Roku would be using Qt in an unnamed Internet streaming media player. Formerly known as Qtopia Core, Qt for Embedded Linux is an application framework for single-purpose devices powered by embedded Linux, says Trolltech. Qt provides an API that is comprised of some 400 C++ class libraries, and is intended to let developers compile binaries for various operating system (OS) platforms from a single C++ code base. Qt is used in applications including Skype, Google Earth, and Adobe Photoshop Elements.

The latest version, Qt 4.4, adds the open source Webkit browser engine, Phonon multimedia framework, and Qt Concurrency threads library for multicore. It also adds support for Windows CE and Windows Mobile as build targets.

Qt for Embedded Linux architecture

Roku partnered with Trolltech in part due to Qt's ability to support multiple OSes and devices from a single codebase, says the company. Stated Tim Twerdahl, VP of consumer products at Roku, “Qt provided us with the tools to implement our elegant and powerful user interface quickly, providing an important time-to-market advantage.”


The Netflix Player, developed by Roku, is available now for $100, here. More information on Qt may be found at this Trolltech page.

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.

Comments are closed.