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Re: Anyone here made a "TV computer"?

+++ Phil Endecott [2011-04-10 23:02 +0000]:
> Dear All,
> For a while I have been planning to make some sort of "TV computer" 
> If I look at packages.debian.org I can see that lots of things like vlc, mplayer
> etc. are available for arm* - but there's a difference between having built
> successfully and actually working on real hardware at real data rates.  So do
> those packages know about e.g. video hardware features in any of the available
> ARM hardware?

I've been thinking about this too - and was kind of waiting for some
suitable hardware to turn up too.

As I run a very old via ITX box for TV I know all about hardware
that's not quite fast enough - and that has hardware MPEG2 decoding,
but still requires plenty of tweaking to work nicely.

I'd expect that to make this work at useful framerates you'll need a
big fight with proprietary drivers and some hardware with the right
sort of video decoding assist. I know that, for example iMX51 hardware
can do 720p OK (with the proprietary drivers), but it simply can't
manage HD video. 

> I'm wondering if I can use a Pandaboard.  It has plenty of video output features
> but it is a bit weak on the other connectivity - the DVD, DVB-T, disk and
> ethernet would all be behind one USB hub.  Tegra devices are a bit stronger as
> they have mini-pcie which could be connected up to SATA, but I've not found any
> actually-available hardware that does that.

These devices can almost certainly be made to do a good job (I recall
seeing a samsung dev kit playing 4 videos at once about 3 years ago),
but it's not exactly a well-trodden path at the moment. Take a look at
what the Linaro landing teams for the various devices are working on -
they'll know what currently works.

You may well find that this sort of activity works rather better with
armhf than armel. That port is installable with a bit of fiddling, but
I have no idea how many multimedia packages have been built for it.

Principal hats:  Linaro, Emdebian, Wookware, Balloonboard, ARM

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