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Re: Anyone here made a "TV computer"?

On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 10:23 PM, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton
<lkcl@lkcl.net> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 10:34 AM, Wookey <wookey@wookware.org> wrote:
>>> 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've been studying and tracking HD-capable ARM processors for quite
> some time now, and it's a very short list.  1080p60 (which is the
> upcoming DVB2 / IDSB-T standard) you can flat-out forget (irony...).
> you have to get _really_ specialist TV-capable MIPS processors which
> have absolutely rubbish general-purpose performance to get full
> 1080p60.
>  so let's assume you're happy with 1080p30 (when all the DVB2 and
> ISDB-T broadcasts will be 1080p50 or 1080p60... *sigh*...)
>  the list is something like: Samsung's S5PV210 (and S5PC110); NXP's
> PNX8491 (bought out by tridentmicro recently); TI's OMAP4440; Ziilab's
> ZMS-08 (watch out for this one: creativelabs are GPL violators, see
> latest list.gpl-violations.org post), Telechips TCC8902 (ARM11,
> massive GPL violations going on with this one)
> that's it.  in fifteen months of searching, there exist really only
> *five* "available" ARM processors

 .... six.  http://www.design-reuse.com/news/24916/amlogic-arm-cortex-a9.html

 i don't yet know much about the AML8726: i've only just encountered
it.  so, it could be yet another processor that's only taken up by GPL
violating android tablet companies: the androidtablets forum post
already appears to support that rather common and negative hypothesis.

 in this SoC's favour is the fact that it's touted as 1080p capable,
but you'd need to dig a bit deeper to find if that's 1080p30 or
1080p60: it's highly likely to be 1080p30 only (meaning not capable of
ISDB-T / DVB2 playback.  not that you can get *anything* that will do
DVB-2 playback...)

 the only general-purpose ARM Cortex A9 i've heard that will be
capable of 1080p60 will be the upcoming Freescale iMX6, which you can
get access to right now if you are happy to order 5 million of, but if
you can wait till next year you can buy in quantities of 1 (probably
easiest to wait for it to appear on imxcommunity.org).

 .... *click*.  seven.  phil... i just remembered.  i got the perfect
system for you :)


 "The first in the series, the i.MX53 Quick Start board is a $149 open
source development platform. Integrated with an ARM® CortexTM-A8 1 GHz
processor, the Quick Start board includes a display controller,
hardware-accelerated graphics, 1080p video decode"


    * LVDS connector
    * VGA connector
    * Parallel LCD add-on card via Expansion connector
          o 4.3” 800x480 WVGA with 4-wire touch screen
    * HDMI add-on card via Expansion connector
          o 24 bit HDMI output port also contains SPDIF audio


    * Full-size SD/MMC card slot
    * Micro SD card slot
    * 7-pin SATA data connector
    * 10/100BT Ethernet port
    * 2x High-Speed USB Host port
    * 1x Micro USB Device port

 there you go, you lucky bugger.  took me a while - but you have SATA,
VGA, HDMI out (with an expansion connector), 1080p30 (at least) and...
oooo, you might be a truly lucky bugger, because it even has 1080p60
(analog TV out, at least).  that's probably only supporting the
refresh rate of the large analog TVs at up to 60hz, not actually H264
(or other) decoding of IDSB-T / DVB-2 at 1080p50 or 1080p60.


The i.MX535 processor’s rich feature set supports a number of highly
compelling use cases:
    * HD capability with 1080p video decode provides access to HD
content available on popular online video platforms, while duplex
video in HD delivers outstanding video conferencing experiences and
supports the growing media/V2IP market.
    * Integrated LVDS and support for analog TV outputs up to 1080p60
are ideal for tablets and enable the creation of “next-gen ready”
consumer products that don’t require additional or costly external

but, in the quckstart board format, it's affordable, it's available,
it's got the interfaces you want, it's designed for the purpose you
envisage, it's got all the codecs, with the free software gubbins
you'll need (probably gstreamer and ffmpeg) - you couldn't ask for
more :)


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