It wouldn't be far off the mark to call Google TV as one of the unmitigated disasters of 2010 - 2011. Through the failure of the Logitech Revue, it was responsible for Logitech's below-par performance last year, and also for the stepping down of its CEO. Anand covered Intel's winding down of the Digital Home Group and it could be said that Google TV / Intel's concept of Smart TV not taking off as expected was one of the reasons.

However, Google doesn't give up on its efforts without a fight. With access to the Android market and an upgrade to Honeycomb, Google TV received some life support last October. However, pricing and device power consumption were the two other prime factors which needed to get addressed. The first generation Google TV devices were all based on the Intel's CE4100. Despite being a highly capable platform, it suffered from a number of issues such as high silicon cost (leading to higher priced Google TV units) and unreasonably high power consumption. With Intel's shuttering of the Digital Home Group, it was inevitable that Google and its partners would end up moving to an ARM based platform. Given that ARM has remained the architecture of choice for Android smartphones, this was also a move predicted by many.


We covered Marvell's foray into the DMA (Digital Media Adapter) market with their ARMADA 1000 platform. Today, Marvell is officially launching the next generation ARMADA 1500 (88DE3010) SoC. They also announced their team up with Google and indicated that all the Google TV boxes at the 2012 CES would be powered by Marvell silicon.

The ARMADA 1500 (88DE3100) is the follow up to the ARMADA 1000 (88DE3010) introduced a couple of years back. The 88DE3010 is the same chip which is being used in the Nixeus Fusion XS which started shipping recently. It is also the chip used in some high end (in terms of cost) 3D Blu-ray players like the Kaiboer K860i and the Asus O!Play BD players (BDS-500 and BDS-700).

Marvell's ARMADA 1500 : The 88DE3100
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  • ganeshts - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    The issue is that there is still no device out there which combines premium OTT services with good local media playback capability. Boxee Box comes close, but imperfect support for Blu-ray ISOs / folder structures and the HD audio dropout fiasco ruined that.

    If there is a GoogleTV box for $100 - $150 and it gives consumers the best of local media and premium OTT services, I wager that people will be lining up to give them a go.
    Reply
  • jjj - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    That might be but Google needs a bigger market and this has to go in all kind of devices so while media playback tasks should be there and done very well ,i would look at other major features that actually define the thing.The use of this SoC does suggest GTV will be more media orientated but a lot more has to be done to make it a must have device. Reply
  • gonzo98x - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    With access to the market and at some point games from the market.

    Google for all intents and purposes has just made its own console. (So to speak). You have to wonder if the big three have noticed this and what they intend to do.

    Granted that most games from iOS and Android are for casual gaming on the go but as the market matures this could easily change.

    Board games like monopoly played on your TV with the whole family for starters.

    Now where did I put that popcorn???
    Reply
  • Southernsharky - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    I wish they would consider having some kind of hardware box that snaps into your tv, rather than hardware built into the tv. I know that NVDIA filed a patent for something similar, with the USB computer concept.

    A TV should last 12-13 years (or longer.... I've had them last over 20 years). But if you have a TV with hardware built in, the hardware will be out of date in one year and virtually useless in 6.

    So what is the point of this:???

    Google should be smarter than this.
    Reply
  • JackF - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    sounds to me like the point is obvious.

    "TV should last 12-13 years (or longer.... I've had them last over 20 years). But if you have a TV with hardware built in, the hardware will be out of date in one year and virtually useless in 6."

    Manufacturer's make and sell more that way.
    Reply
  • jjj - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    You'll have all kinds of devices so that's not a problem.
    And not that it matters but the LCD replacement cycle is 6 years not 2x that, for CRT it was 9.
    Reply
  • Hubb1e - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    You mean a box that snaps into your HDMI port like this?

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/04/roku-unveils-st...

    It doesn't need to be some proprietary standard. A normal set top box already plugs into your TV and all you need to provide is power. This stick just takes it one step further and eliminates the power brick. But, IMO they are still "some sort of hardware box that snaps (plugs) into your TV"
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    Sounds nice in concept, but that is still Roku trying to take forward its limited model of doing one thing and doing that well. Where is the local media support? I just wish Roku would evolve to support all the needs of the users, rather than just concentrating on the premium OTT aspect. Reply
  • Hubb1e - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    I'm not sure I agree with your take on where Google TV needs to go. Or maybe I am just not understanding your point.

    Google TV should be approached the same way they took over the phone market. Andriod is a universal mobile OS first and foremost and then phone manufacturers customize it from there.

    Google TV should be a set top box OS first. It should handle the basic IO, the filesystem, the basic UI, search, a browser, a jukebox, and a marketplace. They should make it available to all set top box makers who want to stop supporting all the different versions of Apps out there, and settle on one basic standard for all Apps on GoogleTV. BD players, media players, TVs could then take these basic building blocks and build a BD player or a TV based around the GoogleTV OS. App developers could design their App for GoogleTV and not have to support a multitude of other proprietary OS's.

    They need to get the basics down. An easy 10ft UI, input options like remote controls and joysticks, search and navigation, and codec support. Then Sony can run with it and build a very nice BD player with access to the entire suite of Apps in the marketplace, from Netflix to Vudu and Angry Birds, etc. They need to launch the basics of this first, a UI and a marketplace for Apps, and then focus later on the integrated search they tried for with the first version of GoogleTV.

    The other thing they need is a killer App and that for me is DVR functionality. DVR plus GoogleTV would give me access to all my cable shows plus all the streaming plus all my local content. That's the ultimate box that doesn't exist yet. That's why I think Google bought SageTV. One, for their media player firmware expertise, and two for their DVR knowledge. GoogleTV could easily launch a server/client DVR system based on SageTV's backend. Customers would buy a single DVR box with CableCard or Analog recording capabilities and a hard drive. Then, their BD players or TVs in each room could be the clients for that single DVR. This is what I think GoogleTV should and could become. Google has been very active in the Cable Card debate, and with the purchase of SageTV this is where I think GoogleTV is headed.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    The problem with comparing Google TV (STB OS) to vanilla Android (smartphone OS) is the fact that the Android OS is complete by itself. Anyone purchasing an Android phone has a very usable device without adding HTC Sense or Samsung TouchWiz to it. If Google TV's base OS gives consumers a good out of the box experience, I am perfectly fine with that.

    Now, what is a good out of the box experience? That is what I have tried to cover in the second part. I need support for all premium OTT services as well as full local media compatibility. There is no single device out there which can do this right now (The Boxee Box, and to a lesser extent, the WDTV Live SMP come close). Once this out of the box experience is achieved, Google TV devices can opt to add any extra functionality they want (like support for AACS and Blu-ray drives / interface with DVR and STB etc. etc.)
    Reply

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