The DMA (Digital Media Adapter) aka media streamer market has been dominated by Sigma Designs, Realtek and of late, the Intel CE 4xxx series. The low end market is catered to by the Boxchip and Amlogic based media streamers.

Having got the codec compatibility right (at least on paper), the choice for the media streamer manufacturers was to either go the 3D route or add extra non-core functionality in the next-gen products. 3D is yet to go mainstream despite the best efforts of the top tier manufacturers.

A number of Android-based DMAs (Digital Media Adapters / media streamers) are set to launch in 2011.
It appears that Android is very resource intensive for the current media streamer platforms. We are yet to see any products announced with the Realtek 1185. However, it has been demonstrated on the TViX Xroid A1 which uses the SMP8656 from Sigma Designs. Today, we will cover the launch of another Android based media player from Nixeus, the Nixeus Fusion XS.

Nixeus got off to a promising start with the Nixeus Fusion HD. However, the lack of CPU and graphics muscle in the SMP 8655 (and the fact that they jumped on the 8655 bandwagon a bit late compared to other vendors such as WD) meant that the Fusion HD could only differentiate itself to a limited extent.

Instead of going with Sigma Designs, Nixeus decided that a fresh approach was necessary for their next-gen product and opted to go with Marvell, an hitherto unproven vendor in this market space. Before going into the details of the SoC itself, let us take a brief look at the Nixeus Fusion XS specifications.

Engineering Sample of the Nixeus Fusion XS

General characteristics:

  • HDMI 1.3a DLNA 1.5 media player
  • 10 / 100 Mbps Ethernet
  • Optical SPDIF
  • Composite output (with stereo audio)
  • 2 x USB 2.0 host
  • IR remote controller

Hardware specifications:

  • Marvell 88DE3010
  • 2 GB NAND Flash
  • 512 MB DRAM ( 4 x 1Gb x16 DDR2)

Software specifications:

  • Android 2.2 based application system
  • Web browser with HTML5 support
  • Streaming protocols supported: HTTP/MMS/RTP/RTSP/UDP
  • Full DVD playback support (with menus)
  • Blu-Ray menu support (no BD-Java / BD-Live)
  • Codec support specified to be the same as that of the Fusion HD along with Real Media

Currently, there is no single media streamer capable of catering to all the requirements of all the consumers. Though the above set of specifications are nothing out of the ordinary, Nixeus may still have a winner in its hands if it manages to placate the demanding consumers. Thankfully, there is a much more powerful SoC at their disposal this time around.

Marvell 88DE3010
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  • therealnickdanger - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    If it's any bit as good as the QDEO chip in my LG BH-200 Blu-ray/HD-DVD player (a few years old now), then it should easily beat the HQV benchmarks. After all, it easily meets HQV's own Reon chip in those tests. I'm excited to see what this can do for BD ISOs! :) Reply
  • fbking - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    it will be selling on fookbuy.com very soon! so you can try when you get it from fookbuy.com Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    For a moment, I thought it was a spam post :)

    Anyways, estimated ship date is not earlier than end of May 2011. Engineers are still working on the final firmware.
    Reply
  • Venya - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Why they go with such crappy custom interface??
    Use XBMC as fontend interface and success of this product will be guaranteed!
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    XBMC is a bit resource intensive and also requires a 3D graphics engine with full OpenGL ES 2.0 support to have good performance.

    The SMP 8656 will probably be the first media streamer SoC in the market which can run XBMC, but even that has some issues:

    http://xbmc.org/theuni/2011/01/12/more-about-sigma...


    Sigma hired a 3rd party company to do their initial port, which is shown in the picture below. A proof-of-concept is up and running on their SMP8656, and while the GUI is choppy and playback is still not working, it is an impressive effort so far.


    It will be quite some time before you actually get XBMC running on proper media streaming SoCs such as those from Sigma, Realtek and Marvell.
    Reply
  • Rainman200 - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    XBMC also requires an OpenGL ES 2.0 capable GPU to run as well, XBMC devs are handling Arm ports themselves and it works well under linux on the dev kits they have access too (there are a couple of different hardware acceleration API's in Arm so not all are supported).

    The Marvell soc looks quite good it's a shame it does not have a GPU on it as it could have run XBMC reasonably well even better than the AppleTV2, hopefully the second generation 88DE3100 comes to market sooner.

    This does look pretty nice though from Nixeus, if your making a media streamer the main thing to borrow from XBMC is it's media source system, instead of browsing through UPnP/NFS/AFP/SMB/USB you just add a source and browse though those desired items, it's so much more elegant than the typical systems used in media streamers.

    Also hiring someone with UI design experience or even XBMC skinner to build your players UI is one of the best things you can do even if your streamer cant do as fancy a UI as XBMC. Don't leave it to software engineers or whatever comes with the SDK.
    Reply
  • Destiny - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    I see a "GFX Engine" on the Marvell chipset block diagram... is that a GPU or seperate GPU? Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    The GPU is covered in detail in the text :) It is the Vivante GC300 which supports OpenGL, but it is not a 3D graphics engine, rather 2D only.

    Even if XBMC were to be ported onto this, it will not have good performance. It looks like even the SGX531 is having a bit of trouble keeping up?
    Reply
  • Destiny - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    What chipsets or hardware is using the SGX531? Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Sigma Designs SMP 8656 in the TViX Xroid A1, but the TViX model doesn't run XBMC, but custom GUI (you can see the demo in the YouTube video linked in the article) Reply

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