The OpenBricks team has just brought support for Disko, yet another framework for designing user interfaces and applications for embedded devices. The project now features support for most of the application framework, including:
- Nokia Qt
- Enlightenment EFL
Disko is an LGPL-licensed user interface (UI) application framework for the fast and simple development of flexible applications on Embedded Linux systems – with a particular focus on interactive user interfaces. It is high-performance and easy to learn, and due to its architecture is well suited to creating complex applications. Disko also provides support for OpenGL and OpenGL|ES hardware graphic acceleration (wherever possible), as to offload your embedded CPU. The framework is really mature and provides a wide range of features.
The multimedia components of OpenBricks have been greatly improved to now feature up to 4 kind of MediaCenter software to turn your device into an HTPC. As a user, if you intend to build your own SetTopBox (through GeeXboX distribution flavour for example), you may now choose between Enna (EFL-based), XBMC (SDL-based), MythTV (Qt3 based) and QtMediaHub (Qt4/QML-based).
Along from Enna, which was the only supported MediaCenter so far, we just added the XBMC and MythTV, the 2 major HTPC software ever. While MythTV is still quite a bit work-in-progress so far, XBMC works like a charm, including on OMAP devices. XBMC 10.0 just has been released a few ago and was integrated within OpenBricks, offering a complete hardware video decoding support either through CrystalHD, VDPAU or VA-API frameworks. XBMC for ARM is working so far but unfortunately doesn’t yet provide any acceleration but it’s in the work.
A newcomer also has been added through the experimental QtMediaHub project. This is a proof-of-concept application from Nokia that re-uses XBMC skin engine (and Confluence theme) to create a MediaCenter fully written in the new QML language, that already features many nice things like audio/video playback, pictures browsing but also a nice Web Browser.
We’ll try to provide testing binaries and images ASAP …
The Broadcom BCM70012 and BCM70015 Crystal HD advanced media processor are low cost, low power, highly integrated solution for high definition (HD) video playback applications. They are targeted for PC/x86 applications such as playback of streaming video content, Blu-ray Disc playback, file-based content, and broadcast and other TV sources. These are Mini-PCIe chips that suit really well in any Netbook, MacMini or other kind of SetTopBox and provide a complete CPU offloading through hardware video decoding of several resource-consuming codecs such as:
- H.264/AVC HP at L 4.1 1080p/1080i up to 40 Mbps.
- SMPTE VC-1 AP at L 3 1080p/1080i up to 40 Mbps.
- WMV9 (VC-1 SP and MP)
- MPEG-2 MP @ ML and MP @ HL
Support for these chips now have been integrated within OpenBricks and have been made available through GStreamer and VLC additional decoders.
Early October 2010, Texas Instruments (TI) released the PandaBoard, the first community-driven embedded board featuring TI’s OMAP4 SoC, that everyone will see as BeagleBoard‘s successor. PandaBoard is a very nice piece of hardware, featuring a dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, IVA-HD Ducati DSP capable of 1080p hardware video decoding and encoding, 1GB RAM, FastEthernet, Bluetooth, WiFi, HDMI, FM Radio and so much more. OMAP4 SoC will definitely reached 2011′s Smartphones and Set-Top-Boxes (at least!) but no doubt they’ll be integrated in so much more devices. PandaBoard is the first low-cost (174$ only) available mobile software development platform featuring OMAP4.
Early shipments of the board have barely started at DigiKey and it’s yet really hard to get your own but the OpenBricks project has been sponsored a couple boards from TI as early adopters. As a result, we’re proud to announce that OMAP4 SoC and PandaBoard is now fully supported by our cross-toolchain, with complete support of all of its peripherals, including all of its multimedia parts. It is then very easy for everybody to build your own customized distribution for this board and tune it to your taste, including X-Loader, U-Boot and root filesystem.
Some ready-to-flashed SD Card images of GeeXboX distribution with full-featured MediaCenter will be made available in the next days to come.