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Plala to deploy Android set-tops in Japan

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 12:39pm
Brian Santo

NTT Plala, a Japanese IPTV company, will be deploying Android-based set-tops built by Sumitomo Electric Networks and based on chips from STMicroelectronics.

STM announced the Orly system-on-chip (SoC) roughly a year and a half ago. Orly includes a dedicated real-time multimedia processor, multi-standard video decoding engines, and high-performance video encoding with support for HD and 3DTV standards.

While the chip vendor has since been busy providing integration with other associated technologies (e.g., natural gesture recognition technology from Movea; Wi-Fi silicon from Quantenna), this appears to be the first announced set-top customer for the Orly product.

Sumitomo’s set-top box includes Sumitomo’s own StreamCruiser SmartTV middleware, running on top of Linux, Android Ice Cream Sandwich and HTML5.

The boxes will integrate Orly's dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor to run the Android operating system. The stated aim is to be able to connect with mobile ecosystems, where Android and HTML5 are common enabling technologies.  

STM said Sumitomo is using the ARM Mali 3D graphics processor that comes with Orly to create a rich user interface for Android-based services.

Other Orly features include a security engine supporting the latest conditional access specifications and digital rights management (DRM) for IPTV, OTT (over-the-top) and multi-screen, multi-room services with DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), ST's Faroudja video-enhancement technology, media and data-driven applications, and support for Internet video standards.

"By offering new smart IPTV STBs, we enhance user interface operability and deliver triple-tuner functionality," said Katsumi Nagata, board director, executive director, technology and engineering division, NTT Plala Inc. "By supporting Japan's first cloud game called 'Hikari TV Game' and various applications called 'Hikari TV Apps', we are offering more convenient smart TV services that perfectly fit the lifestyle of our customers."

Hiroaki Nishimoto, director & co-CTO, Sumitomo Electric Networks, said, "The new generation of our StreamCruiser SmartTV common STB platform middleware allows our customers to choose the SoC that is best suited for the strategic positioning and expected use-case of the STB, since our solution is independent of the architecture of the SoC while providing the APIs to allow Android, native Linux and HTML5 applications the secure access to the hardware engines and optimized usage of the multi-core."

NTT Plala delivers services ranging from broadband TV and internet to VoIP. It reported more than 5.52 million total subscribers as of the end of March, 2013.

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