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Sigma looks to Android despite DVD and Mediaroom credentials

Californian set top and DVD chip maker Sigma Designs, has sneaked an Android implementation on a set top onto the market and already has its first des

By PETER WHITE

Published: 14 October, 2010

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Californian set top and DVD chip maker Sigma Designs, has sneaked an Android implementation on a set top onto the market and already has its first design win with Korean set top and multimedia storage company Dvico.

The issue here is that a company as well entrenched in both set tops and DVD player chips as Sigma, one of the two Microsoft Mediaroom chip suppliers, should feel there is any need to focus on Android. On the one hand various versions of Linux have long been a staple OS for set tops, but on the other, there now seems to be a need in the market to reduce all the slightly varied Linux offerings to one – Android. This in turn also means that Sigma can get some of the business that Google TV may throw off, when other companies begin to follow the lead of Sony (see separate story today).

Sigma has done the Android implementation on its 8656 Secure Media Processor and says it has now been built into a new Over the Top (OTT) media player by Dvico. Sigma confirmed to us that as of now this is its first design win with Android. The new Dvico device is called the TVIX Xroid A1.

“The market for Android-based products is about to explode as the operating system moves beyond mobile phones and into new markets with digital media adapters, hybrid set top boxes, and Blu-ray players. Our solution with Dvico is a prime example of how Sigma’s media processor line lets customers develop cutting edge products for growing Android markets,” said David Lynch, vice president and general manager, Media Processor Group at Sigma Designs.

“Dvico has taken our mature chipset and software, built a completely new product for a completely new marketplace out of it. This is no small task and it speaks volumes about the strength of our media processor line as well as Dvico’s development expertise.”

It will be interesting to see how long it is before Broadcom and ST Micro join the drift to Android and whether nor not the market will capitulate to the Google OS, lock stock and barrel.

Android TVIX is very similar to an existing Dvico TVIX, with the addition of native Web browsing and downloading of Android apps. It will offer open API that can be used for Android developer and a 3D user interface and multi-tasking.

The new chip has a MIPs CPU at its heart, which has recently made plenty of claims about being able to run Android faster than rival ARM designs. Sigma claims it offers higher 3D graphic capability than prior Sigma SMPs and now additionally supports Nagravision and NDS conditional access systems.

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