Could you imagine running Ubuntu as a smart TV platform in your living room?
According to Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, there are a few developers who want to develop such a platform and have met in a chat to nail down some of the priorities of a Ubuntu-TV project.
There are no surprises in the first batch of ideas or initial mockups that may blow your socks off. Shuttleworth noted that it will have to be a 10-foot interface for watching media with remote control support, cloud and/or server storage, physical media playback, Ubuntu One accounts, installable image, easy configuration, integration with other Ubuntu devices, portable devices control, as well as media sharing and the option for media purchases.
It is very early in the process and thus difficult to judge what Ubuntu-TV may look like. There may be an opportunity for Ubuntu to deliver a unified TV platform, but we know that Google TV largely failed in its first version due to the lack of content and the rough edges of the software itself. Google may come back with a big swing that could correct the errors made with the initial product generations. There are also more rumors that Apple will be releasing a true integrated Apple TV early in 2012, which will focus on content as well as intuitive user control, which could make Ubuntu-TV look old from the start - at least if the software remains as it is currently described.
The biggest challenge may be to create a consumer electronics perception for Ubuntu Linux that can match the acceptance level of the mainstream CE buyer. From a platform perspective, the integration with other Ubuntu devices will be critical, but the low penetration of Ubuntu Linux devices in the overall market decreases the value of this feature significantly.