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Ubuntu May Be Coming to a TV Near You

By - Source: Mark Shuttleworth | B 25 comments

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.

Discuss
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  • 0 Hide
    silver565 , November 30, 2011 2:56 AM
    I hope this takes off... Ubuntu has so much to offer when it comes to these things.
    I was hoping for a tablet first though(A big production)
  • 1 Hide
    zanny , November 30, 2011 2:56 AM
    Anyone ever of mythbuntu?
  • 4 Hide
    jryan388 , November 30, 2011 3:00 AM
    And who ever said linux's dreams of world domination were at an end?
  • 1 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , November 30, 2011 3:04 AM
    Unified.
    That's the key word, and is why nobody really can commit to Linux on the desktop world since you have 5 million different distributions.

    You see- if you can do that, plus make it do everything that other products don't and some of the stuff that you expect from an HPTC... you'd have a killer product on your hands.

    AppleTVs are cool and all, but they lack certain things. Things that an Apple user wouldn't miss but things that other people who buy these machines do.


    The next step would obviously be adding a Kinect-like camera to the system and speech recognition... but one thing at a time.
  • 0 Hide
    photonboy , November 30, 2011 4:09 AM
    Why not replace the traditional proprietary TV Video processor with a small computer (x86-APU, Tegra 3 or whatever) and have the computer ALSO handle Google TV etc. Don't want Google TV. No problem, overwrite it with another offering.

    Now that a small computer can be power friendly let's have the flexibility of a software approach.
  • 0 Hide
    tlmck , November 30, 2011 4:41 AM
    otacon72Linux will never ever be main stream because there are far too many distros. It would be like MS releasing 600 different versions on Windows. Not saying Linux is bad..it's not..but without consolidation it never get above it's .1% market share.


    Ever hear of Android? Besides, that argument is not relevant to this article as they are only talking about Ubuntu.

    I do see this as already being dead in the water however with Canonical dictating this and that. Mandatory Ubuntu One account? Not for me thanks.
  • 0 Hide
    tlmck , November 30, 2011 4:44 AM
    ZannyAnyone ever of mythbuntu?


    Yep and it is still way too primitive for most folks. Considering how long the project has been in existence, it should be much further along. The setup screens alone are downright pitiful.
  • 0 Hide
    jsmakkar , November 30, 2011 9:41 AM
    Sounds like a good news!!
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , November 30, 2011 10:00 AM
    otacon72Linux will never ever be main stream because there are far too many distros. It would be like MS releasing 600 different versions on Windows.

    Yes, where they all derive from a select handful and most of them are more or less the same with different artwork. Those hundreds of distributions are not developed in vacuums.
  • 0 Hide
    huron , November 30, 2011 11:15 AM
    I always root for Linux and do hope they are able to make inroads into various industries (outside of the server market).

    The major problem that most Linux distros continue to have is that most people are unfamiliar with it and every once in a while it requires you to edit a config file or do something from the terminal...the non-tech person just doesn't want to do that.
  • -4 Hide
    tical2399 , November 30, 2011 11:17 AM
    Oh great. Now I have to learn command line just to change my channel
  • 0 Hide
    mobrocket , November 30, 2011 12:00 PM
    XBMC - its ready for primetime... ubuntu should just intergate with that
  • 0 Hide
    jblack , November 30, 2011 12:24 PM
    ZannyAnyone ever of mythbuntu?


    Yah and last time I ran it, it was unstable as hell. Put Debian on the same box and loaded MythTV and it has been stable ever since.
  • 0 Hide
    aldaia , November 30, 2011 12:32 PM
    photonboyWhy not replace the traditional proprietary TV Video processor with a small computer (x86-APU, Tegra 3 or whatever) and have the computer ALSO handle Google TV etc. Don't want Google TV. No problem, overwrite it with another offering.Now that a small computer can be power friendly let's have the flexibility of a software approach.

    You would be surprised to know that probably your TV (i assume you have a digital flat panel TV) has probably more cores than you PC. As an example see the schematics of SoC's produced by ST-microelectrnics for 3D TV. http://www.st.com/internet/imag_video/product/250891.jsp & http://www.st.com/internet/com/TECHNICAL_RESOURCES/TECHNICAL_DIAGRAM/CIRCUIT_DIAGRAM/circuit_diagram_17804.pdf
    I can clearly identify up to 5 cores, 3 X ST231 (2 for audio and one for video decoding) and 2 X ST40 Notice that one has a "Linux" label in it, so I guess they anticipated Linux TV's long ago. In addition to the 5 identifiable cores, an ST researcher told me that some other functionalities in those schematics are actually implemented using many more "minor" cores. Is quite possible that the computing power we have in different gadgets at home is higher than the computing power in our PC's
  • 0 Hide
    monkeysweat , November 30, 2011 1:04 PM
    honestly, they could save themselves alot of work by joining up with XBMC,, from looking at the mockup, the only thing they'll really need to add is stuff like reading email

    and holy hell!!! did you see what they think they should have for a remote?

    i wonder if the help screen will be command line only?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 30, 2011 2:56 PM
    silver565: YES! i agree. if somebody makes a ubuntu tablet i will buy one in a heartbeat. i don't trust google/android. to many privacy issues.
  • -5 Hide
    captaincharisma , November 30, 2011 3:53 PM
    oh boy get ready for the days of pain with linux on a TV. i wonder how many hoops you will have to jump threw just to change the channel
  • 1 Hide
    SAL-e , November 30, 2011 6:40 PM
    News flash for all Linux haters... Linux is most likely already on your TV/Cable Box if this TV/Box has any network/App functionality.
  • 0 Hide
    captaincharisma , December 1, 2011 3:09 AM
    Quote:
    News flash for all Linux haters... Linux is most likely already on your TV/Cable Box if this TV/Box has any network/App functionality.


    so thats why my cable box is so slow lol :) 
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , December 1, 2011 4:40 AM
    A tablet and a smart TV are two contradicting products, if you think about it.
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