HbbTV on Android TV with Chromium
Showcasing HbbTV on Android TV with Chromium
Android TV allows TV manufacturers and operators to build state of the art devices with a huge selection of available applications. The Android TV environment provides the user a very good coverage of video-on-demand content, independent from the linear broadcast.
This video demonstrates Android TV with live TV and timeshift on BCM7271 reference board.
Android TV with InarisTvInputService on BCM7271
The InarisTvInputService is now also working on BCM7271 based hardware with Android N. The linear TV is received with the on-board DVB tuner or alternatively via OTT (e.g. using HLS). Of course the well-known features like Teletext, Subtitles and EPG are supported. Furthermore timeshift and Restart TV is available. See the video with a live demonstration.
This video demonstrates Android N with live TV on a BCM7252S SoC.
Inaris DVB/IPTV on Android N
We have now integrated our Inaris DVB/IPTV solution in Android TV for Android N. Beyond the classic DVB reception we see more and more services like Replay TV, Restart TV, netPVR provided via OTT. Therefore we combine our DVB/IPTV solution with OTT services using HLS or MPEG-DASH and integrate the access to custom specific back-end servers in our Android TV Input Service.
Inaris on Nvidia Shield TV enables Live TV
The custom designed Live TV application running on Amazon Fire TV is now ported to Nvidia Shield TV. It enables the playback of high quality linear TV by accessing a commercially available SAT>IP server.
Live TV on Amazon Fire TV using SAT>IP
As a successor of our Inaris SAT>IP app for Android TV we now also focus on Android AOSP devices. As a first target we chose the Amazon Fire TV, where Google GMS is not used and therefore it does not come with a suitable TV application. So we developed a custom designed Live TV application with a brand new user interface. Using existing SAT>IP server infrastructure in your home turns your Fire TV in a real Live TV app with high quality playback of free to air SD & HD channels regardless of your broadband connection speed.
HbbTV on Android TV
Android TV is finding its way into the European TV market and Android is furthermore well established on consumers’ side. Whereas HbbTV is a standard for all TV devices, it’s a logical step to combine these two technologies. All components of our Inaris Middleware as well as the components of our HbbTV Solution are based on a Hardware Abstraction Layer. This enables us to port our HbbTV Solution also on Android TV. This includes our already available HbbTV 1.5 solution as well as the new HbbTV 2.0 components that will be available by end of this year.
Beyond broadcast-related applications, HbbTV can also be used as a general application development platform. The current activity to extend HbbTV to be used for operator specific applications even strengthens this usage. We will support HbbTV with these extensions on Android TV as a general application development platform based on standardised APIs, standalone or in combination with Android TV Input Framework.
TIF Extension for DVB Scanning Feature
Currently the Android TV Input Framework (TIF) does not support a dedicated API for DVB channel scanning. In cooperation with the major European network operator, we extended TIF to support DVB scanning. The proposed API fulfils all Android design rules used for other TIF APIs. We implemented a prototype for testing this new feature on a Broadcom 7252S platform. With this extension we created an Android application that uses this new Java based API to realise a DVB channel scan.
TARA Systems launches Inaris SAT>IP app for Google Nexus Player
TARA Systems launches "Inaris SAT>IP" app for Google Nexus player in the Google Play Store. With the "Inaris SAT>IP" app, make your Nexus Player a SAT>IP Client. This allows to receive Live Free-To-Air channels via satellite on your Nexus Player as well as via T-Entertain. This is currently available for download as a free beta version from the Google Play Store.
The Inaris SAT>IP app demonstrates some of the expertise and software components that we have been developing through our SAT>IP and Android activities over the past six months.
Inaris and Android AOSP on Marvell BG4-CT Reference Board
The Inaris DVB Service now runs on the Marvell ARMADA 1500 Ultra /88DE3218 (BG4-CT) reference board as a SAT>IP client on top of Android AOSP. However any DVB tuner can be used as a source too. Of course it also can be integrated together with Google Android TV on this platform.
Inaris on Amazon Fire TV, powered by Android 4.4 AOSP
Inaris DVB/IPTV Middleware now runs on the Amazon Fire TV (and TV Stick) which is powered by Android 4.4 AOSP. Based on this we implemented an own native TV app which allows to use the Amazon Fire TV or the Stick to watch FTA Satellite TV over a SAT>IP Server.
For this app we use the same Inaris DVB service which we already use in context of Android TV. In contrast we have written our own TV application frontend which directly uses the Inaris DVB service. This demonstrates different usage scenarios for the Inaris DVB service on Android / Android TV.
Inaris TV Middleware Live TV Application running on Android 4.4 AOSP (Amazon Fire TV)
Teletext on Android TV
In addition to video and subtitles, a number of other services are available for DVB broadcast TV that shouldn't be overlooked here. As an introduction to the connection of additional services, we have chosen the good old Teletext, which could be found in every TV in Europe during its popularity.
The TV Input Framework (TIF) provides a very pragmatic approach for the integration of additional services with Android TV: Each TV Input Service, in other words any data source from TV services, is responsible for the selection, control, and display of additional services. It can also produce an overlay to video, where it presents that supplementary service. The data source receives the key events from the TV app in order to respond to user input. However, the latter is only permitted to services with system permissions, in other words only services that are pre-installed by the system manufacturer.
The TV Input Service is a fixed term in the TIF (TV INPUT FRAMEWORK) from Google, and each represents a data source. For example, one TV Input Service can provide T-Home, another DVB-C, as well as any other live IPTV service.
Since we consider the interplay of TV on mobile devices to be very important, we pursue both the stand-alone products and the use of Inaris DVB service in client-server based systems.
In order to find a generic approach for the integration of an additional service such as Teletext for all of these application areas, we relied on proven web technologies.
For the implementation we used our Teletext Decoder as REST service, which returns the rendered Teletext pages in PNG format. Using Android TV the Image View in the video overlay, which displays this PNG, is created from the TV Input Service. The same technique can also be applied by any other app, and even from remote client apps and browser applications.
The Teletext REST service has already been implemented for the Nexus Player and other STBs with Android TV. Teletext, which requires at least 500 ms display updates to run even with the use of web technologies, demonstrates sufficient performance on today's Android systems.
In the following we will now explore whether this approach is also suitable for other services, such as HbbTV.
Teletext running on Android TV
Inaris runs on Android TV
Since we have been engaged for years with Inaris in relation to Android, in the context of various studies and POCS (such as Inaris in a SAT> IP app on the Android Tablet), we were able to implement Inaris on multiple Android platforms (including the Google Nexus Player) with Android TV as a system service that is utilised by an Inaris TV Input Service. It is accessed directly from the TV app.
Apart from Android TV, this Inaris system service can also be used on AOSP (Android Open Source Package) without using TIF (TV Input Framework).
Inaris Middleware running on Nexus Player
Why are we focusing on this subject?
After Google presented its new Android 5.0 with Android TV at the I/O Conference in August 2014, many TV system providers and operators showed interest in profiting from the advantages of a standardised operating system with corresponding functionality (such as Google Playstore and Live Cycle Management).
Android TV does not offer, as one might expect, live TV functionality with DVB tuning, channel scan, zapping, transport stream decoding, etc. Android TV is merely a framework made available to provide the user with live video services within a TV app. What is missing is a corresponding DVB middleware. The Inaris DVB Service is the missing link.