Embedded Linux: Ocean Blue chooses commercial Linux for Set Top Boxes

Ocean Blue, a UK software house developing software solutions for the digital home, Digital TV, mobile TV and Digital Video Broadcasting markets, has chosen Linux for advanced Set Top Boxes.

Bristol, England – 20 March 2007 – Ocean Blue Software, the specialist digital TV software developer, has released a Linux version of its Sunrise, Voyager, and SurfSoft software products, with ports to the leading hardware platforms complete or well under way. The company reports that Linux is emerging as the preferred platform for developers of set-top boxes, particularly at the high end, such as Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) and IPTV.

set top box chartset Top box Diagram by drazen

Ken Helps, Managing Director of Ocean Blue Software, commented:

The major chipset manufacturers are introducing new Linux platforms almost monthly, IT vendors that wish to produce products for the Digital Home and are used to working with Linux in the past, now have the option of using Linux based DVB and MHEG-5 Digital TV software products. The Linux operating system features in many of the new raft of IPTV Set Top Boxes, being powerful enough to support advanced functions but not requiring a license fee. All the industry reports indicate strong growth in this area and we are developing our software to support most platforms.

Today I asked Ken if they are using non-commercial Linux distros:

Chipset vendors such as NXP ( formerly Philips semi-conductors) and Toshiba Electronics usually adopt or develop a mature, robust version of Linux for the embedded set top box market sector. The Set top box (STB) market is different from the pc market as these digital TV set top boxes are generally closed boxes, with no floppy or CDROM drives, no USB connection and therefore no way to update the software inside the set top box. Hence the Linux and Digital TV middleware software inside these TV receiver devices has to be robust, tested to Digital TV software industry standards, fault tolerant if possible , compact and mature.

As far as I understand players like Montavista, providing commercial-grade Linux OS for embedded systems, are welcome in some niche markets, and Television and Home Entertainment is definitely one of them.

Technorati Tags: Commercial Open Source, Embedded Linux, Montavista, Ocean Blue