This open source hardware lets you build 4K Android set-top box

Poplar open source Android set-top box board

Poplar open source Android set-top box board

UK-based Linaro has announced the specifications of open source board called Poplar. This new hardware can be easily  transformed into an Android set-top box and enables 4K video playback.

The Poplar development board is a creation of Huawei-owned HiSilicon. It emerges as the latest addition to the company’s existing 96Boards family and leverages the newest 64-bit ARMv8 platform to offer advanced codecs and graphics support.

“Providing the Poplar board is a key part of our strategy to enable all players in this ecosystem to quickly and easily develop and prototype new state of the art digital home solutions with our SoCs,” said Ji Wang, vice president of engineering at HiSilicon, an official statement.

The board supports up to H.265 HEVC decoding on 4K resolution with 60fps frame rate. Although there is pre-installed Android 5.1.1, developers are free to use any of their favourite Linux or Android version. Also, most of the standard audio and video interfaces are available on the hardware to deliver a decent multimedia experience.

Poplar TV board
Poplar runs on Android operating system

Similar to most of the existing Android TV offerings, Poplar comes with add-on support for IR-powered remote control, tuner card and SmartCard module. The specifications set by Linaro also have room for traditional linear services through terrestrial, cable and satellite.

The open source hardware provides secure processing capabilities to enable integration of commercial DRMs and downloadable conditional access (DCAS) solutions. Further, there is HDCP 2.2 copy protection support to protect 4K content.

Powered by a Hi3798C V200 chipset, the Poplar board has a quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU and Mali T720 GPU. It also comes with 8GB of onboard storage and 2GB of DDR3 RAM as well as connectivity options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, PCI-Express 2.0 and a 24-pin TV tuner connector. For enhanced development support, there is a 40-pin interface similar to Raspberry Pi to enable wired connection with peripherals and expansion boards. The hardware is available as a reference design for $79.99.


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