XBMC for Linux port to DVICO TVIX (based on a Sigma Designs chipset)?
#1
Hi all
I just bought this awesome unit that can play anything that XBMC can plus all the HD stuff, you can view it here

http://www.tvix.co.kr/eng/products/PVRM41104130SH.aspx
Their GPL stuff is here http://www.tvix.co.kr/gpl

but this unit though awesome in their hardware it cant match XMBC quality in term of user interface and easy of use. XMBC is still king in this domain.

I was wondering if the developer of XMBC know about this device and willing to invest sometimes in porting XMBC to this device.

I'm willing to chip in and start a donation to get developer these units if they decided to have a look to see if XBMC can be port to this wonderful device.
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#2
Please see my comments here about the Dreambox/DBox2, the same thing applies to that DVICO TVIX (and basically any other "HD media player" that is also based on a Sigma Designs chipset).

Quote:No, XBMC for Linux will never be ported by Team-XBMC to run on Dreambox/DBox2.

Dreambox/DBox2 may be classified as "a computer running Linux" but it is not a x86 architecture computer, nor does it feature a OpenGL 2.0 (3D hardware acceleration graphic processor unit) which is the minimum requirements to make the XBMC GUI run smoothly. Also, like rodalpho stated, even is XBMC did require x86 and OpenGL 2.0, the 250Mhz CPU of a Dreambox/DBox2 is not powerfull enough to run the graphic intense XBMC GUI, ...because believe it or not but the XBMC is relativly graphic intense; just try to run XBMC on a 3Ghz (3000Mhz) x86 CPU without a OpenGL 2.0 GPU, you might get 2 or 3 frames-per-seconds displayed at best, that is because the OpenGL 2.0 GPU is used to draw the pictures from the XBMC GUI on the screen and that is graphic intense and thus requires a modern hardware graphic processor unit.

To sum up; the XBMC Linux port project clearly states that the goal was and still is to port XBMC to run on x86 CPU and OpenGL 2.0 GPU. ...now even if that would to change sometime in the future it would surely still be to a more powerfull platform than the original Xbox (which features a 733Mhz x86 CPU and a hardware 3D graphic processor unit).
XBMC needs a more powerfull CPU (for generic processing) and a more powerfull GPU to render the graphics of the XBMC GUI.
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#3
Gamester17 Wrote:Please see my comments here about the Dreambox/DBox2, the same thing applies to that DVICO TVIX (and basically any other "HD media player" that is also based on a Sigma Designs chipset).

XBMC needs a more powerfull CPU (for generic processing) and a more powerfull GPU to render the graphics of the XBMC GUI.

DOH :-( I was just hoping there is a slim chance, ah well.. Maybe have to
build a shuttle PC with Linux and XBMC :-)

Thanks for your great work on XMBC.. it's still the one for Media Players.
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#4
Gamester17 Wrote:XBMC needs a more powerfull CPU (for generic processing) and a more powerfull GPU to render the graphics of the XBMC GUI.

Why does the GUI need such a powefull GPU? It's very simple.. And, by the way, are you sure that the sigma chip doesn't contain any rendering / gpu / screen stuff?

-bmf
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#5
the ui is far from very simple, blending, 3d, +++ these things will kill even your desktop pc in software mode. try the sdl-2d build to get an idea. the sigma only got the usual basic osd features afaik, atleast thats all they used to have.
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#6
I'm just wondering, since we noticed a very powerfull CPU is needed to run 1080p x264/mkv's is needed i doubt this box will be able to run it. It claims 1080p MKV but as we have seen there are numbers of rips that have to high a bitrate. Even the newest C2D have trouble running them.

I'm planning on putting a e8400 in my case just to make sure, and when in the future it's more clear what CPU is needed i might downgrade and use the e8400 for my desktop or some.

Well i was just curious if it really does play 1080p perfectly without stutters, hickups or lags.

Btw what do these boxes run on? special chips or mobile cpu's?
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#7
they dont use a cpu for decoding, they run on specialized chips that does all the decoding - that's what sigma is all about... probably has some weak ARM based cpu to manage the other stuff (i havent looked into the details)
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#8
spiff Wrote:the ui is far from very simple, blending, 3d, +++ these things will kill even your desktop pc in software mode. try the sdl-2d build to get an idea. the sigma only got the usual basic osd features afaik, atleast thats all they used to have.

I really must disagree with you. The gui (at least for the versions I have seen) is not very advanced. It could anyway be stripped in order to
make it run on a slower box.

bmf
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#9
bmf_ Wrote:I really must disagree with you. The gui (at least for the versions I have seen) is not very advanced. It could anyway be stripped in order to
make it run on a slower box.

bmf

Somehow I'm thinking that one of the DEVELOPERS probably has a bit more in-depth knowledge as to what is going on with the GUI than a casual passer-by user....Rolleyes By all means go ahead and strip it down for your Sigma port, these guys are covering Linux.No
Openelec Gotham, MCE remote(s), Intel i3 NUC, DVDs fed from unRAID cataloged by DVD Profiler. HD-DVD encoded with Handbrake to x.264. Yamaha receiver(s)
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#10
bmf_ Wrote:I really must disagree with you. The gui (at least for the versions I have seen) is not very advanced. It could anyway be stripped in order to
make it run on a slower box.

bmf

That really made me laugh. I hope you aren't serious. Go try a different media center and see what a simple gui looks like.
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#11
bmf_ Wrote:I really must disagree with you. The gui (at least for the versions I have seen) is not very advanced. It could anyway be stripped in order to
make it run on a slower box.

bmf

If you are the same person in MPC club, I would say thank you for your efforts in cracking the Tivx's firmware.

Porting XBMC to sigma EM863x mips based platform will be a really long way to go if it did happen, before that I would really hope to see another player, like mplayer, vlc or ffmpeg other than the ugly main stuff closely designed by Sigma, would be able to utilise the full hardware acceleration.

EM863x is a really powerful chip, in terms of HD media playback, beats all the crap core2duo and nvidia chips.
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#12
have a look over in the skinning forum. still think the ui is simple? that's exactly the same code doing other things. the pm3 skin might be a bit simple but you're forgetting about the anims all the diffuse textures blending +++ used.

the sigma ui is simply a stiching of static images from the looks of it - big difference
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#13
I don't think any of the Sigma chip boxes support any kind of OpenGL acceleration, nor do they have any kind of hardware that supports 3D acceleration.

ie. the chip is only doing video decoding, and has no 3D hardware at all...

...in which case it won't support the current XBMC GUI at all, and never will.

Clearly, I don't know jack about video decoding, but I don't think that decoding h.264 and other MPEG-4 formats uses a 3D acclerator, right? In that case it would make sense that these STB thingies don't support any kind of 3D acceleration at all.

As far as I know, the Sigma Chip has a small, slow ARM processor built-in, and doesn't even need an external processor, so if the Sigma chip itself doesn't support 3D accel, then it ain't possible.

I [i]think/I] these chips do support an external processor, but I don't know if any manufacturer of STBs is using an external processor. I don't know if they support external 3D acceleration hardware/chips or not.

The Sigma EM8623L chip includes a 200 MHz ARM processor on-die, and supports only 2D graphics acceleration (even the new generation SMP863x chips only support 2D acceleration). They also support "OpenType acceleration" and "JPEG acceleration", whatever those are.

Basically, as it is, I don't think there is any 3D accel. hardware in these things at all.

For example, here are the hardware specs on Netgear's EVA-8000 "Digital Entertainer HD":

Processor - Sigma Designs EM8623L (non-MacroVision -Yay!!!- version of EM8622)
Flash Chip - Macronix MX 29LV640BTTC-90G (MX29 series flash)
Should be the 3rd one down in the 64Mb section (8 MB flash) section
HDMI Chip - Silicon Image VastLane SiI9030CTU
Ethernet: Realtek RTL8100CL chipset
Wireless: Some generic mPCI card (chipset is hidden beneath an EMI shield)
USB: Via Technologies VT6212L

The Sigma SMP863x series seems to have an integrated HDMI 1.2 layer and USB 2.0 controller, but the EM862x series used in most current boxes do not. They both have an integrated Ethernet controller, however, so I don't know why Netgear added the Realtek chip.

Anyway, I think the answer to the question is: No, it's not possible to port to any current Sigma architecture, unless team XBMC completely redesigns the GUI to use only 2D acceleration, has access to the Sigma SDK, and has access to Sigma's proprietary closed-source binaries for the video decoding.

And based on that, its not happening.

Can anyone poke any holes in my analysis?

Hope this helps.

-Wes
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#14
XBMC could draw its GUI using a DirectFB framebuffer. Newer chips also support OpenGL: http://www.sigmadesigns.com/products.php?id=121
I think that at least for the 8656 generation it wouldn't be a problem at all to run xbmc, given that we could get rid of the X dependency in favour of DirectFB.
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