ZiiLABS announces the SiVO 1080p digital home platform

CES 2010 Will be demoed at CES, might run Android

ZiiLABS HAS YET to get a single retail product based on its StemCell Computing Arrays or System on a Chip (SoC) that most other companies refer to them as. This doesn’t seem to have weakened the company’s resolve as the Creative Labs spinoff has announced a new platform for its 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 based ZMS-08 SoC. The SiVO digital home platform is set to offer 1080p video playback at “Blu-ray quality with bit-rates of up to 40Mbps”.

It’s important to remember that the SiVO is only a development platform, although it could in all honesty be directly implemented into a retail product. Beyond the ZMS-08 SoC the SiVO board also features 512MB of DDR2 memory, a boot ROM and an audio DAC. It connects to a TV via HDMI or composite video – the latter via a breakout cable that connects to a 3.5mm socket – and it also sports a pair of USB 2.0 ports, an SD card slot, a 3.5mm audio jack and an infrared sensor.

The ZMS-08 SoC is capable of decoding and playing back 1080p H.264 video, but it can also encode 720p video in H.264. There’s support for accelerated OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 graphics as well as Creative Labs X-Fi audio technology. There’s also broad format support for video, audio and still pictures. As with other ZMS-08 based products the SiVO board will either run ZiiLABS in-house Plaszma Linux OS or the much more popular Android OS from Google.

The big question is who, with the exception of Creative Labs that will be making products based on the SiVO platform. Crucially it’s missing any kind of web connectivity interface and unless there’s an option to easily add a USB WiFi dongle this is going to take extra R&D time and cost to implement. We can’t see anyone buying a device of this type today without some kind of interweb connectivity, especially as even the cheapest of devices that have been announced at CES so far offer it.S|A

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