Allwinner A10 : Is XBMC ported to MALI-400MP ?

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slicemaster Offline
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Post: #31
(2012-05-01 19:04)bornagainpengui Wrote:  
(2012-04-30 09:27)welshblob Wrote:  Given that these boxes are being manufactured already and new ones based on this chip seem to be released weekly then is there a need for a kickstarter project?

Because it's not about the hardware, it's about some sort of standardization and reference design. Think Boxee Box without the lock-in, then add Android games.

Right now everyone just kind of builds something or starts with an old pc sitting in the corner and installs XBMC. It works. It works better than any of us have any right to expect it to work, a testament to the ability of the developers here--but it never works 100% of the time due to strange hardware quirks and differences in configuration.

My thinking (as an enduser, not a programmer) is that if one set of hardware was chosen, then it could be targeted towards much more easily because the developers would have a common platform on which to work. Instead of trying to build something and hoping it will be "good enough" or buying a customer device like the AppleTV and hoping it can be hacked to doing what we want this would allow people to buy a finished box and plug it in. This would be a better deal for both group, those who want to tinker and those who want it to just work.

Like I said, I'm not a programmer so I'm probably missing all sorts of reasons why this is impractical and not likely to work. To me though this kind of thing just makes sense and I really don't understand why nothing like it hasn't happened already. I understand the reasoning behind not wanting to make a XBMC Wii, or an XBMC 360, or PS3 edition because there is no way to prevent the host company from wiping out your efforts with a firmware update. I've never understood why the XBMC team never sat down, talked amongst themselves and said "Hardware XYZ is what we will target and support with OS ABC and the amount of RAM 123, etc etc. XBMC may work on other hardware but this is what we recommend."

--bornagainpenguin

While the idea of a standardized hardware platform for XBMC is appealing, it's just is not practical while working with in the XBMC construct. The primary reason for that is because it is slightly in conflict to one of the core goals of XBMC. XBMC was/is designed to provide the best cross platform media center that exists, and to that end, there is no doubt in my mind that our talented developers have done it. Additionally, much of the base functionality (UI, database functions, etc, ect.) have already been or are in the process of being coded such that they preform equally well on all platforms (ex: compatibility with both GL and GL-ES). Really, if you get right down to it, XBMC functions very similarly on all platforms.

The most prominent difference that people notice (and often make a fuss over) is of course with how XBMC decodes video files. On systems that don't support anything fancy decoding is all done in software on the CPU. However, if your system has supported hardware, the decoding process can be offloaded onto that hardware (for example your GPU or hardware decoder card). The XBMC team is/has-been hard at work improving support for various hardware decoders as API's become available (VDPAU, VAAPI, DxVA, Crystal HD, etc.). A good example of this is with the Raspberry Pi and its support for hardware H.264 and MPEG4 decoding(The API Broadcom has made accessible to Pi users grant access to that specific hardware decoding functionality). The beauty of this type of modular design is that it becomes "relativity simple" to add support for additional hardware decoding features as the access to the hardware features become available through the manufactures API.

With that said, It would seem at-least in my mind that the A10 looks to be an extremely promising as others have noted, as it would appear - there is both an android and linux API available giving full access to the hardware decoding features supported by the SoC.

Cheers,
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-02 00:32 by slicemaster.)
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welshblob Offline
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Post: #32
(2012-05-01 19:04)bornagainpengui Wrote:  
(2012-04-30 09:27)welshblob Wrote:  Given that these boxes are being manufactured already and new ones based on this chip seem to be released weekly then is there a need for a kickstarter project?

Because it's not about the hardware, it's about some sort of standardization and reference design. Think Boxee Box without the lock-in, then add Android games.

Disclaimer : I have limited knowledge on the subject of the devices being manufactured based on the all winner a10 chip.

Surely the reference design bit is primarily that all these devices are based on the all winner a10 chip and therefore the bulk of the work of porting etc is mostly taken care of once the first device is done? Granted that devices might have different periphery chips that might need drivers etc but the majority of the work would be complete. Also how far are these device manufacturers going to go from the reference designs by the chip designer?

Lots of assumptions in the above.

Rob
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #33
If desired, we can have a little "note pad" like page on the wiki for all these Allwinner A10 devices, so you guys can easily list and make notes about all of this.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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j1nx Offline
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Post: #34
(2012-05-03 04:15)Ned Scott Wrote:  If desired, we can have a little "note pad" like page on the wiki for all these Allwinner A10 devices, so you guys can easily list and make notes about all of this.

Cool, it is about time I get involved in the wiki. I am not a real coder, so the only thing I can really give back is hacking, cracking and documentation
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #35
I threw together a very basic page with some links, but feel free to change anything and everything. We can use one page for everything, or make new pages or even sub-pages (by making a / slash in the page title) for additional pages/hardware/how-tos/whatever.

Allwinner A10

Basic editing help can be found at Help:Main page. Feel free to ask me any questions if you need any help in editing/adding/whatever to the wiki.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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madmalkav Offline
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Post: #36
Main problems IMO right now are that allwinner have to A) release the 3.0.8 kernel sources so we can get the Mali to work on the GL acceleration, and b) get Allwinner to clarify the license of the video decoder to see if it is compatible with XBMC license.
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gimli Offline
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Post: #37
(2012-05-06 00:45)madmalkav Wrote:  Main problems IMO right now are that allwinner have to A) release the 3.0.8 kernel sources so we can get the Mali to work on the GL acceleration, and b) get Allwinner to clarify the license of the video decoder to see if it is compatible with XBMC license.

Or better. Get Allwinner to relase their linux SDK. Thats the most anying part. They have a linux SDK which is for sure also using GPL code, but no sign of releasing it.
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j1nx Offline
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Post: #38
(2012-05-06 00:45)madmalkav Wrote:  Main problems IMO right now are that allwinner have to A) release the 3.0.8 kernel sources so we can get the Mali to work on the GL acceleration, and b) get Allwinner to clarify the license of the video decoder to see if it is compatible with XBMC license.

(2012-05-06 20:02)gimli Wrote:  Or better. Get Allwinner to relase their linux SDK. Thats the most anying part. They have a linux SDK which is for sure also using GPL code, but no sign of releasing it.

Allwinner said they are going to release the 3.0.8 kernel sources which they are using by the and of April. We are already in May. Hopefully it will be soon now. Tom Cubie an Allwinner employee is checking.

The video decoder itself is not yet really released, only some example code of how to use it. There is no license specified and after asking they said it is license less, do whatever you want with it. Unfortunetaly it does not work that way. Tom Cubie is again contacting the lawyers of Allwinner to release it under a free to use license so it can be included into other open source projects like XBMC.

And Allwinner already released their full SDK, based on their 2.6.36 kernel and 2.3.4 android version including uboot and partition tools etc. It just has to be "extended" with the last 3.0.8 kernel work they recently have done for their ICS work.

You can download the SDK with most ingo from a earlier post on cnx-software (starting to love that website);
http://www.cnx-software.com/2011/12/28/a...d-and-sdk/
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RockerC Offline
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Post: #39
Good to know and maybe document in the wiki is that the Allwinner A10 based devices are also seem to be sold with this SoC re-branded as "Boxchip A10" and "SoChip A10" Tongue

http://www.slatedroid.com/topic/31293-al...hould-buy/

So even though the manufacturers of these set-top boxes, media player, and computers call the chip something else it all still look to be the A10 SoC made by Allwinner Technology Co., Ltd.

http://www.arm.com/about/newsroom/allwin...ndroid.php
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-07 13:56 by RockerC.)
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kojo Offline
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Post: #40
Perhaps this link can be interesting
http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/
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j1nx Offline
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Post: #41
To keep you all a bit updated;

Another box is on the market based on the same Allwinner configuration. We must admit, they are getting sexier by the day.
http://detail.china.alibaba.com/buyer/of...91800.html

Secondly. QWare a Dutch reseller overhere sells the Allwinner tablet in "Intertoys" and "Kruidvat" shops.
They have released the sources of both android 4.0.3 as well the kernel 3.0.8.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost...tcount=121
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madmalkav Offline
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Post: #42
Kernel 3.0.8 has been released. http://qware.nl/_resources/downloads/lichee4.03.tar.bz2
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Vaevictus2 Offline
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Post: #43
Im subscribed to the ARM-NETBOOK Rhombus mailing list, they mostly talk of the Mele A1000 / A2000

it has been suggested that the Mali GPU does not perform the actual video decoding and there is a separate Video Processing Unit on the device's board.

I wonder how this will change the outlook for getting XBMC on this family of devices.........
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jompan87 Offline
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Post: #44
Thread subscribed Wink

I hope there will be support for this in the future, I'd love to get my hands on one of these if they'd be running XBMC
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slicemaster Offline
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Post: #45
(2012-05-13 10:21)Vaevictus2 Wrote:  Im subscribed to the ARM-NETBOOK Rhombus mailing list, they mostly talk of the Mele A1000 / A2000

it has been suggested that the Mali GPU does not perform the actual video decoding and there is a separate Video Processing Unit on the device's board.

I wonder how this will change the outlook for getting XBMC on this family of devices.........
won't change the outlook anymore than the outlook for any other arm device that's being worked on...pandaboard, raspberry pi, beagleboard, etc...they all have their own way of doing the video decoding... why would it be any different for the A10?
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