XBMC Port From Sigma

Posted By: Team XBMC on Jan 05, 2011 in Site News

Today Sigma Designs announced(pdf) that they are working to bring XBMC to their popular line of system-on-a-chip models (their new SMP8656 in particular). For those not familiar with Sigma, they are a major player in the set-top box market and their SOCs are the heart of many products from Popcorn Hour and WDTV, as well as countless other consumer media devices

We believe this could lead to many interesting things for XBMC. Not only do we benefit from the source code from their port, but any company interested in developing hardware for XBMC now has another fine choice. Judging by the amount of times we’ve heard the question “does XBMC work on Sigma hardware?”, there is a great amount of interest.

A few of the XBMC developers, myself included, will be checking out their initial port first-hand at CES this week, as well as meeting with some of their developers and project managers. We will keep you updated as details emerge.

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Discussion - 59 Comments

  • Jellofart Jan 05, 2011 

    That is awesome! I love xbmc! Does this mean companies like netflix might be more open to extending their service to xbmc given that more “controllable” hardware could be around the corner?

  • Watzen Jan 05, 2011 

    Talk about dropping a bomb! :)

  • .:B:. Jan 05, 2011 

    Congratulations guys, I really hope that means they’ll jump the sponsorship bandwagon as well ;-) .

    And let’s hope Realtek understands the message and gets to work on getting Xbmc to work on their SoCs as well :-) .

  • Jeroen Jan 05, 2011 

    Keep a close eye on Sigma though. They have a less than stellar record when it comes to dealing with Open Source (e.g. not adhering to the GPL).

    Having said that, they do make cool stuff. I’ve owned both a RealMagic Hollywood+ and XCard made by them, and loved both of them.

  • Johnny Jan 05, 2011 

    Sigma Designs new SMP8670 and SMP8910 Secure Media Processors is capable of “Hardware Accelerated Open GL ES 3D” and that is how those specific SoC can support XBMC, right?

    I doubt that Sigma Designs have also ported XBMC to their older non-OpenGL capable chips, or have they?

    There was however a post last year from ejp on networkedmediatank.com forum saying he done just that.

  • theuni Jan 05, 2011 

    @Jeroen
    The fact that they have reached out to us directly tells me that they plan to work with us rather than against us. Everyone we’ve dealt with at Sigma so far has been considerate and open-source friendly.

    At the same time, we are well aware of what could go wrong and we will keep a close eye on things.

  • zag2me Jan 05, 2011 

    We had a bad experience with Sigma in the old days of KISS divx players.

    I hope they have improved since then with their GPL policies and development ideas.

    Back then they simply ignored it and were impossible to talk to.

  • Dan Jan 05, 2011 

    Great news.

  • defiler Jan 05, 2011 

    Interesting. Very, very interesting. Of course the prospect of a fully-packaged XBMC set-top-box has rather less charm than some teeny computer that’s been beaten into shape. And I can’t maintain my elitist snobbishness if any old chump chan have an XBMC… ;)

  • Eppo2001 Jan 05, 2011 

    GREAT NEWS!

  • abom Jan 05, 2011 

    Good news!

  • ST Jan 05, 2011 

    Next lie from Sigma Design. SMP8670 is not capable handling any OpenGL graphics or 3D graphics. Its play only 3D video.

  • Cuba Foreign Investments Jan 05, 2011 

    In FLISOL 2010 Havana, one person asked me about a XBMC port for a HDD player, perhaps now we will have a solution, let’s see. Great news!

  • Ed Jan 05, 2011 

    Sounds good news, my only concern is that XBMC doesnt end up “having” to support something (I’m thinking the likes of Cinavia in order to be used. I understand that the code would probably fork at that point if so but it still would be bad news for those of us who store their (legitimate) collections on a NAS.

  • Richard Ayotte Jan 05, 2011 

    I’m still disappointed that I can’t run XBMC on my D-Link Boxee Box so this announcement is very encouraging.

  • bob Jan 05, 2011 

    Great news guys, congrats. I went over to cnet to check and see if they had any info regarding the sponsorship along with CES news and found that you can grab xbmc from cnet itself, just thought I would pass that along. Again great work keep it up.

  • Dan-Pingu Jan 05, 2011 

    Wow, this is great news :)
    So just to clarify, is this supposed to only work on SMP6870 and up or will is it intended to work on older chips in the future? Like i.e SMP8635 (Popcorn Hour A-110++).

  • Scott Zsori Jan 05, 2011 

    @Dan-Pingu
    So far it only looks like this new chip will support it (based on their press release), but you never know. I’d love to be able to run XBMC on my Dune Prime 3.0 as well (SMP8642).

  • Patrik Jan 05, 2011 

    Are the new media processors from Sigma Designs ARM or MIPS based?

    IIRC their previous processors, like in PopcornHour are all MIPS based?

    If so, does this mean that XBMC could run on all other MIPS CPU now?

  • Rob Spectre Jan 05, 2011 

    Oh wow – this is rad.

    I’m an engineer at Boxee and a long time XBMC fan – would love to check this out and meet up with you guys during CES.

  • theuni Jan 05, 2011 

    @Rob Spectre
    That would be great. I’ll mail you in a bit.

  • tom Jan 05, 2011 

    if it wasn’t already painfully obvious. XBMC is by far the best media app out there. Props for all the hard work team, congrats!

  • Misel Gosic Jan 05, 2011 

    Great news! Sigma is the leader in STB’s, but the software on these STB’s was far from good, and for sure a galaxy away from XBMC. So I think this coop could produce a good STB with a fantastic user interface.

  • adsoto Jan 05, 2011 

    Awesome, this might mean that my next replacement is a Popcorn Hour device instead of a full fledged HTPC. Running XBMC in my home room is now the biggest priority

  • Pete Jan 05, 2011 

    This is great news as I can see some good cheap xbmc hardware. Although I would appreciate the XBMC teams thoughts on where this leaves things in terms of upgradeability. Will we be able to update XBMC on SOC hardware or will it be at Sigmas whim?

  • Slice Jan 05, 2011 

    It’s a real pity that other big semiconductor firms don’t jump on the same band wagon. Firms like TI and Marvell should be jumping all over this too, especially because all they’d have to do is implement support for their video decoding engines because the ARM port is more or less running universally across the various arm testbeds the devs here are using. I’m surprised that they ported it to run on mips, that means they did all the work themselves because as far as i am aware, no one here in the community has been working on a mips port…but as it has been said, the more hardware that supports XBMC, the better.

  • waldo22 Jan 06, 2011 

    This is HUGE news for XBMC. I’m really excited about this, guys! The future keeps looking brighter.

  • Constructacon Jan 06, 2011 

    This is awesome news. I’ve been talking up xbmc for years. Now it’s proven as “legimate” media software with this interest. I’ll be showing this story to all my friends.

  • Kleth Jan 06, 2011 

    NMT or Tvix with XBMC – That would be something to look forward to :)
    XBMC has a so much better UI than the ones on my PCHs and Tvix.

  • Johnny Jan 06, 2011 

    Slice :Firms like TI and Marvell should be jumping all over this too, especially because all they’d have to do is implement support for their video decoding engines because the ARM port is more or less running universally across the various arm testbeds the devs here are using.

    XBMC own ARM port already runs on Texas Instruments OMAP 3 and OMAP 4, plus on Nvidia’s Tegra 2 SoC.

    I think those uses the OpenMAX API for hardware video decoding, so Sigma and others can do the same.

    But yeah, it would be very cool if Broadcom, Realtek, and more makers of SoC now jump onboard XBMC.

    Then it is also up to the manfacturers of the actual media players to choose to utilize XBMC or not.

  • Slice Jan 06, 2011 

    Johnny :

    Slice :Firms like TI and Marvell should be jumping all over this too, especially because all they’d have to do is implement support for their video decoding engines because the ARM port is more or less running universally across the various arm testbeds the devs here are using.

    XBMC own ARM port already runs on Texas Instruments OMAP 3 and OMAP 4, plus on Nvidia’s Tegra 2 SoC.
    I think those uses the OpenMAX API for hardware video decoding, so Sigma and others can do the same.
    But yeah, it would be very cool if Broadcom, Realtek, and more makers of SoC now jump onboard XBMC.
    Then it is also up to the manfacturers of the actual media players to choose to utilize XBMC or not.

    that’s the thing…The ARM port is more or less ready for prime-time in a lot of ways in that the core runs well and GL ES has been fully implemented as i understand it. the issue comes in with the video decoding as you mentioned….I don’t think the work on Open MAX is anywere near ready…as i understand it none of the ARM platforms that are affordable can run HD video because hardware decoding is NOT supported yet. that said, if would be nice if TI and Marvell made available the power of their hardware video decoding engines to XBMC. with all that said, i think the only way to get access to the code for HD video decoding on both Marvell and TI hardware is if you buy their IDE and that can be a bit pricy and i doubt they’d allow you to copy and make public the code to implement said video decoding features in an opensource project…

  • topfs2 Jan 06, 2011 

    @Johnny
    We have worked with broadcom already to produce support for the CrystalHD decoder (mad props to davilla). TI is helping XBMC though both beagleboard and pandaboard communities

  • Josh G. Jan 06, 2011 

    There’s one thing I’m curious about with regard to Sigma chipsets. I know some Sigma-based media streamers, such as the Dune HD 3.0 (Sigma 8642-based) support Blu-Ray with full menus. Sigma’s website lists this chipset as a “Turn-key solution for a mainstream Blu-ray player.” Does this mean it would be possible to write a front end that plays Blu-Ray with menus using a simple API without having to know the nitty-gritty details of how exactly the menus are read and displayed? This is one area where existing open solutions have really not kept up.

  • IVO PRAZERES Jan 06, 2011 

    HELLO I AM Ivo PRAZERES OF PORTUGAL (LISBON) AND IS THE FIRST TIME THAT I’M USING YOUR PROGRAM.
    I HAVE HEARD TALK AND ALREADY HAD SEEN SOME PICTURES AND COMMENTS ABOUT XBMC.
    INSTALLED ON MY LAPTOP AND LOVED VERY INTUITIVE QUICK AND EASY TO USE.
    I’M WRITING THIS COMMENT BECAUSE YOU DESERVE THE CONGRATULATIONS FOR YOUR GREAT WORK.
    CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR KNOWLEDGE WITH ALL OF U.S..
    HUG AND CONTINUE WITH YOUR GOOD WORK!

    PS: HAD TO GO TO GOOGLE TRANSLATOR TO PASS THE TEXT OF PORTUGUESE TO ENGLISH. I CAN READ ENGLISH WELL. BUT IT’S HARD TO WRITE.

  • Rob Jan 07, 2011 

    @Tom #23 XBMC the best media Software ? It might be excellent but Plex blows it away.

  • Johnny Jan 07, 2011 

    topfs2 :@Johnny We have worked with broadcom already to produce support for the CrystalHD decoder

    I meant it would be cool to have XBMC running on some Broadcom’s MIPS media processor SoCs too.

    Broadcom also have several SoC that with integrated OpenGL ES 3D GPU, like their new BCM742x series.

    Are you working with Broadcom to bring XBMC to BCM7424, BCM74245, BCM2727, BCM7354 and such?

  • kevcampbell Jan 07, 2011 

    hope this will not mean it will become a pay for application eventually, happy for you all though, you deserve the best

  • topfs2 Jan 07, 2011 

    @kevcampbell
    XBMC is and will remain free

  • akabob Jan 08, 2011 

    Awesome ! Does this mean that current C200/A200 could run XBMC in a couple of months ?

  • Hannes The Hun Jan 08, 2011 

    no akabob, only the new players based on the newest sigma chips will feature XBMC, and also not all of them. the sigma chips in the popcorn hour devices are just missing essential features and the GUI/OS is from syabas.

  • Johnny Jan 09, 2011 

    Will the XBMC team developers be getting any free Sigma Designs development kits too work on this too?

    akabob :Awesome ! Does this mean that current C200/A200 could run XBMC in a couple of months ?

    Not worked on by Sigma Designs I guess, this port seems only for their new chips and thus for future boxes.

    You probably have to find someone else to port XBMC to older Sigma Designs chips for existing boxes.

    Last year ejp posted on networkedmediatank.com forum saying he done it but then he never released it.

  • iSileneD_ Jan 09, 2011 

    Sorry if this Question doesnt make any sense, but i only want to be sure.
    I want to buy a system to watch all my series on my TV so system should run XBMC because of the possibility to download information for each episode. But I read its only possible to run XBMC on a PC or a Apple TV (only the old generation) so I want to buy a Media Player like WDTV Live but there it isnt possible to download this Information for every episode (isnt it?)
    So can it Soon be possible to run XBMC on a Media Player like the WDTV?
    Should I wait to buy sth.
    And my other question: I heard its possible to install XBMC on a acer revo but i cant find one which only cost 200$

    Sorry for my english but please help me

  • CrashX Jan 10, 2011 

    This is excellent news. Anything more news regarding initial port at CES ?

  • topfs2 Jan 10, 2011 

    @iSileneD_
    NO! This means that XBMC will be able to run on recennt sigma based hardware. i.e. this means that if the device creator wants xbmc on the device they can choose so, so western digital could choose to use xbmc. Its not your choice on the device most of the time but rather you need to choose the device which runs xbmc, this is how you also can support this endevour by _choosing_ a device which HAS xbmc on it!

  • iSileneD_ Jan 10, 2011 

    So i am waiting now until a Media Player with xbmc will released?@topfs2

  • CrashX Jan 10, 2011 

    @topfs2

    So we still have to depend on manufacture to decide to put xbmc on it ? Can they limit the xbmc experience by disabling features ?

  • Andrew Jones Jan 10, 2011 

    @CrashX

    Potentially, yes they can disable things such as codec support. Licensing around a lot of the codecs supported in XBMC (FFMPEG) is very complicated. But in reality most people use very few codecs and fortunately these are easily licences – such as H.264.

  • topfs2 Jan 10, 2011 

    @iSileneD_
    Yes, or a media player which is unlocked. The SDK needs to be available to the public also.
    @CrashX
    They can, they do need to adhere to GPL and have the code available though. Its much like Android.

  • topfs2 Jan 10, 2011 

    @topfs2
    Ugh, I meant like with Android devices and the kernel. The actual Android source code is under Apache which does not force the manufacture to show the altered code.

  • isilenced_ Jan 10, 2011 

    @topfs2
    and what do you think when such a media player will been released.
    And my other Question is there now a possibility to run XBMC at something like a HTPC or a MediaPlayer with the complete Costs of 200€ (dont need 720p or 1080p) or should i wait now.

  • iSileneD_ Jan 10, 2011 

    And when they want to release this kind of devices and which prize?
    In a few
    Month or mabye longer than a year

  • Sean Keeney Jan 10, 2011 

    Pardon the silly question – but what do Sigma mean by ‘supported’?

    Have they ported XBMC to their chipset? Does it support the skins, plugins etc? Or does it just do accelerated video with a single XBMC frontend?

    Inquiring minds need to know :)

    Thanks for the work by the way, XBMC Dharma is finally girlfriend friendly – this is a first for any of my geek adventures :D

    Ta,

    Sean

  • Deosneos Jan 11, 2011 

    @Rob
    Plex basically is Xbmc.

  • smett Jan 11, 2011 

    Any information how far in the future we could expect a sigma player running xbmc? a few month? a year? cant wait to see that happen.

  • Jarrod Jan 14, 2011 

    All I want is a WDTV with XBMC. Fingers crossed it becomes a reality.

  • Jed Jan 16, 2011 

    awesome news, can’t come soon enough!

  • Anonymous Jan 16, 2011 

    isilenced_ :
    @topfs2
    and what do you think when such a media player will been released.
    And my other Question is there now a possibility to run XBMC at something like a HTPC or a MediaPlayer with the complete Costs of 200€ (dont need 720p or 1080p) or should i wait now.

    AMD Athlon Barton 2500+, 1 gb ddr1 ram, 2 x hdd (80 + 160), Nvidia 7300 gt, XBMC runing as standalone in the Linux Mint 10, Logitech Ultra X Remote working like a charm out-of-the-box, 720p perfect.@isilenced_

  • Joe WIlson Jan 16, 2011 

    what about codecs etc.. they get outdated and new versions need to be added to a system.
    One of the reasons I don’t use my divx dvd player anymore is it stopped at version 5.
    and paying additional on all the codec patients? what about the name XBMC is it becomes
    really popular wouldn’t microsoft take a serious notice and question its name like it did
    with lindows?

About XBMC

XBMC is a free and open source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium. XBMC is available for multiple operating-systems and hardware platforms, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.