Ubuntu Smart TV, everything you must know!

TV is becoming smart and so is Canonical. Canonical has displayed the Ubuntu TV, prototype unit, at the ongoing mega event of Consumer Electronic Show the CES 2012 in Las Vegas. In the exhibition Canonical demonstrated an optimized version of its Ubuntu Linux OS that will be run on Smart TVs.


What is a Smart TV?

Ever since TV showed up first back in 1920, the technology behind the TV is evolving at an unmatched pace. We have seen TVs employing the cathode ray tubes, following the IR, black and white, colored, flat-screen, Plasma, LCD and LED. Last year was the year of the 3D TVs while they could not capture much attention, Smart TVs from the current era are gaining significant interest in audience! What is all the hype around the smart TVs? Let us investigate the exclusive functionilities of the smart TV to find the answer.

  • The Smart Tv Combines the web and the TV experience!
  • Think you could browse the internet with your remote on a much larger screen comfortably on your TV lounge couch. Possible with a smart TV!
  • Enjoy unlimited streaming; take advantage of millions of apps in webstores. Most of the smart TVs come with apps for streaming services such as NetFlix, Hulu,YouTube and Vimeo. And not only apps for video streaming but you will find apps form news and information from sources like ESPN, AccuWeather, and Yahoo.right on your smart TV!
  • Watch photos, recorded videos from your smartphones, home PC or tablets or any other DLNA device on your home network on your TV. Synchronize what you are watching over multiple devices! All possible with your Smart TV!
  • Make use of apps right from the webstore!
  • Connect to friends and family via social networking services like Facebook and twitter.Share what you are watching and find what is being watched!
  • Get intelligent suggestions for watching videos/shows !

Having said all that, you see you are already interested in getting a Smart TV  for yourself. MarketsandMarkets a research firm projects that the global market for smart televisions is expected to increase as much as US$265 billion by 2016, up from $64 million in 2011.

At the moment Smart TVs are mostly running on OS for mobile devices, nevertheless as Smart TVs are increasing in popularity softwares for Smart TVs specifically, are staging. Mostly we have seen the Apple TV running on iOS, released in 2010 and Google TV running on Android with Linux version of Google Chrome as the Browser.

Ubuntu TV

And now comes Ubuntu a Linux-based OS originally designed for desktop and laptop computers and servers. Ubuntu TV is actually first step in the Canonical’s long-term strategy to offer Ubuntu for a wide range of processor-embedded consumer devices, including automobiles, tablets and other household appliances. In this regard Canonical CEO Jane Silber said “[Ubuntu TV] is a first proof point on a broader device strategy…

Silber said “It’s an operating system and experience for your television,“. He further added “We’re focusing on making the TV intuitive and usable again, with a single, elegant interface.” The Ubuntu TV look like Ubuntu and fortunately or unfortunately has the widely disliked Unity interface.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the Smart TV definition given above. Ubuntu TV is still evolving, does not provide all the functionalities. Lets see what the Ubuntu TV has for you:

  •  Ubuntu TV would offers a searchable channel guide that you can watch from your cable connection or over the airwaves. Ubuntu TV can host applications,for example applications that offer pay-per-view content.
  • UbuntuTV will be able to show your own video, from the web or from your smartphone or PC or any networked computer.

So what the Ubuntu TV does not have so far?

  • Ubuntu Tv does not have a web browser yet!

Currently Canonical has expressed that it has no intention to built its TV hardware. And for now, the company is only looking forward to television manufacturers who they wish will adopt Ubuntu as a base for their own smart television sets. Canonical seeks to partner with television manufacturers and content providers for its TV.

Benefits of Ubuntu as a Smart TV OS for Manufacturers

Silber claims Canonical offers a lot of advantages to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). As  Canonical is leargely “neutral party” therefore it will not restrict its platform to any particular content offering services. This will inturn enable manufacturers to develop their own offerings and forge their own revenue-sharing partnerships. Silber elaborated “For manufacturers that post-sale service revenue is an important piece,“. As Ubuntu is an open platform, manufacturers will also be able to participate in the development process of OS along with the hardware giving them a chance to take the maximum benefit from the potential Of the OS.

Another advantage manufacturers will get with the Ubuntu OS at the bottom is the freedom to modify the OS to adjust it according to the hardware requirements such as for their own choices in CPU, memory, screen-size, storage space, input devices and various other factors.

Also,Ubuntu OS already has large user base, comprising of many developers who are actively involved in developing even at this very moment; this again will benefit the manufacturers of the Ubuntu TV.

Though Ubuntu is a relatively new player in this ecosystem, it has great potential for success as being opposed to walled garden approach. As Silber says ‘the ecosystem needs that neutral platform..And I think Ubuntu is the best fit there.”