Marvell to power Google TV with ARMADA SoC

Google has officially ditched Intel’s x86 architecture for its rapidly evolving TV platform.

Instead, Mountain View will power next-gen iterations of its set-top boxes with Marvell’s RISC-based ARMADA 1500 HD Media System-on-a-Chip (SoC) – which is driven by an ARM v6/7-compatible PJ4B SMP super-scalar dual-core CPU.

According to Weili Dai, co-founder of Marvell, the chip is designed to enable PC-like processing power to support Web browsing with support for Flash, aided by more than 6000 Dhrystone MIPS of computing horsepower, FPU v3.0, 512KB of L2 cache and WMMX2.

The ARMADA 1500 also features Marvell’s Qdeo video processing for advanced HD and 3D video, including scaling, noise reduction, de-interlacing, low bit-rate internet video enhancement and FRC and color/contrast enhancement.

In addition, Marvell’s processor supports VMeta, a multi-format video decoder/encoder/transcoder capable of decoding up to two simultaneous 1080p streams as well as a host of other video formats and containers.

“Marvell and Google have teamed up to change home entertainment forever -transforming the TV into the command center for our connected lifestyle. [This will] create a dynamic, two-way experience featuring real-time global news, social network, entertainment and information,” said Dai.

“I believe this is a major breakthrough movement and it’s just the beginning of our bigger vision. The same forces that are revolutionizing today’s television experience will [also help] transform numerous applications for small businesses and large enterprises.”

Google TV has had a difficult history so far. It launched to much fanfare and less than stellar reviews in late 2010, with the software embedded into select Sony HDTVs and the Logitech Revue.

The biggest issue for Mountain View is trying to convince users that Google TV is more powerful than the existing Internet-connected TV platforms already built-in to the high-end lines from companies like Samsung and Panasonic. So far, it has been unable to do that – but adopting Marvell’s ARMADA SoC  definitely seems like a step in the right direction.