New Google TV devices to pack ARM-based chips, not Intel

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The next generation of Google TV devices will be powered by ARM-based processors, according to an announcement from chip manufacturer Marvell. The company’s ARMADA 1500 HD “Foresight” system-on-a-chip (SoC) is said to provide better performance, and consume less energy, than Intel’s x86-based C4100 Atom processor, which powered the Logitech’s original Google TV devices.

The ARMADA 1500 SoC packs a dual-core CPU clocked at 1.2GHz per core. In addition to solving some of the lag issues found in the first-gen Google TV devices, this enables Google TV to decode two high-definition signals simultaneously, which means picture-in-picture capabilities. Standard-definition to high-definition upscalling is also possible with Marvell’s SoC.

In addition, the Marvell chipset can also decode a wide variety of video formats, which is necessary for handling the diverse ecosystem provided by Google TV’s software, as well as 3D video, rich audio and TV-friendly Web content, the company says. With these capabilities, Google TV will be able to provide the kind of full-range connected TV functionality it has long promised, including access to apps like YouTube, Pandora, Skype, Netflix, and others.

Most importantly, the Marvell SoC is inexpensive, making it possible to incorporate Google TV into a wide range of televisions and set-top boxes, without making customers pay a premium for Google TV-enabled devices. Low-cost, combined with the Google TV v2.0 update (which is based on Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and is supposed to have fixed many of the software issues of the original version) may be enough to get buyers to bite.

The first set-top box will be unveiled at CES 2012, which is less than a week away, and we’ll be sure to get up close and personal with the device. Other Google TV-enabled televisions and boxes will be released throughout 2012.

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