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09 January 2012, 15:32

Canonical unveils Ubuntu TV at CES

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Zoom Ubuntu TV features a Unity-inspired user interface
Source: Canonical
At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Canonical has unveiled Ubuntu TV, its operating system designed for OEMs and ODMs to use in televisions. The company says that the Ubuntu Linux derivative is intended to be "a turn-key OS for the next generation of connected televisions", combining "the benefits of many devices into one, for a simpler, more integrated entertainment experience".

Ubuntu TV features a Unity-inspired user interface that aims to be "a simpler, more integrated entertainment experience". It integrates over-the-air, cable and satellite broadcast television with online streaming and download services. Support for Canonical's Ubuntu One (U1) cloud storage platform is also built in.

Ubuntu TV can be expanded to include additional functionality and access to other services using third-party applications. According to the Features and specs page, the Ubuntu TV platform includes support for ARM and x86 hardware, and requires 2 GB of disk space, 1 GB of memory and a video card with 512 MB of RAM.

A preview of the Ubuntu TV user interface

According to an interview with PC Pro, Canonical's CEO, Jane Silber, said that the company is in negotiation with some TV manufacturers but would not confirm any completed deals. The company plans to supply the software to the manufacturers free of charge and is looking to make money through content deals, initially targeting the US and China. Canonical expects the first televisions with Ubuntu TV to be on the shelves by the end of the year.

More details about Ubuntu TV, including a full list of features, can be found on the TV for human beings page on, while the project's mailing list can be found on its Launchpad page. Ubuntu TV components are licensed under the GPLv3 or LGPLv3. UK-based Canonical Ltd sponsors the open source Ubuntu operating system.

Ubuntu TV will be competing for market share with a number of other companies; apart from Google and its Google TV platform and Apple's Apple TV offering, the field also now includes Lenovo, which just announced the K91 smart TV. Initially available only in China, the K91 runs version 4.0 of Google's open source Android operating system known as "Ice Cream Sandwich" which allows it to support voice control and run applications from the Android Market.


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