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Android signage computer taps new quad Cortex-A17 SoC

Jul 17, 2017 — by Eric Brown 830 views

VIA’s ALTA DS 4K signage box-PC runs Android 5.1.1 on a Zhaoxin ZX-2000 SoC, and offers dual Ethernet plus simultaneous decoding of 4K and HD video streams.

VIA Technologies has been active in the Android digital signage market for years, with products such as its VAB-630 SBC. While that product tapped a homegrown dual-core, Cortex-A9 SoC, the new VIA ALTA DS 4K signage computer instead runs a customized Android 5.1.1 image on a quad-core, 1.4GHz Cortex-A17 ZX-2000 (translated) from Zhaoxin.

VIA ALTA DS 4K, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

China-based Zhaoxin started out with a ZX-C line of x86 SoCs, and has more recently expanded to the ARM world with its set-top box oriented ZX-2000 SoC. The 28nm fabricated, quad -A17 SoC is claimed to offer 22000DMIPS and 60GFlops CPU and GPU processing, respectively. Built-in security features include TrustZone, secure boot, and DRM.

The ZX-2000 SoC enables the fanless VIA ALTA DS 4K with Open GL ES 3.0 hardware acceleration and H.265, H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2 video decoding up to 3840 x 2160p @ 30fps. The SoC enables the ALTA DS 4K to perform “dual hardware decoding of one 4K and one full HD video simultaneously,” says VIA.


VIA’s compact, 175 x 118 x 25mm VIA ALTA DS 4K system is aimed at digital signage, automated kiosks, check-out counters, and POS systems. The presence of both a Gigabit Ethernet and Fast Ethernet port “enables the installation of an IP camera that can be configured to blend locally-captured real-time video streams with cloud-delivered content,” says VIA.

VIA ALTA DS 4K detail views
(click image to enlarge)

The VIA ALTA DS 4K is equipped with 2GB DDR3 SDRAM, 8GB eMMC flash, and an SD slot. It also offers a USB 3.0 port, dual USB 2.0 ports, and a mini-USB 2.0 port for COM TX/RX operation. The system features an antenna hole, as well as an optional VIA EMIO-5531 USB Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module. The GbE and Fast Ethernet ports are standard.

The VIA ALTA DS 4K has an HDMI 1.4 port with CEC support, dual audio jacks, a CIR interface, and a Kensington lock. Other features include a 12V DC jack, a power button and LED, a vertical stand holder, and optional VESA mounting. The system supports 0 to 40°C temperatures.

The custom Android build includes VIA’s Smart ETK software, which offers APIs to monitor the watchdog, the RTC, UART access, and Wake-on-LAN functions. A sample app and optional software customization services are available.

Further information

The VIA ALTA DS 4K appears to be available now at an unstated price. More information may be found at the VIA technologies VIA ALTA DS 4K product page.

(advertise here)

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