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Linaro’s AOSP TV supports Android TV development on 96Boards

Feb 7, 2017 — by Eric Brown 3,260 views

Linaro released AOSP TV for the HiKey, enabling development for Android TV using 96Boards SBCs without requiring Google Services and verification.

The Linaro Digital Home Group (LHG) has released a sample build of the Android TV version of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) distribution for Linaro’s 96Boards Consumer Edition spec. The firmware is initially available on the 2GB RAM version of the LeMaker-built, community-backed HiKey SBC, the official Android reference board for 96Boards.

The release follows up on Linaro’s Mar. 2016 release of the mainstream AOSP for the 64-bit, ARMv8 HiKey. Although the build targets the CE-compliant HiKey, it will eventually migrate to the 96Boards Enterprise Edition TV Platform spec. The TV spec was first tapped by HiSilicon’s Poplar Board.

Linaro’s AOSP TV for 96Boards architecture
(click image to enlarge)

The AOSP TV build integrates TV-focused components such as the TV Input Framework and Leanback APIs used in Google’s Android TV platform, the successor to Google TV. The release enables easier development of Android TV apps, and lets vendors and hackers build Android TV compatible devices without having to go through Google’s verification process.


With this independent, fully open source build, vendors do not need to include Google-licensed Google Mobile Services (GMS). Furthermore, they are not subject to requirements such as complying with the Android Compatibility Test Suite (CTS), the Compatibility Definition Document (CDD), “and stringent audio/video performance criteria,” says Linaro.

AOSP’s TV Input Framework (architecture
(click image to enlarge)

Android TV’s TV Input Framework (TIF) enables live TV streaming with the help of components like TV Input Manager, TV App, and TV Input HAL. TIF abstracts the input source from the user, permitting easier viewing of content from a variety of sources such as cable, satellite, terrestrial, and IP-based media delivery.

Sample inputs screen in AOSP TV for 96Boards, demonstrating TIF juggling of input sources
(click image to enlarge)

The Leanback APIs adjust Android for the “10-foot” experience of TV media and game interaction. Leanback APIs provide a “model-view-presenter” approach, in which models can be “anything extending Object in Java.” The view is handled by the existing android.view package, and the presenter is based on Android’s Adapter concept.

Linaro’s HiKey AOSP TV build provides code for integrating Android TV’s Live TV app, and integrates a sample Android TV Channel Service. The stack also includes support for Adaptive Bit Rate Streaming.


The 85 x 54mm HiKey SBC, which was originally built by CircuitCo for, is now manufactured by LeMaker. The board runs Linux or Android on a HiSilicon Kirin 6220 SoC with 8x, 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 cores and a Mali 450-MP4 GPU. Features include WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, MIPI-DSI, and three USB ports, as well as the 96Boards standard 40-pin low-speed and 60-pin high-speed expansion connectors.

Further information

The Linaro Digital Home Group’s sample build for AOSP TV on HiKey is available now for download. More information may be found on the AOSP TV release page and download page. Linaro will demonstrate AOSP TV for 96Boards at Linaro Connect Budapest 2017 in Hungary on Mar. 6-10.

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