Nordic And MediaTek Collaborate To Realize Vision Of Smart TV As The Entertainment And Monitoring Hub Of The Home
Nordic's nRFready Smart Remote 2 demonstrates the use of Bluetooth v4.0 to navigate and control smart TV at CES 2013
Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) recently announced a collaboration with MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions. The collaboration focuses on employing Bluetooth® v4.0 (which includes Bluetooth low energy as a hallmark element) to wirelessly link smart TVs to remote controls, game controllers, sports & fitness monitors, and home monitoring/control devices.
Smart TVs are characterized by the integration of computing power, Internet, and Web 2.0 features. The appliances currently allow the user to access online interactive media, Internet TV, and on-demand streaming media, while relying less on traditional broadcast media.
However, Nordic and MediaTek share a vision of the smart TV as the hub for all home entertainment and monitoring activities. Realizing this vision requires using Bluetooth v4.0 to wirelessly link a range of control and monitoring devices to smart TVs, so that consumers will be able to enjoy remote navigation of electronic program guides (EPG) and media libraries, communicate with the set using voice input, display information from sports, fitness & health monitors - for example, heart rate belts, weight scales, medical thermometers, and blood-glucose meters - play games and use apps, and control/monitor the temperature, humidity and ventilation in the home - among other functionality.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in January in Las Vegas, Nordic and MediaTek highlighted an early part of their vision using a Bluetooth low energy remote to control a smart TV.
The demonstration used Nordic's new nRFready™ Smart Remote 2, a complete hardware and software reference design that employs the company's class-leading nRF51822 multiprotocol SoC (see "About nRF51822" below). The nRF51822 is a single-chip Bluetooth low energy solution (using Bluetooth v4.0 HID over GATT (HoG) profile) for RF remote controls suitable for advanced browsing control of Internet- and Web 2.0-enabled TVs and set-top boxes (STBs).
At CES, the nRFready Smart Remote 2 demonstrated rapid and precise navigation of the smart TV's EPG and control of an on-screen music library and operation of a built-in MP3. In addition, the remote control's Synaptics TouchPad™ was used to control a games app and the QWERTY keypad employed to type an on-screen text message. The nRFready Smart Remote 2 also includes a six-axis motion sensing solution from Invensense that allows motion-based control of the TV.
"Nordic Semiconductor has entered into this strategic agreement with our respected partner MediaTek because both companies appreciate the importance of delivering a superior consumer experience using a smart TV as the hub of the home," says Svenn-Tore Larsen, Nordic's CEO. "MediaTek's significant position in the TV sector and Nordic's expertise - as one of the companies that developed the specification - in Bluetooth low energy wireless technology brings together two firms with a unique set of competencies. These competencies will allow our respective engineering staff to rapidly introduce a range of wireless hardware and associated software that will maximize the interoperability potential of Bluetooth v4.0's open standard."
"MediaTek's chips have enabled TVs to evolve from simply relaying broadcast media to being a central 'smart' facility for accessing music, photos, downloaded content and the Internet," says SR Tsai, General Manager of the Wireless Connectivity and Networking Business Unit at MediaTek. "By collaborating with Nordic, MediaTek will ensure the TV becomes the home hub by wirelessly linking it to communication, control & navigation, health & wellness, and entertainment devices that are currently used in isolation. By connecting these devices to the smart TV, the consumer will benefit from a dramatically enhanced experience."
Bluetooth low energy is a fundamental requirement for the qualification of a Bluetooth Smart device. (See "About Bluetooth low energy" below.)
SOURCE: Nordic Semiconductor ASA