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Ubuntu TV unveiled

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By Barry Collins

Posted on 9 Jan 2012 at 00:01

Canonical has demonstrated Ubuntu TV for the first time, as the company moves to broaden the reach of its open-source OS beyond the PC.

Plans for versions of the Linux distro for tablets, smartphones and TVs were unveiled last year, and now the television is - perhaps surprisingly - the first of those to arrive.

The company is showing off the first Ubuntu TV at CES here in Las Vegas, and Canonical expects the first Ubuntu-powered television to be on the shelves by the end of this year.

Ubuntu TV films

"It's a simple viewing experience for online video, both your own and routed over the internet," Jane Silber, Canonical's CEO told PC Pro. Movie streaming services will be supported as well as live television broadcasts.

There's no question the world is moving to a more mobile environment, but I wouldn't characterise it as us giving up on the PC market

Silber told us Canonical was in discussions with a number of television manufacturers, but couldn't confirm any signed deals. It will face stiff competition from Google - which only last week added LG to its roster of Google TV manufacturers - and Apple, which is widely tipped to be working on an internet television after making little impact with successive generations of its Apple TV hardware.

Silber however remains confident that Ubuntu TV can offer something different to its two formidable rivals.

"OEMs and ODMs are increasingly wary of the walled garden [approach] that certainly Apple takes - and increasingly Google, although it's much more open than Apple," she claimed. "We see a lot of demand for a neutral player."

Ubuntu TV EPG

Though Canonical may struggle to match the marketing muscle of Google and Apple, the company plans to woo manufacturers by supplying the software free of charge. Silber said Canonical will primarily target the US and China with Ubuntu TV, with expansion into other countries - including the UK - hinging on whether Ubuntu can agree local content deals.

Ubuntu TV - film rental

Work also continues on Ubuntu for mobiles, but Silber couldn't specify when that version of the OS will arrive. However, she stressed that Canonical's diversification into other devices shouldn't be seen as a withdrawal from the PC market.

"There's no question the world is moving to a more mobile environment," she said. "But I wouldn't characterise it as us giving up on the PC market."

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User comments

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I hope there is no way to update the device, because every time you update Ubuntu something breaks.

By aptgetmydick on 9 Jan 2012

Unfortunately Canonical doesn't seem to understand that a good GUI for a TV, Tablet or smartphone does not make a good GUI for a desktop PC (which is strange because they seem to understand that a good desktop PC GUI doesn't make for a good GUI on other devices). Their efforts to unify the GUI across different devices means that for many users Ubuntu is no longer a viable desktop OS.

I had been using and recommending Ubuntu as a desktop OS since the first release, however after using the 2 most recent releases I have been forced to make the switch to a different Linux distro.

I wouldn't characterise it as Canonical giving up on the PC market, just neglecting it so they can go after the "low hanging fruit" of the other markets.

By Flame on 10 Jan 2012

Forced to switch?

You can use GNOME 2 (Ubuntu Classic), KDE, or my personal favorite - GNOME 3 :)

By tobiax on 10 Jan 2012

aptgetmydick needs to try...

If ubuntu is used on a machine that doesn't have windows installed on it, it runs very well.

Just use update manager, no need to use aptget.

No problems from here that i can see with the gui.

By bouncy1 on 11 Feb 2012

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