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I want an AVR with Android or Linux onboard

raistlin65

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I feel like it's time for AVRs to come with a full blown OS so that 3rd party providers and independent developers can create apps for it. Such as built in media players, DSP plugins, or streaming service app. Allow 3rd party theme customization. If nothing else, preload it with Android TV. Or how about a removable Rasberry PI module that can be upgraded?

Of course, that would make it harder for manufacturers to come up with an upgrade for the next year. I guess this will have to come from some outside competitor that is new to the market.
 

dc655321

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Fair enough. Was thinking the same of your question. Makes almost zero sense to me to embed a general purpose OS in a limited scope like an AVR. All of the services and functionality you listed can be hosted externally with none of the expense or handicap of embedding and exposing to Joe user.

What advantages do imagine there would be?
 

flyzipper

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Just hook an rpi up to your avr of choice via hdmi.

This is my view as well.

Want Google TV? Hook it up.
Want Apple TV? Hook it up.

An AVR should be very limited in what it does, or risk joining the high change rate and obsolescence churn of "smart" devices.
 

Jdunk54nl

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Ya, I want my avr to work everytime I turn it on. I don't want to have to worry about OS issues or have to reboot because it's not working.

I am sure the manufacture is thinking they don't want to deal with people installing 3rd party things and then calling them because they can't get it to work.

What I want to see is AVR's to start eliminating all of the rca jacks and other analog jacks that few use. Keep a couple around but who needs 6 different analog inputs? Who is using those for blu ray, cable/sat, game, dvd, etc. (these taken from the back of the denon avr-x3700h). I am using hdmi or digital for any of those.

I could see keeping phono and cd (but I am using digital if I have a cd player), maybe one component input and/or video in via yellow jack for legacy devices.
 
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raistlin65

raistlin65

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Fair enough. Was thinking the same of your question. Makes almost zero sense to me to embed a general purpose OS in a limited scope like an AVR. All of the services and functionality you listed can be hosted externally with none of the expense or handicap of embedding and exposing to Joe user.

What advantages do imagine there would be?

How is your external raspberry pi handling DSP for individual subwoofers? How are you connecting multiple video and audio devices to it that are normally plugged into the AVR? How is your raspberry pi directing the AVR on any video or audio processing that you might let the AVR do?
 
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raistlin65

raistlin65

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Ya, I want my avr to work everytime I turn it on. I don't want to have to worry about OS issues or have to reboot because it's not working.

You need go hang out here: https://www.avsforum.com/forums/receivers-amps-and-processors.90/

AVR firmware can be glitchy, too.

In fact, my last Denon was more glitchy than the OS on my Samsung tablet and phone. If I had to choose between Samsung Android flavor or Denon firmware for reliability, I'll take Samsung. lol
 

JeffS7444

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What, the apps built into your "smart" TV, disk player and game console aren't enough?
 

flyzipper

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How is your external raspberry pi handling DSP for individual subwoofers? How are you connecting multiple video and audio devices to it that are normally plugged into the AVR? How is your raspberry pi directing the AVR on any video or audio processing that you might let the AVR do?

I'm pretty sure the post you're replying to meant that a raspberry Pi could be plugged into an AVR if you want the functionality you originally posted about, not replace the AVR entirely.

DSP for individual subwoofers is a point I'll pick up on because I have 4 of them in my setup and have connected a MiniDSP 2x4HD to my AVR to properly manage and integrate them. I don't expect many people have 4 subwoofers so it would make little sense if my AVR came with this capability natively. Even if the software in my AVR OS was extensible, I'd still need 4 RCA or balanced ports to connect them to.

I get the whole "software is eating the world" mentality, and a general purpose OS which supports third party app development in anything offers huge flexibility, so I do get your point. My apprehension, in addition to the software-needs-associated-hardware dependency I mentioned above in the context of AVRs, comes from rate of change increasing for things that haven't historically needed frequent upgrades in the past ("smart" refrigerator is an extreme example... normally a fridge lasts 10-20 years... how long will the smart aspects remain viable?). Cars too... my nav system is no longer supported by the manufacturer, and the risks are even higher for cars like Tesla... how long will they support the software in a 10 year old car? 20 year old car?

Your "removable module" in the OP is absolutely necessary the longevity of smart devices is to be achieved.

Interesting to think about for sure, thanks for the topic.
 

BillG

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If nothing else, preload it with Android TV. Or how about a removable Rasberry PI module that can be upgraded?

Those duties are usually relegated to streamers - i. e. network players, tv boxes and dongles. I, personally, think that's the best approach as it allows for faster deployment, and probably easier development as well.

However, NAD may manufacture something close to what you're after with this BluOS enabled AVR:

https://nadelectronics.com/product/t778-surround-amplifier/
 

dc655321

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How is your external raspberry pi handling DSP for individual subwoofers? How are you connecting multiple video and audio devices to it that are normally plugged into the AVR? How is your raspberry pi directing the AVR on any video or audio processing that you might let the AVR do?

Are these items not functionality that (some) AVRs perform, regardless of whether or not there is a general purpose OS on them?
Not trying to be facetious - I personally don't know for sure, but am assuming some of that functionality is available.

If so, then again, what value does having Linux (or Android) on the AVR present?
I'm just trying to understand what you're envisaging.
To me, your proposition is like the infotainment system in modern vehicles - just get out of the way and give a display/control interface for the functionality already on my phone.
 

Vasr

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I feel like it's time for AVRs to come with a full blown OS so that 3rd party providers and independent developers can create apps for it. Such as built in media players, DSP plugins, or streaming service app.
It is called a HTPC. ;)

It is not whether you have a full-blown OS but whether you have an open architecture. Even then, it is not clear you need it to be integrated with the guts of an AVR.

The thing you cannot have in a DIY HTPC is multiple input connectivity. That would require transceiver cards that would work in the OS you have whether it is Windows or Android or Linux or some proprietary OS. Such cards do not exist. Because there is no business case for them. So, just putting Android or Linux is not going to solve this.

Once you make the OS participate more in the low-level functionality at kernel level (which are not required to support the needs you have mentioned above), then you get into real-time constraints and need an RTOS with modular design. NAD and Trinnov have developed such OSes with modularity but they are not open architectures. If they opened their architectures to third-parties, then they would be what you are asking but the business case is difficult to justify such a thing.

If you have a proprietary API, you won't have third-parties developing for it because then they are tied to the market for that one device. If you assume there is a common standard open API across multiple devices, then it requires all of the manufacturers to agree to it. There is no benefit for them to get into this. Nor does it make business sense for all the support headache they will have with users trying to integrate all kinds of third party software. The benefits of opening the architecture must far outweigh the cost of doing so. This is not the case for niche domains like audio/video.

In the purely software world, such things can be done as open-source efforts but open-source has limitations when hardware integration is needed. You have limited success with platforms like Arduino but it only caters to a fringe and niche nerd market. In any case, the need to have licensed connectors and certified DRM handling would keep it out of open source projects.

An open architecture only makes sense if one of them vendors get really big like Apple or Microsoft and can justify a whole ecosystem on their own. Audio is a vertical niche market compared to a general purpose PC, so I don't see this happening in practice. There is no technical reason for not being able to do this.

Smart TVs are a limited example of such open but proprietary architectures and it is only possible when you have the kind of volume Samsung or Sony have to attract third parties but even then, they have to coax/bribe third parties to come and develop. But what they have done to make it easier is to use one of the standard OS as the "application server" to host the apps. But TVs have limited capabilities compared to an AVR.

Of course, that would make it harder for manufacturers to come up with an upgrade for the next year. I guess this will have to come from some outside competitor that is new to the market.

No. The "outside competitor" has far too big a moat to cross in this relatively niche world and even if they managed to cross it, would find themselves in the same business model quandary as the rest. The value to them comes from the integration not open architectures.

Problem with AVRs is also that they have very little space to accommodate a full-blown "application server" inside them. The more "full-blown" it is, more space and power/heating issues to solve.

But I do foresee a possible move towards a limited "application server" like the Smart TVs for content streaming in future AVR generations but not for hosting third-party content processing that requires hardware.

Sort of like Sonos and Denon converging from different directions.
 
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JeffS7444

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Just what OS do avrs use currently?
In the case of my Marantz NR1608, at least when the manual was written, some part of it was using Linux kernel 3.10.74 and a number of other pieces of software covered by GPL, LGPL and BSD licenses. It's all detailed in the back of the downloadable 200+ page user manual.
 

Chromatischism

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Ask and ye shall receive:


https://store.google.com/us/product/chromecast_google_tv

Plug it into an HDMI port and away you go.

Seriously though, I know this isn't what you were asking for, but it does get you a lot of the way there. A full OS would be pretty cool but it would increase the price. However many view the AVR as just the Receiver of multiple ins, outs, and the processing in between, so it may not make sense. The HTPC, Chromecasts, and other input devices give you that functionality.
 
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raistlin65

raistlin65

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It is called a HTPC. ;)

HTPC is so 2010. We've moved onto Android boxes and Rasberry Pi's. You might join us since it's 2021. ;)


Once you make the OS participate more in the low-level functionality at kernel level (which are not required to support the needs you have mentioned above), then you get into real-time constraints and need an RTOS with modular design. NAD and Trinnov have developed such OSes with modularity but they are not open architectures. If they opened their architectures to third-parties, then they would be what you are asking but the business case is difficult to justify such a thing.

If you have a proprietary API, you won't have third-parties developing for it because then they are tied to the market for that one device. If you assume there is a common standard open API across multiple devices, then it requires all of the manufacturers to agree to it. There is no benefit for them to get into this. Nor does it make business sense for all the support headache they will have with users trying to integrate all kinds of third party software. The benefits of opening the architecture must far outweigh the cost of doing so. This is not the case for niche domains like audio/video.

In the purely software world, such things can be done as open-source efforts but open-source has limitations when hardware integration is needed. You have limited success with platforms like Arduino but it only caters to a fringe and niche nerd market. In any case, the need to have licensed connectors and certified DRM handling would keep it out of open source projects.

An open architecture only makes sense if one of them vendors get really big like Apple or Microsoft and can justify a whole ecosystem on their own. Audio is a vertical niche market compared to a general purpose PC, so I don't see this happening in practice. There is no technical reason for not being able to do this.

Smart TVs are a limited example of such open but proprietary architectures and it is only possible when you have the kind of volume Samsung or Sony have to attract third parties but even then, they have to coax/bribe third parties to come and develop. But what they have done to make it easier is to use one of the standard OS as the "application server" to host the apps. But TVs have limited capabilities compared to an AVR.

No. The "outside competitor" has far too big a moat to cross in this relatively niche world and even if they managed to cross it, would find themselves in the same business model quandary as the rest. The value to them comes from the integration not open architectures.

Problem with AVRs is also that they have very little space to accommodate a full-blown "application server" inside them. The more "full-blown" it is, more space and power/heating issues to solve.

But I do foresee a possible move towards a limited "application server" like the Smart TVs for content streaming in future AVR generations but not for hosting third-party content processing that requires hardware.

Sort of like Sonos and Denon converging from different directions.

Yes. I agree that this requires a different thinking about an AVR from a manufacturer. It would best be suited by an open architecture. And in fact, it makes a lot of sense to me to make it a pre-processor with amplification. And ditch the idea of cramming multi-channel amplifiers into the device. Let the user buy external amplification.

But I disagree that this would necessarily disadvantage an outlier from entering the market. In fact, this could make it easier because they can focus on developing hardware, vs. also creating the more complex firmware that is now in AVRs.

That being said, regardless of the barriers to having this happen, the benefit is to consumers. Full streaming app support for Spotify or Amazon HD built in, rather than having to buy a separate device or use a kludge like HEOS. Imagine an AVR (or preprocessor) with a microphone input. And then loading a port of REW onto your unit.
 
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raistlin65

raistlin65

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Ask and ye shall receive:


https://store.google.com/us/product/chromecast_google_tv

Plug it into an HDMI port and away you go.

Seriously though, I know this isn't what you were asking for, but it does get you a lot of the way there. A full OS would be pretty cool but it would increase the price. However many view the AVR as just the Receiver of multiple ins, outs, and the processing in between, so it may not make sense. The HTPC, Chromecasts, and other input devices give you that functionality.

See my original post that started this thread. I already mentioned Android TV. The point of that post is that the next evolutionary step is to integrate it into an AVR.
 

Chromatischism

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I was responding to your original post, stating that it's not necessary to integrate it, without any upside that I can see. Cost would go up, we'd have to rely on the AVR makers to fix bugs, and I doubt they're interested in the labor costs involved. I'd rather it stay a black box that does I/O just as I prefer dumb TVs :)

But our opinions will differ.
 
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