[Google TV Teardown (3)] TV Programs Just One of Contents

Nov 18, 2010
Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad
The upper side of the Google TV's Android board. Intel's "Atom CE4100" is seen in the left of center. And the word "Foxconn" is seen in the lower left.
The upper side of the Google TV's Android board. Intel's "Atom CE4100" is seen in the left of center. And the word "Foxconn" is seen in the lower left.
[Click to enlarge image]
The lower side of the Android board. Flash memory and its controller are seen on the right part.
The lower side of the Android board. Flash memory and its controller are seen on the right part.
[Click to enlarge image]

Continued from [Google TV Teardown (2)] Same SoC Found in TV for Sale in Japan

We set ourselves to examine the signal processing board (Android board) of the NSX-24GT1 Google TV-compatible LCD TV. After removing the heatsink from the board in the same way as from the TV board, we found Intel's "Atom CE4100" SoC.

There were eight DRAMs (Samsung Semiconductor Co Ltd's "K4B1G0846F") mounted on the board. Because each of the DRAMs has a capacity of 1 Gbit, the total memory capacity is 1 Gbyte (8-bit width x 8 = 64-bit width).

Normally, TVs have two chips with a bit width of 16 (32-bit width in total), said an engineer who participated in the teardown.

On the back of the Android board, there were flash memory and a controller used for SSD. The CE4100 and the flash memory were connected to each other by using SATA.

Finally, we analyzed the signal processing between the TV board and the Android board. Considering the function of each chip, we estimated that video data of TV programs (capable of being displayed as it is) is created by the TV board and the data is transferred to the Android board by using LVDS. The Android board is used to process data from the Internet, combine it with video from the TV board and output it to the LCD panel.

Though the Robro-TV Internet TV, which we torn down before, also has a TV board and a PC board, data flows differently in it. The TV is equipped with the "Atom N270," which is a general-purpose processor and not an SoC like the CE4100.

In the Robro-TV, signals are transmitted directly from the tuner to the PC board. Then, signals are sent from the PC board to the SoC on the TV board to output them to the LCD panel.

The interactivity of the Robro-TV was realized by using the PC board to break in the processing of the TV board. On the other hand, the TV function of the Google TV is independent, and TV signals (capable of being displayed as it is) are received by the Android system.

Such an architecture implies that Sony considers TV programs as just one of the sources for the Google TV. In fact, Sony's "NSZ-GT1" Google TV-compatible Blu-ray disc player does not even have a tuner and requires an STB (set-top box) to watch TV programs.