Ubuntu TV has been unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, after Jane Silber announced Canonical would have something to show last week.
The interface will look very familiar for Unity users, as it appears to simply be an Ubuntu installation running with some custom Unity lenses for browsing movies, TV Shows, music, watching YouTube, and more.
It’s more than a simple concept design however, with the installation running on a real television.
There is just one Ubuntu TV on show at CES, but Canonical expects Ubuntu-powered televisions to be on the shelves by the end of this year, however, there are no deals with manufacturers signed.
“We see a lot of demand for a neutral player.”
Canonical CEO Jane Silber told PC Pro that Canonical were in discussions with a number of manufacturers but couldn’t confirm any signed deals. Canonical will be hard pressed to compete with industry giants Google and Apple, who are expected to unveil prominent TV products this year, however Silber remains confident that Canonical can remain competitive.
“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.”
Canonical hopes to woo manufacturers by offering the Ubuntu TV software free of charge, and plans to target the US and Chinese markets first. Expansion into other markets (including the UK) hinges on Canonical being able to secure content deals. There’s no mention on whether the software will be available for download by regular users to install themselves and tinker with yet.
Silber said that work is continuing on Ubuntu for mobile phones, and she stressed that Canonical’s diversification into other devices shouldn’t be seen as Canonical backing away 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.”
See a video of the Ubuntu TV interface in action at this link.
Via PC Pro & Canonical