The Fusion XS is much smaller than the Fusion HD. The dimensions of the unit are 145 mm (Length) x 110 mm (Width) x 42 mm (Height). The unit's industrial design is also improved. There are no ports in the front, except for the IR receiver. The rear side of the unit has the power adapter port, 100 Mbps Ethernet jack, 2 USB 2.0 host ports, HDMI, optical SPDIF and composite out (with audio). There is also a status indicator LED.

The gallery below has some teardown pictures, including that of the ventilation slots on the underside.

On top of the SoC, we have a heat sink, but our real concern is the fan. We don't have an idea yet of the noise levels, but the size of the system and the 5W TDP of the SoC alone makes it necessary. The chassis is not completely closed, as seen in the gallery above. This allows for airflow. Designing a larger unit similar to the Zinwell system on show here could have made the fan unnecessary (Zinwell may eventualy decide to include a fan too, once they do some stress testing. It does look like the heat sink in the YouTube video linked above is too small to handle a 5W TDP SoC). Other than this concern, we are happy to note the minimalist design of the unit. Doing away with the internal hard disk support / bundled wireless also gets the cost down for the consumer.

Moving on the software and the UI, the Fusion XS will be running Android 2.2. In addition to the codecs mentioned in the previous section (capabilities of the 88DE3010), Real Media decode is done in software on one of the Sheeva cores. The capabilities of the firmware are largely dependent on the SDK from the SoC company. This is Marvell's first media streamer product, and the maturity of its SDK is an unknown quantity at this point. It will be interesting to see what the developers at Nixeus can deliver with the Marvell SDK.

Coming back to the specifics, Nixeus promises some sort of BD-ISO support better than the BD-Lite strategy adopted by many players. There will be no BD-Java or BD-Live. However, these are needed only for the special features and downloadable content. Personally, I would find any implementation acceptable as long as there is a decent menu system with full support for seamless branched titles and the users know what exactly they are selecting to watch (instead of just dumb numbers like in the Boxee Box or the TViX Slim S1).

Nixeus assures us that the codec and media compatibility will be the same as that of the Fusion HD (i.e, all features such as HD audio passthrough, support for MKVs with compressed headers etc. will be retained). The Fusion HD was found to have the best media compatibility score amongst the 8654/8655 based streamers. The codec compatibility of the Fusion HD is indeed a good platform to build upon.

One of our main complaints about the Fusion HD was the rudimentary UI. Thankfully, the more powerful 2D vector GPU in the 88DE3010 enables a much slicker user interface as evident in the gallery below.

Note that the above UI screenshots are from an engineering sample. The exact menu options might undergo some revisions, but the look and feel should be the same in the final version. There are a number of unknowns about the Fusion XS, including, but not limited to the presence of premium online streaming services such as Netflix and real world codec compatibility. It would also be interesting to see if the Qdeo video post processing has some control knobs in the shipping firmware. That would make for interesting HQV benchmarking too.
 

Marvell 88DE3010 Final Words
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  • therealnickdanger - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    If it's any bit as good as the QDEO chip in my LG BH-200 Blu-ray/HD-DVD player (a few years old now), then it should easily beat the HQV benchmarks. After all, it easily meets HQV's own Reon chip in those tests. I'm excited to see what this can do for BD ISOs! :) Reply
  • fbking - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    it will be selling on fookbuy.com very soon! so you can try when you get it from fookbuy.com Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    For a moment, I thought it was a spam post :)

    Anyways, estimated ship date is not earlier than end of May 2011. Engineers are still working on the final firmware.
    Reply
  • Venya - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Why they go with such crappy custom interface??
    Use XBMC as fontend interface and success of this product will be guaranteed!
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    XBMC is a bit resource intensive and also requires a 3D graphics engine with full OpenGL ES 2.0 support to have good performance.

    The SMP 8656 will probably be the first media streamer SoC in the market which can run XBMC, but even that has some issues:

    http://xbmc.org/theuni/2011/01/12/more-about-sigma...


    Sigma hired a 3rd party company to do their initial port, which is shown in the picture below. A proof-of-concept is up and running on their SMP8656, and while the GUI is choppy and playback is still not working, it is an impressive effort so far.


    It will be quite some time before you actually get XBMC running on proper media streaming SoCs such as those from Sigma, Realtek and Marvell.
    Reply
  • Rainman200 - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    XBMC also requires an OpenGL ES 2.0 capable GPU to run as well, XBMC devs are handling Arm ports themselves and it works well under linux on the dev kits they have access too (there are a couple of different hardware acceleration API's in Arm so not all are supported).

    The Marvell soc looks quite good it's a shame it does not have a GPU on it as it could have run XBMC reasonably well even better than the AppleTV2, hopefully the second generation 88DE3100 comes to market sooner.

    This does look pretty nice though from Nixeus, if your making a media streamer the main thing to borrow from XBMC is it's media source system, instead of browsing through UPnP/NFS/AFP/SMB/USB you just add a source and browse though those desired items, it's so much more elegant than the typical systems used in media streamers.

    Also hiring someone with UI design experience or even XBMC skinner to build your players UI is one of the best things you can do even if your streamer cant do as fancy a UI as XBMC. Don't leave it to software engineers or whatever comes with the SDK.
    Reply
  • Destiny - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    I see a "GFX Engine" on the Marvell chipset block diagram... is that a GPU or seperate GPU? Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    The GPU is covered in detail in the text :) It is the Vivante GC300 which supports OpenGL, but it is not a 3D graphics engine, rather 2D only.

    Even if XBMC were to be ported onto this, it will not have good performance. It looks like even the SGX531 is having a bit of trouble keeping up?
    Reply
  • Destiny - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    What chipsets or hardware is using the SGX531? Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Sigma Designs SMP 8656 in the TViX Xroid A1, but the TViX model doesn't run XBMC, but custom GUI (you can see the demo in the YouTube video linked in the article) Reply

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