Improving the media experience on Arm devices

Multimedia devices often function as home gateways and IP clients to access broadband and Pay TV services and are capable of managing content rights throughout the connected home. Viewers expect these devices to deliver rich 3D graphical user interfaces, access to their favorite applications, and the ability to watch and record programs, all while operating on lower standby and active power. Many standards exist, but these are not implemented consistently across all platforms and devices, leading to significant fragmentation, a multitude of point solutions and subsequently significant amounts of duplicated, non-differentiating engineering effort. The Linaro multimedia group was formed in 2018 to help overcome these fragmentation issues and provide standardized solutions, helping to improve the media experience on Arm and resolve common multimedia problems for the Arm ecosystem.

Linaro works on fundamental software platforms which enable rapid deployment of new services across a range of platforms. Developing the base platform for diverse and complex multimedia applications requires a significant amount of software that addresses common challenges.

Secure Video

The goal of the project is to provide member companies with reusable open source components (where possible) to quickly accelerate over-the-top, set-top box, smart TV and infotainment use cases that need to support the playback of protected content. One of the main focuses since the multimedia group was formed in Linaro has been on implementing a Secure Video Path (SVP) or Secure data path (SDP) solution that leverages OP-TEE secure OS and Trustzone to satisfy the requirements of Widevine L1 and Playready SL3000 so that decrypted and decompressed data is never accessible by the rich execution environment. Traditionally this is an area where many vendors have implemented very custom out of tree solutions that are costly to implement and even more costly to maintain. Linaro wants to promote a standardized solution for the benefit of everyone working right across the stack from the web browser down to the secure OS. Work to date has focussed on how we can support the W3C EME standard via:

  • open source content decryption (CDM) plugins
  • integration of these plugins with wpewebkit and Chromium browsers
  • the development of trusted applications in OP-TEE
  • integration of the SDP solution into the Reference Design Kit (RDK) and AOSP
  • secure buffer allocation and communication of file descriptors across components
  • enhancements to wayland and GStreamer to support secure playback use cases.

Reference Design kit (RDK)

RDK is a modular, portable and customizable open source software solution that standardizes core functions used in video, broadband and IoT devices. The goal of the RDK project is to help facilitate fast ramp up on member companies own RDK projects. To do this Linaro prototypes on member company silicon best in class open source components to give RDK more interoperability, flexibility and improved performance. Linaro has worked on the Yoctofication of RDK, integration of OP-TEE and CDM plugins to support secure video use cases, enhancements to the Westeros wayland compositor and member silicon enablement.

Audio/Video automated testing

To ensure your products are secure and of the highest possible quality, you want to be able to test them. Linaro provides members with re-usable test definitions built on open source tooling to help validate video and audio use cases.


As SoC camera architectures have become more complex, the kernel APIs have evolved to support this increased complexity. New kernel APIs such as media controller and v4l2 subdev were created to expose these complex pipelines to userspace. What’s more, instead of having one video device node to manage, userspace now has multiple device nodes. In summary, setting up these complex camera pipelines requires userspace to have lots of prior knowledge of the underlying hardware. The proposed solution to this complexity is, which aims to encapsulate all this platform complexity into a userspace library that can be re-used by ChromeOS, Android and Linux. Linaro is working with the libcamera project and across the Camera ecosystem to help members leverage the library and enable their SoCs. Work to date has focussed on Camera sensor driver upstreaming to avoid fragmentation in downstream vendor trees, and helping ensure good support of the 96boards ecosystem.

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