Plasma Bigscreen: a KDE user interface for smartTV

Big Screen Plasma

The KDE developers released the first trial version specialized user environment Plasma Bigscreen, which can be used as a platform for set-top boxes and smart TVs.

According to the KDE developers, Plasma Bigscreen is an excellent proposal for offering a user interface specially optimized for large screens and keyboardless control, is complemented by the use of a voice control system and a virtual voice assistant, built on the basis of the developments of the Mycroft project.

By converting a traditional Plasma workspace into a form that can be controlled from a conventional remote control, KDE interface designers can experiment with new interface design approaches application and user interaction methods that simplify administration while sitting on the couch.

En particular, for voice control, the Selene voice interface is used and the associated backend, which can be started on your server. For speech recognition, the STT engine from Google or Mozilla DeepSpeech can be used.

In addition to the voice, the work of the environment can also be controlled by remote controls, including a standard remote control from the TV.

Remote control support is implemented using the libCEC library, which allows you to use the consumer electronics control bus to control devices connected via HDMI. Mouse manipulator simulation is supported via control remote control and the use of microphones built into the remote controls to transmit voice commands.

In addition to TV remote controls, you can use USB / Bluetooth remote controls, such as WeChip G20 / W2, as well as work by connecting a normal keyboard, mouse and microphone.

Platform supports both the launch of Mycroft multimedia applications specially prepared, like traditional KDE desktop programs compiled for the Bigscreen environment.

To access installed programs and download additional programs, a new specialized interface has been designed for voice remote control or remote control.

The project launched its own application catalog apps.plasma-bigscreen.org ypTo browse the global web, the Chromium-based Aura web browser is used.

Of the main characteristics Plasma BigScreen highlights include the following:

  • Easy to expand: The smart assistant of Mycroft manipulates "abilities" that allow you to assign specific tasks to voice commands. For example, when you want to know about the "weather" you receive meteorological data and inform the user about it. Another example would be "cooking" in which it is possible to obtain information about recipes and help the user to cook.
    The Mycroft project already provides a collection of typical skills for the development of which a graphical framework based on Qt and the Kirigami library can be used. Any developer can prepare their skills for the platform using Python and QML.
  • Voice control: Comfortable voice control poses a risk of confidentiality and loss of external recordings of background conversations that are not related to voice commands to external servers. To solve this problem, Bigscreen uses the Mycroft open voice assistant, which is available for audit and implementation at your own facility. The proposed trial version connects to the home server Mycroft, which by default uses Google's STT, which transmits anonymous voice data to Google. If desired, the user can change the backend, including using local Mozilla Deepspeech-based services or even disabling voice command recognition.

The code is free and is available to be reviewed by those who are interested in it.

Manufacturers can create smart devices based on Plasma Bigscreen, distribute derivative works and make changes at your discretion, not limited to the framework inherent to proprietary TV environments.

Finally, for those who are interested in being able to know more about it, they can consult the details in the following link.


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