The KDE team announces a new user interface Plasma Bigscreen for smart TVs and brings Plasma 5.26 BETA for testing.
KDE Plasma 5.26 desktop BETA is now out for testing and the final release is due on Oct 6, 2022. Plasma 5.26 brings a huge set of new features across the Plasma shell, widgets, Kwin and other desktop components. In the announcement, the team also introduces a new Plasma user interface (UI) for large screen displays such as Smar TVs – called “Plasma Bigscreen”.
Plasma Bigscreen is a new user interface based on Plasma desktop and Kwin for your smart TVs. It runs on top of existing Linux distribution and provides you a nice user interface similar to those available today in the market.
The primary selling point is that it’s open-source, and brings better privacy. No one will track what you watch on your TV or search via browser.
The Plasma Bigscreen has a large block-based user interface for easy navigation using remotes and brings native applications. In addition, this new UI brings a new web browser called “Aura Browser” to browse content using TV over the web. It also brings a native video player called Plank Player to play videos.
At its core, Plasma Bigscreen is entirely powered by open-source tech. The most crucial aspect is that it is powered by Mycroft AI, an open-source privacy-focused voice/NLP processor that brings voice assistance features to Plasma Bigscreen.
Since the intelligent TVs runs based on ARM chips, Plasma Bigscreen is currently available over KDE Neon ARM (for Raspberry Pi 4), Postmarket OS and Manjaro ARM.
Let’s talk about some additional changes in KDE Plasma 5.26 beta.
New features in KDE Plasma 5.26
First and foremost, KDE Plasma 5.26 brings animated wallpaper by default; you don’t need to download and install those widgets from the store anymore. You can set the animated wallpapers from the settings dialog.
Second, following the trends of GNOME, KDE Plasma now supports dark and light wallpaper combination, which changes based on the default Breeze theme variant.
In addition to that, this release brings some interesting features such as:
- Resizable kick-off menu
- New navigation based on Alphabets in the kick-off menu
- Resizable calendar menu dialog
- Font customization of the CLock
- Map-based location selection in the night-colour page
- Discover brings Webflow support, tweaks for Flatpaks
And many more, which you can read in my detailed KDE Plasma 5.26 feature guide.
Since this version is in BETA, you can download the KDE Neon testing edition from the below page and try it on a physical system or virtual machine.