Broadcom Makes Its Case For The Single-Chip Set-Top Box

Chipmaker Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ:BRCM)
Tuesday took the wraps off a its next generation, single-chip combined cable TV
set-top box/cable modem and satellite solution.

The company is heralding its newest multiprocessor – the Broadcom
BCM7110 system-on-a-chip for cable modems – as the answer to personal video
recording (PVR) makers who want to incorporate advanced interactive TV (iTV)
functions and broadband Internet access through the same device. Broadcom also
launched its BCM7315 for Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) set-top boxes.

The BCM7110 chip is priced at $75.00 in 10,000 quantities. The BCM7315 is
priced at $50.00 in 10,000 quantities.

At an industry show in London, the Irvine, Calif.-based company said its new
chips provide a dedicated digital cable television channel as well as a DOCSIS
(Data Over Cable System Interface Specification) 1.1 cable modem and both Direct
Video Broadcast (DVB) and DirecTV standards.

The new chip also incorporates multiple features considered important for
next generation digital cable set-top boxes, including PVR functions, a high
performance MIPS processor, an advanced graphics engine and mixed-signal
integration.

In addition to the cable modem/set-top box interfaces, the company said
set-top boxes based on its BCM7110 make distribution of voice, video and data
services possible throughout the home. The BCM7110 enables home networking
through Ethernet, 802.11b Wi-Fi wireless, HomePNA-over-Coax, and various other
options, allowing cable operators to expand their revenue generating services
into the different areas of the household. The BCM7110 gateway box can also be
combined with the Broadcom BCM1101 for a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
second voice line service.

“Broadcom’s single-chip BCM7110 and Broadcom BCM7315 represent a significant
milestone in the evolution of the interactive broadband set-top box,” said
Broadcom set-top box products Director of Marketing Brian Sprague. “Service
providers can now add cable and satellite modem functionality to the most
up-to-date set-top box functionality — giving consumers the latest innovations
at a low system cost.”

Many of the fruits of the advancements of the next generation chips come
directly from Broadcom’s acquisition
of Santa Clara, Calif.-based Mobilink
for an estimated $190 million last month.

For broadband communications, the BCM7110 includes a complete DOCSIS 1.1 MAC
(Media Access Controller) that supports quality of service (QoS) for broadband
interactive services such as Voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing. The
chip’s dual tuner architecture allows for simultaneous viewing of Internet and
video, or two independent program streams for watch and record PVR. The BCM7110
can also be configured to provide true watch and record and DOCSIS Internet
browsing simultaneously with an external QAM demodulator.

The BCM7315 chip also integrates multiple new security features to defeat the
growing problem of satellite television piracy. Featuring a one-time
programmable memory block, an on-chip boot ROM and secure EJTAG debug
functionality, the BCM7315 provides formidable impediments to satellite network
hackers.

The chips also integrate transmission technology, MPEG-2 audio and video
decoding, an advanced 2D/3D graphics engine, a USB host and device, an Ethernet
MAC, an IDE controller for connection to disc drives, an IEEE 1394 interface, an
OpenCable-compliant Point of Deployment interface, V.90 soft modem support, and
other peripherals that enable a reduced total system cost. In addition, Broadcom
also provides software device drivers that support multiple operating systems
and middleware.

For cable modems, Broadcom is making its BCM97110 reference design available
for software development and quick time-to-market. Configured to perform
watch-and-record (analog and digital supported), DOCSIS 1.1, and DAVIC all
simultaneously, the BCM97110 can address the needs of virtually any cable
network worldwide.

Broadcom is also making its BCM97315 reference design available for satellite
development platform for set-tops based on the BCM7315. The reference design
comes with complete software source code, schematics and Gerber files, and
provides detailed design information for manufacturers of interactive cable TV
set-top terminals.

Reprinted from siliconvalley.internet.com.

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