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STMicro decoder includes Hi-Speed USB

Posted: 14 May 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:stmicroelectronics? mpeg-2? decoder? sti5100? sti51501?

As an effort to maintain its share in the digital video recording business, STMicroelectronics has rolled out its new secure MPEG-2 decoder intended for STBs in all low-cost cable, satellite, and terrestrial TV markets.

According to STMicro, the new STi5100 IC will allow peripherals to be easily added to a low-cost STB in order to provide additional features and capabilities. It will allow consumers to purchase an STB and, at a later date, attach a hard disk drive to add Digital Video Recorder (DVR) capabilities.

Although some earlier decoders have included a USB interface, it is only the availability within the STi5100 of the 40-times-faster Hi-Speed USB standard - operating at 480Mbps - that enables users to add fast peripherals such as disk drives.

"By including Hi-Speed USB in the STi5100, not only are we giving consumers the ability to upgrade their STB to have DVR capability, but also to transfer images, movies, and music to their box, through an industry-standard interface," said Christos Lagomichos, GM for STB Division. "Furthermore, STB manufacturers have the ability to provide additional applications to customers following the sale of the original box, delivered on USB drives."

According to the company, the STi5100 is the first dedicated STB device to include TruSurround XT, an advanced audio technology from SRS Labs Inc. It also incorporates SRS TruBass and SRS Dialog Clarity features, as well as the system-side Direct Access Arrangement (DAA) technology from Silicon Laboratories Inc.

The device contains a 243MHz version of STMicro's ST20 embedded CPU. A unified memory interface, with DDR SDRAM support, optimizes the use of RAM chips and further increases performance, while an embedded graphics engine supports graphics-intensive tasks such as the channel's presentation of programs, and 2D games.

The STi5100 is available in a low-cost 27-by-27 PBGA package, with pin-out to allow a two-layer PCB design. For applications not needing the peripheral expansion capability, the STi51501 is also available to the same specification but without the USB interface. The STi5100 decoder is priced at $12 when purchased in large quantities.

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