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ST rolls new MPEG-2 decoder chips for STBs, DVD recording

Posted: 29 Sep 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:stmicroelectronics? st? mpeg-2 decoder chip? stx5300?

STMicroelectronics (ST) introduced a new range of MPEG-2 decoder chips for low-cost STBs and DVD recording, which promise to increase the available computing power by over five times compared to earlier devices.

The new STx5300 family is pin-compatible with the company's STi5100, allowing existing hardware designs to be reused and, at the same time, providing a step change in performance to match the increasing demands of interactive TV applications.

The integrated CPU of the STx5300 is a 300MHz ST231 core, a member of the ST200 series which was designed specifically for video and audio streaming applications such as MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and MP3 in digital consumer applications. The ST200 delivers an EEMBC ConsumerMark2 of 37.2 while maintaining the low power benefits of a lower clock frequency. Full software development support is provided through evaluation boards and complete STAPI software (ST's Application Programming Interface). ST added that the core has power to spare to implement system services in software, reducing costs for STB manufacturers.

"With an increase of over 500 percent in on-chip processing power, we are providing consumer electronics manufacturers the capability to support the demanding interactive TV applications of today and tomorrow," commented Armando Caltabiano, VP and GM of the retail and satellite division of ST's Home Entertainment Group. "At the same time, the ability to save hardware by implementing more system functions in software will reduce production costs in this very price-sensitive market."

The STx5300 family provides support for the Linux OS, an emerging requirement for many operators, in addition to supporting legacy software. The new device embeds a USB2 Host interface which allows peripherals to be easily added to a basic STB to provide a low cost upgrade path for additional functionality. In particular, it would allow the STB in the field to become a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) by the addition of a hard disk drive.

The STx5300 decoders are available in a 27-by-27mm PBGA package, with a pin-out that allows a two-layer PCB design. Samples are already available, with volume production scheduled for Q3 2005. These new decoders are priced at $11 when purchased in production volumes.

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