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Video processor promises to triple digital spectrum

Posted: 09 Nov 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:BroadLogic? video processor? video processors? processors? processor?

BroadLogic Network Technologies, a provider of chips for broadband networks, introduced early this week a video processor that enables cable operators to triple their digital spectrum.

According to the BroadLogic, the BL80000 TeraPIX chip is a massively parallel, multi-channel video processor, capable of decoding dozens of digital video streams and generating a full analog and digital service tier. The TeraPIX processor powers a new type of residential gateway, installed outside or just inside a residence, which allows the network to be all-digital, while subscribers continue to receive cable-ready analog video, digital video, high speed data and voice services, the company said. Cable system operators can use this technology to take their networks "all digital," tripling their digital capacity, the company said.

"The BroadLogic TeraPIX video processor is the cable industry's best path to tripling their digital bandwidth while sustaining the cable-ready competitive advantage they enjoy today," said BroadLogic CEO Danial Faizullabhoy in a statement. "With the release of the TeraPIX video processor, we are completely focused on working with our partners to accelerate the delivery of products to leading cable operators."

Most cable operators' core video service is an 80-or-so channel lineup of the most popular broadcast and cable channels, BroadLogic said. Modern cable-ready TVs, DVRs, VCRs, PCs with tuner cards can receive these channels directly, without need for a set-top box, the company said. But the channels take up a disproportionate amount of bandwidthas much of 500MHz of a typical 750MHz network, according to BroadLogic. To get this bandwidth back, operators can deliver every channel in their lineup in digital formatbut conventional approaches to viewing these digital channels would require their subscribers to install a digital set-top box and remote for every cable-ready device in the home.

The BroadLogic TeraPIX video processor decodes bandwidth-conserving digital video signals delivered by a cable operator, and generating 80-plus high-quality channels of television, according to BroadLogic.

Mike Arden, a principal broadband analyst at market research firm ABI Research, said cable operators will face "unrelenting" pressure from telecommunications providers.

"MSOs [multiple system operators], who have enjoyed a healthy competitive advantage as fiber inched its way to the home, face the competitive fight of their lives," Arden said. "Growing demand for HD, VOD, voice and much higher-speed Internet will require conversion of much or all of today's analog spectrum to digital sooner than later to remain competitive with telcos."

According to BroadLogic, the TeraPIX video processor was designed from the ground up with guidance from broadband industry. The chip amounts to what some MSO executives call "cable's Holy Grail"a cost-effective way to reclaim more than 450MHz of spectrum without deploying STBs ubiquitously, BroadLogic claimed.

The BL80000 TeraPIX chip is available in sample quantities to qualified product developers immediately. Pricing in sample quantities of up to 1,000 units is $300 per unit, BroadLogic said.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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