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China's AVS wins Broadcom, Conexant support

Posted: 06 Jun 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:AVS codec? Audio Video Coding Standard? China market?

More top-tier chipmakers are offering support for Audio Video Coding Standard (AVS), China's homespun codec that will be used in the domestic IPTV, satellite and possibly cable TV market.

Both Broadcom Corp. and Conexant Systems Inc. are working on chips for AVS, joining STMicroelectronics that already supports the codec in software, and is spinning a hardware-optimized version that will be ready by Q4.

In that same time period, one of Broadcom's 65nm-based products will include custom hardware accelerators to support AVS, said Aidan O'Rourke, a Broadcom executive in charge of IPTV products.

Conexant plans to have its silicon ready for sampling by Q1 2008, a spokeswoman said. Texas Instruments is also able to offer DSP-based support.

In a recent report, market researcher iSuppli noted that AVS will coexist with H.264 in the China market. However, it expects H.264 to be dominant in the long run, capturing about 60 percent of the IPTV market by 2011.

That will largely depend on China Telecom. Its rival, China Netcom, is officially committed to AVS and is favoring suppliers that will offer a free upgrade path. China Telecom, however, favors H.264. But there is a chance that politicking may trump business and technical considerations if the government, which controls China Telecom, "suggests" that it use AVS. China Telecom is already preparing to test the AVS codec in one field trial this month.

There are also preparations being made by cable operators to possibly switch away from MPEG-2 and H.264 and over to AVS. "There has been no official announcement, except with China Netcom for AVS, but most of the (cable) operators, especially the big ones, are trying to be prepared when it comes," said W.S. Kim, head of China STB operations for STMicroelectronics.

A handful of China chip companies are also targeting AVS for STBs. SVA Co and Beijing-based United Source Coding Co. have developed an encoder and Longjing Microelectronics Co., Grandview Semiconductor and Celestial Semiconductor are working on decoders.

- Mike Clendenin
EE Times

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