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Multistandard native 1080/60p HD decoders target next-gen STBs

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

Keywords:high-definition decoders? 1? 080/60p? audio processor? SoCs?

Horizon Semiconductors has announced what it claims as the industry's first single-chip, multistandard, native 1,080/60p HD decoders for triple-play/quad-play cable, satellite and IPTV STB, digital video recorders and home media centers.

The Hz4220 cable/IPTV and Hz3220 satellite SoCs integrate real-time dual-channel multistandard native 1080/60p high-definition decoder, audio processor, application CPU, 2D/3D graphics accelerator, display and de-interlacer processor, transport processor and a security processor in a single chip. Moreover, the Hz4220 and Hz3220 embed a variety of advanced interfaces and security features targeted to meet the specific design characteristics of the Cable/IPTV and Satellite markets respectively. These highly integrated SoCs enable end-users to benefit from the lower cost, smaller size and improved features, as well as superior viewing experience of next-generation STBs and media players. Horizon's Hz4220 and Hz3220 are provided with comprehensive software stacks and reference hardware platforms designed to significantly accelerate OEM/ODM development cycle.

"The conventional wisdom is that cable, satellite and IPTV broadcast will eventually adopt the highest video standard available, and will thus evolve to 1,080/60p transmission," said Amir Morad, president and CEO of Horizon Semiconductors. "The release of Hz4220 and Hz3220 low-cost native 1,080/60p decoder SoC are kicking-off this transition, which will be further leveraged and complemented by our location-free-TV transcoding products and technologies soon to be deployed in several systems throughout the world."

According to IdaRose Sylvester, senior industry analyst for IDC, "We believe native 1,080/60p decoding and transcoding technologies will be major features in the evolution of location-free triple/quad-play set-top box solutions. These features will enable broadband operators worldwide to provide the very best integrated video, voice and high-speed data services anywhere, and semiconductor companies who enable these challenging features will be instrumental in making this market happen."

High integration
The Hz4220 and Hz3220 are designed with the highest level of integration, embedding a variety of cutting edge technologies such as: Powerful multi stream decoder engine, supporting real-time dual channel HD decoding or 12 channel SD decoding simultaneously, using leading compression standards including: H.264 (AVC) Main and High Profile up to Level 4.2, VC-1 (SMPTE 421M) Advanced Profile at Level 3, DV, HDV, MPEG-2 at resolutions of up to 1,080/60p (1,920 x 1,080, 60fps).

The device's advanced display processor allows multiple plane true color blending, sophisticated polyphase scaler supporting flexible video resizing, motion adaptive high-definition de-interlacing, advanced motion-compensated spatio-temporal noise reduction, as well as DTV picture enhancements providing the best playback performance.

With high definition (1,920 x 1,080), 2D and 3D graphics accelerator, the device can support popular standards such as X Window System and OpenGL. Multichannel multiformat audio decoder, and special audio effects processor, supporting leading standards such as: MPEG-1 Layer I, II and III (MP3), Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, AAC/AAC-LC/AAC-HE, DTS, DTS-HD (DTS++), WMA and WMA Pro.

The devices feature high performance application CPU with MMU dedicated exclusively for running standard operating systems such as Linux or Microsoft Windows-CE as well as enabling customer's specific tasks, in addition to a dedicated coprocessor designed to materially offload the main application CPU. Another unique feature is a multistream high bandwidth transport processor, designed to process up to 7 streams concurrently as well as processing program/transport streams from HDD or IP network. Wide variety of advanced connectivity and peripherals including 10/100/1G Ethernet, USB 2.0, IDE/ATAPI, SMPTE-292, Flash, I?C, SPI/SSI, UART and others. DVI/HDMI output with integrated HDCP security. IEEE 1394 (FireWire) with integrated DTCP security (on Hz4220).

Finally, the device offers a host of features: IR and UHF remote control processor supporting IR/UHF keyboards and IR-Blaster. This is OpenCable ready with integrated CableCard/DVB-CI interface and SCARD/MCARD support (on Hz4220) and has world-class content security processor with embedded secure OTP memory, enabling end-to-end security and digital rights management of media content, in strict compliance with CA/DRM schemes commonly used in the cable/IPTV (Hz4220) and satellite (Hz3220) marketplace.

Furthermore, Hz4220 supports requirements of Cable TV downloadable conditional access system (DCAS), enabling DCAS-based leased and retail "digital cable ready" STBs. Powerful, easy to use API, with the ability to accelerate and off-load host application code.

To facilitate faster time-to-market, Horizon is also announcing the immediate availability of the HzR4220/HzR3220 reference design kits. These fully operational cable/satellite STB products include PCB schematics, full software design kit and documentation.

- Dennis Barker
Digital TV Designline

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