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Broadcom gears 40nm for HD handsets

Posted: 22 Dec 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Broadcom 40nm? media processor? HD video handset? Wi-Fi?

Separately, Kim said Broadcom will have an initial library of 28 nm devices available for its designers by June using high-k metal gates and an advanced strained silicon process. The company has completed design of a test chip to evaluate 28nm process technology, he added.

Wi-Fi TVs at CES
A handful of TVs will emerge at CES that build in Wi-Fi to link to Web video services ranging from Hulu to YouTube, said Broadcom's CEO Scott McGregor. At the last CES, Vizio was among the first of the large TV makers to build in Wi-Fi, McGregor noted.

"I think there was a collective 'oh oh' from the industry," he said, predicting Korea's TV makers will quickly follow suit. "I do think Wi-Fi and software widgets will become a check box item on TVs going forward," he added.

Broadcom's high end Wi-Fi chips use 802.11n in a 2x2 MIMO antenna configuration today. That's suitable for TVs trying to access video or pictures from a smart phone or a home network, said one Broadcom representative.

The 60GHz technology recently announced by the Wireless Gigabit Alliance "is the ultimate end game," said Robert Rango, general manager of Broadcom's wireless connectivity group. Competing 60GHz technology from startup SiBeam and its WirelessHD group may have a short term play, he added. Broadcom belongs to both groups.

Broadcom will also show at CES its Bluetooth chips used to enable a new class of two-way universal remote controllers. In addition, it will demonstrate an end-to-end stereo 3D system, said Dan Marotta, general manager of Broadcom's broadband group.

3DTV "is another big growth driver," said Marotta. "Hopefully by holiday season next year you will be able to buy these products," he said noting they may only add $100 to the price of a TV's BOM in the form of upgraded controllers and codecs.

Broadcom also used the analyst event to announce two other chips. Persona is a 667MHz ARM11-based controller with Ethernet and USB peripherals for portable media players and digital picture frames. It comes with a separate media processor based on the company's 65nm VideoCore III.

The BCM7630 is a single chip Blu-ray disk controller that combines a servo controller and a media processor. It uses two DDR3 memories rather than four DDR2 chips needed for the previous two-chip set. The integrated device should help lower costs of Blu-ray drives, a major factor for uptake of the high def disks.

Separately, Broadcom revealed it worked with China ODM Desay in Shenzhen to design a $179 Blu-ray player marketed under the Insignia house brand of retailer Best Buy. The system shaves more than $100 off the costs of competing players from companies such as LG Electronics.

The effort is an example of an increasing trend of chip makers creating full system designs for retailers and service providers interested in hitting low cost markets. "We did everything needed to bring to this player to market, including the software," said Marotta.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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