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Broadcom points to Gb wireless as CES 2013 star

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DOCSIS 3.0? 802.11ac? Wi-Fi? Ethernet? UHDTV?

Henry Samueli, co-founder and CTO of Broadcom, during one-on-one with EE Times, identified Ultra HDTV, gigabit wireless and "Wi-Fi in everything" as three key trends at the Consumer Electronics Show of 2013.

Of the three, the gigabit data-rate connection (802.11ac) to home is particularly important for the electronics industry, Samueli observed. "It changes the game" for carriers, systems and home networks. "Gigabit to the home is a no-brainer. DOCSIS 3.0 is ready, and it will proliferate within the next three years," he said. The gigabit data rate in a home network is also happening via Ethernet, power line, gigabit Wi-Fi and MoCA, he added.

"While we are still far from enabling gigabit wireless on clients (handhelds)," Samueli believes it would eventually have an impact on how chips inside a handset are partitioned.

Samueli predicted that the gigabit connection could move to "the cloud" some of the processing C be it graphics rendering or display processingcurrently executed in a client's CPU, prompting the industry to redefine what CPUs in a handset should do. Speaking of today's chip companies racing to add more processing cores to handhelds, Samueli said, "My view is we may be overdoing the CPU war."

Following is an excerpt of the conversation with Samueli at the CES.

EE Times: Please name the three hottest things at the show this year.

Samueli: First and foremost, I found Ultra HDTV (UHDTV) to be the highlight of the entire CES this year. It is significant. I think this year's show let people see a glimpse of the future.

EE Times: Could you explain why almost every UHDTV demo on the show floor was about snow-covered mountains, Swiss villages and lazy rivers meandering through green valleys? I saw only one video clip showing a soccer match, in which the images of players were crisp but the movement of the ball strangely a little jerky.

Samueli: [laugh] It's probably because the demo is using footage based on 24 frames per second. You need 60 frames per second to show fast moving action in sports on 4k x 2k TV. The bit rate to screen is not fast enough either. Current HDMI cable handles only 24 frames per second.

EE Times: So, we are waiting for HDMI 2.0?

Samueli: Yes. You need to upgrade your connectivity to HDMI 2.0. The spec, designed to handle the higher frame rates, is already done and available. You will see HDMI 2.0-compliant chips available within a year. I see these as start-up issues that will get sorted out over time.

EE Times: What's the second hottest thing you saw at the show?

Samueli: Gigabit wireless . . . [pause] although this is more about us at Broadcom.

EE Times: Why is that important?

Samueli: With 5G Wi-Fi (802.11ac operating on the 5GHz band), wireless media sharing and the whole home video distribution have finally become a reality.

For the first time, I think that carriers C cable operators and DSL guys C are convinced that they can deliver reliable HDTV programming throughout the home. Carrier-grade video content comes to media gateway, distributed to set-tops, notebook computers and smartphones.

Further, with the Miracast protocol (peer-to-peer wireless screencast standard created by the Wi-Fi Alliance) in place, people can also wirelessly display what they see on their handheld (tablet or smartphone) on their big-screen TV.

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