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New chipsets at IBC embrace HEVC, 4K processing

New chipsets from established system-on-a-chip (SoC) developers AMD and Broadcom were unveiled at the recent IBC Show that provide improved performance for Ultra HD set-top boxes, direct broadcast satellites, home gateways and multiple portable screen types. With these HEVC-enabled devices, operators can now substantially reduce the bandwidth required for video transmission, offer additional channels on IP, cable or satellite networks, and deliver these services to more locations throughout the home on managed or unmanaged devices.

Broadcom announced a new series of chipsets that enable operators and OEMs to deploy Ultra HD-compatible hardware and software. These new set-top box (STB) devices for satellite, cable and IP integrate support for the advanced high-efficiency video codec (HEVC) standard H.265 that will allow existing high-speed data networks to better serve the higher data throughput required to decode and display Ultra HD content.

The HEVC chip offerings support Ultra HD/4K up to Main10 profile at up to 60fps and also feature HDMI 2.0 digital TV interface connections. Broadcom said that by leveraging its Trellis set-top box software framework (with “hardware sandboxing,” a security mechanism for separating running programs), platforms based on these new devices could facilitate rapid integration of new services through intelligent system partitioning and management.

Broadcom’s new series of SoCs include the BCM7251 for multi-HD/Ultra HD IP set-top boxes and the BCM7366 with a direct broadcast satellite Full Band Capture front-end receiver, as well as two corresponding MoCA 2.0-enabled STB SoCs for cable and satellite video gateways, the BCM7439 and BCM7376.

The BCM7438 is also available as an HEVC MoCA 2.0 companion IP client for use with MoCA 2.0 video gateways. When combined with Broadcom’s previously announced flagship UltraHD SoC, the BCM7445, this new series of leading-edge 28 nanometer (nm) process technology chips spans a full range of device capabilities, from a quad-core ARMv7 Brahma15-powered transcoding gateway to dual-core MoCA clients. The company also announced two new 28 nm direct broadcast satellite (DBS) systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) products.

Engineered with second-generation digital video broadcasting (DVB-S2) technology and tightly integrated Full Band Capture, Broadcom’s BCM4548 for home gateways and BCM4562 for headless SAT > IP applications provide global operators with two new devices for increasing HDTV and interactive services for subscribers around the world.

Broadcom’s new SAT > IP SoC helps distribute satellite-broadcasted content to in-home IP-connected STBs and smart TVs using industry connectivity standards. By integrating two Full Band Capture tuners and eight DVB-S2 demodulators, the new BCM4562 device supports industry standard software, conditional access and digital rights management (DRM) technologies, and can receive satellite signals and distribute them as internet protocol (IP) content.

This allows anyone with an IP-enabled client multimedia device such as a smartphone, tablet, gaming console or smart TV to watch satellite-broadcast content on any screen in the home.

Meanwhile, AMD announced it is collaborating with Adobe, Autodesk, Blackmagic Design, Dell, Fusion-io and Supermicro to develop video production workflows with a variety of 4K sources using AMD FirePro professional graphics. All of these companies demonstrated compute- and graphics-intensive animation, display, and content creation supported by a host of creative hardware and software collaborations.

At the IBC Show, AMD exhibited what it called the first public showing of real-time 4K color correction with Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 10 and Supermicro with multiple GPU support, and the first implementation of edge blending, image warping and color correction with Scalable Display solution based on AMD FirePro DOPP (Display Output Post-Processing).

AMD also announced a new addition to its 2013 Elite Mobility processor family, expanding the options available for users seeking HD entertainment, power efficiency and accelerated performance in small screen touch notebooks, tablets and hybrids.

The AMD Elite Quad-Core A4-1350 accelerated processor is the second quad-core accelerated processing unit (APU) in this category, with an estimated average power at or below 3W for many common use cases. The new APU is expected to begin shipping to customers in October 2013. Other AMD Elite Mobility APUs are available in systems today, including the HP Pavilion11 TouchSmart and the Acer Aspire V5.