More than 45 million TVs in North America are still connected to analogue cable service, but increasingly cable operators are feeling a requirement to convert these customers to basic digital HD and offer innovative services to compete with the evolving raft of IP and over-the-top (OTT) service providers.
Semiconductor specialist Broadcom is targeting this dilemma for North American cable operators with a cable digital-transport adapter (DTA) system-on-a-chip (SoC), which includes integrated Full-Band Capture digital tuner technology. The idea is to enable enhanced basic digital HD services, reduce operational support costs and deliver enhanced user features such as faster IP channel changes, rich user interfaces and IP video streaming.
Broadcom's BCM7576 is the company's fifth-generation DTA SoC, and can deliver up to four simultaneous programmes by directly digitising the entire 1GHz cable spectrum, replacing multiple tuners with a single full-band capture digital tuner. Also, an integrated IP mini server converts linear content to IP and streams it with DLNA across a home network while also providing HD video to a connected TV.
"Broadcom's breakthrough E-DTA offering is designed to provide cable operators with a competitive advantage, offering enhanced basic digital cable services to consumers with streaming to a range of in-home IP video consumer electronics devices," said Dan Marotta, Broadcom's executive vice president and general manager of the broadband communications group. "With the expansion of our product line, North American operators have a compelling new option to reduce costs by digitising valuable spectrum and providing compelling new services for consumers."
The SoC's offers OpenGLES2.0 3D GPU support for immersive graphics rich user interfaces; four QAM demodulators support multi-tuner experiences; integrated power management hardware to support deep sleep and next-generation EnergyStar requirements; Universal HD (uDTA) Security, CRI-DPA and DTCP-IP support for switchable cardless security for both Cisco and Motorola headend networks, required by North American cable operators; encryption for basic HD services to meet FCC requirements; and advanced diagnostics with an RF spectrum analyser.