STMicroelectronics Pty Ltd and MaxLinear Inc. introduce a reference design aimed at accelerating the adoption of next-generation Ultra HD set top boxes (STB) and gateways for satellite pay TV operators worldwide.
MaxLinear Inc. is a leading provider of integrated radio frequency (RF) and mixed-signal integrated circuits for broadband communications applications. STMicroelectronics is a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications.
The reference design accelerates OEM development of the next-generation of STBs and gateways, enabling satellite operators to deliver Ultra HD content using the high-efficiency video-coding (HEVC/ H.265) standard. The advanced design combines next-generation technology from ST and MaxLinear to support demanding satellite-operator service offerings, including multiple decode, multi-channel personal video recorder (PVR), video-on-demand (VOD), multiple transcoding for streaming to second-screen clients and state-of-the-art graphics, even while maintaining very-low power consumption.
The reference design leverages MaxLinear’s best-in-class MxL5xx family of satellite Full-Spectrum Capture (FSC) receivers, and ST’s pin-compatible STiH312 Cannes and STiH412 Monaco set-top box system-on-chip (SoC) decoders. The platform supports a full array of end products from HD HEVC-ready STBs with multiple-channel decoding to high-end servers with 4K Ultra HD resolution and HEVC decode, along with the display and real-time transcoding of numerous HD streams simultaneously.
Both device families are pin-compatible, making the reference design scalable from four to eight channels and flexible to support either full HD or 4K Ultra HD with or without transcode. The platform can also be adapted for cable MSOs using the pin-compatible MxL2xx family of cable FSC multi-channel receivers.
The FSC front-end allows satellite operators to support a range of multi-channel features, including fast channel-change time, video streaming to multiple televisions or IP devices, flexible record/watch combinations and progressive VOD in background. Optional terrestrial front-end modules based on MaxLinear’s market-leading terrestrial receiver technology can be added to the platform to enable capture of over-the-air terrestrial broadcast channels.
The Cannes/Monaco SoC design is based on ARM multi-core processors, superior 2D/3D graphics performance with a Mali GPU, integrated hardware Faroudja multimedia subsystem with HEVC-capable robust video decoder, high-performance video encoder, and high-quality video pre/post processing. The Cannes/Monaco SoC families provide multiple interfaces including PCIe supporting Wi-Fi connectivity, smart-card interfaces, 6Gbit/s Gen 3 eSATA interfaces, USB2/3, SPI, I2C, SDIO and DDR3 memory support for flexible and affordable bill-of-materials HW designs. A security toolbox for premium content delivery is provided to optimise performance for premium content. The low power draw of both chipset families combined with support for active standby mode enables industry-leading low-power solutions.
According to Herve Mathieu, Box and Gateways Business Line Director, Unified Platform Division, STMicroelectronics, Ultra HD provides the next-level user experience that will enable extraordinary opportunities for satellite broadcasters to maximise the value of their extensive portfolio of premium content, with the gateway reference design assuring powerful and flexible platforms to revolutionise the satellite TV viewing experience.