STMicroelectronics Enables Economical 'Zapper' Set-Top Boxes for Worldwide Digital-TV Access

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 
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Single chip consolidates proven demodulator and H.264/MPEG2 decoder for cable, terrestrial and Internet-TV, unlocking economies of scale and cutting time to market

GENEVA — STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a world leader in set-top box ICs, has introduced a single-chip demodulator/decoder for Internet-TV, terrestrial or cable set-top boxes, to increase accessibility to digital television in growing markets such as China, India, Latin America and African territories, as well as countries where analog switch-off is ongoing.

The STi7167 enables entry-level ‘zapper’ boxes using fewer components, saving bill-of-materials and assembly costs. Manufacturers can achieve additional savings by eliminating multiple product variants, as the chip is capable of receiving Internet-TV, cable or terrestrial signals. The integrated H.264/MPEG 2 decoder uses the same design as ST’s standalone STi7105 decoder. In addition, for increased flexibility and cost reduction, the device integrates user-selectable DVB-C and DVB-T demodulators. This allows product developers to re-use existing software for designs using the proven STi7105, thereby lowering development and support costs and also shortening time to market for zappers using the more highly integrated STi7167.

Designers can create very low power consumption designs using this device family. For example, a set-top box with standby power consumption of less than one watt is possible because of the device’s low passive standby power consumption of less than 200mW.

Alongside the STi7167, which is capable of decoding High-Definition (HD) signals, ST has also announced the STi5267 integrated demodulator/decoder for Standard-Definition (SD) boxes. Pin compatibility between the two devices allows manufacturers to establish a common platform for SD and HD products, thereby benefiting from further economies of scale. Software from boxes using the STi7167, or the STi7105 decoder or its SD equivalent the STi5205, can also be shared bringing the benefit of additional cost savings.

The STi7167 is in mass production now, in a 27mm x 27mm BGA package, and priced at $15 in quantities over 10,000 devices.