STMicroelectronics Launches SoC for Entry-Level Cable Set-top Boxes

Thursday, March 25th, 2010 
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New chip demodulates, decodes and processes cable signals; adds value with support for USB and Ethernet interfaces

GENEVA — STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), one of the world’s leading suppliers of silicon chips for set-top boxes (STBs), today introduced a new variant of the STi5197 single-chip STB IC, a feature-optimized version targeting markets in China and Asia. This new variant, called the STi5197L is designed for cable STBs and enables efficient development and fast time-to-market for OEMs developing basic zapper STB products.

The STi5197L includes a QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) cable demodulator and is software compatible with, and shares the same architecture as, ST’s popular STi5197 chip. This compatibility enables consumer OEMs with development investment in the STi5197 to save significant product development time for their new zapper STBs.

“The STi5197L addresses the MPEG-2 zapper set-top-box market, where we still see strong demand for high-quality and cost-effective solutions,” said YU Lee, Vice-President of the Consumer Segment, Greater China and South Asia Region, STMicroelectronics. “This new chip will bring further cost reductions for manufacturers, and provide high-quality digital viewing while respecting low power requirements.”

The STi5197L supports DVB-C, including ITU-T J83 Annexes A/B/C. The chip also supports all smart-card-based security systems and includes a built-in smart-card interface, which will help to broaden markets for pay-TV services. Additionally, the device’s USB interface is ideal for general connectivity and an integrated Ethernet interface enables manufacturers to build hybrid STBs. An integrated audio subsystem provides digital and analog outputs and supporting MP3 and Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding.

“The digital migration story still has a long time to run,” said Mr. Cui Wei, General Manager of Inspur. “We see a strong market requirement for standard-definition set-top boxes, both premium and basic boxes. ST’s solutions provide high-performance CPUs, higher integration and support our requirements for low power. With the STi5197L, we can produce very competitive solutions, while optimizing our development resources. Our products are well placed to drive digital migration and to bring high-quality digital TV solutions to our customers.”

The STi5197L also benefits from common development tools with the STi5197 and the fully documented and supported programming interface STAPI. The STi5197L is available in a cost-optimized 15x15mm low-profile fine-pitch BGA (LFBGA) package.