Trident and ARM Join Forces to Deliver a Web-Enabled Set-top Box Platform

Friday, September 10th, 2010 
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New Set-top Box Platform Converges Broadband and Broadcast Capabilities To Deliver On-line VOD and Broadcast Video Services through Web User Interfaces to the TV

SUNNYVALE, Calif. and CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom — Trident Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRID) , a leading provider of set-top box and TV semiconductor solutions, and ARM (LSE: ARM; Nasdaq: ARMH), announced today at IBC, Amsterdam that they have brought together all the key Web 2.0 and broadcast elements on a powerful set-top box (STB) platform that can enable consumers to seamlessly view TV programming, run rich internet applications, browse websites and share content anytime and anywhere in the home. This new platform not only delivers an immersive and interactive home multimedia experience, but also allows developers and operators to target their content package offering and services to maximise ARPU and advertising revenue.

“By combining an industry-leading STB platform with the powerful Cortex™-A Series of processors, Trident and ARM bring the web-based runtime and user interface technologies traditionally found on PCs and mobile phones into the home entertainment system,” said Tony Francesca, senior vice president and general manager of the Trident Set-top Box Business Unit. “We are pleased to be the first to offer this powerful new platform and look forward to continuing to deliver the most advanced multimedia experiences into the home.”

“The integration of all the key components to enable a robust, internet media experience at home from the comfort of your sofa is a highly visible demonstration of the growing momentum behind the Cortex-A Series of processors in STBs,” said Ian Drew, EVP, Marketing, ARM. “Our leadership position in the development of high-performance, low-power multi-core technology enables ARM to provide the scalable performance demanded by next-generation consumer devices.”

This ARM/Trident initiative provides system developers with the most comprehensive platform to create solutions for internet connected STB applications. Trident has optimized its industry-first ARM-based 45nm broadcast integrated SoC family to take advantage of the high-performance ARM Cortex-A9 processor. The ARM Cortex-A9 processor provides a scalable high performance processor required to enable the streaming of high-bandwidth broadband and broadcast content into homes, while significantly improving power efficiency when compared to alternative solutions.

With the ongoing convergence among consumer electronics products, there is increased demand for the transparency of content and data sharing across different screen sizes whether at home, in the car or on the move. The ability to reuse the wide software support for the ARM Cortex-A9 processors enables activities currently going on in other segments to be reused in the STB space.

“Adobe is working with ARM & Trident to optimize the ARM JIT performance for ActionScript 3.0 which is used in the Flash Platform and provides the fundamental engine for driving our runtimes in digital home devices,” said Jennifer Carr, senior director, business Development at Adobe.

An extensive ecosystem is being developed around the internet-connected STB, including the following elements:

  • Qt, which runs on the Trident STB (Cortex-A9 processor based) platform, provides a consistent user experience from mobile to home. Qt includes browser and widgets functionalities which run on top of QtWebKit, and extensive performance optimization work has been done for Qt running on ARM architectures.
  • Qt is also the development framework for MeeGo and the ARM partnership has already done significant work on this platform around the ARM Cortex-A9 processor.
  • Core runtime and plug in components that power the Adobe® Flash® Platform for the Digital Home have been optimized for the ARM Cortex-A9, including ActionScript 3.0 JIT.
  • HTML5, a new Web 2.0 standard that incorporates features like video playback, has also been optimised for ARM and will be key for next generation Web type services.
  • The Google Android operating system, designed for the ARM architecture and including an ARM Native Development Kit (NDK), ARM targeted JIT as part of the Dalvik Java application framework and support for the Adobe Flash Player 10.1 web plugin.
  • Linaro, a not-for profit company, focuses on the lower software layers and provides the best tools and Linux development experience on ARM, quickening the time to market for Linux based distributions.