STMicroelectronics Reveals Details of World's Most-Powerful Broadband Set-Top Box SoCThursday, September 8th, 2011
…Which Will Enable Tomorrow’s Fully-Connected Home
Technology integrates advanced multimedia, streaming and server capabilities with industry-leading security and power-conserving features to support future broadcast and broadband service innovations
GENEVA — STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, is expanding its market-leading set-top-box portfolio by today unveiling details of its forthcoming high-performance broadband set-top box system-on-chip IC for extraordinary home entertainment.
The chip, part of ST’s latest-generation home entertainment platform, will deliver market-leading energy efficiency, extreme high performance as well as best-in-class security features, along with support for a wide variety of open-source environments. With greater processing power than any other set-top box IC, the new chip supports value-added services such as state-of-the-art gaming, Over The Top (OTT) video playback via 3rd-parties over the Internet, the new app stores that are increasingly providing content and applications, and secure High-Definition streaming to all connected screens such as tablets, smartphones, PCs and TVs throughout the home.
“Consumers want to see the dream of a truly connected home become a reality. The connected home means seamlessly streaming content across our TV set, our tablet or our laptop with the highest performance and speed, while being able to access operators’ app stores as well as open-market stores, said Philippe Lambinet, Sr. Executive Vice President and General Manager Home Entertainment and Display Group. “Our latest generation of high-end set-top-box chips will act as the multimedia center of our home, connecting all of our devices and allowing the greatest user experience, such as 3D program guides and full motion 3DTV, Over-the-Top video and gaming from 3rd-parties over the Internet or from the operator and full, fast access to a world of applications.”
Codenamed Orly, the new IC features an advanced, energy-efficient multi-core ARM® Cortex™-A9 MPCore™ processor, which has unique capabilities enabling optimized playback of content and applications through software environments such as Android™, Qt and the HTML5 open internet standard. Orly will also support powerful Adobe Flash®-based gaming, media and data-driven applications that take advantage of an optimized version of Adobe® AIR® and Flash Player. Dedicated high-performance processing engines will deliver outstanding graphics rendering, multimedia experience and security robustness.
“The television screen is the next frontier for application development opening up amazing new opportunities for content publishers worldwide,” said Jennifer Carr, Senior Director, Business Development at Adobe. “By working closely with STMicroelectronics to optimize Flash Player and Adobe AIR for Orly, more than three million Flash developers will be able to bring next-generation applications like 3D games or premium video content to televisions.”
“ARM is delighted to see ST, a key leader in the digital home and set top box silicon market, announce the Orly product,” commented Lance Howarth, Executive Vice President, Marketing, ARM. “We believe the System on Chip solution ST has created using the ARM Cortex-A9 processor and Mali-400MP GPU sets the standard for future set top box design. The combination of these two complementary, power efficient technologies enables a rich media experience, supporting Pay TV and ‘Over the Top’ delivery which, is key to the future growth in this segment.”
Anticipating many opportunities for Orly in home server and networking products distributing content to a multitude of connected appliances, ST recognizes that strong security is critical. To meet that need, ST has leveraged its partnerships with leading security vendors to provide support for the most advanced conditional-access security and digital rights management (DRM).
Within the Orly project, ST has also assembled important supporting ecosystems, which ST’s Lambinet says are becoming more complex as markets for content and services continue to evolve. Orly will provide the flexibility to choose from a wide variety of middleware stacks, which connect components and their applications via computer software, in order to deliver the best possible user experience, filter data for privacy protection, provide interaction with other services, as well as offer assistance in handling secure transactions. Orly is able to support Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) on platforms such as Android™, taking advantage of Adobe runtimes. Since web applications contain many characteristics of desktop application software, users can navigate the web or play online games directly from their STB. Support for Adobe AIR will also allow users to download standalone Flash based applications via TV App Stores. IHS iSuppli anticipates the addressable market for apps delivered to connected TVs could grow to include many hundreds of millions of consumers over the next decade.
In addition to its advanced capabilities aimed at supporting value-added operator services and best-in-class security, Orly supports all the latest broadcast and video compression standards including H.264/MPEG2/4 AVC, Multi-View Coding (MVC) for 3D television, as well as VC1 and Google WebM, which are used to decode and play video content by streaming Internet sources such as web software, broadcast services and real-time video conferencing.
Orly also introduces enhancements such as dual 1080p 60Hz decoding, SVC decoding and HD encoding, which extend the video standards by enabling higher-quality video bit-streaming. Further advantages of Orly are that it also supports full High-Definition 3D at 60 frames/second per eye. This high frame frequency produces unique consecutive images to avoid motion blurring, especially in video games, making the images appear more fluid as in a film; it also guarantees users a superior image quality with unprecedented brightness, sharpness and clarity.
Orly extends the graphics experience for HD user interface and HD games by integrating a quad-core ARM Mali™-400 MP graphic processor unit (GPU). Combined with Faroudja video enhancement technology, as featured in existing high-performance TV and STB ICs from ST, Orly provides video quality comparable to high-end home theater systems.
Orly is sampling now to key customers and will be available in production in 2012.