MaxLinear MxL683 selected for ST's ISDB-T STB reference design for Latin America

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
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STMicroelectronics’ STiH207 reference design includes MaxLinear’s MxL683 single-chip ISDB-T receiver on-board; provides a cost-optimized, future-proof solution for free-to-air retail and government-subsidized STBs

CARLSBAD, Calif. — MaxLinear Inc. (NYSE: MXL), a leading provider of integrated radio frequency (RF) and mixed-signal integrated circuits for broadband communications applications, today announced that its MxL683 has been selected by STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) for the STiH207 reference design, a small form factor, cost-optimized set-top box (STB) design for Latin America.

The design collaboration between MaxLinear and STMicroelectronics is aimed at facilitating the successful switch off of analog television services in the region, thereby allowing regional governments to auction the RF spectrum for 4G-LTE mobile high-speed broadband services.

The STiH207 reference design is an integrated set-top box hardware and software solution in a very small form factor. The platform enables manufacturers to bring low-cost digital set-top boxes to market very quickly, and also provides a scalable platform to add advanced features. The high-performance chipset architecture and powerful CPU can enable hybrid broadcast plus broadband (over-the-top) video services or advanced middleware applications (such as Ginga® for the Latin American market) with the same, common platform.

In Brazil, the national telecommunications agency (ANATEL) recently passed legislation to accelerate the adoption of digital television and release the 700MHz RF spectrum for mobile broadband services. The availability of low-cost converter boxes is essential to meet this objective and enable the government to subsidize a large number of boxes for low-income families that cannot afford them. The digital converter boxes are necessary to ensure that homes will continue to receive free television services after the planned analog blackout, which begins in 2015.

“Governments throughout Latin America are following Brazil’s lead and launching programs to free up the ultra-high frequency UHF spectrum for LTE,” said Brian Sprague, Vice President and General Manager, Broadband and Consumer Products at MaxLinear. “These governments can generate a tremendous amount of money by auctioning off this valuable spectrum to the private sector, and the set-top box solutions we are developing with ST are helping to make this happen.”

“Collaboration with MaxLinear enables us to deliver a best-in-class STB system solution to our customers,” said Hervé Mathieu, Head of Box and Gateway Business Lines at STMicroelectronics. “MaxLinear’s market-leading ISDB-T tuner-demodulator technology is a perfect complement to the STiH207 HD STB platform and provides field-proven RF performance at a very affordable price point.”

The analog switch off, which will occur in most Latin America countries between 2016 and 2018, is expected to drive substantial demand for new digital TVs and set-top boxes in the retail market. NexTV LATAM Consulting, in its DTT in Latin America 2010-2015 report, has estimated that free-to-air TV will remain the most popular choice for TV reception in Latin America and will be used in more than 100 million households in 2017.

Technical Highlights

The MxL683 is a highly integrated, single-chip ISDB-T compliant receiver with best-in-class RF tuner and demodulator performance. The MxL683 offers the highest level of integration and the lowest power consumption of any ISDB-T solution in the market. Unlike other competitive devices, MxL683 has been extensively field tested and optimized to ensure robust over-the-air TV reception in the difficult terrestrial reception environments commonly found throughout Brazil and other Latin American countries.

The STiH207 uses the latest process technology to provide a cost-effective, feature-rich, highly integrated SoC for set-top boxes (STBs). It is targeted at the advanced decoding STB market across all networks (cable/satellite/DTT/x-DSL/IP) worldwide and is suitable for both operator markets (with advanced security) and retail markets. The STiH207 broadens market access to HD zappers, personal video recorders (PVR), Internet protocol (IP) clients and dual-HD boxes supporting connected-TV services such as Internet protocol television (IPTV), information channels and over-the-top (OTT) video, gaming, catch-up TV and social networking.