MaxLinear and ST show UltraHD HEVC satellite reference design

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
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Reference Design from MaxLinear and STMicroelectronics to Speed Multi-Channel Ultra HD HEVC Satellite STB & Gateway Deployments

  • Combines ST’s “Cannes/Monaco” family of HEVC Decoder SoCs with MaxLinear Full-Spectrum Capture™ Four- or Eight-Channel MxL5xx Front-End ICs

CARLSBAD, Calif. and GENEVA, Switzerland — MaxLinear Inc. (NYSE: MXL), a leading provider of integrated radio frequency (RF) and mixed-signal integrated circuits for broadband communications applications, and STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, announce a reference design aimed at accelerating the adoption of next-generation Ultra HD set-top boxes (STB) and gateways for satellite pay-TV operators worldwide.

The reference design accelerates OEM development of the next-generation of STBs and gateways, enabling satellite operators to deliver Ultra HD content using the high-efficiency video-coding (HEVC/ H.265) standard. The advanced design, combining next-generation technology from ST and MaxLinear, supports the most demanding satellite-operator service offerings, including multiple decode, multi-channel personal video recorder (PVR), video-on-demand (VOD), multiple transcoding for streaming to second-screen clients and state-of-the-art graphics, even while maintaining very-low power consumption.

The reference design leverages MaxLinear’s best-in-class MxL5xx family of satellite Full-Spectrum Capture(TM) (FSC(TM)) receivers, and ST’s pin-compatible STiH312 “Cannes” and STiH412 “Monaco” set-top box system-on-chip (SoC) decoders. The platform supports a full array of end products, from HD HEVC-ready STBs with multiple-channel decoding to high-end servers with “4K” Ultra HD resolution and HEVC decode, along with the display and real-time transcoding of numerous HD streams simultaneously.

Both device families are pin-compatible, making the reference design scalable from four to eight channels and flexible to support either full HD or 4K Ultra HD with or without transcode. The platform can also be adapted for cable MSOs1 using the pin-compatible MxL2xx family of cable FSC multi-channel receivers.

The FSC front-end allows satellite operators to support a range of multi-channel features, including fast channel-change time, video streaming to multiple televisions or IP devices, flexible record/watch combinations and progressive VOD in background. Optional terrestrial front-end modules based on MaxLinear’s market-leading terrestrial receiver technology can be added to the platform to enable capture of over-the-air terrestrial broadcast channels.

The Cannes/Monaco SoC design is based on ARM multi-core processors, superior 2D/3D graphics performance with a Mali(TM) GPU, integrated hardware Faroudja® multimedia subsystem with HEVC-capable robust video decoder, high-performance video encoder, and high-quality video pre/post processing. The Cannes/Monaco SoC families provide multiple interfaces: PCIe™ supporting Wi-Fi connectivity, smart-card interfaces, 6Gbit/s Gen 3 eSATA interfaces, USB2/3, SPI, I2C, SDIO and DDR3 memory support for flexible and affordable bill-of-materials HW designs. A security toolbox for premium content delivery is provided to optimize performance for premium content. The low power draw of both chipset families combined with support for active standby mode enables industry-leading low-power solutions.

“Ultra HD provides the next-level user experience that will enable extra-ordinary opportunities for satellite broadcasters to maximize the value of their extensive portfolio of premium content. This ST/MaxLinear gateway reference design will assure powerful and flexible platforms to revolutionize the satellite TV viewing experience,” said Herve Mathieu, Box and Gateways Business Line Director, Unified Platform Division, STMicroelectronics. “With ST’s leadership position and the successful global adoption of the “Cannes/Monaco” platform, we are ideally placed to support satellite operators worldwide in the transition to those new ground-breaking platforms.”

“Support for 4K content is going to be a priority for satellite operators in 2015 and this design will set the bar for both the highest performance and lowest power consumption in the gateway segment,” said Brian Sprague, MaxLinear’s Vice President and General Manager. “With our FSC tuners and the performance of ST’s 4K/HEVC SoCs, this design is ideal for first mover OEMs in this market.”