Single-Chip Set-Top Box Aims to Spur IPTV Rollout

Microsoft and several manufacturers have announced the availability of new Internet television set-top boxes with advanced system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs, responding to demands from network operators for home devices with embedded systems.

Cisco Systems, Koninklijke Philips Electronics, Motorola and Tatung are offering SoC-based IP television set-top boxes designed to meet the needs of carriers deploying the Microsoft IPTV Edition software platform, the companies said Tuesday in a joint statement.

The systems include chipsets from Sigma Designs and STMicroelectronics.

"The early set-top boxes were based on PC architectures, but what carriers really wanted were set-top boxes with embedded systems," said Rudy Roth, senior director of product strategy in Philips’ consumer electronics telco division. "The new boxes meet this demand."

Integrated into the boxes are several components, including the demodulator, MPEG-2 decoder, video output and the processor, according to Roth. Security components for Microsoft’s software are also included.

In addition, the new set-top boxes are equipped with technology to enable DVD-quality video at speeds up to 1.5Mbps over ADSL2+ (asymmetric DSL) lines, Roth said.

The fully integrated home systems are designed to help carriers roll out IPTV services more easily, quickly and cost-efficiently, the statement said.

-John Blau, IDG News Service (Dusseldorf Bureau)

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