Broadcom releases new 4K ultra HD and 5G WiFI chips for 4K-Ready media devices

by on March 5, 2015

Stephan Jukic – March 05, 2015

Chip-maker Broadcom has used the recent Cablelabs Winter Conference in Orlando, Florida to roll out a new series of 4K SoC (system on a chip) chips for the latest generations of TV set-top boxes that are becoming increasingly popular as a source of streaming and VoD media in both HD and Ultra HD.

The company is also releasing a new diagnostic analyzer for cable operators and a 5G WiFi combo chip that will also be a helpful technology for the proliferation of streamed 4K media.

As far as the two new ultra HD 4K chipsets, they go by the model references BCM7448S and BCM7449S respectively. These two SoC chips are designed for use with set-tops boxes, gateways and video clients in helping them integrate new technologies for maximal connectivity and compatibility with UHD media. These standards include the Multimedia Over Coax Alliance 2.0 (MoCA 2.0) Standard, the now ubiquitous (for 4K) High Efficiency Video Code (HEVC, also called H.265) and also Google’s own competitor to HEVC, the VP9 standard.

In other words, these two SoC chips, built for home set-top boxes, connected home gateways and IP clients, are designed to support a wide and highly flexible range of ultra HD video compression standards for maximal ease of transmission to these devices and the UHD TVs they attach to.

Broadcom introduces new 4K compression ready chips for set-top boxes

Ultra HD set-top box services like Xfinity for Samsung 4K TVs could benefit from Broadcoms new SoC chipsets

John Gleiter, Broadcom’s vice president of marketing has stated that, “Since Broadcom first delivered MoCA integration in its set-top box portfolio in 2009, we have worked tirelessly to provide operators and manufacturers with the most advanced and cost-effective solutions featuring the latest connectivity technology.”

And that “Our latest generation of home gateway and IP client chips with integrated MoCA 2.0 and multi-standard video compression now allow carriers to further enhance their value and deploy the highest quality UHD services to subscribers”.

The inclusion of this wider range of compression standard technologies in the new set-top SoC chips is an important step on Broadcom’s part simply because video encoding standards for 4K transmissions are not yet fully etched in stone. While HEVC is definitely the most popular codec to date, there is still a certain degree of competition and overlap with the Google VP9 standard (which applies to Google’s YouTube service 4K videos).

Both HEVC and VP9 deliver roughly the same rate of ultra HD video compression to the systems that use them, that is to say that they both reduce the bitrate for high quality 4K video by about 50%, which is a crucial level of compression for the large data-loads of UHD video streams.

Finally –and this is important for local area wireless transmission of high bandwidth video (looking at 4K movies shot on mobile devices here)—Broadcom also introduced its new 5G WiFi 2×2 Multiple Input Output (MIMO) combo chip at the  Cablelabs Winter Conference. This chip, called the BCM4359, features Simultaneous Dual Band support for mobile devices and enables both smartphones and possibly tablets to transmit and receive large amounts of data over two bands at the same time. This technology could also be crucial for moving ultra HD video between these devices and other media machines in a home or office.

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