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Broadcom intros chip for D-to-A digital transition boxes

Mon, 08/20/2007 - 8:12am
Brian Santo

Broadcom announced a digital television receiver chip for digital-to-analog converter boxes that consumers can use to continue to receive over-the-air TV signals after the digital transition in February 2009.

Broadcom’s new receiver (the BCM3543) is designed to convert all ATSC standard and high definition inputs to 480i output formats for display on analog TVs. Features include Channel 3 or 4 radio frequency modulated output, EIA/CEA-909 smart antenna support, and keypad and remote control support.

Compatible with an ATSC antenna design available exclusively from Broadcom, the BCM3543's antenna provides a high performance indoor solution that requires a single cable interface, which means outdoor installations would not be necessary, the company said.

The antenna control is integrated into the BCM3543's user interface, eliminating the need for consumers to have to manually adjust the antenna position in order to receive optimal signal reception.

The chip is characterized by an integrated 8/16-VSB digital terrestrial receiver; an EIA/CEA 909-compliant smart antenna controller; an ATSC-compliant, all-format MPEG-2 high definition video decoder; a Channel 3-4 modulator; a Dolby Digital and MPEG audio decoder; high-quality video scaling; a picture enhancement processor; a 200 MHz MIPS32 CPU; and a 32-bit 200 MHz DDR-DRAM controller.

Broadcom is now providing samples to early access customers. Pricing is available upon request. Broadcom is providing OEMs an extensive hardware and software reference design to build boxes around the chip.

Availability of the boxes is specified by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The NTIA will provide two $40 discount coupons per household that consumers can redeem directly from retailers for these NTIA-qualified digital converter boxes. There is a total of 33.5 million coupons budgeted for the program, which begins January 1, 2008 and concludes on March 31, 2009, which means boxes ought to start becoming available in four months.

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