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Broadcom snags BroadLogic

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 2:30pm
Brian Santo

Broadcom has purchased BroadLogic, Broadcom confirmed today.

The acquisition was made months ago, during the summer of 2012, but was not announced. The only previous public mention of the action was a status update attesting to the fact on the website of one of BroadLogic’s investors.

A Broadcom spokesman said the company considered the acquisition too small relative to other acquisitions to announce (in 2011, Broadcom purchased Netlogic Microsystems for $3.7 billion, and last year it bought Broadlight for $230 million). A Broadcom spokesman said the company is moving forward with Broadlight’s products and IP.

Sources have verified that Broadcom has kept much of the BroadLogic engineering team.

Meanwhile, BroadLogic President Danial Faizullabhoy and other executives continue to be listed on the company’s website. BroadLogic is a semiconductor company that specializes in video encoding/decoding, QAM modulation and wideband receivers.

The company attracted nearly $40 million of venture capital, much of it in the span from 2004 to 2008, from the investment arms of Comcast, Time Warner (at the time still the parent of Time Warner Cable), Cisco Systems, Intel, Advance Newhouse (Bright House) and several venture capital companies, which include Levensohn Venture Partners, Walden International Investment Group, Presidio Venture Partners and Rho Ventures, the company that posted the notice of the sale.

At the time the MSOs invested, they were interested in BroadLogic technology that translated incoming digital signals in a swath of spectrum into analog signals.

That technology, implemented in a video processing chip called TeraPix, was being explored for use as a means to deliver the basic cable tier in a small piece of equipment, which at the time made it a possible alternative to digital terminal adapters. DTAs turned out to be able to do the necessary job and do it far less expensively than BroadLogic would be able to, however.

Cisco used the TeraPix chip in a box targeted at the hospitality industry, but that was never a high-volume business.

BroadLogic also continued to pursue wideband receiver technology, implemented in a product designated the BL12000. A bandwidth of up 1 GHz was on the roadmap, though the company never announced any such capability.

Broadcom did, however, commercialize that technology. Broadcom independently and internally developed Full Band Capture before the acquisition took place.  Broadlogic’s technology focused more on increasing the number of demodulators in a cable receiver.

Broadcom's Full-Band Capture (FBC) digital tuner directly digitizes up to 1 GHz of downstream spectrum, replacing multiple tuners with a single Full-Band Capture digital tuner. This single chip processes every single cable channel (video, DOCSIS, VoIP), simultaneously and flexibly. For example, video-on-demand (VOD) channels could be temporarily reassigned as DOCSIS channels for a large download, and upon completion of the download be rededicated to video. This technology was introduced in 2011 and is shipping in high volumes now, Broadcom said.

This capability could have great potential for use in gateways, a product category that Broadcom has been focusing on as of late.

Current commercialized tuners handle a maximum of eight channels at a time; the ability to simultaneously process all channels at once would eliminate any restrictions on how many shows could be simultaneously viewed and recorded. It’s hard to imagine the need in the residential market, but such a capability conceivably has applications in the business market.

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