Broadcom Corp. has introduced a front-end set-top chipset that incorporates channel bonding, a technology key to the emerging DOCSIS 3.0 specification and a technique that the cable industry will leverage for IP-based video services. 

Broadcom's Model BCM3255 chipset is designed to bind together multiple slices of 6 MHz spectrum - in this case, enough to support downstream data rates of 120 Mbps.

The chip features an 800 DMIPS processor, three 1024/256 QAM in-band demodulators, an out-of-band demodulator, a USB 2.0 MAC and PHY, and a 10/100 Fast Ethernet MAC and PHY.

Broadcom noted that the chip will support IP-based cable service and media centers such as Comcast's RNG product family, which will include low-end digital boxes as well as more advanced HD/DVR combinations.

"Channel bonding is a key technology that will enable Comcast to continue our migration to an IP platform," noted Comcast CTO David Fellows, in a release. "The integration of channel bonding in a significant step toward combining the power of DOCSIS and IPTV."

"Our new cable TV set-top box chip sets a benchmark for the industry, enabling MSOs to deploy new set-top boxes and media centers today that can support the transition to an all-IP network," added Daniel Marotta, SVP and GM of Broadcom's Broadband Communications Group.

The chip also interfaces with the BCM7400, which supports high-def MPEG-2 and more advanced video codecs such as MPEG-4 and VC-1.

Broadcom is sampling the new chip presently. The BMC3255 will sell for $32 each in quantities of 10,000.