Digital TV & STB development Promwad

DTV & STB tech

Set-top box & Digital TV dev process highlights

The STB is a device capable to receive video content via DVB standard and display it on TV. The development of IP networks and broadband/ADSL made possible to deliver a high-quality video content through IPTV set-top boxes.

Here we describe the main aspects of hardware development in STB & Digital TV area. We'll focus on DTV standards, STB classification, and the overview of SoC manufacturers for STB.

STB classification

All set-top boxes can be divided into four major groups depending on source of digital TV signal:

  • STB for terrestrial digital video broadcast (DVB-T)
  • STB for satellite digital video broadcast (DVB-S)
  • STB for cable digital video broadcast (DVB-C)
  • IPTV set-top boxes receiving video streams via IP network (Ethernet or Wi-Fi)

Set-top boxes with MPEG-2 transport stream support are quite widespread in Europe and USA. Usually, STB consists of:

stb classification Promwad
Consulting

Frontend with tuner and DVB demodulator. There is also Digital Satellite Equipment Control (DiSEqC) module in case of satellite antenna setup

Design of a custom-made enclosure

Demuxer filters incoming DVB stream and splits a transport stream into video and audio parts. Transport stream can contain some special streams like teletext or subtitles

Design of a custom-made enclosure

Conditional Access (CA) module or smartcard slot performs real-time decoding of encrypted transport stream

Design of a custom-made enclosure

Separated video and audio streams are directed to corresponding decoders

Digital TV standards

DVB-S

digital video broadcast by satellite

DVB-S2

digital video broadcast by satellite, standard updated in 2004

DVB-SH

digital video broadcast by satellite for portable and mobile devices

DVB-C

digital video broadcast by cable

DVB-T

digital video broadcast, terrestrial television

DVB-T2

digital video broadcast, terrestrial television, standard updated in 2008

DVB-H

digital video broadcast, terrestrial television for mobile devices

Overview of processor manufacturers for STB

Being oriented to the mass-production consumer electronics, STB chipset manufacturers are forced to integrate more peripherals in a chip and to produce lower cost single chip solutions for BOM reduction and cutting price of a final STB device. 

Usually, the chip inside STB consists of 3 or more cores: a general purpose application processor and additional DSP-like cores dedicated to audio and video decoding. Let's give a short overview of major semiconductor companies which produce processors (system-on-chip) for set-top boxes:

ST
STMicroelectronics
ST is a top semiconductor player for STB chipsets. Currently the company's portfolio has the following processors: STi5100, STi5188, STi5105, STi5200, STi5205, STi5300, STi5516, STi5517, STi7141, STi7101, STi7105, STi7108, STi7167, STi7710, STi7200. There are many development kits from vendor with Linux, WinCE and custom RTOS support – OS21 and additional software components named OSPlus.
NXP
NXP Semiconductors
This Dutch chipmaker company become an active player in STB chipsets (especially for DVB-T) after acquisition of STB business from Connexant. However, in October of 2009, NXP refocused on automotive IC business and sold its set-top box and digital TV assets to USA based Trident Microsystems. Products are: Nexperia PNX8735 (low cost HD set-top-box decoder) & Nexperia PNX8732 (low cost SD set-top-box decoder).
Broadcom
Broadcom
Broadcom is a middle cost processors vendor for IPTV set-top boxes with a wide range of solutions: CM7038 Dual High Definition Digital Video System-on-Chip Solution for Cable, Satellite and DTV; BCM7043, BCM7118, BCM7309, BCM7400, BCM7403, BCM7404, BCM7405, BCM7410, BCM7420, BCM7452, etc.
Sigma Designs
Sigma Designs
Sigma Designs — middle cost processors for IPTV set-top boxes with the following solutions: EM8620L family, SMP8630 family, SMP8640 and SMP8650 families.
NationalChip
NationalChip
NationalChip – a strong player on the Chinese and Asian markets, which has a set-top box IC portfolio for standard definition and MPEG2 video decoding: GX1xxx – demodulator IC series (DVB-T, DVB-S, DVB-C, DTMB+DVB-C, ABS-C): GX3xxx, GX2xxx – video post-processing and MPEG2 decoder IC series; and GX6xxx – demodulator, video post processing, MPEG2 decoder System-on-Chip series.
ALi
ALi Corporation
This is another Asian manufacturer with the solutions: M3501 – DVB-S/DVB-S2 demodulator IC; M3602 – HD, MPEG-2, H.264 set-top box SoC; and M3381 – SD, MPEG-2, H.264 set-top box SoC.
Ivan Kuten Promwad

"Promwad quickly deploys an effective team of engineers of diverse qualifications, which allows us to provide top-notch services, offering the best solution in the market. By leveraging our expertise and long-term partnerships with vendors, we also help our clients find resources, thus providing expert consulting."

— Ivan Kuten, Promwad co-owner and CTO

 

Our case-studies in Digital TV and Online Video

 

SmartTV app development with brand catalogueWe developed a new version of application and system administration panel, built an updated app from scratch, based on the Tizen OS.

Android-based TV with AMLogic SoC

Android-based TV for Digital Signage We helped Vestel Electronics design a new product based on a SoC by AMLogic, an industry-leading vendor in the multimedia domain

Sport Club App for Smart TV: Tizen, WebOS & Android TV We've developed an application for Smart TV with live streaming, VOD, and voice control support

Smart TV app for Tizen Samsung & WebOS LG TV We've developed an IPTV application with the TimeShifting, EPG, PVR, and pause/rewind features

Embedded UI customization for a set-top box We've created a software framework that allows the customer to change the user interface with minimal efforts

AI application for set-top box: searching and buying products from video streaming

Shoppable video: AI-based app for STB & Smart TV We've developed and installed on STBs the first AI application for searching and buying clothes directly from the video stream

DVB-T STB: : HW & SW development We have developed a digital TV set-top box (STB) with support for DVB-T (MPEG-2/4) and terrestrial digital broadcasting

promwad have designed a digital IPTV STB with DVB-T and DVB-S/S2 support, based on the SMP8654 processor by SigmaDesigns

Digital IPTV STB with DVB-T/S/S2 supportWe have designed a digital IPTV STB with DVB-T and DVB-S/S2 support, based on the SMP8654 processor by SigmaDesigns

IPTV set-top box design for SmartLabs We have developed a range of IPTV set-top boxes, ensured license coverage for all the proprietary coding standards for audio and video
Smart home multimedia controller

Smart house controller (HDMI-CEC) for a Swiss company We have designed the HDMI-CEC controller to manage a home multimedia complex: cinema, tuner, VCR and other devices

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