STMicroelectronics Launches its First Range of Set-Top Box Chips to Embed SVP (Secure Video Processor) Capability
Set-top Box MPEG-2 decoders support dual TV and dual DVR applications, and implement SVP, the next generation of STB security for digital video content
Geneva, September 9, 2005 – STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), the world’s leading supplier of Set-top Box (STB) MPEG-2 decoder chips1, today announced its first silicon devices to implement Secure Video Processor (SVP) technology, the next generation open specification for the protection of digital video content. The STB5525 STB decoder – which is also ST’s first single-chip solution to support dual TV and dual DVR (Digital Video Recorder) requirements in standard definition STBs – and the STB5524 – which targets the growing DVR market – are intended for use across satellite, cable and terrestrial TV services.
The SVP specification is maintained and promoted by the SVP Alliance, which is currently supported by more than 20 leading media and technology companies, and of which ST is one of the founder members. The Alliance is working to achieve broad adoption of SVP content protection technology in digital home networks and consumer electronic devices such as digital televisions, STBs, DVRs and portable media players. The introduction of the STB5525 and STB5524 decoders will help to kick start the SVP market by allowing manufacturers to offer SVP-enabled STBs to consumers, ready to receive secured content from service operators when provision starts, probably during 2006.
“The SVP technology is coming to market at a key time when content protection has become a critical business issue,” stated Dr. Beth Erez, Chairperson, SVP Alliance. “The need to provide robust rights management while allowing consumers maximum flexibility in their use of content has never been greater. We’re very pleased that industry leaders like STMicroelectronics are working so quickly to incorporate SVP into their products.”
SVP technology is a hardware-based security scheme designed to protect the digital content rather than the physical link between devices, opening up new opportunities for the distribution of program material while protecting the rights of content owners and service operators, and recognizing end users’ rights to share and enjoy digital entertainment in a flexible and convenient way within their own domain. It is a low cost, future-proof solution that can be used alongside existing Conditional Access and DRM systems; content usage rights, which govern copying and redistribution, are encrypted together with the content and use different interface protocols to travel between SVP-enabled devices in a multimedia system.
“As a founding member of the Alliance, we are proud to be the first semiconductor manufacturer to deploy a range of SVP compliant devices,” said Armando Caltabiano, VP & General Manager of the Retail and Satellite Division within ST’s Home Entertainment Group. “ST’s implementation in our advanced manufacturing processes means that the advanced security and Digital Rights management (DRM) benefits of SVP can be realized at an insignificant cost to hardware manufacturers.”
The STB5525 and STB5524 devices both offer a glue-less interface to ST’s range of demodulator chips, enabling them to be used with a range of sources to provide a cost-effective solution for delivering digital content to two TV sets or two digital video recorders. They includes a low cost SATA interface for connecting hard disk and recordable DVD drives, plus two 480Mbits/second USB2 ports for home networking and for the simple addition of peripherals.
The integrated CPU of the STB5525 and the STB5524 is a 300MHz ST231 core, the fastest and most powerful ST processor to be used in an STB chip. This core is a member of the EEMBC-certified ST200 VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word) series which was designed specifically for video and audio streaming – including MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 – in digital consumer applications, where high performance, low silicon costs and low power consumption must be combined with rapid development to ensure the minimum time-to-market. It executes up to four operations per clock cycle, achieving performance comparable to a RISC processor running at a significantly higher clock frequency while maintaining the low dynamic power consumption of its actual clock speed.
The new core significantly increases the available computing power compared to earlier decoders, and will reduce costs for manufacturers by enabling system services such as a high speed modem, traditionally a hardware function, to be implemented in software. Software drivers are available for the new decoder, and full software development support is provided through evaluation boards and complete STAPI software (ST’s Application Programming Interface).
The STB5525 and STB5524 decoders will be available in sample quantities in Q3 2005, with volume production scheduled for Q1 2006 and when purchased in volumes of 10,000 units are priced at $15 and $14, respectively.
About The SVP Alliance
The Secure Video Processor (SVP) Alliance is a group of media and technology industry leaders committed to the widespread use of digital content on consumer devices. The objective of the SVP Alliance is to adopt, use and promote the SVP standard and develop interoperability with other DRM and content protection solutions. By ensuring its broad adoption, and proposing its specification to relevant standards and other industry bodies, SVP will become a leading international standard for content protection. The SVP Alliance is a not-for-profit organization supported by the following companies: Access Devices, ADB, AMD, Amstrad, Broadcom, BSkyB, Caton Overseas, Cablevision, Conexant, DIRECTV, Humax, LG Electronics, Macrovision, NDS, NEC, Pace Micro Technology, Philips, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Thomson, and Twentieth Century Fox. Further information on the SVP Alliance can be found at www.svpalliance.org.
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today’s convergence markets. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2004, the Company’s net revenues were $8.76 billion and net earnings were $601 million. Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com.
1 MPEG Video ICs: The Buzz Around MPEG-4 AVC. Instat June 2005.
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