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High-def STB decoder chip runs Linux

Jan 7, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 148 views

A semiconductor firm announced a satellite-friendly, high-definition (HD) set-top box (STB) decoder chip that runs Linux. STMicroelectronics's STi7111 SoC (system-on-chip) is said to combine a decoder, network interface, and an integrated demodulator, enabling it to handle satellite transmissions as well as IP network input.

The STi7111 is the latest member of ST's STi7100 series of SoC devices. It supports H.264, VC1, MPEG-2, and other video standards, and includes circuitry to demodulate both DVB-S (standard) and DVB-S2 (HD) signals. By integrating these functions, STB makers can reduce the cost and size of hybrid satellite/Internet-ready boxes, says ST. With the help of an improved power management system, this integration is also said to slash electricity usage.

STi7111 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

The STi7111 is based on a ST40-300 CPU fabricated with 65nm technology and clocked at 450MHz, says ST, resulting in 750 DMIPS performance. Equipped with a 32-bit unified memory interface, the SoC supports HD video output at up to 1080p resolution via an embedded HDMI 1.3 (high-definition multimedia interface) interface. It also includes an Ethernet port and a PCI interface to support home networks and peripherals.

The following lists some of the STi7111's specs:

  • Processor — ST40-300 CPU running at 450MHz
  • Memory bus support — DDR2 32-bit interface operating at up to 400MHz; external memory interface (EMI) with Nand-Flash, Nor-Flash
  • Demodulators — front-end integrated DVB-S2 and DVB-S
  • Video decoder — ST231-based; supports Microsoft VC-1, MPEG-2 and H.264 codecs
  • Audio decoder — ST231-based 450MHz; supports WMA9, AC3, DD+, AAC, AAC+ with SPDIF output
  • Display capabilities — HD and SD simultaneous display, with 2 x video, 3 x graphics planes and background color
  • Outputs — HDMI/HCDP plus HD or SD component and composite output
  • USB — 1 x USB 2.0
  • Ethernet — 1 x 10/100 Ethernet
  • Other interfaces — 4 x UART; 3 x synchronous serial; soft modem and DAA interface; IR blaster and receiver; UHF Rx digital input
  • Security — SVP and WM DRM compliant
  • Dimensions — 27 x 27mm package, 65nm technology

STi7111 in typical STB application environment
(Click to enlarge)


Engineering samples of the STi7111 are available now to lead customers at an undisclosed price, says ST. Development tools, STAPI drivers and adaptation software for major middleware packages are available for Linux as well as for ST's proprietary OS21 operating system.

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