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IP-STB runs Linux on a DSP

Jan 9, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 25 views

Linux-on-DSP specialist Softier is shipping an IP-STB (Internet protocol set-top box) that runs embedded Linux on a single-core DSP (digital signal processor) chip. The Wave-300 features H.264 compression, and targets telecom operators wishing to offer IPTV, VoD (video-on-demand), live TV, and home gaming… services.

(Click for larger view of the Wave-300)

According to Softier, running Linux directly on a DSP, rather than on a separate application processor reduces the bill-of-materials, thereby shrinking cost, power, and board size. The company says its Wave-300 supports “the spectrum of next-generation video formats,” including H.264, MPEG-4, and Windows Media Video 9 (VC-1). It also supports MPEG-2, for backward compatibility, and can be remotely booted and upgraded, to support new services and formats without service interruption, the company claims.

The Wave-300 is based on a Texas Instruments (TI) DM64x digital media processor running a customized version of the Linux operating system. The OS is compatible with IPTV middleware from “leading providers,” Softier says, including VoD servers and browsers.

Other claimed features include:

  • H.264 [email protected] D1 resolution up to 2Mb/s
  • MPEG-2 [email protected] D1 resolution up to 10Mb/s
  • Windows Media 9 [email protected] up to 8 Mbps
  • AAC (MP4), MP1 layer 1&2, WMA audio and AC3
  • IGMP support for multicast services, RTSP for interactive video on demand services
  • Softier's JSTB (Java Script for IP STB) and embedded browser for easy integration with leading middleware packages
  • USB 2.0 for external storage attachment
  • Embedded Web-based user configuration and SNMP-based device management
  • Measures 7.9 x 6 x 2 inches (200 x 150 x 50mm)

Softier was the first company to market a version of Linux capable of running on chips powered by standalone DSP cores, launching its MediaLinux product in November of 2003. Metrowerks later said it had demonstrated Linux running on ADI's Blackfin DSP earlier that spring, however. Virtualization software vendor Jaluna also markets technology that supports running Linux on DSPs.

Softier Marketing VP Haim Bechor stated, “The growth of IPTV and other advanced IP services depends on the availability of reliable and flexible set-top-boxes that allow telecom operators to incrementally add services as their offerings mature.”

TI's business development manager for streaming media products, Suman Narayan, stated, “Wave-300's [is] a highly efficient and cost effective solution with the flexibility to easily add and update services — a capability that gives operators a definite long-term edge when rolling out IPTV services.”


The Wave-300 is available for immediate delivery.

Softier's MediaLinux technology also powers X-Digital Systems's “FlikIt” IP-STB design.

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