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IPTV Soc adds Linux, multi-format video support

Aug 25, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 17 views

NEC Electronics is shipping a Linux-ready image-processing system-on-chip for IP set-top boxes (STBs). The EMMA3SL/P offers dual MIPS32 cores, is compliant with H.264 high definition (HD) and China's audio/video standard (AVS), and offers multi-format video support for IPTV, says the company.

Based on NEC Electronics' enhanced multimedia architecture (EMMA) platform, which was first introduced for STBs back in 1998, the EMMA3SL/P is billed as an extension of its EMMA3SL/LP and EMMA3SL/L SoCs, which were announced in January.

The EMMA3SL/P adds support for multi-format IPTV video, including DivX, VC-1, and WMV compatibility, according to NEC. The new SoC also adds enhanced security features that meet the standards set by Conditional Access Companies for protection against signal piracy, the company says.

Unlike NEC's earlier EMMA3SL/LP, EMMA3SL/L, and EMMA3SL/HD models, the new SoC adds a second 324MHz MIPS32 core for a total of 990 MIPS. The EMMA3SL/P also represents a 20 percent reduction in the number of on-board pins (from 596 to 484) compared to earlier EMMA-based NEC STB SoCs, resulting in reduced bill-of-materials (BoM) costs, says the company.

Block diagram for NEC's very similar EMMA3SL/LP. The new EMMA3SL/P adds a second MIPS32 core, as well as support for WMV, AVS, and other IPTV formats.

(Click to enlarge)

Other new features include hybrid IPTV and broadcast TV functionality, including support for digital terrestrial, satellite, or cable TV, says NEC. The company has also added a deinterlacer for converting interlaced signals into progressive signals "for enhanced display features."

In addition, development support for Linux is now available along with NEC's usual support for an unnamed real-time OS (RTOS). No details were offered, however, on available development tools.

The EMMA3SL/P SoC is equipped with MPEG-2 HD audio/video decoders, transport-stream demultiplexers, and display controllers. Other features include an HDMI interface and USB 2.0 host controller, as well as an Ethernet MAC, and audio DAC, says NEC.

Specifications listed for the EMMA3SL/P include:

  • CPU — 2 x MIPS32 4KEc cores clocked at 324MHz for 990 MIPS
  • Cache — Each core includes 16KB instruction and 16KB data cache
  • Memory — From 64MB to 256MB via DDR2 memory interface (16/32-bit bus); 3.2GB/s bandwidth
  • Flash — Up to 64MB serial flash capacity via 8/16-bit bus
  • MPEG transport stream processing engine:
    • 2 x serial and 2 x parallel stream interface
    • MPEG2 TS
    • 108 PID filters
    • 96 section filters
  • MPEG video decoder, supporting:
  • Audio controller, supporting:
    • MPEG-1/2 L1/2, MPEG-4 AAC, MPEG4 HE-AAC, DD, DD+, MP3, WMA
    • SPDIF output
    • PDM output
    • I2S output
    • HDMI output
    • Transcodes HE-AAC to DTS or DD
  • Graphics and display engine:
    • 2D Bit BLT
    • 6 x graphics planes
    • Video output up to 1080P
    • 256-level alpha-blending
    • Real-time video scaling (1/4to 4 H/V)x2
    • Built-in deinterlacer
  • Standard video encoder
    • Built-in 6-channel DAC (CVBS, YC, RGB/YCbCr)
    • HDMI output
    • PAL, SECAM, NTSC support
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet MAC conforming to IEEE802.3/3u/3x
  • USB — 2 x USB 2.0 Host controllers (EHCI-compliant) with High (480Mbps), full (12Mbps), and low speeds (1.5Mbps)
  • HDMI — HDMI 1.3a interface with X.V. color; HDCP 1.3
  • Other I/O:
    • 2-channel FUART
    • 2-channel Smart Card interface
    • 2-channel I2C
    • 2-channel IR receiver
  • Packaging — 484-pin plastic BGA
  • Operating system — Linux; RTOS


The EMMA3SL/P SoC is sampling now, with pricing starting at $30 per unit, says NEC Electronics. Volume production is scheduled to begin by the second half of 2009, and expected to reach 250,000 units per month. A PDF spec list for the EMMA3SL/P may be found here. More information on NEC's EMMA STB SoCs, including the similar EMMA3SL/LP and EMMA3SL/L, may be found here.

NEC Electronics will demonstrate the EMMA3SL/P at the International Broadcasting Convention 2009 (IBC 2009), to be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Sept. 11-15. NEC can be found at Hall 1, Stand C27.

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