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Linux STB design tapped in Russia

Mar 23, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Belarus-based device-design firm Promwad announced a design win for a Linux-based DVB-T set-top box (STB) destined for a Russian manufacturer of TV antennas. The digital terrestrial STB design will be built around an ST Microelectronics (ST) STi5205 system-on-chip (SoC) clocked to 266MHz, says Promwad.

(Click for larger view of the STi520x kit to be used by the Promwad development team)

The as-yet-unnamed STB will incorporate a DVB-T digital terrestrial broadcasting receiver. The Russian television industry is making a transition to digital broadcasting similar to the one under way in the U.S., but with a final deadline of 2015, explained Promwad's Anna Belianko in an email. Starting this year, the government will invest some 2.67 billion Euros (about $3.62 million US) in the transition project, reports Belianko. The project will be overseen by a new “High-Definition Union,” which was formed for coordinating the work of Russian media industry players, state structures, and other members of the business community.

The STB is based on an ST hardware/software development kit (pictured at top) equipped with an SH4-architecture ST Microelectronics STi5205 SoC. The low-cost SoC consists of an SH4 core processor clocked at 266MHz, and two ST231 proprietary architecture co-processors clocked at 400MHz for video and audio decoding.

The STi5205 was chosen for its low cost, availability of customer support, and rapid development path, wrote Belianko. It also perfectly fits the company's needs for a device that supports SD (Standard Definition) video with H.264 video encoding. “Russia does not have plans for MPEG-2 DVB-T,” wrote Belianko. “They want to step immediately into H.264 broadcasting.”

The ST development kit incorporates the ST-sponsored STLinux distribution, and Promwad also plans to use the Nokia/Qt Software Qt stack. According to Belianko, the company was newly attracted to Qt now that it has been released under an LGPL license.

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