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Broadcom Video Gateway SoC Gets 'SlingLoaded'

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
1/4/2012
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Set-top suppliers of all shapes and sizes stand to gain easier access to Sling Media Inc. 's TV place-shifting capabilities following an integration deal announced Wednesday between EchoStar Corp. LLC (Nasdaq: SATS) and chip giant Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM).

That's because Broadcom will bake Sling's software into the BCM7425, a dual-tuner HD gateway SoC that can transcode MPEG video into H.264 streams that can be shuttled to and displayed on IP devices hanging off the home network (the SoC comes with the speedy 2.0 version of Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) built-in). It also sets the table for service providers to let customers access their video subscriptions while they are on the go, though some MSOs are leery about out-of-home access rights. (See MoCA Is Go for 2.0.)

Broadcom expects to make its initial "SlingLoaded" SoC available by the third quarter of 2012. The chipset is agnostic in the sense that it can be built into set-tops for cable, telco and satellite TV operators. "This really accelerates this [Sling technology] going out on many, many devcies," says Stephen Palm, Broadcom's senior technical director for broadband.

Broadcom intends to show off its latest SlingLoaded handiwork at next week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Why this matters
The work with Broadcom further cements EchoStar's strategy to license its Sling technology, which it began to explore in 2009. EchoStar has been using Broadcom's 7400 satellite set-top box SoC to power the ViP922, a SlingLoaded box marketed by Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH). (See EchoStar Puts Sling Out to License , Broadcom Powers EchoStar's SlingLoaded Box and Dish Starts Selling 'Sling-Loaded' HD-DVR .)

Broadcom's integration of Sling's software should open the door for set-top manufacturers other than EchoStar to develop boxes that bake in the company's place-shifting technology. Some of Broadcom's historic cable box partners include Pace plc , Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH), Motorola Mobility LLC and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

Broadcom hasn't identified any customers for the 7425 or disclosed pricing on the chip, but integrating Sling's system on the SoCs should also reduce the costs of adding the place-shifting feature into video gateways.

For more
Read more about EchoStar's place-shifting moves and cable ambitions.



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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