Cable Tech

Broadcom Takes Its DTA Silicon Global

What's good for Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) may be good for the whole world now that Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) has introduced a line of new Digital Terminal Adapter (DTA) chipsets designed to support a range of international video standards.

Broadcom's new family of "Global" DTA system-on-chips (SOCs) are designed to power simple one-way DTA devices that convert digital cable video signals into analog feeds that can be passed to, and displayed by, older analog TV sets. Comcast is deploying tens of millions of them to help support a digital reclamation strategy that frees up space for Docsis 3.0, bigger HDTV tiers and more video-on-demand (VoD) streaming capacity. (See Comcast's $1B Bandwidth Plan .)

But Comcast's approach has been limited to deployment on Motorola Mobility LLC - and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)-based digital cable systems, with Broadcom providing chipsets that can work on both platforms.

Now, with international markets in mind, Broadcom has developed a new HD-DTA chip design that can be tweaked for: ISDB-T(DVB) broadcasting for the Japanese and South America pay-TV markets; Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) for Europe, South-East Asia and Latin America; "dual-mode" deployments for China, India and other developing digital countries that support DVB-C, DVB-T and ISDB-T.

Broadcom is showing off its new wares at this week's International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam.

Why this matters
Although U.S. cable operators have their all-digital migrations well under way, operators in other parts of the globe, particularly in emerging markets, are opting for, or at least considering, similar technology strategies.

Having DTAs that comply with their specific video standards will give service providers in those regions access to a new bandwidth-reclamation tool that doesn't break the bank. Broadcom isn't talking about costs, but HD-DTAs are expected to cost less than US$50 per unit in volume.

"Everyone's trying to reclaim spectrum," says Stephen Palm, Broadcom's senior technical director for broadband.

Broadcom hasn't announced design wins for the new chips, but several suppliers are already using its DTA silicon for U.S deployments, including Motorola, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Evolution Digital LLC , Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH) and Pace plc .

Broadcom is also the latest supplier to recognize the need for DTAs outside the U.S. Evolution has deployed almost 1 million DVB-based DTAs in Latin America based on Zoran Corp. (Nasdaq: ZRAN) chips, Evolution President Brent Smith tells Light Reading Cable.

For more
Read more about DTAs and how (and why) pay-TV operators are using them.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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