Cable Tech

Broadcom Unveils 1.6G Gateway Chip

Broadcom Corp. wants to do it all. That's the message the company is sending with its new BCM7145 system-on-a-chip (SoC), which packs in 32 downstream and 8 upstream channels, HEVC video decoders for 4K UltraHD TV, transcoding capabilities for up to four video streams at once and gigabit-speed Wi-Fi. The new SoC, designed for the next generation of cable home gateways, is not due to hit volume production until 2014, but Broadcom says it's currently running trials, and that "demand is extremely high across a large number of customers worldwide." There were rumors in the summer of 2012 that Broadcom would try to leapfrog competitor Intel Corp. with a chipset capable of bonding up to 32 downstream channels. However, the company merely matched its rival's 24 downstream channels with the launch of the BCM3384 SoC in January. (See Will Broadcom Go For More Than a Gig?) Broadcom's newest product, on the other hand, makes good on the rumors of higher channel capacity and can push out top speeds of 1.2 Gbit/s on DOCSIS systems, and 1.6 Gbit/s via EuroDOCSIS. It also includes Broadcom's Full Band Capture technology, giving operators complete flexibility up to 1GHz for allocating channels to DVB-C/QAM and DOCSIS delivery as needed. The gateway SoC is also notable for offering MSOs an all-in-one solution for broadband plus IP video delivery in the home. By converting QAM-based content to IP in a gateway device, Broadcom gives operators the ability to support IP-only clients. Those clients include their own less expensive set-tops, but also retail IP boxes and mobile devices. The Broadcom 7145 can transcode up to four video streams concurrently for mobile viewing, but also deliver content simultaneously to more than 10 IP video clients. Other important specs with the new chipset include MoCA 2.0 support, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a PacketCable VoIP stack and inclusion of Nexus-Trellis set-top software supporting multiple middleware platforms, including Comcast Corp.'s RDK. (See Who's on Board with Comcast's Set-Top Kit?) Broadcom also notes that its H.265 HEVC decoder technology allows it to transmit high quality video using one quarter of the bandwidth currently required by MPEG-2 HD video delivery. — Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable
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