ARM Teams on Virtual Set-Top Box Platform

ARM, Applied Micro and Netzyn collaborate on new NFV platform.

May 6, 2015

3 Min Read

CAMBRIDGE, UK -- ARM, Applied Micro and server software developer Netzyn today announced a new virtual set-top box (vSTB) reference platform which utilizes network functions virtualization (NFV). The new vSTB platform runs on cloud servers powered by Applied Micro's X-Gene Server on a Chip solution, and offers the potential to reduce network operator CapEx and OpEx, as well as increase average revenue per user (ARPU). The upcoming demonstration at NFV World Congress is an expansion of Proof of Concept (PoC) #31 (STB Virtualization in Carrier Networks) as determined and accepted by the European Telecom Standards Institute's (ETSI) NFV Industry Specification Group.

"Pay-TV subscribers care about rich user interfaces (UIs) with responsive performance," said Karthik Ranjan, director of operator relations at ARM. "Migrating STB functionality from a standalone box to a remote server talking directly with your TV saves significant cost, energy and materials with no material impact on UI performance. vSTBs will enable operators to increase ARPU through enabling new services on the TV faster while reducing their overall OpEx by utilizing cloud computing and low-latency networks."

Showcasing the flexibility of the ARM ecosystem to run virtual network functions on a range of hardware platforms, the vSTB platform enables operators to:

Increase synergy between client and cloud hardware as most STBs and client software are already based on ARM technology. This enables seamless migration of existing applications such as electronic program guide and video streaming to cloud infrastructure. Tap into the vast ecosystem of Android games and content-based applications already optimized for ARM technology to enable compute-intensive 2D/3D apps to run seamlessly on to a centralized cloud infrastructure.

Utilize cloud technology to rapidly pilot and deploy new functionality and services, opening up opportunities for operators to increase ARPU while reducing customer premises equipment (CPE) costs and maintenance.

Simplify devices to 'dongle' or 'puck' form factors such as the CuBox which can eventually be integrated into TVs as an application, essentially eliminating the need for operators to own/manage any kind of STB.

In addition to Applied Micro, the demonstration is also available on a mobile SoC microserver platform based on a Samsung Exynos 5422 SoC. Both demonstrations can be viewed at the ARM booth (#48). Technical specifications for the reference platforms can be found on the ARM Connected Community blog 'The next evolution of the set-top box: migration to the cloud.'

Partner Quotes

Applied Micro

"The Applied Micro X-Gene processor was designed with scale-out cloud applications in mind, balancing CPU performance; robust memory capacity and bandwidth; and high-speed I/O," said John Williams, vice president of marketing at Applied Micro Circuits Corporation. "The X-Gene processor's core design and power efficiency in a high density scale-out server platform is ideally suited for applications like Netzyn's NFV PoC."


"Netzyn is excited to be a part of creating the NFV PoC. The Netzyn Application Streaming Platform is the ideal solution for operators to deliver rich user experiences," said Steve Bakke, chief technical officer at Netzyn. "Showing how centralizing resources in the cloud and enabling the lowest cost CPE provide significant cost benefits for operators is a powerful outcome of this project. The Applied Micro X-Gene provides an excellent and cost effective platform to run our server software and in this PoC is used both for running the orchestration software and the end-user applications."

ARM Ltd.

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