Broadcom Set-Top Box Chips Tie Slingbox, Android Apps to TVs.
Source: Ziff Davis, Inc.
Broadcom announced a number of partnerships on Wednesday in advance of CES, all geared toward connecting the living room to the Internet and the rest of the home.
In addition to announcing several system-on-chip solutions, Broadcom struck deals with Sling Media and the Myriad Group. While the former deal essentially makes the "placeshifting" or remote-viewing Slingbox into a service, the latter agreement will integrate Myriad's Alien Vue technology into Broadcom-powered set-tops and TVs. Alien Vue runs native Android and HTML5-authored applications, creating connected TVs on those products that integrate them.
According to ABI Research, Broadcom is the largest vendor in the set-top market, focusing primarily on North American set-top boxes, as well as those used by Western Europe - in other words, the chips developed by Broadcom will likely end up in products used by North American customers.
Broadcom announced a number of chips in its BCM72xx portfolio, which includes SOCs designed for 3D graphics powered by OpenGL ES 2.0, as well as a separate chip for 3D TV and video conferencing.
The so-called "over the top technology" to connect TVs is used by Netgear's NeoTV streaming player. "We look forward to our continued partnership with Broadcom to design cutting-edge products like our NeoTV Streaming Player that transform existing TVs into Smart TVs," David Henry, vice president of product management at Netgear, said in a statement.
A third BCM72xx chip, the BCM7425, also allows for dual HD video decoding and transcoding - a key feature that will allow video to be sent around the home to various devices. That's the vision that Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdam promoted at a December investor conference, where "video will move seamlessly" between the TV, phone and the tablet, he said.
"The general concept is that you walk into a home, your device will sync up with your set-top box and you'll be able to access the content," McAdam said.
About 62 percent of U.S. consumers said they would likely watch live TV on laptops, tablets and smart phones, if their television service provider offered the service for no extra charge, according to a new survey sponsored by Broadcom and conducted by JZ Analytics.
Both the SlingMedia and Myriad software will run on the dual-HD video chip, the BCM7425, Broadcom said. Broadcom-powered set-top boxes with Sling Media software will be available by the third quarter of 2012, the company said.
Broadcom also announced support for MoCA 2.0, the second version of a standard that connects devices around the home via coaxial cable. MoCA 2.0 is supported by Charter, Cogeco, Comcast, Cox Communications, DirecTV, DISH Network, Rogers Communications, and Verizon's FiOS services.
Broadcom recently said that it sees 802.11ac wireless, the next generation of Wi-Fi, to be ratified at the end of 2012.