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Thursday, November 09, 2006
Broadcom Unveils Blu-ray/HD DVD System-on-a-Chip Solution

Broadcom today announced the industry's first complete system-on-a-chip (SoC) solution that combines both Blu-ray and HD DVD optical disc formats into a single-chip design.

The universal player SoC, dubbed the Broadcom BCM7440, comes while the industry is still entangled in the next-generation blue laser DVD format war that is pitting big name consumer electronics manufacturers against each other.

Indeed, Blu-ray proponent Samsung began shipping Blu-ray players to the United States in June, while Sony has plans to do the same by the year's end. Meanwhile, HD-DVD biggest backer Toshiba launched Europe's first commercially available stand-alone HD DVD players in September, after it began to roll out HD-DVD players in the United States in April.

"There?s a format war going on and it?s a little unclear who is going to win," Don Shulsinger, VP of marketing for Broadcom?s consumer electronic products, said. "We think there is an excellent chance that they will both be out there for some time. Our information suggests that certain drive vendors out there will soon have drives that can support both formats."

The BCM7440 follows on Broadcom?s first-generation Blu-ray/HD DVD SoC two-chip solution announced in 2005 that included a set top box controller tweaked for the high definition DVD market and a high-definition decoder. This year?s solution continues to build off of the adapted STB chip and decoder, adding in hardware and software elements.

Specifically, the BCM7440 integrates a multiple-core MIPS architecture, a multi-stream HD video decoder, dedicated graphics engines, DSP-based audio processors, a security processor, DDR2 interfaces, integrated video and audio outputs and an array of system and network connectivity interfaces. The SoC further incorporates the decoding, processing and memory functions for both Blu-ray and HD DVD media players. The chip supports mandatory audio and video compression standards required for Blu-ray and HD DVD optical disc formats, including H.264 VC-1, MPEG-2, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Tru-HD and DTS-HD. The BCM7440 also provides full backwards compatibility for current DVD video titles, as well as DVD-R, DVD-VR and audio CDs. The BCM7440 is supported with a complete reference design, the BCM97440, and a software stack that includes support for Blu-ray (Profile 1.0 and 2.0) and HD DVD HDi and Navigator.

The BCM7440 is shipping in sample volume quantities to early access customers in a 761-ball BGA. Broadcom is not releasing pricing information in the chip at this point.

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