Broadcom Puts Chips in DirecTV STBs

Chip-making giant Broadcom is touting a major win at DirecTV, which will use Broadcom’s BCM7340 HD satellite STB System-on-a-Chip (SoC) in its dramatically smaller HR25 STBs that started shipping this month. The SoC includes MoCA home networking so that users of the DirecTV HD receivers can watch recorded content on any TV set that’s connected by coax.

The SoC also reduces overall cost and power requirements, Broadcom said. It includes H.264 audio/video decompression and “robust” security technologies. It also allows the box to be small enough to be mounted on the back of flat-panel TV sets and makes the box much faster. The current DirecTV boxes take a long time to respond to commands, even non-satellite ones like displaying the list of recorded shows or deleting one of them.

There’s no touchscreen on the front and the access card has been moved from the front to the side, making it easier to access when mounted on the back of a TV or on the side of a cabinet.

Henry Derovanessian, senior VP of hardware engineering at DirecTV, points out that mounting the STB on the back of the TV sets means there’s one less box in the home entertainment stack. Perhaps that’ll leave room for a smart-TV adapter to get OTT like Netflix, something that, unfortunately, DirecTV is not including in its box.

Dan Marotta, executive VP and general manager of Broadcom’s broadband communications group, said integrating standards like MoCA into the SoC results in “better system performance at a lower price point.”

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