And HDTV For All
According to STM, the STi7020 is a highly integrated "System-on-a-Chip" product that integrates all of the key HDTV decoder functions on one silicon chip. The company says that, in addition to the circuit blocks required to decode multiple MPEG video data streams, the new IC includes audio decoding, a powerful 2D/3D graphics subsystem, and numerous ancillary functions such as NTSC/PAL video encoders and HD/SD video digital-to-analog converters.
STM says that the STi7020 fully supports multiple HDTV video and audio standards, including the US ATSC and Japanese ARIB/BS4 systems, and its multi-stream decoding MPEG video core supports two HD (high definition) video streams or up to five SD (standard definition) video streams, with many other combinations possible. The company adds that two separate format conversion and display pipelines are included to support decoding of dual HD MPEG streams and generate two independent video outputs.
The STi7020 is intended for use both in stand-alone HDTV sets and in STBs or Residential Gateways supporting HDTV, says STM. "In the HDTV chassis environment, the STi7020's dual HD video decoding capability can be used to provide a PIP (Picture in Picture) function, while in the STB environment, this feature can be used to provide a PIP function, a VCR output (allowing one high definition video program to be recorded at standard definition while another is being watched at high definition), or support for a second television from the same STB decoder."
By supporting all the requirements of the next generation of digital TV and STB products in a single chip, STM says it hopes the STi7020 will accelerate the growth of the HDTV consumer market by reducing costs while "simultaneously enabling a host of new features that will encourage consumers to make the transition from conventional analog/SD to digital/HD television."
STM's Christos Lagomichos explains that "a major challenge in the emerging HDTV market is to implement cost-effectively those sophisticated features such as picture-in-picture that consumers now expect in standard TVs. Integration is the key to achieving this and the STi7020 is the most highly integrated solution on the market." STM also claims that it is the world's leading supplier of High Definition MPEG video decoders, with a 90% market share.