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Siano does its second chip for TV, first for HD, in Latin America

While it makes a lot of sense for radio chip designer Siano Mobile Silicon, to step outside of its tight Mobile TV niche in Latin America, and introdu

By PETER WHITE

Published: 25 November, 2010

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While it makes a lot of sense for radio chip designer Siano Mobile Silicon, to step outside of its tight Mobile TV niche in Latin America, and introduce a chip which supports full ISBB-T, it does start to say quite a bit about the company.

Siano initially established early on that it would work with multi-protocol chips, before it was a trend, and created chips which both tuned a signal and demodulated video in DVB-H, T-DMB, China’s CMMB and ISDB-T in Japan.

Right now the across the board wins for the ISDB-T protocol throughout Latin America, in what is virtually becoming an economic miracle, with the Brazilian, Argentine and Chilean economies growing apace, while much off the world is in recession – makes ISDB-T hot.

Most companies in and around devices and components for TV, pay TV and mobile TV are heading for Latin America to pick up on the new consumer wealth there. For instance Broadcom in August this year came out of its US centric shell and launched a series of chips to support ISDB-T set tops, HD converters and TV while US analog radio chip specialist Telegent came out with a hybrid TV chip for Latin America, offering both analog TV and ISDB-Tb 1Seg. UK supplier Mirics also launched an ISDB-Tb software module for tuner signals on a PC just a few weeks back.

Siano itself first launched an ISDB-T one-seg in April when it announced deals with Vivo, Claro and TIM Brazil, some of the top Brazilian cellcos, mostly in ZTE phones, which were pushed hard for viewing World Cup soccer this Summer.

One seg is one of 13 segments built into the ISDB-T signal, the others are used for an SD and a HD version of often the same channel and so Siano is now venturing into the HD video world. That’s a first.

The architecture is likely to be somewhat different from a mobile TV chip. It has to watch and tune a far wider area of spectrum, a full 6 MHz, instead of just the 428 kHz of bandwidth which a single segment is in. The data throughput is far higher, implying a faster processing speed on the chip for the demodulation, which in turn implies more electric power needed, but then again HDTVs don’t run off batteries. Siano has already made chips which offer DVB-T, which is probably a similar workload, though the protocol is very different.

The new Siano chip is the SMS2270 aimed at TV sets, set tops PCs, and in-Car TVs and Siano claims that the signal is crystal clear even when a long way from the transmitter and using a poor quality antenna.

ISDB-T DTV services already cover most of the populations in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and will soon be embraced by other countries.

In keeping with its usual designs, this Siano chip is a multi-protocol chip also supporting the DVB-T format, which is deployed in Europe, Australia, and some places in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. This means that TV makers can use the same chip in designs for multiple continents.

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