Conexant Systems (CNXT) has unveiled a new family of digital video broadcast decoders for mass market free-to-air satellite set-top boxes. The new system-on-chip decoders were developed in Conexant's Shanghai design center, which is focused on developing STB chips for worldwide applications.

The first devices in the new family are the CX24301, which provides basic STB functionality, and the higher-performance CX24302 for cost-sensitive, more advanced STB applications. Both devices can be used with the company's satellite tuners to form a complete front- and back-end system solution.

Conexant's Shanghai design center was established in October 2000 and is focused on set-top box chip development. In addition, the Shanghai team provides engineering support to manufacturers who design and develop products for international markets, as well as China's growing domestic marketplace. The company also has a design center in Shenzhen that is focused on DSL customer design support.

According to industry analyst firm InStat, the worldwide market for free-to-air (FTA) set-top boxes is projected to grow to 45 million units per year in 2008.

The CX24301 and CX24302 include an integrated high-speed data port that easily interfaces to a variety of broadband front-ends, allowing the decoders to serve as a common back-end platform for terrestrial and cable platforms. This flexibility provides manufacturers with economies of scale as they can leverage a single device across multiple product offerings.

The new decoders are based on a powerful 32-bit 150 MHz ARM946 central processing unit, and include an MPEG decoder and integrated QPSK demodulator with automatic symbol rate detection (Blind Scan) which reduces bill-of-material costs. Additional common features include a 2D graphics accelerator, television encoder, descrambler, and video/graphics display compositing controllers.

The higher-performance CX24302 has six video digital-to-analog converters, an integrated smartcard interface, and includes support for DVB common interface. The full-featured decoder also provides an expansion capability through an integrated USB 2.0 interface.

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