China's Huashu Digital TV is working with Oki Electric and Intel to jointly develop a Next Generation Hybrid Set-Top Box to serve the digital home market segment in China.

"With the coming digital home era, Huashu has been looking for a platform to enable carriers to promote home digitalization, enhance network intelligence, meet the needs of multiple home applications," said Zhou Hong, vice general manager at Hangzhou-based Huashu Digital TV, in a press statement. "The Next Generation Hybrid STB, jointly developed by OKI, Intel and Huashu, is a perfect solution for such a platform, and with it, we aim to provide new value-added services to our subscribers while improving our average revenue per user."

The digital STB platform design is based on OKI's video processing technologies and the Intel CE 2110 media processor. The hybrid platform is designed to let TV viewers enjoy high-definition television broadcasts, video-on-demand and future valued-added services such as 3D graphics.

According to the Industrial Development and Digital Broadcast Research Center, the number of digital TV subscribers in China reached 23.64 million households in November 2007, representing 24.3% of the China's total households subscribed to CATV, and an 81.3% increase from the previous year. With the coming 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and Shanghai World Expo in 2010, the number of high-definition broadcast channels is expected to increase. The digitalization of cable TVs and the spread of IPTV are expected to drive the convergence of broadcast and telecommunications-based video services with resulting growth in the STB market segment.

To accelerate the adoption of digital TV technology, telecom carriers in China have provided low-end set-top boxes to their subscribers at no cost. These devices have limited the ability of subscribers to access value-added services, and free STB distribution has made it difficult for carriers to increase their profitability. The Next Generation Hybrid STB, which can be used for both digital video broadcasting and IPTV, supports HDTV decoders including MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and H.264.


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