New chips equipped for 4K video streaming

STMicroelectronics joins the 64-bit ARM chip race with new chips for set-top boxes

Makers of cable boxes and video streaming devices will soon have the option of delivering 4K video with STMicroelectronics' new chips, which will decode the emerging HEVC video codec and support the HDMI 2.0 video delivery specification.

The chip company announced that it was developing chips based on its new STi8K design, which is based on ARM's 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture. The chips will assist in delivery of 4K video to TVs, mobile devices and computers through set-top boxes, home networks and the cloud, STMicroelectronics said.

4K, which is also called Ultra HD, is expected to be the new standard in high-definition. Most HDTVs and monitors are capable of high-definition resolutions of 1920 x 1080 pixels, but 4K provides four times the depth. 4K TVs, monitors and cameras are expected to be prominent at the International CES trade show in Las Vegas this week, which is where STMicroelectronics announced STi8K.

The new chips based on STi8K, code-named Cannes, Monaco and Alicante, will be capable of video delivery at up to 60 frames per second, which is standard on the new 4K TVs. The chips based on STi8K are designed for cable boxes, Internet streaming devices and multimedia gateways in data centers.

The new chips will be able to decode 4K video based on the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), also called with H.265, which is the 4K video codec being promoted by the International Telecommunications Union. HEVC is competing for adoption with VP9, a royalty-free video standard developed by Google which is being adopted by major TV and chip makers. STMicroelectronics did not respond to a question as to whether it would support VP9.

The products will also support HDMI 2.0 ports, and the cables will be able to deliver video at up to 18G bps (bits per second), which is good enough for multiple 4K video streams and 32 simultaneous audio channels.

Chips accelerate video decoding with the help of specialized accelerators, and the STi8K supports transcoding technology called "Faroudja," which will help deliver eight high-definition video streams simultaneously. That should make multimedia content distribution easier across networks or to multiple devices at home, STMicroelectronics said.

With STi8K, STMicroelectronics has become the latest vendor to announce 64-bit ARM chips. Nvidia on Sunday announced its first 64-bit ARM-based chip, Tegra K1, which has 192 graphics cores and is targeted at gamers.

Most set-top boxes and TVs are currently equipped with chips based on MIPS architecture, though ARM is taking market share away with its latest chip designs.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags CESST MicroelectronicsComponentsprocessors

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?