At a media event in Denver last week, Broadcom Corporation demonstrated its new system-on-a-chip (SoC) to speed up channel change times by a factor of five. Its FastRTV channel change acceleration technology is now available in a wide range of Broadcom solutions for digital cable set-top boxes and universal digital transport adapters (DTAs). Comcast is the first service provider to deploy Broadcom’s FastRTV technology in some of its DTA deployments.

Brett Tischler, senior marketing manager/Broadband Communications with Broadcom, said Comcast has been deploying DTAs with the faster channel-change SoCs in the last few months as part of its Project Cavalry analog-to-digital transition.

"Analog to digital customers usually just want basic service," said Tischler. "Now, with the faster channel change technology, they’re not seeing their service degrade (from analog)."

The first DTAs with the FastRTV technology are using Broadcom’s BCM7002 cable DTA chips. FastRTV works with existing conditional access on Motorola and Cisco systems and does not require changes to broadcast streams.

IPTV providers, such as AT&T’s U-Verse, have been able to offer near instantaneous channel changing for some time. But, it’s more difficult for multicast video providers.

Tischler said the FastRTV technology consists of "special hardware on our chips as well as special software."

At the demonstration, Broadcom also showed its BCM3382 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem SoC solution, which it announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The solution offers bonding support for up to eight simultaneous DOCSIS channels.

"We made the decision early on that we didn’t think four channels was enough," said Jay Kirchoff, senior director of marketing/Broadband Communications Business Unit with Broadcom.

Kirchoff said a manufacturer has submitted a product with the BCM3382 technology for certification with CableLabs. "It’s about to come out," he said.

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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