BroadLogic, a San Jose, CA, maker of video-processing semiconductors, has announced an ultra-dense quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) chip for video, voice and data transport.

The TeraQAM chip will be available in 16-channel and 32-channel versions, thus doubling and quadrupling QAM chip density from the standard eight-channel chip most commonly shipped today.

The going rate for eight-channel QAM modulators is around $200, according to BroadLogic.

The vendor expects to manufacture production quantities of its TeraQAM chips by the end of 2009. BroadLogic anticipates the denser chips will allow QAM manufacturers to approach the $100/QAM watermark.

"Operators consider $100 per QAM to be the Holy Grail," said BroadLogic’s president and CEO Danial Faizullabhoy.

While the cost of QAM modulators has declined dramatically in the past few years, the subject is still of keen interest to cable operators and plays into the debate over whether to deliver IP video through the CMTS or bypass the CMTS in favor of edge QAM modulators. Proponents of bypass point out that stand-alone edge QAM modulators are a lot cheaper than downstream CMTS ports. (For more, click here.)

Whether operators choose to bypass the CMTS for video transport or not, Faizullabhoy anticipates a need for more QAM modulators in cable operators’ HFC networks to meet the demand for personalized video content such as VOD, interactive applications and advanced advertising.

In addition to increased density and lower cost of its new chip, BroadLogic is also touting TeraQAM’s lower power usage, claiming a reduction in power consumption of up to 85 percent.

BroadLogic, which was founded in 2002, counts Time Warner, Comcast and Cisco among its investors.

Canadian QAM vendor LiquidxStream Systems makes its own chip, which can support 36 QAM channels per port. (For more, click here.) But the company does not sell its chip to other QAM manufacturers.

– Linda Hardesty

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