Set-top Box

Motorola DCX3400-M Set-Top Box Teardown

29 October 2011
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

Overview / Main Features

The Motorola DCX3400-M is the flagship all-digital cable (QAM) tuner model from the MPEG-4 AVC capable DCX series of set top boxes. In fact, Motorola holds claim to the DCX3400 as the "first ever dual digital tuner HD DVR set top with integrated MPEG-4 decoder for the cable broadcast television market. The DCX series takes advantage of the improved bandwidth efficiencies of the MPEG-4 encoding scheme to deliver a larger selection of both HD broadcast and video on demand (VOD) content from cable service operators transitioning to the new digital format. The DCX3400-M is a HD-capable DVR, DOCSIS 2.0 enabled set top featuring separable security via M-Card CableCARD module. Further, the newly designed set top features Dolby Digital Plus audio enhancements as well as Tru2way network capabilities.

Motorola DCX3400-M Set-Top Box Main ImageMotorola DCX3400-M Set-Top Box Main Image

Target Market

North American cable service operators as well as their captive customer / subscriber base.

Release and Availability

Per press releases, first announced in January 2008, however, has yet to be released to end user.

Motorola DCX3400-M Set-Top Box - Main PCB TopMotorola DCX3400-M Set-Top Box - Main PCB Top


Pricing for this kind of product (at the consumer level) is typically meaningless as it is a completely subsidized part of a service package. Cable set-top boxes are typically rented out to subscribers on a monthly schedule in accordance with the service contract which varies region to region within the North American market. Since the device cannot function without being properly set-up by a service provider, after-market product and prices have no validity.

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 1M units.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed, volumes increment by an order of magnitude. Minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis.

Motorola DCX3400-M Set-Top Box Cost AnalysisMotorola DCX3400-M Set-Top Box Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers Representing ~79% of Total Materials Costs

Seagate - ST3250310CS - Hard Drive - 250GB, 3.5', SATA 3Gb/s, 7200RPM, 8MB Buffer

Broadcom - BCM7400 - HD Video System on Chip - Dual, AVC/ VC-1/ MPEG-2/ MPEG-4 PART 2/DIVX, 350MHz MIPS32 CPU

Multi-Stream Cable Card Value Line Item

Broadcom - BCM3255KPBG - Front End - Single Chip, DOCSIS2.0+, 3 QAM Demodulators, Ethernet MAC & PHY, w/ Channel Bonding

Unimicron Technology - 6-Layer - FR4

Power-One - Power Supply - 40W (Assumed)

Anadigics - AIT1032 - Tuner - Hybrid Analog / Digital, 1GHz Bandwidth, w/ RF/IF Gain Control (Qty:3)

Hynix - HY5PS121621CFP-Y5 - SDRAM - DDR2, 512Mb (32M x 16), 1.8V, 166MHz@CL5, 3ns (Qty:4)

Spansion - S29GL256P11FFI02 - Flash - NOR, 256Mb, 3V, 110ns, 90nm, MirrorBit

Ceramic Multilayer - X5R/X7R (Qty:662)

Enclosure, Main, Bottom - Stamped / Formed Paint-Loc Steel

Enclosure, Main, Top - Stamped/Formed Paint-Loc Steel, Black Painted

Texas Instruments - TSB43DA42AGHC - Microcontroller - Single Chip Solution for IEEE1394a Link-Layer, w/ Integrated 2-Port PHY

Hynix - HY5PS561621BFP-Y5 - SDRAM - DDR2, 256Mb (16M x 16), 1.8V, 166MHz@CL5, 3ns (Qty:2)

Texas Instruments - TPS40140RHHRG4 - PWM Controller - 2-Phasel, Stackable, Current Mode, Synchronous Buck, 1MHz, w/ Internal Regulator (Qty:2)

Materials and Manufacturing $199.74

What Is Not Included in our Cost AnalysisThe total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on markings, the unit was assembled in Taiwan. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc.) were also sourced in Taiwan.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as hard drive), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ""Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pin-count of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

We tend to use component counts as the one measurable and clearly defined metric by which we can compare and judge the relative complexity of devices and comment as to where a given device fits in the spectrum of overall manufacturing cost and complexity between devices.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design.

Component count = 1708, of which 73 components are mechanical in nature. This seems to compare favorably with other set top boxes considering this has high-end functionality, yet does not have a component count that is out of line with similar boxes. The key to this typically is integration at the chipset level.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

The DCX4300-M design features Broadcom solutions prominently within the A/V Processing and Front End ""functional areas" (BCM7400 HD video system on chip and the BCM3255PBG QAM Demodulator). Compared with previously analyzed digital cable set top boxes, the DCX4300-M offers up a much more tightly integrated design with fewer supporting ICs.

Beyond the core Broadcom chip solutions, the Motorola DCX3400-M features a 250GB hard drive - a significant bump from the 160GB of previous generation HD DVRs - and the typical assortment of I/O support such as USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, eSATA, Ethernet and HDMI.

Here is a summary of the major components used in the Motorola DCX3400-M design:

Main PCB

Audio / Video Processing

  • HD Video System on Chip - Broadcom - BCM7400

Front End

  • Front-End - Broadcom - BCM3255KPBG
  • Tuner - Anadigics - AIT1032


  • SDRAM - Hynix - HY5PS121621CFP-Y5
  • SDRAM - Hynix - HY5PS561621BFP-Y5
  • SDRAM - Hynix - HY5DU281622FTP-J
  • Flash - Spansion - S29GL256P11FFI02

I/O & Interface

  • Microcontroller - Texas Instruments - TSB43DA42AZHCR


  • 250GB Hard Drive - Seagate - ST3250310CS

Cable Card

Multi-Stream Cable Card

  • M-Card - Motorola - MediaCipher

Motorola DCX3400-M Set-Top Box - Enclosure DisassemblyMotorola DCX3400-M Set-Top Box - Enclosure Disassembly

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