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ST Takes Set-Top Boxes to 64bit, FDSOI

08 January 2014

STMicroelectronics NV has announced an architecture for system chips (SoCs) for set-top boxes (STBs) and home servers and gateways that will be based on 64-bit capable Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 cores licensed from ARM Holdings plc.

Chips developed to the STi8K architecture will be implemented in ST's 28nm Fully Depleted Silicon-On-Insulator (FDSOI) and smaller-geometry manufacturing processes, the company said.

The company did not provide any details of SoCs based on STi8K – such as how many cores they would include, whether they would follow the big-little plan laid out by ARM, what they would use for graphics, video codec functions or when they would be available. Nor did ST say when the first SoCs compliant with STi8K would be available.

The compliance of Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 with the ARMv8A architecture allows the creation of SoCs that support both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems and memory addressing. ST said that STi8K compliant SoCs would be added to the Cannes, Monaco and Alicante product ranges. These three ranges support HEVC client, HEVC server and DOCSIS video distribution respectively.

The STi8K includes Faroudja transcoding, a technology acquired by ST in 2007 when it acquired Faroudja Labs, research company founded by Yves and Isabel Faroudja. It can support up to eight HD video streams to enable advanced distribution of multimedia content. STi8K supports Ultra High Definition images at up to 60 frames per second with 10-bit color.

"The consumer industry has initiated the transition from 32- to 64-bit computing in the mobile market. New upcoming, highly demanding technologies, such as DOCSIS 3.1 or full-featured 10-bit High-Efficiency Video Coding in Ultra High Definition at 60 frames per second, will drive this same transition in the Digital Home market," said Gian Luca Bertino, general manager of ST's digital convergence group, in a statement.

Tom Cronk, senior vice president of commercial operations at ARM, added: "Our long-term collaboration with ST, including its recent integration of our latest 64-bit processors, together with our mutual investment in software-ecosystem development, for example through Linaro, are key building blocks that will help make more advanced and immersive media experiences a reality."

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