Broadcom Unveils World's First Processor for 4K Ultra HDTVs

Broadcom Reveals Chip for 4K UHD TVs

by Anton Shilov
01/09/2013 | 10:50 PM

Broadcom Corp., a leading developer of communication and multimedia chips, this week announced the world's first highly-integrated system-on-chip for ultra high-definition televisions (UHD TVs) that supports decoding of content in 4K-class resolutions (3840*2160, 4096*2160, etc.) and features high-performance microprocessor as well as robust security technologies.


Broadcom BCM7445 system-on-chip features quad-core Brahma15 (ARMv7-A instruction set-compatible) general-purpose microprocessor, four 1080p30 real-time transcoders, H.265/HEVC decoder (which can decode content in up to 4096*2160@60Hz resolution), Gigabit Ethernet and so on. The chip is made using 28nm process technology.

The Brahma15 processor features out-of-order superscalar 15-stage plus write back pipeline. Each core individually supports single cycle ARM Neon 128- bit vectors for software based media processing applications as well as features 32KB instruction and 32KB data caches; the chips also features 2MB shared cache. The Brahama15 supports the ARM Trust Zone security architecture, software virtualization and hardware virtualization by core for complete security isolation. Brahma15 delivers 21000 DMIPS performance. The entire architecture supports Broadcom's Nexus and Trellis software interfaces ensuring a seamless continuation of the home gateway and client experience.

"The clarity and brilliance of UHD television is a significant step forward in viewing enjoyment and is the next true evolution in TV innovation. By integrating HEVC, quad 1080p transcoding, quad-core CPU, Gigabit networking speeds and web domain security, Broadcom is enabling a dramatic improvement in the TV viewing experience while making UHD video delivery economics work for service providers," said Dan Marotta, Broadcom's executive vice president and general manager of broadband communications group.

The HEVC standard is supported by tens of companies from telecom, computer, TV and consumer electronics industries. The HEVC/H.265 format supports maximum resolution of 7680*4320 and therefore can support both incoming quad-FHD (3840*2160, QFHD or 4K) as well even ultra high-definition (7680*4320, UHD, UHDTV or Super Hi-Vision [SHV]) video. Considering that 4K is nearing, it is likely that HEVC will be the codec to use in order to encode QFHD videos, whereas for 8K something even more advanced will probably be introduced as it is many years away.

"HEVC, which will be known as MPEG-5 or H.265, will be required to broadcast ultra HD content, notably major sporting events and Hollywood content. Next generation user experience, including 80 inch and larger displays, will be improved by the adoption of UHD and HEVC. The efficiency of HEVC will also enable additional services including faster IP downloads and the provisioning of VoD services over wireless networks," said Michael Inouye, senior analyst of TV and video at ABI Research.

Samples of the BCM7445 UHD TV video decoder for the home are now available, with volume production expected in mid-2014. The BCM7445 will be demonstrated at Broadcom's booth at 2013 CES International.