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Friday, January 05, 2007

Programmable security in HD cable box chip

Security is increasingly one of the key issues in set top box design, and Broadcom is addressing this with a programmable security engine in its latest high definition cable TV set top box chip.
The BCM7118 handles AVC and VC-1 HDTV decoding, hard disk PVR and the DOCSIS2.0 channel bonding, but the key is the integrated Broadcom secure processor (BSP) to provide security features to protect high-value content and to prevent set-top box tampering. Using multi-layered security, the BCM7118 uses both hardware and software for content security functions in a highly protected environment on-chip, effectively providing a tamper proof barrier for video and audio content. Moreover, each chip is programmed by Broadcom with a permanent unique identification and configuration that forms the foundation for specific conditional access systems, decryption key processing, key management and system protection that includes the forthcoming downloadable security system.
This provides security for present conditional access (CA) systems says Broadcom, which will include the hardware-based CA used by News International, and supports requirements for the emerging Polycipher Downloadable Conditional Access Security (DCAS). This eliminates the need for a separate smart card such as CableCARD and supports multiple conditional access systems, retail products, and multiple cable operators.
"We have integrated a tremendous amount of state-of-the art technology into the new BCM7118 cable set-top box chip based on cable operator and customer feedback regarding what they need to compete in their end markets," said Daniel Marotta, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom's Broadband Communications Group. "Our new cable TV set-top box chip sets a new benchmark for the industry with respect to speed, performance, integration, and security, plus it supports IP video services."

By moving to a DOCSIS-based platform for voice, video and data, operator's costs can be decreased while enabling their networks to support richer interactive services, switched or broadcasted IP video delivery, as well as other IP voice and data services. At the same time, the Broadcom BCM7118 will enable the development of cost-effective, low cost cable set-top boxes.
Reference designs
Of course a chip is nothing without the rest of the system, and Broadcom has developed two reference designs: the BCM97118RNG is a very low cost, entry-level digital set-top box reference platform to address applications for basic all-digital video customers, and the BCM97118 is a full-featured reference platform that includes a SATA hard disk drive and interfaces to support multi-room DVR communications.

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