CES 2011–Saankhya Labs Develops World’s First Universal TV demodulator

Bangalore based Saankhya Labs is a fabless semiconductor startup that has developed world’s first Software-Defined Universal Demodulator IC for Digital and Analog TV reception.

The transition from Analog to Digital transmission of TV signals is becoming a reality in most countries across the world. This is leading to proliferation of DTV receivers. Viewers today receive DTV content through Digital TVs (DTV), Set-top-boxes, PC-TV tuners and Cell phones. DTV signals are transmitted over Terrestrial, Cable and Satellite media.

“TV broadcast standards are region-specific. In North America/Korea terrestrial DTV is based on ATSC, Europe/India/many parts of Asia use DVB-T, Japan/ Brazil use ISDB-T and China uses CDMB-T. Similar diversity exists in Mobile TV, Cable and Satellite standards as well. Most DTV/PC-TV/Mobile-TV manufacturers today cater to the world market through region-specific products. This leads to additional design, manufacturing and inventory costs due to separate product lines for each region. DTV sets in each region have to support terrestrial, cable and sometime satellite reception. Analog TV transmission will continue to exist in many parts of the world requiring demodulation support. This requires two or three demodulator chips on the DTV chassis, leading to high cost. The scarcity of spectrum is driving the proliferation of more TV standards. Saankhya’s solutions solve this problem in a unique way. Our solution decreases the cost of a regional TV set as well as the cost of manufacturing a world TV receiver.”[source]

The startup has developed multi-standard TV demodulation technology targeted for Digital TV and PC TV Tuner applications. Saankhya’s technology enables a universal TV demodulator, capable of demodulating all digital and analog TV signals on a single chip. The solution is capable of performing the functions of Signal Conditioning, Signal Processing and Channel Decoding stages to generate a Transport Stream.

Traditionally ICs have been typically implemented as hardwired architectures due to the inherent compute complexity of the tasks and disadvantage to this is inflexibility, higher recurring cost and limited reuse.

What Saankhya offers is an ASSP (Application Specific Signal Processor) for demodulation and is designed to demodulate all the broadcast TV standards. saankhya

The features of the platform are:

  • Scalability: The combination of a control processor, VLIW based processing clusters constitutes a scalable, high performance, power-efficient platform. The framework of the platform allows each processing cluster to be scaled based on standard specific data rates. This ability also enables us to support wide range of data rates (Cable, Terrestrial). In future this platform will be capable of accommodating emerging DTV standards like DVBT2 and Enhanced VSB for ATSC.
  • Flexibility/Ease of Re-use: The platform enables us to meet performance of all supported standards, by re-using the available MIPS and memory within each of the signal processing clusters. The flexibility of a programmable platform allows us to perform innovative load-balancing.

The company will demo its product at CES 2011 and we hope they catch the eyes of TV manufacturers.

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