1 -12/2012 —
TELE-satellite International —
A note for end users: if
possible, thought should be
given to setting up the home
with a proper network infra-
structure. Cabling is definite-
ly preferred so that in the fu-
ture HDTV can be streamed
to every room in the house.
If necessary, WLAN can be
used as can the existing pow-
er lines in the house. With
this kind of infrastructure
new receivers based on the
new modern SoC’s like the
HI3716C make sense since
now all services would be ful-
ly integrated throughout the
house. It wouldn’t matter, for
example, if that movie were
stored on a PC or in the set
top box; it can be played back
on a tablet, on a laptop or on
a TV monitor. Welcome to the
multimedia age of network
In order to provide all of
these functions, the HI3716C
has to be a highly integrated
SoC. The central component
is the ARM Cortex A9 proces-
sor that operates at 1 GHz,
corresponding to 2500 MPIs
Million Operations per Sec-
ond). This involves opera-
tions with floating-point val-
The problem with receiv-
ers already on the market
with the Android operating
system is that the important
components, for example, to
connect tuners are missing.
It therefore becomes difficult
for those available boxes with
ARM processors to establish
themselves as real set top
The HI3716C changes eve-
rything. In the SoC are ad-
ditional hardware kernels for
DEMUXERs for the con-
nection of DVB-S/C/T tun-
ers, JPEG/PNG- and H264/
Real/H.263-Decoders, etc.
Additionally the SoC is al-
ready set up for the con-
nection of USB2.0, SATA/
eSATA/DDR2 and DD3/Flash/
Wifi Modules/card readers/
Smartcard readers, remote
control, HDMI, etc. So, this
is not about an SoC that was
developed for mobile tele-
phones or tablets, rather it’s
one that was designed spe-
cifically for receivers.
With the right Android
Apps, the perfect receiver
and multimedia player can be
implemented. Thanks to the
speedy Cortex A9 and the 3D
GPU with OpenGL ES 2.0 sup-
port, the receiver can also
serve as a game console.
Some manufacturers have
already tried to implement
such a receiver through other
methods. Instead of integrat-
ing a receiver with an ARM
processor and a second SoC
for the receiver functions,
which would have, of course,
doubled production costs,
they tried to port Android
onto other processor fami-
lies. The MIPSANDROID pro-
ject is unfortunately an ex-
ample of how fast problems
could arise. The porting could
not be completed because
the SoC manufacturer did not
make the necessary specifi-
cations available for the Open
Source driver development.
Even if this approach were
successful, there was anoth-
er grave problem: the Apps
would not have been binary
compatible with the Apps for
ARM processors which would
have prevented access to
stores such as the Google
Store. This would have great-
ly reduced the usefulness of
the Android system.
The new chip from HIO-
SILICON stands out in that it
gives you a true Android feel-
ing while at the same time
guaranteeing typical receiver
and multimedia functions.
The Apps developer, thanks
to the Linux-based Android
and the Open Source nature
of the HI3716C, that can be
used to design receiver and
multimedia programs, is just
fascinating. Just recently, for
example, the XBMC (Xbox
Multimedia Center) porting
for Android devices has start-
ed and the first beta versions
can already be installed. We
tried it out and can confirm
this is a fully featured trans-
And the HI3716C can of course be used as the basis of an Open TV set-top-box.