Next generation combo chip and display dongle accelerate WiFi adoption
June 21, 2012 // Nick Flaherty
Broadcom has launched two new WiFi devices to enable a consumer video experience that spans mobile devices, smart TVs and other consumer electronics (CE).
The new products include Broadcom's first combo chip optimized to add dual-stream, dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity to CE devices and an integrated wireless dongle design that will bring WiFi Display (now called WiFi Miracast) to existing digital TVs and media boxes.
With wireless connectivity attach rates in smart TVs, set-top boxes, streaming media boxes and other products expected to grow to almost 50% over the next four years, Wi-Fi will increasingly become a primary channel by which video and other media reach the CE device. Similarly, smartphones and other mobile devices have become important platforms for viewing digital content and now occupy an important role in how people access and enjoy media.
The new Broadcom BCM43242 features dual-band multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) WiFi technology to enable integrated dual video streaming and over-the-top capabilities in CE devices, supporting features such as advanced error correction and simultaneous WiFi connections to two devices. This allows a smart TV to simultaneously access Internet content and stream high-bandwidth video from a smartphone, tablet or PC. The chip can also enable peer-to-peer transmissions in the 5 GHz band, with more spectrum and less congestion in that frequency range allowing better quality video streaming and smartphone-to-TV video sharing.
With integrated Bluetooth 4.0, the new combo device will enable CE products to use advanced remotes, game controllers, stereo headphones, keyboards, 3D glasses and other interface devices. Broadcom Bluetooth also features the ability to stream audio to home stereos, enable voice recognition in remote controls and connect smartphones and other devices to the CE ecosystem, driving innovation in user interface development. The BCM43242 includes Broadcom's best-in-class InConcert co-existence technology--with key optimizations for DTV use cases--that enables uninterrupted Bluetooth connectivity while maintaining high Wi-Fi throughput.
Broadcom's new wireless dongle design features the proven capabilities of the BCM43236 dual-band Wi-Fi chip and the low power, high performance BCM2835 VideoCore media processor, enabling cost-effective adapter products that easily add WiFi Display capabilities to existing CE devices with an HDMI port. The ability to conveniently use the larger screens of digital televisions for viewing content is driving adoption of WiFi Display, which couples Wi-Fi and video encoding technology to allow the consumer to seamlessly move the mobile user interface from a small screen to a bigger display while maintaining control via the mobile's touch screen.
The dongle platform is designed to support zero packet loss, minimize latency for interactive use cases and mitigate interference while maximizing screen resolution and picture quality for WiFi Display applications. Broadcom's VideoCore processing technology enables vivid graphics and HD video playback with minimal power consumption.
Further driving adoption and use of WiFi Display, Broadcom has integrated support for the technology into several of its key smartphone platforms, including its BCM28155 3G HSPA+ dual-core SoC, so that handsets based on Broadcom smartphone platforms that include the BCM4334 smartphone combo chip will also be able to offer these media streaming capabilities. Wi-Fi Display support is also planned for all future Broadcom dual-core smartphone platforms.
The BCM43242 is now sampling to Broadcom's early access customers, with full production expected in Q4 2012. Broadcom's integrated WiFi Display dongle design is also sampling to customers, with the BCM43236 Wi-Fi chip and BCM2835 media processor shipping in production quantities.
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Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturer Ciseco has launched the Raspberry Pi ‘Wireless Inventors Kit’ (RasWIK), featuring 88 pieces to provide everything a Pi owner needs to follow a series of step-by-step projects or to create their own wireless devices, without the need for configuration or even writing code.
RasWIK has been designed to be highly accessible, demystifying the dark art of wireless and enabling anyone with basic computing skills to begin building wireless devices with a Raspberry Pi. You can create anything from a simple traffic light, to a battery monitor, or even a temperature gauge that sends data to the Xively IoT cloud so billions can access the data.This month, Ciseco is giving away twelve Raspberry Pi Wireless Inventors kits, worth £49.99 each for EETimes Europe's readers to win.
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In our previous reader offer, Farsens was giving away five kits for EEtimes Europe readers to evaluate its FenixVortex, Kineo and X1 wireless, battery free sensor tags.
Lucky winners include Mr A. Neil from the UK, Mr. E. Delvaux from Belgium, Mr Lengal from the Czech Republic, Mr H. Bijlsma from the Netherlands, and Mr G. Pfaff from Germany. All should be receiving their packages soon. Lets wish them some interesting findings with their projects.
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