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Trident and ARM get together to make smarter STBs, bring more of the web to your tube

Tim Stevens

While you're surely familiar with ARM and its suite of processors powering many a spicy mobile device, Trident is something of a more silent entity -- having a presence in half of the TVs sold worldwide but hardly making a mark when it comes to consumer perception. That could change with a new line of web-enabled set top boxes that will be powered by the ARM Cortex-A9 processor, which, even in its earliest incarnations, does a fine job of handling web duties and even decoding HD video. The goal is to deliver "the most advanced multimedia experiences into the home," and while we think that's perhaps a bit optimistic, the right players are involved here, with an "extensive ecosystem" being developed including Flash, Android, and Qt user elements. It remains to be seen whether this device will actually run Android, perhaps joining Google TV on the STB front, but there is talk of pushing content to mobile devices and matching a consistent user experience whether you're couch or coach-bound. When will all this come to pass? We think it's a bit too early to be troubled by such details.

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Trident and ARM Join Forces to Deliver a Web-Enabled Set-top Box Platform for Next Generation Internet TV Services

New Set-top Box Platform Converges Broadband and Broadcast Capabilities To Deliver On-line VOD and Broadcast Video Services through Web User Interfaces to the TV

SUNNYVALE, Calif. and CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, Sept 10, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ -- Trident Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: TRID), a leading provider of set-top box and TV semiconductor solutions, and ARM(R), announced today at IBC, Amsterdam that they have brought together all the key Web 2.0 and broadcast elements on a powerful set-top box (STB) platform that can enable consumers to seamlessly view TV programming, run rich internet applications, browse websites and share content anytime and anywhere in the home. This new platform not only delivers an immersive and interactive home multimedia experience, but also allows developers and operators to target their content package offering and services to maximise ARPU and advertising revenue.

"By combining an industry-leading STB platform with the powerful Cortex(TM)-A Series of processors, Trident and ARM bring the web-based runtime and user interface technologies traditionally found on PCs and mobile phones into the home entertainment system," said Tony Francesca, senior vice president and general manager of the Trident Set-top Box Business Unit. "We are pleased to be the first to offer this powerful new platform and look forward to continuing to deliver the most advanced multimedia experiences into the home."

"The integration of all the key components to enable a robust, internet media experience at home from the comfort of your sofa is a highly visible demonstration of the growing momentum behind the Cortex-A Series of processors in STBs," said Ian Drew, EVP, Marketing, ARM. "Our leadership position in the development of high-performance, low-power multi-core technology enables ARM to provide the scalable performance demanded by next-generation consumer devices."

This ARM/Trident initiative provides system developers with the most comprehensive platform to create solutions for internet connected STB applications. Trident has optimized its industry-first ARM-based 45nm broadcast integrated SoC family to take advantage of the high-performance ARM Cortex-A9 processor. The ARM Cortex-A9 processor provides a scalable high performance processor required to enable the streaming of high-bandwidth broadband and broadcast content into homes, while significantly improving power efficiency when compared to alternative solutions.

With the ongoing convergence among consumer electronics products, there is increased demand for the transparency of content and data sharing across different screen sizes whether at home, in the car or on the move. The ability to reuse the wide software support for the ARM Cortex-A9 processors enables activities currently going on in other segments to be reused in the STB space.

"Adobe is working with ARM & Trident to optimize the ARM JIT performance for ActionScript 3.0 which is used in the Flash Platform and provides the fundamental engine for driving our runtimes in digital home devices," said Jennifer Carr, senior director, business Development at Adobe.

An extensive ecosystem is being developed around the internet-connected STB, including the following elements:

Qt, which runs on the Trident STB (Cortex-A9 processor based) platform, provides a consistent user experience from mobile to home. Qt includes browser and widgets functionalities which run on top of QtWebKit, and extensive performance optimization work has been done for Qt running on ARM architectures.
Qt is also the development framework for MeeGo and the ARM partnership has already done significant work on this platform around the ARM Cortex-A9 processor.
Core runtime and plug in components that power the Adobe(R) Flash(R) Platform for the Digital Home have been optimized for the ARM Cortex-A9, including ActionScript 3.0 JIT.
HTML5, a new Web 2.0 standard that incorporates features like video playback, has also been optimised for ARM and will be key for next generation Web type services.
The Google Android operating system, designed for the ARM architecture and including an ARM Native Development Kit (NDK), ARM targeted JIT as part of the Dalvik Java application framework and support for the Adobe Flash Player 10.1 web plugin.
Linaro, a not-for profit company, focuses on the lower software layers and provides the best tools and Linux development experience on ARM, quickening the time to market for Linux based distributions.
About Trident Microsystems, Inc.

Trident Microsystems, Inc., with headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, is a leading force in the digital home entertainment market, delivering an extensive range of platform solutions that enhance the consumer experience in the Connected Home. As one of the top-three semiconductor providers to both the TV and set-top box markets, Trident's solutions can be found in the products of leading OEMs and channel partners worldwide. The company's extensive IP portfolio of more than 2,000 patents has been driving key innovations in image quality, 3D TV, low power consumption, and 45nm designs. For further information about Trident and its products, please consult the Company's web site:

About ARM

ARM designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM's comprehensive product offering includes 32-bit RISC microprocessors, graphics processors, video engines, enabling software, cell libraries, embedded memories, high-speed connectivity products, peripherals and development tools. Combined with comprehensive design services, training, support and maintenance, and the company's broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies. Find out more about ARM by following these links:

ARM website:
ARM Connected Community:
ARM Blogs:
ARMFlix on YouTube:
ARM on Twitter:
ARM is a registered trademark of ARM Limited. Mali is a trademark of ARM Limited. All other brands or product names are the property of their respective holders. "ARM" is used to represent ARM Holdings plc; its operating company ARM Limited; and the regional subsidiaries: ARM Inc.; ARM KK; ARM Korea Limited.; ARM Taiwan Limited; ARM France SAS; ARM Consulting (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.; ARM Germany GmbH; ARM Embedded Technologies Pvt. Ltd.; ARM Norway, AS and ARM Sweden AB.

Trident and the Trident logo are either trademarks or registered trademark of Trident Microsystems in the United Stated and/or other countries. All other company and product names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Features, pricing, availability and specifications are subject to change without notice.

SOURCE Trident Microsystems, Inc.

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