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January 10, 2014

STMicroelectronics Gets Into 4K Video

An era was born when both television and internet broadcasters started streaming high-definition content in 16:9 aspect ratios. The most prominent resolution standard in this kind of content was 1080p, representing a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. Fast-forward into 2014, and we're now seeing an emphasis on 4K (2160p, or 3840 x 2160) resolution, which introduces 6,220,800 pixels into the picture we once considered perfectly clear at the former resolution.

To make this new dimension of HD work, we need content providers, set-top box manufacturers, and television set manufacturers to collaborate and provide the devices, streaming technology, and content required to show brilliant images. STMicroelectronics has taken upon itself the task of manufacturing new chips that will be able to handle the loads necessary to process and relay images from the set-top boxes they will sit in into the television sets that will display the images.

The chips will be based on the STi8K design, which will introduce 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture. With this new chip, 4K video will be delivered to TVs, mobile screens, and computers not only through a set-top box, but also through the cloud and household networks.

Considering the enormous amount of 4K screens decorating the CES convention held this year, we can very well expect 4K to become the new standard in high-definition video, whether we like it or not.

STMicroelectronics already has three chips ready for production, code-named Cannes, Monaco, and Alicante, all of which will be able to deliver brilliant high-resolution content at 60 frames per second, and will handle up to eight video streams simultaneously.

This isn't the only innovation that we have our eyes on. YouTube has already introduced 4K video streaming capabilities within its platform. However, Google is looking to reduce the bandwidth necessary to deliver this video through a special streaming technology known as VP9.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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