Analysis

HDMI Switch from STMicroelectronics Supports 3.4Gbps Data Rate to Enable 16-bit Color

15th November 2007
ES Admin
STMicroelectronics has announced what it says is the first HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) switch in the world to support a video data-transfer rate of up to 3.4-Gigabits per second (Gbps), enabling full 16-bit color depth — 65k colors — to be maintained for a true high-definition (HD) picture. The STDVE003A is designed to be used in LCD and Plasma TV sets to provide multiple HDMI inputs for external program sources, such as game consoles, high-definition DVD players (Blu-ray and HD-DVD), and set-top boxes (STBs). In addition, its integrated equalizer is designed to overcome signal degradation when long (greater than 20m) and lossy cables are used.
The STDVE003A is an active digital multiplexer designed for high-performance TMDS (Transition Minimized Differential Signaling) data transfer. Configured as a 3:1 switch, it enables TV designers to provide as many as three input ports while using only a single HDMI receiver chip. Signal integrity is maintained and enhanced by an internal active block which receives and equalizes the input signal before transmitting it to the next stage. The device is produced using ST’s advanced BiCMOS6G SiGe process technology.

The high (3.4 Gbps) data-transfer rate is fully compliant with the latest and strictest HDMI specification, version 1.3. Other solutions in the market typically limit color depth to 12-bits (4k colors) due to a lower data-rate capability, even when the original video source – for example from Blu-ray and HD-DVD players – is 16-bit; a 16-bit source routed through the STDVE003A will result in a brighter, more vibrant 16-bit picture. This active switch is cost-competitive with similar products, despite its higher specification, and has a compatible package and pin-out to make it easy for designers to upgrade their current solutions without changing the PCB layout, thereby improving performance and robustness at no extra cost.

Control of signal routing through the switch is by means of Select pins. The device also supports DDC (Display Data Channel) and HPD (Hot-Plug Detect) data switching, and provides on-chip 50-ohm input termination. Flow-through pin-out ensures straightforward PCB layout.

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