BridgeCo and HelloSoft bring VoIP to the digital living room

BridgeCo, a leading provider of digital home entertainment networking solutions, announced a new reference design that brings VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) telephone service to consumer electronics in the living room. Working with HelloSoft, a leading provider of communication intellectual property, the BridgeCo reference design enables consumer electronics OEMs and ODMs to quickly develop cost-effective, secure VoIP ATAs (analog telephone adapters). Consumers can plug any type of conventional telephone -- wired or cordless -- into the RJ-11 jack of an ATA to make free and low-cost domestic and international VoIP telephone calls through the Internet to their friends and families.

The new BridgeCo reference design is the first comprehensive silicon and software platform targeted at CE (consumer electronics) manufacturers that want to incorporate VoIP capability directly into audio systems, A/V systems, stand-alone digital media players, set-top boxes and other CE devices in the digital living room. The BridgeCo VoIP reference design enables always-on, hands-free VoIP access to consumers through CE products that are connected to a wired or wireless home network.

"Consumers spend a significant segment of the day in the living room," explained HelloSoft CEO, Krishna Yarlagadda. "So naturally they will want telephone access -- and VoIP access -- where they spend their evenings in front of the TV or stereo. We have optimized HelloSoft's industry-proven VoIP software suite to run on BridgeCo's processor and firmware platform, offering CE designers the opportunity to combine VoIP capability with audio networking in a single, cost-effective solution."

VoIP functionality can be offered by OEMs and ODMs as a cost-effective stand-alone ATA that will operate on any Internet-connected home network, without any PC being required on the network. Designers have the option of integrating a cordless telephone base-station into the VoIP ATA, offering consumers a single handset that includes both conventional PSTN and VoIP calling options, and all associated information, in a single user interface. CE OEMs can also use the reference design to embed VoIP functionality directly into next-generation audio and video products. The BridgeCo platform includes a robust encryption engine and a choice of encryption protocols to provide a secure communication channel from handset to Internet. BridgeCo expects that stand-alone ATAs based on the company's reference design will retail at substantially more competitive price points than other ATAs in the market today.

Complete Turn-key Reference Design

The reference design combines HelloSoft's world-class VoIP software suite with BridgeCo's recently announced DM830 media networking processor and firmware platform. HelloSoft's VoIP software suite, which runs on BridgeCo's DM830 processor, is an enhanced solution that incorporates G.711, G.726, G.723.1 and G.729AB vocoders, G.168-2000 Line Echo Canceller, Voice Activity Detection (VAD), Comfort Noise Generation (CNG), Jitter Buffer, Packet Loss Concealment (PLC), DTMF Tone Detection and Generation, Call Progressive Tone (CPT), SIP/RTP/RTCP Call Signaling and Control, and multi-channel system-level framework.

The BridgeCo DM830 processor interfaces directly to a wide variety of PHY-layer network devices, including Ethernet, HomePlug(TM) Powerline and 802.11g wireless devices. The BridgeCo firmware bundle includes a real time operating system that handles TCP/IP and USB networking protocols; MP3, WMA and other audio format decompression; DTCP/IP, Windows Media Connect and many other popular digital rights management (DRM) encryption/decryption processing and authentication; and UPnP, IR and LCD control functions.

Solution Eliminates Software Development and Integration Delay

BridgeCo's bundled firmware and HelloSoft's VoIP suite eliminates the need for system OEMs and ODMs to create or integrate third-party operating systems, middleware, application software or complex drivers, making it possible for customers to achieve rapid market entry. An intuitive application programming interface (API) expands flexibility and simplifies the learning curve, enabling OEM and ODM customers to easily customize and differentiate the user interface and other performance parameters.

"Our new VoIP reference design allows designers to develop discrete ATA products, or products that integrate VoIP functionality with Internet audio streaming and MP3 file sharing," said BridgeCo's Founder and CTO Christof Heidelberger. "Coupled with BridgeCo's comprehensive SDK and intuitive APIs, designers have enormous flexibility to imagine and implement a range of products for a variety of CE markets and applications."

Pricing and Availability

BridgeCo VoIP reference design evaluation boards are available for US$499. Evaluation boards come complete with a comprehensive SDK (software developer's kit), a complete bill-of-materials, Gerber files and VoIP software modules. Advanced software modules are available for an additional fee.

Posted on Mar 08, 2005  Reviews | Share |  Digg
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