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A family PCIe interface chipset from NXP Semiconductors.

The SAA7160/SAA7161/SAA7162 IC parts will be supported by the SAA716x kernel driver module (see current status below).


In March 2005, Philips Semiconductors announced "the industry's first integrated PCI Express dual global video and stereo decoder for digital home PC desktops and notebooks" (press release). The new analog decoder chip, the saa7162, uses the increased bandwidth of the PCI Express bus to capture to two simultaneous analog channels of live tv or baseband video (cf. product flyer) or up to four independent simultaneous digital TV streams (cf. Philips/NXP SAA7162 product brief).

In Oct 2006, NXP created a saa7162 product page that includes, amongst other information, an 18 page "preliminary short data sheet" for download: SAA7162 Product Description.

The PCI-SIG lists SAA7162 (dual A/V decoder) and SAA7160/SAA7161 (multimedia A/V bridge) as PCIe devices. According to PCIe specs there are two types of PCIe devices; Type 1, which categorize normal PCIe bridge devices, and Type 0, which categorize devices which have a specific/customized programmable interface. Unfortunately, the PCIe spec is not very detailed when it comes to Type 0 devices, and it is indeed this category that the SAA7160/1/2 reside.

Saa7162 IC chip information

The SAA7162 is a PCI Express bridge with integrated dual stream A/V decoder. The device is a single lane PCIe device opertaion at 2.5G sample/s.

The dual logical Audio/Video decoder support 10 bit A/D conversion, enhanced PAL/NTSC comb filtering, a versatile VBI data processing, more sophisticated scaling alogrithms, support of High Definition component video, picture improvement processing, more robustness with VCR-type signals, and increased audio functionallity like SPDIF In/Out and an intergrated audio sample rate coverter from 32Khz to 44Khz or 48Khz.Each channels has its own silent I2C bus for controlling sensitive tuner devices. One of the channels provides an IR interface.

Aside to the dual A/V decoder, there is a versatile I/O block, featuring PHI, SPI, I2C-bus,32 GPIO lines. The PHI is a fast parallel bus interface. The SPI-bus is a high speed serial bus interface. The two I2C bus interfaces operate at high speed grade.

The Saa7162 is a highly intergrated circuit for e.g TV insertion inside PC system. The Muti Standard TV decoder covered all Video color standards like PAL, NTSC and SECAM and Sound standards like Dual FM, NICAM, BTSC and EIAJ, Addtional to the TV decider function a digital IF demodulator, a FM Radio decoder, standard interfaces for digital Video and Audio, Remote control receiver/transmission processing and a high speed programming port allows high intergrated system solutions for muti media application.

SAA7164 IC chip information

A even further complex IC that incorporates a built in MPEG2 encoder. Note: This chip is NOT supported by the driver being developed and discussed below.

Driver Development

Philips announced in their reference design that they had already written a Linux driver. In May 2007, they finally sent the code to Richard Dale and Manu Abraham, who are now writing a GPL'd driver under NDA. See the full discussion on linux-dvb.

While development has progressed, it appears that the information available/provided does not fully document some aspects of this chipset, and hence some areas of development have been problematic. Unfortunately, it appears that before NXP will consider providing additional assistance towards Linux driver support for the chipset, they wish to determine whether it is worth their while by gaining some measure of the potential future user base that Linux drivers will actually provide. Representatives from device vendors Azurewave and Hauppauge have outlined that they will try to assist LinuxTV in its effort to obtain more assistance in this matter. [1] [2].

This means that a Linux driver for the saa7162 is still yet to be released. Hopefully the remaining issues with the chipset can be resolved soon and then device level support for PCIe cards incorporating the saa7162 can begin.

Current Status (as of Nov 21/08) and link to driver: http://marc.info/?l=linux-dvb&m=122729999014286&w=2

External Links