Tech Overdrive: Inside the Broadcom Booth at CES

The technology practically jumps out at you when you walk into Broadcom’s booth at the International Consumer Electronics Show.

As the annual CES show kicked off in Las Vegas, a flood of industry analysts, reporters, customers and executives converged on the the company’s red-emblazoned private booth, complete with 350 linear feet of live demos. All were there to gawk at Broadcom’s latest and greatest connectivity-related designs, which will roll out in consumer devices over the next year and a half.

Think of it as a three-day demo center — signage and lighting to highlight dozens of displays, tablets, set-top boxes, chip board and other reference designs on-hand to show booth visitors exactly how Broadcom technologies are impacting consumer experiences — from watching television in the living room to tapping into the latest in-car features and services.

Broadcom's CES 2013 booth

A peek inside the Broadcom booth on opening day at CES 2013.

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Miracast/5G WiFi Connected Entertainment

Visitors to Broadcom’s booth get to check out a demonstration of a Miracast setup running on a 5G WiFi-enabled system, much like the 5G WiFi-integrated television LG just announced. The demo makes use of a Broadcom reference design receiver and four tablets, all equipped with Miracast wireless display mirroring tech.

Broadcom's 5G Wi-Fi display at CES 2013

Wall featuring consumer devices, including routers, smartphones and tablets, that include Broadcom’s 5G WiFi technology.

Each tablet can stream video directly to the television at the same time, a perfect scenario for multiplayer casual gaming. “When you’re playing a game, other people always want to see what you’re doing and look over your shoulder,” said David Kwan, a software engineer from the Mobile and Wireless Group at Broadcom.  He demonstrated by flinging an angry bird from his tablet toward a pig visible on the TV screen. “Now everyone can just look at one screen.”

Miracast will make its mark on consumer electronics in 2013, but the other piece of the puzzle — 5G WiFi chips for gigabit throughput on the 802.11ac standard — was launched by Broadcom a year ago at CES. Just behind Kwan’s Miracast demo is a wall of devices that makes clear the proliferation of 5G Wi-Fi enabled devices in just 12 months, including routers, tablets, smartphones and other consumer gadgets.

NFC of All Stripes: Simply Tap to Share, Pay and Pair

A long wall within Broadcom’s demo area is devoted to all things Near Field Communication. One station highlights NFC’s potential as a mobile payments platform: a tablet or smartphone taps a payment processing machine (where a credit card might normally be swiped), and an easy pairing is established.

Another station shows off the potential of the BCM43341 — the first quad combo chip that incorporates 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, FM radio and NFC in one powerful package. But this chip does more than just add NFC. Broadcom’s engineers have improved the standard as well, according to Sanjeev Sharma, Broadcom Wireless LAN senior project manager. “Typical NFC takes about 10 seconds to transfer, but we’ve reduced that to about four seconds,” he said. “This is NFC on steroids.”

An NFC demo in Broadcom's CES 2013 booth

Near-Field Communications demo showing a mobile payment being processed with the tap of a tablet.

A quick demo here shows how a NFC-enabled mobile device can be used as a conduit to pair a big home appliance (a refrigerator, or washer/dryer, perhaps?) with the home Wi-Fi network. The “Internet of things” is up and running at Broadcom’s booth.

There’s also a demo station set up with a Nintendo Wii U console, showing how Broadcom’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity join forces to change the gaming experience at home.

High Efficiency Video Codec Demo with 4K x 2K Display

Broadcom’s booth visitors are a savvy bunch. They already know that 4K, or Ultra HD, TVs in large sizes make for some of the most beautiful screens. But they probably haven’t seen an Ultra HD video source come from a set-top box. That will change once they check out the demo of Broadcom’s Ultra HD chip, launched today, which is built around the High Efficiency Video Codec set-top reference design.  It’s the first box that can handle the bandwidth required to turn content from broadcasters into stunning imagery on an Ultra HD television.

Watch a Video of the Connected Car Demo at Broadcom’s CES Booth:

Other Must-Sees

  • Connected Car: In-the-know visitors will be sure to look at the installation demonstrating how Broadcom’s in-car chips interface with the new generation of twisted pair Ethernet cables, an automotive technology platform dubbed BroadR-Reach.

    A model display of an Ethernet connected car

    Automotive Ethernet on display shows Broadcom’s BroadR-Reach technology.

  • Small Cell System-on-a-Chip: Broadcom is displaying a new tiny, inexpensive chip that extends the range of cellular networks into rural zones as well as “urban canyons” where population density makes connecting to a cell tower tough.
  • Powerline Adapters: More and more connectivity device manufacturers are making products to work with Broadcom’s HomePlug platform, with highlights from Broadcom partner Netgear.
  • Passport: This demo shows how software integrated into a mobile phone could help users seamlessly connect to public and private Wi-Fi networks on the go, without the need to authenticate with login credentials and passwords.

Stay tuned with more news from Broadcom’s home-away-from-home at CES, including a report from a special panel featuring Broadcom Mobile and Wireless executive Michael Hurlston, who’ll address the industry’s most-talked about wireless technologies.

Not heading to Vegas? Get the latest CES news from Broadcom and our partners by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and reading the blog.

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About the Author

Rachel Rosmarin is the chief trade show correspondent for Broadcom. Her technology reporting experience goes back a decade to the dawn of Wi-Fi, smartphones and the Mp3. She has an in-depth knowledge… More

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