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Thursday, April 19, 2001
Sigma Designs Introduces MPEG-4 Decoder Chips (new)


Sigma Designs announced today a family of MPEG decoder chips that support MPEG-4 standards. The new EM8470 series, based on the company's REALmagic Video Streaming Technology, decodes MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.

The EM8470 series is intended for streaming video clients, advanced digital set-top boxes, and next-generation interactive DVD players, enabling manufacturers to incorporate streaming video, DVD playback, video-on-demand and video over IP into their products. The convergence of these applications into a single product for the consumer is key to offering enhanced content and achieving market acceptance. Supported formats include DVD-Video, SVCD, VCD, CD-DA and CD-ROM.

Streaming formats supported include ISMA (Internet Streaming Media Alliance) and Microsoft Windows Media Technologies. Originally founded by Apple, IBM, Cisco, Kasenna, Inc., Philips and Sun Microsystems, the ISMA now has over 50 members defining open standards for streaming MPEG-4 video and audio over IP networks. Microsoft WMT support includes the ASF multiple content streaming media protocol and Windows Media Audio (WMA). Future products are planned that will support Windows Media Video (WMV).

Video decoding capabilities include MPEG-1, MPEG-2 MP@ML, and MPEG-4 advanced simple profile. The MPEG-4 advanced simple profile supports DVD resolution (720 x 480 or 720 x 576) and B pictures for improved video quality. Sophisticated scan conversion of standard video to progressive HDTV resolutions is also supported. Progressive video, one of the modes of digital television, recreates the picture quality of the cinema on home televisions. The EM8470 can achieve HDTV resolution from standard DVDs; yielding up to six times the resolution and clarity of conventional DVD players on the market today.

Audio capabilities also include Dolby Digital(TM) AC-3, MPEG-1 Layers 1 and 2 (including multichannel), and DVD-Audio linear PCM with sample rates of 32 to 192 kHz. Additional features include a flexible on-screen-display (OSD) capability, composite and s-video TV outputs, interlaced or progressive analog component video outputs (YPbPr or RGB), a S/PDIF digital audio output and stereo audio analog outputs.

Evaluation samples of the EM8470 will be available in the third quarter of 2001, with production scheduled for later in the year. Volume pricing starts at US$29


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