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Tuesday, July 15, 2008
NEC to Double Blu-ray Chip Sales in Two years

NEC has begun sample shipments of its new EMMA 3PF SoC for Blu-ray Disc players and expects to double sales of its Blu-ray products in the next two years.

The new EMMA 3PF integrates both the Analog and the Digital signal processors on a single chip. This allowed NEC to offer a chip 50% smaller than its predecessor, while it consumes less power. Its compact design is expected to contribute to an overall cost reduction for the upcoming Blu-ray players.

Analogue processors mainly control the optical pickup unit of a device while the DSP is responsible for functions such data modulation and demodulation as well as error correction.

The EMMA 3P integrates functions to playback HD video and audio as well as to display still images and graphics storedon on Blu-ray Discs. It also supports dual-screen playback of video data in the H.264/AVC, VC-1 and MPEG2/1 formats. Playback of audio data in the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD formats is available. The SoC is planned to support DivX in the future. EMMA3PF also supports the latest BD-ROM Profile 2.0 specifications.

The SoC's processing performance surpasses the 1100MIPS, NEC Electronics said. In addition, it features a built-in accelerator for graphics processing.

Its peripheral features include an HDMI interface, Ethernet and USB 2.0 controllers and Serial ATA.

NEC Electronics competes with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, Broadcom Corp and Sigma Designs in the chip market for Blu-ray devices. The company aims to take over half the global Blu-ray chip market by March 2011 from an expected 40 percent at the end of March 2009.

By pushing the world's first chips that pack on a single sliver of silicon signal processors and memory to control graphics, audio and other functions, the NEC unit aims to raise sales of its Blu-ray products to 40 billion yen ($378 million) in the year ending March 2011, executives said.

But price competition remains stiff as client makers of high-definition DVD players race to cut costs and develop the first players to sell for under $200.

In Blu-ray drives, NEC Electronics held a 60 percent share of the global market in the year ended March and competes against Matsushita and Renesas, a joint chip venture between Hitachi Ltd and Mitsubishi Electric Corp .

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