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Thursday, January 09, 2003
Cirrus shows DVD recorder reference design


Cirrus Logic Inc. fielded a reference design for DVD recorders at the Consumer Electronics Show here this week that aims to cut bill-of-material costs for OEMs making the units. Cirrus Logic's reference platform for DVD recording and CD-RW incorporates the company's CS98200 DVD playback processor and its CS92288 MPEG audio/video codec.

The platform can be used to build DVDRW recorders that can sell for significantly less than $500, said Terry Leeder, Cirrus' vice president for sales and marketing. While low-cost DVD recording drives are still needed to get the recorders out of the starting gate, in terms of electronics Cirrus believes it has the problem solved.

Cirrus is looking for early market leadership in the fast-growing digital video recording market, Leeder said. DVD recorders and personal video recorders are among the fastest growing segments of the consumer electronics market. Analysts project sales of 14 million to 18 million units by 2005, Leeder said. These devices will let consumers upgrade more than 30 years of VCR technology and begin to store and view content in the digital domain.

Planning for Christmas

Current-generation DVD recorders are expensive, Leeder said, with retail prices ranging from $699 to more than $2,000. He said Cirrus' platform could enable the first sub-$500 DVD recorders as early as this spring, and — considering Christmas sales — as many as 8 million units could be shipped in 2003.

While the push on recording DVDs is a new thrust for Cirrus, the company is no stranger to multimedia. Some 90 percent of the company's business is in "digital entertainment," Leeder said. Cirrus reported revenues of $417 million for fiscal 2002.

The company's CS434xx family of audio DSPs, devices specifically designed for audio playback algorithms, are widely used in name-brand entertainment consoles, including those made by Bose Corp. The 434xx is not a general-purpose "media processor," which executes multimedia software, Leeder said. Though programmable, it is closer to a hardwired device, accelerating audio decode algorithms in audio/video receivers and other "compressed audio" players.

Cirrus' 2001 acquisition of Luxsonor Semiconductors Inc. gave it a capability in MPEG playback devices. In terms of DVD players, they've shipped roughly 2 million units in 2001, giving the company about 5 percent of the DVD playback market

The DVD reference platform shown in Las Vegas includes the CS98200, which decodes DVD-Audio, MPEG-4 simple profiles and enhanced DVDs. The enhanced DVD technology processes Web-based interactive content through a broadband-enabled DVD device.

The platform's CS92288 device encodes digital video over a range of bit rates. Consumers will be able to record up to six hours of content on DVD media with the new appliances, which will be format-compatible with existing DVD players. Companion Cirrus audio codecs complete the reference platform.

Cirrus Logic would work with major DVD recording drive manufacturers to ensure compatibility with the Cirrus platform, Leeder said. Cirrus DVD player and receiver platforms have been well-received in Asia, where much of the production of next-generation DVD products will occur, he said.


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