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Appeared on: Monday, September 05, 2005
LSI Logic Rolls Out Digital TV Processors

LSI Logic plans to extend its reach into the digital consumer electronics market by integrating terrestrial digital TV set-top box functions into its DVD recorder chip.

By leveraging the company?s dual SPARC core-based media processor architecture called DoMiNo, originally designed for MPEG-2 encoders, LSI Logic is launching two new processors on Monday (Sept. 5), each designed to enable consumer OEMs to develop digital video combo boxes.

Designated DoMiNo 8623 (DMN-8623) and 8673 (DMN-8673), these new processors are billed as giving OEMs the ability to make a cost effective DVD recorder or HDD/DVD recorder systems that combine with European free-to-air digital TV set tops.

When developing current combo boxes, leading consumer OEMs such as Sony or JVC are reportedly being forced to use two, separate chips ? STB and a DVD recorder ICs ? into one box. This despite redundant MPEG decoders, host processors, DRAMs, flash memory and graphics engines integrated into each chip. Under this scheme, each set top and DVD recorder chip, for example, uses 32 Mbytes of SDRAM and 2 Mbytes of flash memory.

Vijendra Kuroodi, DVD recorder marketing manager at LSI Logic, said the new processors will also consumer OEMs to eliminate duplication, reducing the total bill of materials by $15. System vendors can essentially replace the separate set top and DVD recorder system chips used in combo boxes with one chip performing both the set top receiver and DVD recorder functions.

In order to offer Europe?s terrestrial digital TV set tops with MHEG-5 compression, LSI Logic engineers added several hardware blocks to the DoMiNo architecture, Kuroodi said. MHEG-5, which uses multimedia and hypermedia objects to build scenes within an application, has been adopted by U.K. digital terrestrial TV broadcasters. The booming U.K. terrestrial DTV market has made MHEG-5 a commercial mandate, according to LSI Logic. For MHEG-5 implementation, LSI Logic teamed with U.K.-based Cabot Communications (Bristol), an MHEG-5 engine developer.

Neither DMN-8623 nor 8673, however, supports MHP (Multimedia Home Platform), DVB?s interactive TV standards.

Although LSI Logic dabbled in the set top chip market several years ago, it has shifted focus to the DVD recorder market, leaving the set top segment largely to competitors such as STMicroelectronics and Broadcom. As the digital transition in Europe creates a mass-market opportunity, LSI Logic has begun looking toward the high-end set top segment, capitalizing on its strength in the DVD and HDD/DVD recorder markets.

The DMN-8623 targets single-drive DVD recorder products, and supports the recording and playback of one DTV channel or video stream.

The DMN-8673 targets combination HDD/DVD recorders. It can encode or decode two digital or analog TV streams recorded to a hard drive or DVD disk. It also allows time-shifting of one live programming while simultaneously recording another program in the background. It also eliminates the need for a second MPEG A/V encoder and a second set top decoder.

The DMN-8623 and DMN-8673 were fabricated using a 0.13-micron process. Both are sampling now. The DMN-8623 is priced at $25; the DMN8673 is $30 in high volumes.

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