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Appeared on: Monday, November 19, 2001
Stream Machine and ESS Technology Introduce A Combined DVD Playback And Personal Video Recorder Solution

Stream Machine and ESS Technology today announced the availability of the ``Encore'' reference design. Products based on Encore will be able to leverage the power of Stream Machine's SM2288 MPEG audio/video codec chip and the flexibility of ESS Technology's Vibratto(TM) single-chip DVD processor to combine DVD playback, audio/video MPEG recording and PVR time-shifting capabilities.

The Encore reference design is a dedicated platform that will enable manufacturers to provide consumers with the features they are looking for at price points that will drive mass volumes.

While consumers are becoming reluctant to add additional single-function black boxes to their already over-crowded home entertainment cabinets, the rapid acceptance of DVD players suggests that, if the application is exciting enough, consumers will make room for it. The Personal Video Recorder, as a VCR for live broadcast television, is predicted to be another ``Killer Application'' that consumers will make room for. By combining the functionality of a PVR and a DVD player in the same box, the Encore reference design provides an array of features that consumers are excited about within a single box.

Brian Heuckroth, Vice President of marketing for Stream Machine said, ``Stream Machine is known for the completeness, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness of its reference designs. Our partnership with ESS establishes a compelling platform which combines MPEG recording and DVD playback into products that global consumers can readily afford.''

William K. Wong, Vice President of marketing at ESS Technology stated, ``The combination of ESS's DVD player technology & Stream Machine's powerful MPEG encoder enables new high-quality, low cost DVR's. This new solution enables a price breakthrough for the market. We believe this new breakthrough solution will enable rapid growth in the DVR market.''

The Encore Reference Design

Encore combines leading single chip solutions for digital recording and playback in a fully integrated reference design that comes with all the hardware, software and support required for rapid product development. Stream Machine's SM2288 codec performs the MPEG audio/video encoding and decoding and ESS Technology's ESS6008, ES6018, or ES6028 processor performs the DVD decoding and system control.

Flexible Storage: Encore uses an industry-standard IDE interface for the hard disk drive, which can be easily adapted to provide increased recording capacity and to use other media formats. The SM2288 supports high-quality real-time video recording over a wide range of bit rates (2-15 Mbps) -- from storage and bandwidth conserving, low-cost drives to full DVD recording.

Watch While You Record: Encore includes a real-time clock to support scheduled recordings, as well as a cable-ready TV Tuner for independent recording of broadcast material while the consumer watches something else on the television.

Broadcast and Packaged Media: Encore includes a DVD loader drive for DVD playback as well as a hard disk drive for personal video recording functions such as time-shifting live broadcasts.

Applications with Removable Media: Stream Machine and ESS are also offering this basic hardware design for applications that use CD-RW recording media instead of hard disk drives. The ``Duo'' Reference Design combines the same Stream Machine and ESS chips for a consumer product that plays DVD and records MPEG2 onto CD-R and CD-RW media, thus enabling the portability and archivability that consumers want.

Digital Rights Compliance: Encore supports CSS and Macrovision copy protection schemes, so manufacturers can be assured that content owners should feel comfortable that this design does not compromise their rights.

Stream Machine's SM 2288 Audio/Video Codec

The SM2288 codec goes beyond the capabilities of earlier chips by offering both audio and video real-time encoding and decoding in a single, highly integrated device. It supports the MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 digital-video standards as well as Dolby® Digital and MPEG digital-audio standards. The SM2288 enables high-quality video recording in real time over a wide range of bit rates for different consumer applications. For example, it can compress a video stream for high-quality DVD recording at bit rates up to 15 Mbps, or conserve storage and bandwidth at bit rates down to 2 Mbps for personal video recorders and video streaming over home networks.

ESS Technology's Vibratto Family

The Vibratto family is ESS Technology's latest products for the digital home system market. The new Vibratto products are single-chip DVD solutions that integrate video DACs and a built-in NTSC/PAL TV encoder together with the company's Programmable Multimedia Processor (PMP) architecture to reduce system costs and increase design efficiency. Currently, the Vibratto family consists of four different products supporting DVD standards and providing new features, including progressive scan output, DVD-audio, MP3, Kodak Picture CD capability, and Internet Web browsing. The Vibratto architecture includes two advanced embedded processors; a 32-bit Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) CPU for general system management and a 64-bit Digital Signal Processor (DSP) for audio/video and graphics acceleration. These highly programmable cores allow for future features, functions, and applications.

The Encore Reference Design is currently available from Stream Machine and is priced at $25,000. This price includes everything a consumer electronics manufacturer needs to rapidly and cost-effectively build their product, including schematics, Gerber files, a bill of materials, and a software development kit for customizing the look and feel of the end product.

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