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Philips unveils stereo IC for analog TVs

Posted: 14 Nov 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:philips semiconductor? uociii? tv signal processor? television ic? tv processor?

Philips Semiconductors has rolled out the first of a new generation of single-chip TV solutions that are integrated with a stereo decoder and an audio DSP. The device targets the mid- to low-end analog TV IC market.

Philips' Ultimate One Chip Third Generation device, the UOCIII, contains the complete functionality of a television set, including a TV signal processor, a teletext/closed-caption decoder, graphics generator, a microcontroller core with an extended 80C51 instruction set and newly integrated stereo functionalities.

"Even 14-inch TV sets have a stereo functionality today," said Ricardo Tortorella, TV marketing manager at Philips. "A very fast DSP core on the UOCIII can process various audio algorithms ranging from base boost enhancement for improving speech intelligibility and overall sound clarity, SRS 3Dsound, SRS TruSurround and Dolby Prologic," Tortorella said.

The UOCIII will reduce the external peripheral components required to finish building a TV set down to "only DAC and power amplifiers," he claimed.

Further, the UOCIII integrates a microcontroller core embedded with flash memory. "This is the first time . . . an analog TV uses Flash memory technology," Tortorella said. Software is becoming heavier even for analog TVs nowadays," he said. "The software is always the bottleneck."

The use of Flash technology allows TV system OEMs to program and reprogram the software at a very late stage of production. Instead of an eight-week lead time required to program mask software in the device, "IC manufacturers, with the UOCIII device, can make a blank device and system OEMs can load software at a production line.

"OEMs will also be able to fix bugs in the software and reprogram the device at the last minute," Tortorella said. The UOCIII comes in two versions, one with 128KB and the other with 256KB of Flash memory.

Philips' UOCIII, sampling now, will become available in January 2003. Volume production is slated for mid-2003. The chip will be priced from $5 to $12 in volume, depending on the features embedded in it, Tortorella said.

Philips, however, is not alone in offering one-chip TV solutions. Other semiconductor companies like Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Sanyo, and Micronas are also developing similar one-chip solutions for analog TVs, said Tortorella. But "as far as I know, we are the only one who can demonstrate a one-chip TV device integrated with stereo features today," he said.

While others are using either bipolar or CMOS process technology to manufacture such a single-chip TV device, which is integrated with both analog and digital processing blocks, Philips is using the latest diffusion processes to combine its proprietary BIMOS die and CMOS die. Analog video processing is done on the BIMOS die based on a 0.5?m process, while digital A/V processing is carried out on the CMOS die based on a 0.18m process technology.

The new chip is designed to support the entire range of 50Hz TV sets including all international standards for broadcast. Sony, Philips, Samsung, and LG Electronics are among the thirty-five TV OEMs that are already using Philips' UOC devices, Tortorella said.

Philips hopes to use the new device to build on its 50 percent share of the global market for mid- to low-end analog TV ICs.

- Junko Yoshida

EE Times

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