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LSI Logic chip enables hard drive/DVD combo systems

Posted: 07 Jan 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lsilogic? dmn 8650? dvd processor? hard disk processor? combo recorder?

Convinced of the viability of combination hard-disk drive/DVD recorder products, LSI Logic Corp. is rolling out a single-chip processor for use in dual-drive digital recorders.

While competitors are busy launching first-generation chipsets or reference designs for single-drive DVD recorders, LSI Logic said it is staying a step ahead with the DMN-8650, which it calls the industry's first single-chip processor for dual-drive recorder systems. The chip will enable the concurrent recording and playback of material on hard-disk and DVD systems.

Although fairly new to U.S. consumers, "the combo recorder product is hot in Japan, with about 50 percent of products sold having HDD," according to Michelle Abraham, senior market analyst for In-Stat/MDR's Converging Markets and Technologies Group.

Compared to other combo products that slap two separate products into one box, LSI Logic's DMN-8650 "will enable a seamless usage between the two drives," making a combined hard-disk/DVD system "a synergetic combo product," said Timothy Vehling, senior marketing director of home media products at LSI Logic.

By integrating all core digital processing functions of a dual-drive recorder system into one chip, the DMN-8650 will allow consumers to record their favorite TV programs to a hard disk while viewing a DVD. It can time-shift a live broadcast while copying another program to a DVD disk without interruption, the company said. Further, it will allow consumers to record from a hard disk to a DVD disk.

The DMN-8650 enable a number of new digital consumer products, including home servers and audio/picture jukeboxes, Vehling said. Using the chip, OEMs can spin products that allow consumers to store TV programs, photos, MP3 audio files, and content from DV camcorders on a single system, he said.

The DMN-8650 integrates two 150MIPS Sparc cores, MPEG-2, and DV codecs, an audio DSP, storage and FireWire interfaces, and a 2D graphics engine with DVD sub-picture decode capability. It replaces "five to seven chips" typically used in current-generation hard-disk/DVD recorder combo products, said Neil Bullock, product marketing manager for LSI Logic's Home Media Products.

Though hard-disk-based personal video recorders (PVRs) have failed to catch on with consumers, many of whom are unhappy with its inability to archive content, PVRs with an integrated DVD recorder will overcome that limitation and serve as a true VCR replacement, Bullock said.

"A DVD recorder/PVR combo makes a lot of sense, especially for those without a cable or DBS [direct broadcast satellite] box," said In-Stat/MDR's Abraham. Noting the potential privacy issues that arise from a PVR included in a set-top box, Abraham said that might be another plus for a DVD recorder/PVR. "I do not think the cable provider can get into the DVD recorder/PVR to see what you are recording," she said.

The highly-integrated DMN-8650 not only lowers an OEM's bill of materials, but also "takes off as much complexity as possible" when designing a sophisticated combo product, Vehling said. The integration of a FireWire interface and a video-to-MPEG codec on the DMN-8650 will allow consumers to dump digital camcorder footage directly into a hard drive and archive it onto a DVD optical disk via a single remote control function, he said.

Manufactured in a 0.18?m CMOS process, the DMN-8650 is available now in sample quantities, with volume production scheduled for Q2. The chip is priced at $29 each in volume quantities.

In-Stat/MDR estimates that 550,000 of the 1.4 million DVD recorders sold worldwide in 2002 were combo hard-disk/DVD recorder products. By 2006, the world market for DVD recorders will grow to 31.6 million units. By then, "around 25 percent of DVD recorders will have the hard drive," Abraham said. "By that time the combo devices will be below $500."

- Junko Yoshida

EE Times

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