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Single-chip IR controller eliminates USB dongles in TV apps

Posted: 24 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SIO1049? IR controller? SMSC? Loring Wirbel?

SMSC will use this week's WinHEC conference in Seattle to introduce an integrated IR controller, SIO1049, for Microsoft Vista Media Center applications. The single-chip device could eliminate USB dongles in most high-end TV and entertainment appliances that rely on IR-to-USB conversion, SMSC contends.

SMSC, the former Standard Microsystems Corp., designed the Super I/O controller used in many desktop and consumer architectures. The IR controller can be used as a companion of Super I/O in many designs.

The new chip uses a remote control for system wake and can adaptively learn IR patterns. The chip resides directly on the LPC (low-pin-count) bus, defined by Intel in 1998 as a seven-signal bus for device connectivity in consumer products. It can support Microsoft's Snowflake and Beanbag models for device connectivity.

The SIO1049 chip is supported by drivers in several Microsoft Vista SKU kits, including Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate.

The SIO1049 allows consumers to use a remote control for system wake from S1 and S3 states, and optionally from S4 and S5 for additional power-saving modes. Rolf Mahler, director of product marketing for desktop, server and applied-computing products at SMSC, said the growing popularity of Energy Star systems has driven the need to control multiple sleep states from a single IR device.

The CIRCC3 Consumer IR port on the device supports all Microsoft Consumer IR codes. The chip supports other protocols, such as IrDA, and can "learn" patterns of IR devices not in the Media Center licensed IR database, the company said.

With support for four channels of Blaster IR, the device can emit IR signals for a satellite set-top box and three other peripherals in addition to the TV. It supports mobile docking solutions, with control from either a laptop or a mobile docking station. For serial ports, the device integrates a full 16C550A-compatible UART.

The SIO1049 is packaged in a 7-by-7mm 64-lead STQFP and is priced at $3.95 each in volume.

Because SMSC expects many joint designs linking the 1049 with the Super I/O and the KBC1102 controller, the company said it plans additional spin-offs of the 1049 architecture to integrate other control functions.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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