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Multimedia chip brings digital video to cellphones

Posted: 14 Jul 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Marty Gold? SH-MobileL3V? multimedia processor?

Renesas Technology America's new SH-MobileL3V multimedia processor has been designed to bring terrestrial digital broadcast capabilities to mobile phones. The SH7354 will be available next month at $21 in lots of 10,000 pieces.

At the heart of the multimedia processing chip is a SuperH type SH4AL-DSP CPU core with cache memory, a direct memory access controller (DMAC) and a memory management unit (MMU) that achieves high processing performance: 389 MIPS at its maximum operating frequency of 216MHz. This CPU core provides processing performance of 1.8 MIPS/MHz, sufficient for operating a browser with one-segment broadcasting or a similar digital-TV capability.

Video processing engine
Packed into the company's multimedia CPU is the VPU4 image processing engine for video recording and playback, as well as a 5Mpixel camera-module interface. In a phone for the Japanese market, the video processing unit supports terrestrial digital broadcasting signals using the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC moving-image compression standard at a rate fast enough to encode and decode video at 30fps at VGA definition. That performance makes possible smooth video display and recording, equivalent to that of a standard TV.

Since the VPU4 IP performs almost all video processing by hardware frees up the CPU to execute software-based computations and control activities. This division of tasks can allow the design of mobile phones that use lower clock frequencies for decreased power consumption and extended battery life.

Supports digital video broadcast
The device also supports systems such as DVB-H in Europe and DMB in South Korea. Moreover, since the VPU4 IP can also handle MPEG-4 processing, the SH-MobileL3V implements a variety of moving-image applications such as video mail, videophones, and video clips.

Other multimedia-oriented features of the device include a direct connection interface to a 5Mpixel-class camera module and a 24bit LCD interface. The camera interface allows high-speed capture of high-definition image data and versatile image processing. It can perform electronic image zoom, screen overlapping, and more; has a hardware cursor function; and supports YUV data of BT.709 specifications. The latter makes it possible to extract TV broadcast data and convert it to a JPEG image with no loss of image quality.

The LCD interface supports a 16.78-million-color LCD panel. That capability, together with the SH-MobileL3V's high-image-quality compensation functions, enables the implementation of a variety of impressive displays. The chip also includes a sound interface and communication interfaces, as well as SD memory card and SIM card interfaces.

- Marty Gold

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