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Chipset to bridge 'incompatible' optical drive formats

Posted: 13 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NEC Electronics? SCOMBO? chipsets? LSI chip? microPC3360?

NEC Electronics Corp. announced a chipset for optical drives that would bridge the incompatible Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats.

The chipset can drive and process data from BD, HD DVD, DVD and CD discs, according to NEC. The company expects the chipset to help drive makers develop omni-format drives and ease consumers' concerns about multiple drive formats.

If combined with an optical system that supports both formatsfor example, Ricoh is developing an objective lens that can read/write both format discsthe chipset could realize real omni-format drives, according to the company.

"Omni-format drives are one target, but we are going to offer the LSI chips at attractive prices to venders who want to use BD or HD DVD functions only. We can produce the same chipset in volume and deliver them to both groups," said an NEC spokesman.

Dubbed SCOMBO, the chipset comprises two LSI chips. One chip is the microPC3360 analog signal processor that controls the optical pickup and reads out data from discs, while the other chip is the microPD63410 digital signal processor.

The chipset reads/writes and processes data from all major disc formats. It can read and write data at 5X the normal speed to and from HD DVD discs and BD discs, at 16x speed to and from DVD discs, and at a 48x speed to and from CDs.

NEC has designed the chipset to be compatible with future drive format updates, according to the spokesman. For example, while the current DVD-RW supports rates up to 6x the normal speed, the chipset supports up to 16x speed.

In addition, the chipset complies with all copy protection schemes for optical disc drivers. It supports AACS for BD+ and BD-ROM for Blu-ray, CCS and CPRM for DVD, and VCPS for DVD+ discs.

The company will begin producing the chipset the first quarter of 2007, eventually ramping up production to 300,000 units a month.

- Yoshiko Hara
EE Times

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