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Audio networking platform promises complete solution

Posted: 09 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:audio networking platform? Ethernet? Wi-Fi? audio codecs?

BridgeCo Inc. has announced the JukeBlox Networked Audio technology, offered as a complete solution for connecting audio systems to home networks, the Internet and portable audio devices. The platform incorporates the company's new DM870 ARM9-based triple-core processor with integrated Wi-Fi support, a Linux-based SDK and middleware stack, and a ready-to-manufacture hardware reference design with a component BOM cost claimed to be 20 percent below previous implementations.

The DM870 processor features a dedicated audio engine and a dedicated real-time security processor. In the JukeBlox platform, the 240MHz processor core supports the Linux OS; MP3, WMA, AAC and other audio decompression standards; and offers additional processing bandwidth for system control and highly advanced user interface operations.

The audio engine is dedicated to complex audio processing for real-time MP3 encoding and WMA lossless decoding, and handles popular sound enhancement algorithms. The security processor is optimized for 1,024-bit and greater encryption techniques, and supports DTCP, RSA and other next-generation DRM algorithms.

The DM870 includes multiple connectivity options with on-chip Ethernet, Wi-Fi and USB interfaces. According to the company, it reduces system component count and BOM cost with an internal color LCD controller, on-board stereo PWM outputs and an integrated 802.11a/b/g MAC and baseband processor that interfaces to a cost-effective RF chip by Thomson Semiconductors.

The JukeBlox middleware stack supports a wide range of streaming protocols, including HTTP, Shoutcast, WMS/MMS, RTSP/TCP and LineIn; a wide portfolio of audio codecs; and playback from external audio decoders. In addition to wireless access to content stored on home computers and network-attached storage devices, JukeBlox integrates popular online music services such as the Rhapsody digital music service and Pandora personalized Internet radio provider, as well as traditional AM/FM radio capabilities.

The middleware stack has been enhanced to include a new full-color QVGA video display and icon-based GUI, which displays complete meta-data, including album cover art for every audio track. One-click real-time audio fingerprinting identifies and locates missing meta-data for every song, allowing users to add the track to a favorites list, purchase it from an online store or launch a personal radio station based on the track and artists identified.

"Our new processor and middleware platform is optimized for AVRs, iPod docks, low-cost table-top radios and other networked audio products," said BridgeCo CEO Gene Sheridan. "The significantly expanded middleware offering emphasizes the user experience with radically new features for discovering music and managing the audio experience. Our new Linux SDK and build-ready reference design allows OEMs to rapidly design and market unique software-customized systems that are thoroughly verified and proven."

The DM870 processor comes in a 292-pin 17mm x 17mm mBGA package. The JukeBlox development platform, including hardware reference platform and complete SDK, is available in Q1 08 for $10,000. The DM870 is sold bundled with the JukeBlox firmware for $14/ea in 1,000 unit volumes. DM870 samples are available in Q1 08 with mass production expected in Q2 08.

- Rich Pell
Audio DesignLine

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