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ADI unleashes HDTV audio platform, HDMI transmitter

Posted: 18 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:HDTV? HDMI transmitter? TV platform?

At the DisplaySearch HDTV conference in Los Angeles this week, Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) has launched a TV audio platform claimed to reduce HDTV manufacturer design costs by 20 percent and showcased what the company believed as the world's smallest low-power HDMI transmitter, rendering video delivery to TVs from portable multimedia devices.

ADI said the SoundMax for TV audio portfolio has all necessary analog and digital signal processing, multichannel audio decoding, post-processing and algorithm-supported audio enhancements required to produce a complete high-definition (HD) audio signal chain.

It added that the collection includes ADI's TV audio processors, Class D amplifiers, HDMI receivers, design environments like the SigmaStudio graphical programming tool for ADI audio processors, and audio algorithms. Both ADI-developed and third-party audio algorithms are included.

Doug Bartow, strategic marketing manager, advanced television segment, ADI, boasted that the company is the only vendor that provides all of the components in a TV audio system.

"A number of people are using multiple vendors," Bartow said. "Can you imagine trying to get four different vendors to work together? You really need to have system knowledge of all of these pieces to avoid many pops and clicks that are plaguing TVs today," he added.

Buying in less time
Batow said SoundMax for TV, based on ADI's heritage of Sharc and Blackfin processors, saves TV OEMs money by enabling them to purchase all components from one vendor, reducing time and increasing customers' leverage when they are buying parts in volume.

ADI's ADAV4622, ADAV4601 and ADAV4322 SoundMax audio processors incorporate an embedded processing engine to manage the audio performance of space-constrained speakers in today's thin, flat-panel, LCD and plasma TV designs. This digital audio enhancement engine is responsible for all the processing necessary to deliver the big sound necessary to match HD video quality, according to the company.

"The feature is coupled with high-performance, multichannel, 24bit ADCs and DACs that accept analog line inputs from HD components such as STBs and DVD players, and drive either analog or pulse width modulated digital audio to power amplifiers for speakers or auxiliary outputs," ADI said. It added that the audio processors allow designers to reduce "pop click" audio errors during system start-up, change audio sources seamlessly and deliver the high-quality audio required to meet the requirements of today's HD video display. The processors are designed to work with ADI's newest HDMI receivers and Class-D power stages.

Easy connection
According the study made by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Bartow said 85 percent of HDTVs are never connected to high-quality external speakers such as home theater systems. "The TV's internal audio is what people will be listening to all the time," Bartow said. "The demands for high quality audio are beginning to manifest," he added.

"With some TV OEMs now advertising the audio features, audio is becoming a significant part of the consumer decision process," he noted.

ADI is also highlighting the ADV7521NK, what the company calls the industry's smallest, low-power HDMI ver 1.3 transmitter. With its small form factor (3.5mm x 3.5mm x 0.65mm), the device is used in small consumer devices, such as digital still cameras, camcorders, portable media players and cellphones, to interface with HDTVs.

The ADV7521NK, released this month, is the latest shot fired in an emerging battle among chip makers to extend HDMI to the mobile world. In July, Silicon Image Inc. launched a dual-mode, HDMI/mobile HD link billed as an innovation for bringing HDMI to more mobile devices. Bartow said the ADV7521NK is about 30 percent smaller than the Silicon Image PHY.

ADI said the transmitter offers full support for HDTV video standards up to 1080p/30f, 1080i/60f, 720p/60f and computer graphics standards up to XGA at 75Hz. It also integrates the connectivity standards including HDMI ver 1.3 (supporting x.v. Color), CEA-861-D, and DVI ver 1.0 (digital video interface) ADI said. According to Bartow, the ADV7521NK's power consumption is lower than any competitive transmitter. "Standby power is about one-tenth that of the nearest competitor," he said.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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