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MCUs with CEC slash standby power consumption

Posted: 16 Dec 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microcontroller? MCU? power consumption?

78K0/KC2-C, 78K0/KE2-C MCUs

From NEC Electronics come six new 8bit microcontrollers that feature on-chip consumer electronic control (CEC) circuitry to cut standby power consumption by 99.8 percent.

The new products enable interdependent control of digital audio/video (AV) applications such as digital TVs and Blu-ray disc players, and include three 48-pin variants, named 78K0/KC2-C and three 64-pin variants, named 78K0/KE2-C.

NEC expects annual sales of flat-panel TVs and Blu-ray disc players to increase in the mid-term, by 17 percent, reaching 200 million units by 2012, and by 58 percent, reaching 35 million units by 2012, respectively.

Reducing power consumption is important both to meet the growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products and to comply with environmental regulations. In the European Union, PCs, digital AV equipments and other electronic devices will be required to consume no more than 1 to 2 watts in standby mode starting from January 2010.

Many AV devices support the HDMI, a standard interface that allows digital AV devices to exchange audio, video, and control signals through a single cable.

High-end devices will also support CEC, which promises to control AV components that support the HDMI standard. For example, when a user presses the playback button on a Blu-ray disc player, the disc player can automatically turn on a digital TV and display the playback picture via the CEC interface.

Until now, system designers needed to use their custom software to ensure connectivity between the system and multiple AV components. In this method, a host CPU must be powered on and running in order to monitor the state of the device and wait for CEC and remote control signals.

NEC Electronics' new MCUs with on-chip CEC controllers allow the CPU to be powered off during standby mode and speed up CEC and HDMI certification process while reducing power consumption and the need to develop custom software.

The CEC controller enables signal processing to be performed in hardware, which simplifies software processing and conserves memory utilization, peripheral functions, and CPU resources.

Through these improvements, when the system is powered off in standby mode, the CPU remains de-activated, enabling the standby current to be lowered to approximately 10microA, which is only 0.2 percent of the company's previous products.

Unlike conventional offerings that require separate software for CEC controller, NEC's new MCUs ease system design complexity through simultaneous processing of CEC and remote control signals, supported by on-chip CEC controller and remote control receiver.

With samples available now, mass production of these new products is scheduled to begin in June 2010, and is expected to reach a monthly production of 2,000,000 units by September 2010.

- Julien Happich
EE Times





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