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issue: June 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Electronics Report
Integrated Digital Decoders


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Two highly integrated MPEG-2 digital decoders have been developed for digital set-top box, personal video recorder, and integrated digital television applications.


Pictured is an example of a terrestrial set-top box application based on Micronas GmbH’s new MDE 9518D decoder and the company’s DRX 397xD demodulator.

Developed by Micronas GmbH of Freiburg, Germany, the MDE 9517D and MD 9518D were specifically designed with the booming set-top box (STB) market in mind. According to Reinhard Steffens, director of Marketing, Set-Top Box, this meant designing components that were highly integrated and extremely flexible.

“Customers using the MDE95xyD platform can cover the full range from free-to-air STBs through pay TV STBs with a single platform,” Mr. Steffens explains. “In addition, the same single platform includes hard-disk recording support for both integrated digital TV and hybrid analog/digital TVs. Extensive software support, including a DVB middleware and comprehensive reference designs, decrease both the development effort and time-to-market.”

Advanced integration technology allowed Micronas to integrate a MIPS-compatible 32-bit processor, a transport stream interface unit with both parallel and serial inputs, a transport stream demultiplexer, an embedded DVB descrambler, and MPEG-2 audio/video decoders into a single package. A dedicated graphics accelerator engine is included as well.

The decoders are offered together with the company’s integrated consumer television operating system, MICTOS. The system is said to support the software designer by handling the digital audio/video transport stream decoding and offering standard interfaces for hard drive, Flash, and SDRAM management. According to Mr. Steffens, a variety of interfaces, including ATA for hard-disk connection, UART for modem support, and an interface for DVB-CI modules, give consumer electronics engineers an all-in-one solution for pay-TV and personal video recorder STB applications.

In addition to flexibility, the decoders are also said to meet the quality requirements demanded by today’s TV manufacturers. “An RGB digital interface and a progressive/double scan OSD (on-screen display) output, utilizing Micronas’ extensive experience in CRT and flat-panel design TV circuit design, deliver picture quality which cannot be achieved with composite video formats for the OSD,” says Mr. Steffens.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Micronas Semiconductors Inc.
 

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