Auto Electronics

Fujitsu Microelectronics launches 1394 controller for HD video in vehicle networks

Fujitsu Microelectronics America has introduced a 1394 automotive controller that transmits high-definition video over 1394 Automotive in-vehicle multimedia networks at 800 Mbps. The MB88395 can simultaneously transmit multiple streams around the vehicle, such as HD video (1,280 dots x 720 lines) from Blu-Ray DVDs, digital TV, and car navigation images.

Honda R&D welcomes the MB88395, the first IC to provide the 800 Mbps speed of the 1394 Automotive specification,” said Yuji Kawaguchi, Operating Officer of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. “The importance of high-speed digital transmission will increase further in the future to handle in-vehicle multimedia as well as to reduce weight. 1394 Automotive is an in-vehicle network that can enrich entertainment and comfort. We plan to promptly evaluate the MB88395.”

Co-developed with Fujitsu VLSI Limited, the Fujitsu MB88395 controller uses an 800 Mbps physical layer and link layer along with the Fujitsu proprietary SmartCODEC, which compresses video to one-quarter its original size and can compress and decompress high-resolution video in two to three milliseconds without any perceptible time lag or out-of-sync content. Akio Nezu, senior marketing manager in Fujitsu Microelectronics’ Automotive Business Group, said this resolves latency issues that can be a problem when different viewers are watching the same content on the front and rear monitors.

Nezu said the combination brings HD-quality video to rear-seat entertainment, while also reducing vehicle weight and improving fuel efficiency. The controller and SmartCODEC combination also reduces the system cost of in-vehicle multimedia networks by up to 30% while reducing the number of wire harnesses by up to 70%. It can reduce environmental impact by approximately 10kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year for a car traveling 10,000km, about the amount of CO2 a tree absorbs in a year.

The MB88395 controller incorporates Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP) encryption protocol, which prevents unauthorized duplication, download or alteration of audio or visual media.

The controller complies with the 800 Mbps specification of the 1394 standard, doubling the 400 Mbps data rate of Fujitsu Microelectronics’ previous controller. The Fujitsu SmartCODEC, developed by Fujitsu Laboratories, is used in the BT.601 Transport Over IEEE-1394 standard, a transport protocol for sending YUV and RGB video streams over 1394.

“The 1394 Automotive standard is now moving forward for in-vehicle multimedia networking, and we expect it to become the preferred automotive networking standard for entertainment, information, and other applications,” said Philip Hughes, senior director, Automotive Business Group, Fujitsu Microelectronics America. “We expect this new 1394 Automotive in-vehicle networking technology will be in vehicles in the 2011 and 2012 model years.”

Factors in favor of 1394 essential for digital transmission in vehicle networks include the gradual shift to digital TV worldwide, the increased availability of HD content, and the 2013 phase-out of analog output from Blu-Ray players.

The controller can transmit HD video from Blu-Ray DVDs and digital TV as well as high-resolution navigation images. A decompressed HD video stream (1,280 dots x 720 lines) from a Blu-Ray DVD has a rate of 885 Mbps. Subsequent compression by the SmartCODEC drops the rate to 249 Mbps, so two channels can be transmitted in the 800 Mbps bandwidth.

Fujitsu Microelectronics plans to expand its lineup of 1394 controllers to handle increasing information streams in vehicles, such as video content and peripheral cameras, and to reduce system costs.

The MB88395 is available now in samples in 224-pin FBGA packages. Pricing begins at $17.00.

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