Putting together complete home networks for PCs, consumer electronics, and audio/video devices is easier with Texas Instruments' next-generation 1394b interface chips. The TSB41BA3, a three-port bilingual physical-layer device, is capable of speeds up to 400 Mbits/s. Backward-compatible with 1394a devices, it supports the data-strobe encoding scheme of the 1394a standard as well as the new 8B/10B encoding scheme of the newer 1394b standard.
The TSB17BA1 transceiver is a companion to the TSB41BA3. This one-port device implements 1394 data transfers at 100 Mbits/s over CAT5 cable. Both devices should find their way into HDTVs, personal video recorders, DVD players, video games, digital cameras and camcorders, and many other digital consumer products.
1394 is the IEEE standard for interconnecting multimedia devices like camcorders, VCRs, DVD players, and PCs. Origi-nally developed by Apple Computer in 1986 and called FireWire, it became an IEEE standard in 1995. The standard has been updated several times, the latest being the 1394b version finalized in 2002.
The interface architecture is a bus that can support up to 63 devices. Unlike other high-speed interface connections, 1394 supports isochronous data transmission that guarantees a minimum data rate, making it ideal for time-dependent data such as video and audio. The basic interconnection is a six-wire cable with two independently shielded twisted pairs for data up to 400 Mbits/s and two additional wires for power. A four-wire data-only cable is also available. The maximum length is 4.5 meters. The latest standard increases the data rate up to 3200 Mbits/s.
The TSB41BA3 comes in an 80-pin PFP package and costs $6.50 in 1000-unit quantities. The TSB17-BA1, housed in a 24-pin TSSOP package, costs $2.50 in 1000-unit quantities. Both are available immediately.
For an update on the 1394 standard, go to the 1394 Trade Association Web site at www.1394ta.org.