Electronic Design

Coder/Decoder Prepares TVs For 2009's Switch To HD

With 2009 quickly approaching, standard-definition television will be a thing of the past as high definition (HD) moves in for good. Yet the equipment that will encode and decode HD signals will need to be able to do it quickly and efficiently. With this in mind, Fujitsu Microelectronics America (FMA) will make a real-time H.264 coder/decoder (codec) IC available next month.

The MB86H50 is based on an H.264 processing algorithm developed by Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. and FMA's 90-nm process technology (see the figure). It includes high-performance audio and video processing capabilities. With the move to a fully networked "high-definition" home, hardware implementations of H.264 encode and decode as well as the ability to transcode between formats will become increasingly important.

H.264 is also known as MPEG-4 Part 10 and AVC, which stands for Advanced Video Coding. The MB86H50 supports the high profile (HP) at level 4. This profile is required for next-generation high-definition DVD players, like HD DVD and Blu-ray, as well as a slew of other emerging products using H.264, such as portable media players and home networking equipment.

H.264 data streams require complex algorithms to process the high-volume data, which generates large computational loads. These loads are best handled by a high-speed IC capable of real -time compression/decompression. The MB86H50 delivers the compute power necessary to handle the complex data streams. It also provides:

  • HD video codec supporting up to 1440 by 1080 pixels with support for Dolby Digital sound
  • 256 Mbits of embedded fast-cycle RAM (FCRAM) for reduced power consumption
  • A proprietary self-tuning algorithm that automatically reduces compression in high action scenes where compression artifacts are most noticeable while increasing compression elsewhere.

The MB86H50 will cost $120 each in sample quantities. It comes in a 1.5- by 1.5-cm package.

Fujitsu Microelectronics America


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