The recent development of a series of advanced decoder ICs is expected to help accelerate the demand for MPEG-4-based streaming appliances and other products that can support high-quality video-on-demand (VOD) and multi-cast video transmissions over the same networks currently used for high-speed Internet connections. Supporting both MPEG-4 and Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) standards, the EM8470 series of decoder chips is designed to provide fully integrated solutions for decoding MPEG-4, as well as MPEG-1 and -2 and DVD signals. And beyond simple decoding, the new devices are also said to represent the industryÕs first MPEG-4 chips to support full resolution (720 x 576) and the streaming profiles of ISMA spec 1.0. In addition, the ICs also support scan conversion of standard video to progressive HDTV resolutions.Among the audio capabilities of EM840 chips are Dolby Digital, MPEG-1 Layers 1 and 2, as well as MPEG-4 high-quality audio profile (CELP and AAC) and linear PCM audio decoding. Other features of the decoders include flexible on-screen-display (OSD) capability, composite and s-video TV outputs, interlaced or progressive analog component video outputs (YPbPr or RGB) scalable up to HDTV resolutions, S/PDIF digital audio output and stereo audio analog outputs. The chips also offer an improved PCI v2.1 bus master/slave interface supporting both read and write operations.Based on the companyÕs REALmagic video streaming technology, the EM8470 series MPEG-4 decoder chips employ a 2.5V core with 3.3V I/O (5V-tolerant) and, depending on the device, come housed in 208-pin PQFPs or 328-ball BGAs. Price is in the low $20s, depending on volume. For more information, contact SIGMA DESIGNS INC., Milpitas, CA. (408) 262-9003.