Inside The Industry: Home Entertainment

June 14, 2004
Flexibility: The Key To Entertainment Electronics

Some form of signal processing lies at the heart of cell phones, broadband communications, wireless networking, and almost every digitally based entertainment product—from MP3 players to the latest high-definition TVs. DSPs have become the choice technology for digital audio, imaging, and video, taking portable multimedia from the drawing board to store shelves. Because of the real-time, power-efficient nature of both programmable and dedicated DSPs, a broad range of portable multimedia devices has been created for people on the go, letting them connect to people, information, and entertainment like never before.

DSP-based technology is also quickly becoming the select technology for turning the networked home into reality. The wealth of media-rich content that these devices now support individually will soon be shared between any broadband-enabled device located throughout consumers' homes. The emergence of streaming-media technology makes this vision of the "connected home" a reality.

To stay one step ahead of consumer demand for these products, many of which will populate the connected home, OEMs/ODMs are on the hunt for digital media solutions that first and foremost offer flexibility. In addition, a programmable DSP-based digital media platform allows OEMs/ODMs to add their own intellectual property to their consumer electronics products, differentiating them from competitors. It also lets them adjust products quickly to meet changing marketplace demands. By using an off-the-shelf DSP, they can remain focused on their products' features and functionality as well. Ultimately, they'll have confidence in the underlying media platform's standards compliance, reliability, and interoperability.

Because of the programmable nature of these digital media platforms, OEMs/ODMs can build products and introduce them while standards are evolving. Once a standard is ratified, products in the field can be upgraded via a software download. As digital media content matures, devices will probably need to support multiple formats of audio, video, and connectivity. Programmable solutions will let OEMs/ODMs produce products that are both backwards-compatible and adaptable to change.

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