Product Spotlight: Generation 9

Oct 7, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What it is: Generation 9, a digital TV architecture from TeraLogic
What it does: The DTV technology includes the chip and the software that allows the customer to write applications that run on the chip. “The chip is the engine and the software is the instruction telling it what to do,” said Jonathan Zierk, VP sales and marketing. The chip and the API are designed for digital TV products, such as TV sets and set-top boxes. TeraLogic’s customers decide what the application they are designing will look like, while the TeraLogic chip handles everything under the hood to power that program, he said.
Cost savings: The Generation 9 chip is the next-generation set from TeraLogic. The new chip should drive costs down because it scoops up several chips from existing set-tops and combines them into one, Mr. Zierk said. For instance, the Generation 9 chip handles the functions previously managed by an audio decoder chip, a copy protection circuit chip and a chip that drives two different displays. Such a combination of functions can reduce the retail cost of the digital portion of the TV set from $600 to $200 to $250, Mr. Zierk said. “By July 2004, 50 percent of sets have to have integrated electronics,” he said. “The most critical thing for consumer electronics companies is to drive down the costs to integrate DTV components.”
Time to market: The Generation 9 should compress traditional time to market-18 to 24 months-in half because it includes a hardware reference design to write code to, Mr. Zierk said. Traditionally, when chip makers have delivered samples, the set maker would then start writing software to begin the development process. Now Teralogic jumpstarts that process by providing the software from the get-go, he said.
Availability: TeraLogic is currently shipping samples and production will begin in the first quarter of 2003, with customer delivery in the second quarter of 2003. Mr. Zierk said that consumer electronic companies such as Sony, Samsung, Mitsubishi, Thomson and RCA are in the process of integrating the chip into their reference platforms.
Features: The technology enables copy protection so that users can encrypt content. It also supports two simultaneous displays so that users can watch two programs at the same time on separate TVs that originate from the same set-top box. It also allows a high-end user interface because it can handle an unlimited number of video screens and effects, he said.