Digital amp IC yields home theater sound from TV speakers

D2Audio Corporation, a maker of multichannel digital amplifier modules, has announced a digital amplifier IC for TV that it says will enable speakers inside flat-panel TVs to produce home theater sound without adding any cost.

The chip, called the Digital Audio Engine 3 (DAE-3), integrates audio enhancement functions and legacy support features that the company says TV manufacturers normally have to buy parts for anyway, at a cost no more than the standard parts.

The chip is designed to address two major trends in the exploding flat-panel/digital TV market: the need to support legacy features from analog TVs – like analog audio and component video – as well as the latest features like HDMI, and increasing demand for better sound quality from the small speakers that are usually built into today's stylishly sleek flat-panel TVs.

According to the company, research data from the Consumer Electronics Association of America (CEA) indicates that 40% of new purchased flat-panel TVs will be for secondary viewing locations such as bedrooms, game rooms and dens, and many of these secondary systems will rely on the TV speakers for the sound. The company says consumers that are used to listening to home theater sound in their primary location have been disappointed with the sound quality coming from the standard TV speakers in these secondary locations.

The DAE-3 addresses many of the limitations of the speakers built into flat-panel TVs by using a digital signal processor to provide speaker correction, speaker tuning and immersive audio enhancements via the company's SoundSuite processing algorithms, including DeepBass, WideSound, DigitalEQ, AudioAlign, and seamless support for advanced third-party algorithms like SRS TruSurround HD4.

System-level enhancements that reduce cost include integrated support for multi-channel HDMI data, analog audio inputs, S/PDIF input and output support and DSD input over HDMI. Twelve-channel output support handles standard and multi-channel output requirements, including integrated power amplifier and pre-amplifier line-out audio plus headphone output signals.

The DAE-3 also incorporates a high-performance sample rate converter (SRC) necessary for removal of the noise and jitter inherent in the audio data streams from standard HDMI inputs.

The DAE-3 family of digital TV solutions is available now, including a full range of hardware platforms for evaluation.

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