NEC : MPEG-4 chips enable SD broadcasting

NEC Electronics Corp. today introduced the EMMA3SL/LP and EMMA3SL/L which are third generation ‘Enhanced Multi-Media Architecture’ (EMMA) set-top box devices specifically targeting MPEG-4 standard definition (SD) the next-generation image compression standard expected to become popular in Eastern Europe, Russia & CIS, India, South Africa, and other immerging nations adopting digital television.

The new products are System-on-Chip (SoC) image processing devices featuring a cost effective MPEG-4 SD video decoder and a flexible yet powerful audio processor capable of decoding Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus. Dual Decode for Audio Descriptor, a powerful Bit BLTer for graphics applications, DVB-CI Plus an upgrade to existing DVB Common Interface, a MIPS32™ 4KEc™ CPU providing 440MIPS are also integrated.

The new products (1) are dedicated to MPEG-4 SD broadcasts which enable over twice the compression ratio of the current MPEG2 standard. (2) Enable reduction in bill of materials (BoM), thanks to high level integration of functions which would otherwise be fitted externally ultimately resulting in reduced system cost. (3) Pay TV variants of the IC, namely EMMA3SL/LP, include the latest advanced security features required by the leading Conditional Access vendors.

By employing the new products, users can develop low-cost MPEG-4 SD STBs with low power consumption both in operational and standby modes exceeding European Low Power Directive. This enables implementation of low profile enclosures. NEC Electronics is actively promoting chips for digital audio/video (AV) appliances as a strategic business segment. Having released world’s first digital broadcasting STB SoC in 1998 under the brand name “EMMA”, the company has built a formidable range of successful AV SoC devices since then covering three main areas – STBs, digital TVs and DVD recorders.

NEC Electronics also introduced two other EMMA devices in May 2008, namely the EMMA3SL/HD and EMMA3SL/SD catering for the wider MPEG-4 STB market. Due to specific emerging demand for MPEG-4 SD cost optimized devices with advanced security features, EMMA3SL/LP and EMMA3SL/L were developed, using technology gained from previous products.

They offer the following features.

1. Specializing in MPEG-4 SD Signal Reception
The new products incorporate technology originally proven in the company’s EMMA3SL/SD chips and specialize in the reception of MPEG-4 SD broadcasts expected to become popular in Eastern Europe, Russia & CIS, India, South Africa and other immerging nations adopting digital television.

2. High level functional integration leading to reduced parts list and low system cost
Other than the comprehensive set of core STB functions, the devices include USB2.0 interface, Ethernet MAC, basic de-interlacer feature (*1) and accompanying support electronics eliminating the need for external components. The on-board de-interlacer eliminates the requirement for external scalar IC (*2). The device packaging and connection ball layout enables the whole design to be accommodated on a double layered PCB despite the employment of DDR2 resulting in further cost reduction.

3. Complies with Cutting-Edge Security Features (EMMA3SL/LP only)
The EMMA3SL/LP incorporates the latest on-chip hardware security functions demanded by leading conditional access vendors worldwide. The security implementation is transparent and flexible for software development, allowing STB designers to very quickly adapt designs from one operator to another. The security features allow broadcasters to protect valuable audiovisual content, and preserve IP developed by CA vendors, middleware providers and STB designers. It also complies with the DVB-CI Plus standard, which inherently provides much higher levels of security for retail Pay TV STB market compared to previous generation DVB Common Interface specification implementation.

4. Low Power Consumption
NEC Electronics has further managed to reduce power consumption on its SoC devices from what was already considered as low power operation. They consume less than 1W in standby mode and 1.0 to 1.9W in full operational mode which represents a 60 percent reduction compared to previous figures thereby easily exceeding European Low Power Directive. This enables implementation of low profile enclosures.


Samples of EMMA3SL/LP and EMMA3SL/L are available now. Volume production is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2009 and is expected to reach 500,000 units per month.

About NEC Electronics Corporation

NEC Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723) specializes in semiconductor products encompassing advanced technology solutions for the high-end computing and broadband networking markets; system solutions for the mobile handset, PC peripheral, automotive and digital consumer markets; and multi-market solutions for a wide range of customer applications.

NEC Electronics (Europe) GmbH

Note: The above text is the public part of the press release obtained from the manufacturer (with minor modifications). EETimes Europe cannot be held responsible for the claims and statements made by the manufacturer. The text is intended as a supplement to the new product presentations in EETimes Europe magazine.

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