The Digital Entertainment paradox: Analog technology defines the HDTV experience

Consumers' home entertainment expectations are being shaped by the brilliant images and vibrant sounds promised by digital TV technology, but even the savviest consumers may not realize that inside a broad range of AV systems, analog technology is the key to creating the immersive, life-like high-definition (HD) experience desired by most. Signal processing leader, Analog Devices, Inc., is working in lock-step with the world's best-known digital TV and HD home theater equipment manufacturers, including LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba, to engineer the video, audio and connectivity building blocks and system-level innovations necessary to deliver the HDTV experience.

ADI's analog technology is used to produce big sound from the thin, wall-mounted TVs, without the clutter of external speakers; to automatically lower the volume when the programming changes to loud scenes or to intrusive advertisements; to compensate for cable connections that are too long or of poor quality, thereby degrading the image and the sound; and, as a leading developer of HDMI solutions, ADI's analog technology is even helping to create consumer electronics equipment that can all be controlled by a single remote. These are just a few of the design challenges unique to HD digital equipment and solved by ADI. The enabling role ADI's analog signal processing expertise plays in today's digital entertainment experience is reflected in recent revenue growth, where ADI sales into the consumer electronics market have increased an average of 20 percent per year for the past four years.

According to John Hussey, vice president of High-Speed Signal Processing, Analog Devices, “What designers of digital entertainment products know, and what consumers may not realize, is that analog performance is paramount to the quality of the digital entertainment experience. As demand for digital entertainment increases, high-performance analog signal processing has become the key to unlocking a compelling HD viewing experience that is no longer compromised by image artifacts, sub-standard audio, dropped or reflected signals or equipment compatibility issues. That's why the most advanced digital television products ” from the world's largest flat-panel TVs to the handiest HD camcorders ” rely on digital entertainment solutions from ADI's advanced television solutions portfolio.”

Advanced TV: A Host of Design Challenges
Unit sales of HDTVs are forecasted to increase at 44 percent CAGR from 2005 to 2010, according to research firm DisplaySearch. This rise in popularity of HD introduces a host of design challenges not present with standard-definition TV technology. These challenges include digital content protection; complex HD signal routing; larger and flatter screens; audio with 7.1-channel surround sound; and connectivity issues created by longer cable lengths and new interface standards. ADI solves these challenges throughout the electronics that comprise the advanced TV ecosystem, including high-definition DVD players, DVRs (digital video recorders), AVRs (audio/video receivers), and HD-camcorders, as well as the interconnect technology that preserves HD signal fidelity as content is distributed throughout the home.

ADI's Advantiv portfolio of advanced television solutions helps consumer equipment manufacturers clear these and other technical hurdles by supplying the industry's most comprehensive line of high-performance audio, video, display, and HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface)-compliant connectivity solutions. For more information, visit

ADI's Advantiv Advanced TV Solutions: Optimizing Audio, Video, and Connectivity for the HD Environment
Essential to a positive home theater experience are great sound, crisp images and seamless system connectivity. Analog Devices' Advantiv advanced television solutions portfolio includes products and design support that address a variety of system-level functions, including the following:

  • Audio : Although today's flat-panel HDTVs provide consumers with unprecedented flexibility when it comes to configuring their entertainment centers, manufacturers face a number of critical design challenges in order to match audio performance with the high-definition video performance and great looks of today's HDTVs. Ironically, it is the highly desirable, slim-profile, wall design of the LCD and plasma screens itself that compromises optimum speaker selection and placement, as well as efficient amplification. To solve this problem, ADI's advanced audio processors provide HDTV developers a broad selection of audio enhancements ranging from basic speaker equalization to sophisticated surround-sound virtualization. In addition, ADI's space-saving Class-D audio amplifiers provide the power needed to deliver the same audio experience consumers are accustomed to receiving from large TV cabinets. The overall audio sub-system has been designed to seamlessly interface to Analog Devices' video processing sub-system.

    Analog Devices today expanded its Advantiv advanced television solutions portfolio with the introduction of the ADAV43x2 and ADAV44x2 advanced TV audio processor families whose many features include automatic volume control, dynamic bass, a multi-band equalizer and up to 200 ms of stereo delay memory for audio/video synchronization. TV makers are also turning to ADI's audio solutions to solve problems like fluctuating volume changes that occur during advertisements or when TV viewers switch channels. ADI today also launched the ADAU1590, ADAU1592 and ADAU1513 Class-D audio amplifiers, which can deliver up to two times 18W, 0.005 percent THD+N and are designed to optimally interface to the TV audio processors. For press release, visit

  • Video : HDTV consumers expecting crystal-clear video quality at all times can be frustrated when faced with “dropouts” or other image artifacts occurring in wireless HD connections for their home theater. Many consumers want the convenience of adding a wireless HD connection and yet aren't aware that high-performance image compression is the key to preserving their image quality. One of the primary reasons for the drop in quality found in many wireless video systems is that most video compression formats cannot provide visually lossless compression in real-time, and at consumer prices. These formats are also highly susceptible to disruptions in the data stream that are common in wireless environments. ADI's Wavescale video compression technology, which is part of ADI's Advantiv advanced television solutions portfolio, preserves high-definition quality even in noisy wireless environments, while drastically reducing the visual impact of errors that can occur in wireless transmission channels. Analog Devices today introduced the ADV216 Wavescale video compression CODEC for wireless and wired high-definition video transmission in consumer applications. The complete video solution uses the same technology employed today in broadcast, professional and digital cinema applications. For press release, visit
  • Connectivity: One common frustration with HD home entertainment systems is the confusion created by the number of remotes required to control a TV, DVD player, cable or satellite box and mobile peripherals, such as video recorders and portable media players. Users must navigate different menu configurations and feature options, while juggling multiple remotes that create clutter and require more batteries and more frequent battery replacement. With the industry's broadest line of HDMI connectivity solutions, Analog Devices recently introduced the ADV7520NK HDMI v1.3-compatible transmitter for portable media and DVD players, video recorders, and other mobile HD multimedia devices. New to ADI's Advantiv advanced TV portfolio, the ADV7520NK is the industry's first HDMI transmitter to include CEC (consumer electronic control) support on-chip. This reduces component count, eases design complexity and speeds time to market for portable high-definition (HD) devices by eliminating the need for the design engineer to develop a separate CEC support channel. The new transmitter consumes half the power of competitive devices in active mode and just 10 percent of the power in power-down mode, extending the battery life of handheld consumer electronics. For press release, visit
  • Analog Devices in Advanced TV
    Because the signal processing performance requirements for HD video, audio and interconnect functions are significantly higher than for standard-definition TVs, ADI offers the Advantiv advanced television portfolio, providing cost-effective analog, digital, and mixed-signal solutions to the most difficult multi-format ATV design challenges. Supported by ADI's system-level experts, these customer-driven solutions enable the latest in HD home entertainment systems. Analog Devices offers a broad range of industry-certified solutions for advanced television (ATV) applications, with products that enable rewarding experiences for consumers enjoying the latest high-definition (HD) TVs, DVD players, digital video recorders, audio/video receivers, camcorders and cable and satellite set-top boxes. For more information, visit

    Innovation, performance, and excellence are the cultural pillars on which Analog Devices has built one of the longest standing, highest growth companies within the technology sector. Acknowledged industry-wide as the world leader in data conversion and signal conditioning technology, Analog Devices serves over 60,000 customers, representing virtually all types of electronic equipment. Celebrating over 40 years as a leading global manufacturer of high-performance integrated circuits used in analog and digital signal processing applications, Analog Devices is headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts, with design and manufacturing facilities throughout the world. Analog Devices' common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “ADI” and is included in the S&P 500 Index.

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