Sunday, Apr 27, 2003
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By Anand Parthasarathy
NatSem's `system-on-a-chip' that will bridge the digital PC-TV divide.
The product a total `Solution on a Chip' (SOC) will incorporate all the building blocks: the signal processing, graphics, audio, video and radio-frequency circuits necessary to build a state-of-the-art display monitor compatible with the emerging global digital TV standards. This will serve the new `convergence' market where TV and PC display functions are virtually interchangeable.
It will also come as timely technology expected to drive down the price of new generation digital TV sets suitable for the reception of "combo" broadband video plus data signals through direct to home (DTH) satellites or cable.
In a privileged briefing for The Hindu today, Nikhil Balram, National Semiconductor's Santa Clara, California-based Chief Technology Officer (Displays Group) explained that the end product would have four `avatars', catering to four separate segments of the digital TV arena: the increasingly popular 15 inch LCD PC/TV monitor; the High Density 100 Hz PC/TV product; the integrated display for the MPEG TV the compression standard of the Motion Picture Expert Group that is the mandated digital TV standard in U.S, Europe and Japan and the Internet-ready "Smart TV" that seamlessly merges PC and TV functions.
The Bangalore-based team currently slipping into position is led by K. Sridhar, Director of Engineering in NatSem's display division. He explained that this would be the first product to offer a silicon solution with the embedded software to address emerging digital TV functions. It would deliver a full package comprising integrated circuits, applications software and hardware design... making it easy for TV and monitor manufacturers to quickly set up a product line.
According to Ashok Kumar, General Manager of Natsem India Designs, and head of the Bangalore-based development centre, India has been earmarked by the parent company as the nodal point of for its newly-launched digital TV product line. After completing the design process, the centre would do the reference design of a TV around the new chip solution and would continue to globally support it after its commercial launch.
"We are proud that the digital TV solution is to be a totally `desi' development and hope that this will enable Indian manufacturers to offer world-class products based on the NatSem solution", Mr. Kumar added.
Since 1996, the centre has been contributing to many of National Semiconductor's integrated solutions which bridge the `real world' of analogue signals and the front end of digital processing and display. Recent NatSem single-chip solutions have been in the field of scanners, intelligent devices, video and mobile phones and TV set top boxes.
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