Magnum Semiconductor Introduces New Dual-Channel Encoder IC for Set-Top Boxes

Monday, April 14th, 2008

DM8803 Improves MPEG-2 Encoding Quality with Integrated Pre-Processing

LAS VEGAS — NAB2008 — At the National Association of Broadcasters show here today, Magnum Semiconductor Corporation, a worldwide leader in video compression technology, announced the DM8803 Dual Channel MPEG-2 Encoder, targeted at set-top box (STB) and personal video recorder (PVR) applications. The DM8803 is the newest member of Magnum’s family of video encoders for high volume hybrid set-top applications. It features a 3D comb filter for improved image quality, alleviating the visual artifacts that often result from poor analog signal (NTSC/PAL) acquisition and transmission.

Dual-channel encoders provide new and exciting features for set-top box and home media center designs. Having MPEG-2 encoding allows raw video signals to be compressed to storage, so that STBs can offer live pause and other PVR features. The dual-channel architecture lets user record one program while they watch another, a highly prized feature in today’s digital video market.

“Video recording, with dual-channel capability, is an increasingly important feature for differentiated set-top boxes,” said Bob Saffari, vice president of marketing for set-top and broadcast products at Magnum. “Our existing DM8802 encoder is a leading solution for this market segment. Now, the DM8803 enables a lower overall system cost for an even sharper picture.”

The DM8803 achieves its outstanding video quality by pre-processing the image with its TrueView™ Pro motion-compensated temporal filtering. This helps to remove motion artifacts from the image. The image is then compressed using Magnum’s fifth-generation MPEG technology. A 3D comb filter is used to remove “mosquito noise” from the picture. The result is the lowest-noise image in the industry and excellent video quality at the data rates common in set-top box applications.

Prior generations of MPEG-2 encoders generally required expensive external circuitry for sophisticated pre-processing tasks, a solution which was too costly for multi-channel in-home applications. Saffari noted: “Integration can drive significant economic advantages. The improved system cost for pre-processing with the DM8303 will enable new levels of video quality, as well as richer features, in the set-top box market.”

The DM8803 accepts two standard 8-bit YUV video inputs, and is able to perform greater than 30 billion operations per second (30 BOPS) for dual audio and video compression. It delivers compressed video via a multi-program MPEG-2 transport stream. The device uses standard SDRAM, and features a USB port for expansion.

The DM8803 is packages in a 388 BGA, and is available for samples and production orders. It is priced at $20 for 10,000 piece quantities.