Toshiba Unveils Low-Power, Single-Chip MPEG-4 Decoder

Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc. with its parent company Toshiba Corp. Monday unveiled its production silicon MPEG-4 decoder which conforms to the latest MPEG-4 industry standard.

The device, designated the TC35274XB, integrates an MPEG-4 decoder with 4-megabits (Mb) of embedded DRAM to deliver a single-chip, low-power solution. The new MPEG-4 decoder will enable designers to create advanced wireless communication products that can receive and decode streaming media.

Toshiba’s embedded DRAM technology enables a considerable reduction in power dissipation due to the lower capacitance on-chip connections, without any degradation in the chip’s performance. By incorporating 4Mb of embedded DRAM, Toshiba has reduced power dissipation of the device to 50-milliwatts (mW), lower than similar solutions using off-chip memory.

From the application perspective, this could provide a battery-powered mobile videophone incorporating Toshiba’s MPEG-4 chip with more than double the battery life of the same phone using an off-chip memory solution.

“Toshiba is a world leader in the development of MPEG technology and today we reinforced our leadership by delivering the industry’s first low-power, single-chip MPEG-4 decoder,” said Andrew Burt, director, TAEC wireless market development.

“This new device is poised to revolutionize the mobile products marketplace by enabling the next generation of multimedia-equipped wireless devices such as cellular phones, PDAs, and real-time remote security/surveillance solutions.”

The TC35274XB performs 15 frames per second of MPEG-4 video decoding with QCIF (176 x 144 pixels) at 30-megahertz (MHz) clock frequency. The video core consists of a 16-bit RISC processor and dedicated hardware accelerators that allow programmability while delivering high performance and low-power dissipation.

The firmware program for the RISC processor is downloaded into the embedded DRAM before beginning any operation. Additional applications, such as H.263, are performed by using the appropriate firmware.

IMT-2000 handsets and mobile terminals will support transmission of higher-quality motion pictures and improved sound quality. MPEG-4’s video compression technology is specifically designed for wireless video transmission and is expected to become a key element of IMT-2000 services.

Sample pricing for the TC35274XB MPEG-4 decoder is $35. Samples will be released in first quarter of 2001, with mass production slated for second quarter of 2001.

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