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April 1, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:51pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Three of the heavyweights of the television set-top box market have tied the knot officially, with IBM Corp endorsing both the OS-9 operating system from Microware Systems Corp and the pSOS system from Integrated Systems Inc in its Set Top Box Reference Design Kit, announced today. IBM is trying to make it easy for set-top box designers to choose its PowerPC 403 chip, lumping together all of the popular software options with a three-chip PowerPC based chipset along with custom ASIC chip support and bundled MPE2 video decompression. IBM cites Dataquest figures that says the set-top box market is ready to absorb 30 million devices before the end of the millenium and that this market will then be worth $4.4 billion in 2001. The design kit will cost $7,500 includes PowerPC 403GC risc processor, IBM’s CD21 MPEG2 codec chip, IBM’s set-top box peripherals chip, 4 megabytes of system memory, 4 megabytes of video memory and 2 megabytes of flash memory, transport interface, audio digital to analog converter and an expansion port along with the two operating environment choices. IBM expects set-top designers to start out wtih this combination, develop differentiated designs and then embed them into single chip solutions for eventual delivery as set-tops. IBM already has relationships with Thomson Consumer Electronics and Tatung where the PowerPC is used in set-tops, while the more impressive Microware lists of clients includes NEC, Matsushita, General Instrument and Philips for its OS-9 based DAVID (Digital Audio/Video Interactive Decoder) and toolset. Integrated System Inc, the other software tools partner named, claims 15 million installs to date in set-tops and 30 design wins. IBM named Microware and its OS-9 system as a partner in its reference for Network Computers in November, and also cites internet access as something that can be designed using these set-top kits.

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