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Philips Semiconductors and start up TeraLogic Inc are set to challenge Microsoft Corp, Intel Corp and Compaq Computer Corp in the digital television market with the introduction of a second generation digital television receiver. The DTV team made up of Microsoft, Intel and Compaq (CI No 3,137) have been arguing that the first generation of television receivers compliant with the ATSC Advanced Television specification, as backed by the Grand Alliance of seven major television manufacturers including Philips, would be more expensive than a personal computer based on the DTV spec. The camp has been arguing that sticking to the ATSC’s 18 video formats for digital television would be expensive for the industry, and hamper the growth and technical capabilities of combined digital television and personal computer devices. The PC industry gave way to some extent in its fight for supremacy in the digital television video format war last month with an admission from Intel that some PC models coming out next year will be able to receive all digital television broadcasts. The proposed Philips second generation system is based on the company’s Trimedia multimedia processor and will receive and decode the 18 different video formats specified by the Advanced Television Systems Committee. Details of the new receiver are closely guarded, but it is believed to benefit from efficient partitioning between software and hardware, according to a report in the EE Times. Receiver functions that have already been defined like MPEG-2 video decoding and AC-3 audio decoding are expected to be carried out in hardware, whereas those that are undefined, such as display video resolution or the number of digital streams a chip will receive and display, could be done in software using an ordinary processor. TeraLogic’s offering will convert and display video at various resolutions and support both progressive and interlaced screens. The new TeraLogic technology will fight it out in the market with the seven-piece digital HDTV chip set developed in partnership between Mitsubishi Electric Corp and Lucent Technologies Inc. Mountain View, California-based TeraLogic has focused purely on development digital television technology since it was set up 15 months ago by Peng Ang, once vice president at LSI Logic Corp. Philips, in turn, hopes to find a solid market for its Trimedia chip in the digital television industry.

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