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October 17, 1995

POWERTV HAS EAGLE SET-TOP BOX ASIC

By CBR Staff Writer

Scientific-Atlanta Inc’s PowerTV Systems Inc subsidiary has developed a multimedia application specific integrated circuit that it claims will replace several chips needed in television set-top boxes at the moment. Scientific-Atlanta will license the Eagle chip set and use it in conjuction with its own PowerTV operating system in set-top boxes. PowerTV said the processor accelerates a number of process that would otherwise be carried out in hardware. These include providing audio mixing and output with CD quality, and compositing of graphics and video. The company said the chip’s graphics functions had been adapted to account for the lower resolution of television displays. The graphics display has two resolution modes and two colour spaced modes to account for the blurring and fuzziness in picture quality suffered by television screens. The display can be composited with full-motion video from an MPEG-2 video decoder or an analogue video digitiser and decoder. The processor will be available in next quarter in quantities of 10,000 units or more at from ú30 each. Meanwhile, Scientific-Atlanta has released the first version of its 32-bit set-top box operating system. It is based on a RISC processor, supports both NTSC and PAL standards, has an MPEG-II interface and also comes with a two-dimensional imaging system called PowerDraw. It also supports Oracle Corp’s Media objects, Scala Inc’s Scala backbone and Sybase Inc’s InterPlay. The operating system will also run Metrowerks Inc’s CodeWarrior software tools on the Macintosh and Diab Data Inc’s D-C++ compiler and SingleStep Debugger for personal computers.

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