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Sigma announces new EM8510 media processor for portable market.

Sigma Designs (Nasdaq:SIGM), a leader in digital media processing for consumer appliances, has announced the EM8510, a new media processor for the growing portable and low-power device market. Sigma's new EM8510 decoder chip, based on the company's award-winning REAL magic Video Technology, enables cost-effective solutions for consumer appliances such as portable media players, portable DVD players and other power critical devices.

With ongoing technology improvements in media compression, wireless communications, and small form-factor storage, portable media players have quickly become the media-on-the-go equivalent of the cell phone. This trend has already occurred in the audio segment with a plethora of devices now available. Hand-held players have moved from the niche market to the mainstream, permitting consumers to transfer music from their computers and play it on-the-go. Industry analysts predict that at the end of 2001, only 4.5 million households had an Internet audio player, but falling prices and increasingly tech-savvy consumers will lead to a market expansion of sales of 27 million devices in 2007--making portable audio devices a $3.4 billion business.

New advanced compression schemes are enabling the addition of movies, personal video, and photos in addition to audio, to a palm-sized portable media player. Linked to the right provider services, this translates into videos on-the-go, for use on airplanes, in hotels, within the home and for family road trips. As prices decrease, portable DVD players are also quickly replacing the TV/VCR combo as the portable of choice for taking a movie collection on the road.

In-Stat/MDR, the high-tech market research firm, forecasts that the total available market for portable audio/video players will grow from 4.9 million units in 2003 to 15.4 million in 2007.

"Sigma's foray into the portable space takes them into a high-growth market with upside potential," said Michelle Abraham, Senior Analyst for In-Stat/MDR's Converging Markets & Technologies Group. "From our research we have also found that portable DVD player shipments will reach 13 million units in 2007."

"The constantly changing landscape of digital entertainment offers continued opportunities for Sigma's strengths," said Ken Lowe, VP of strategic marketing. "Sigma's leading technology and ability to quickly seize market opportunities are propelling the company ahead in consumer demand."

Sigma's new EM8510 media processor brings an enhanced feature set to the portable arena through improved integration with lower power dissipation. Based on a low voltage process and proprietary power control logic, the EM8510 provides a complete one-chip decoder solution using less than 500 milliwatts of power. This translates into substantial battery life improvements for portable media players. The chip also supports direct TV output, enabling portable players to connect to existing televisions in the home or hotel.

The EM8510 also sports a new, high-performance audio DSP, capable of decoding virtually any audio standard. This includes important standards such as MPEG-1 or -2 audio, MP3, WMA, Dolby AC3, DVD-audio and others. Furthermore, the field upgradeable capabilities allow this chip to download new audio codecs when they become available in the future. The EM8510 provides drop-in compatibility to designs based on the EM8500, making quick work of designing new portable players with full video features, longer battery life and increased audio support.

Based on the company's award-winning REAL magic Video Technology, the EM8510 provides the highest quality possible from digital media, including MPEG-4, MPEG-2 and DVD formats. Unique features offered by the EM8510 family include analog YPbPr/RGB video outputs with optional scaling up to HDTV resolution, video over IP, and support for DVI/HDCP or LCD displays. A wide variety of media types are supported, accessible through a powerful navigation engine.

The EM8510 media processors will be sold through Sigma's direct sales force. Samples will be available in March with production scheduled for May.
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Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Date:Feb 23, 2004
Words:622
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