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TI's Latest Color Screen Audio Jukebox Reference Design Hits Sweet Spot for Price, Battery Life and Feature Set

Comprehensive, Ready-to-Use Design Supports JPEG, MPEG-4 Video, Audio Time-Scaling, USB Peer-to-Peer Transfers and DRM Technologies

Nov 29, 2004

DALLAS, (November 29, 2004) - Helping portable digital audio manufacturers add functionality and reduce retail prices, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE:TXN) today announced the availability of its most recent portable audio-focused reference design. The latest in a series of portable entertainment reference designs, the new production-ready design provides a complete hardware and software solution based on a 1 inch hard disk drive (HDD) with a capacity of 5 GB, that supports not only music but JPEG and MPEG-4 as well, enabling consumers to carry all of their digital music and photos with them wherever they go at a price they can afford. (See www.ti.com/portableaudio6.)

Built around one of TI's advanced Digital Audio digital signal processors (DSP) and analog technology, the turnkey design enables accelerated development of portable audio jukeboxes under $250 retail that can operate for 15 hours on a single battery charge. The design enables manufacturers to combine audio and imaging on a color LCD screen, as well as offers QCIF resolution video playback, all in a form factor that is small enough and light enough to fit in a shirt pocket. In addition, the programmable platform enables OEMs to accommodate changing multimedia standards in software without requiring product redesign.
"The portable jukebox compressed audio player market has been reinvigorated by 1 inch HDDs," said Susan Kevorkian, senior analyst with IDC's Consumer Markets group. "Now, device manufacturers can offer exceptionally portable form factors, with 5 GB storage capacity, digital photo support and color displays, a winning combination for many music consumers." According to IDC's most recent compressed audio player market forecast entitled "Worldwide Compressed Audio Player 2004-2008 Forecast: MP3 Reaches Far and Wide" (IDC#31811, August 2004), portable jukeboxes will have a 57 percent worldwide compound annual growth rate during the forecast period.

The power-efficient, high performance DSP supports real-time processing of audio files and DRM technology simultaneously, while providing enough headroom for OEMs to differentiate their products with enhanced functionality. The new reference design also includes TI analog and power management technology and offers broad support for a variety of features and functionality, including: 

  • Complete driver and API code to support a Seagate 1 inch 5 GB drive 
  • MPEG-4 playback 
  • JPEG decoding with simultaneous audio decode for "Music Slideshows" 
  • USB 2.0 device support, enabling easy connection to computers, and USB host support, enabling file sharing and image transfers directly between portable products 
  • High-quality time-scale modification (TSM) algorithm, enabling the playback of recorded sound at up to twice the speed, or slowing playback down to half the speed while maintaining normal pitch
  • Color LCD and extensive multi-language support with customizable user interfaces
  • Support for Microsoft´s Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology
  • Power optimized for long MP3 playback time - up to 15 hours on a single charge of the built-in Lithium-Ion battery
  • A flexible DSP solution, allowing OEMs to add post-processing or converge other new types of functionality into portable digital audio players
  • Integrated FM-tuner with auto scan
  • Highly optimized audio track and database caching to ease user content management and navigation
  • All major digital audio algorithms, including Windows Media Audio (WMA) encode and decode, MP3 and voice recording, as well as a built-in FM receiver 

"Today's portable entertainment devices must fit the consumer's lifestyle, as well as protect the needs of content owners," says Chris Schairbaum, worldwide manager of TI's Portable Audio and Infotainment business. "By supporting USB host, image and video decode, and DRM technology, TI offers manufacturers the essential tools they need to accommodate the changing digital entertainment market."

TI's new portable audio player reference design and complete manufacturing kit are available today from TI and Third Party Partners. MPEG-4, WMA encode, DRM and USB host support will be available in the first quarter of 2005. Local customization support is available worldwide from regional TI design partners.