New NXP Chips Will Boost Use of IP Content on HDTVs

The NXP Semiconductors has introduced a new single-chip platform for LCD high-definition televisions that will allow set manufacturers to add features to mid-range HDTVs that had previously only been available in high-end sets. The move will also improve the picture quality of Internet content viewed on HD sets.

“By being the first to market with this technology we can offer manufacturers a level of integration onto a single chip that will bring IP technology [and Internet content viewed on a TV] into the mainstream,” said Vincent Vermeer, product marketing director of digital TV systems at NXP Semiconductors. “Without this type of technology the sets would just be too expensive for the larger consumer community and quick market adoption. In that sense, it is really an enabler of the market adoption of IP television.”

The new features could also encourage operators and programmers to offer more converged services for TV and online platforms.

HDTV sets using the new NXP TV550 platform for LCD TVs featuring the PNX85500 processor are expected to hit stores in the third quarter of 2009. Pricing will vary by manufacturers and set size but will run around $1,000 for larger screens.

The PNX85500 is the first digital TV processor to be manufactured with 45nm technology, which allows the new NXP TV550 platform to integrate functions that had previously been performed by separate chips on a single chip. As a result, manufacturers can achieve significant savings in terms of their material costs and add features that had not been available on mid-range sets.

“It is not so much an issue of making TV cheaper but allowing manufacturers to add features on more affordable sets,” Vermeer said.

This is important both for the picture quality and use of Internet content on the set. “In order to enable IP television on a mainstream TV, a certain level of functionality is required,” such as streaming decoders, an Ethernet interface, and the ability to process a number of different formats, explained Vermeer. “Most of the time it is a costly design and is mostly limited to high end sets in the market. Our chip delivers all that functionality and is flexible in the type of decoders it can support, which is really a key enabler to make IP television available for the larger market.”