By Alix Coxon and Rodney Stewart, Xilinx October 09, 2006 -- pldesignline.com Programmable FPGA-based solution from Xilinx and Mocean brings architectural flexibility to MOST (Media-Oriented System Transport)-based multimedia systems in automobiles.
DVDs, hard disk drives, rear-seat entertainment, television (analogue and digital) and camera systems are all part of the multimedia systems seen in luxury vehicles today. But, when will they arrive in average premium and midline vehicles? When will the cost of implementing these systems have reached a point where video in the car is the norm, not the exception?
The complexity of passing audio and video data from multiple sources to multiple users is not trivial or inexpensive. Costs, however, are consistently coming down. Many of the required components have dramatically reduced in cost over the past few years. Flat panel displays, for example, have been driven down in cost by the consumer market, where many companies rush in to offer the best overall value. Unfortunately, other parts of the solution, such as the high bandwidth network, have not seen a similar fast paced innovation coupled with cost reduction.
MOST (Media-Oriented System Transport) has long been touted as the network of choice in this area. Developed by the MOST Cooperation, founded by BMW AG, DaimlerChrysler AG, Audi AG, Harman Becker and SMSC (formerly Oasis SiliconSystems), it has seen great penetration in Europe. Elsewhere in the world, cost and the proprietary nature of the solution has stifled adoption.
While the automotive industry normally favours driving costs down and innovation up through fierce supplier competition, there has long remained a sole supplier of MOST NIC devices. As long as this remains a high end, European-based market without open specifications, global silicon suppliers will struggle to see a return on their investment in this area. ASSP, ASIC and microcontroller suppliers continue to struggle with the larger and larger investments required to build silicon devices in state of the art processes technologies. Beyond the cost issue there are also a number of technology issues that need to be addressed before MOST can grow into a truly global automotive standard. The market has been in a status quo waiting for a networking solution that can address ever increasing performance demands. There is no clear consensus by manufacturers and suppliers about whether that will come through an evolution of MOST or new competition from another network standard. Beyond Europe, vehicle manufactures have a close eye on the market to determine if and when to adopt MOST or another multimedia capable network solution.
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