Navraj Nandra, Sr. Director of Marketing, DesignWare Analog and Mixed-Signal IP, Synopsys, Inc.
3/22/2011 6:06 PM EDT
The increasing consumer demand for smaller electronic devices has been pushing the semiconductor technology roadmap to smaller process nodes over the last decade. Today’s consumers demand high-quality (e.g. Hi-Fi, 1080p, etc.), multi-functional and feature-rich electronic products at a low price. As a result, product differentiation is now, more than ever, achieved by increased functionality, higher performance, improved power efficiency and more application-specific features. In this article, multimedia analog IP (intellectual property) refers to audio codecs and video analog front-ends (AFEs).
While in the past video AFE content consisted of 90 percent data conversion and 10 percent auxiliary circuitry, today’s advanced HDTV/xVGA video AFEs contain 25 percent data conversion and 75 percent application specific functions and low power modes. For example, features such as sync processing that are capable of generating the pixel rate clocks and multi-mode clamping circuits, among others, are needed to enable the multiple functions necessary in next-generation devices.
Similarly, audio IP used to be data-converter centric but, to dramatically increase product differentiation and address ever evolving quality and function requirements, today’s high-end audio codecs feature a myriad of signal-conditioning, signal-path selection and power-efficiency functions. These include high efficiency class-D and class-G drivers, PLL-less and cap-less operating modes and digital sound effects.
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