Fujitsu launches world’s first 1394 Automotive IC for HD Video

Fujitsu Microelectronics Asia Pte Ltd (FMAL) todayannounced the world’s first “1394 Automotive” (IDB-1394) (*1) controller IC that realizeshigh-definition (HD) (1,280 dots x 720 lines) video transmission over theIDB-1394 in-vehicle multimedia network protocol. The new IC, the MB88395, cansimultaneously transmit multiple streams around the vehicle, such as HD videofrom Blu-Ray DVDs, digital TV, audio and car navigation images. The new ICrealizes this by utilizing a high-speed 800Mbps physical layer (*2) as well as Fujitsu’s proprietarySmartCODEC that provides high compression and which can transmit HD videowithout perceptible lag. This not only brings the rich HD experience torear-seat entertainment, but reduces the system cost of in-vehicle multimedianetworks by a maximum of 30%, while reducing the number of wire harnesses(cables) by a maximum of 70% to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuelefficiency. Sample shipment of the new MB88395 willbegin from April 22, 2009.

Figure 1: The 1394 Automotive controller usagein-vehicle

Figure 2: 1394 Automotive Controller (unit: cm)

There is increasing attention being paid to 1394 Automotive forin-vehicle multimedia networking, and it is expected to become common in theautomotive market. The reason for this includes the gradual shift to digital TVin each country, the increased availability of HD content, as well as the analogoutput from Blu-Ray players to be stopped from 2013, making 1394 Automotivenecessary for the upcoming flood of digital transmissions through in-carnetworks. Anticipating the future needs for rear-seat entertainment systems,Fujitsu Microelectronics lead other vendors in introducing 1394 Automotivecontrollers in 2005, and with this new 1394 controller co-developed withFujitsu VLSI Limited, allows more HD video content to be easily and flexibilityviewed throughout the vehicle.

This was emphasized by Yuji Kawaguchi, Operating Officer of HondaR&D Co., Ltd. in saying, “Honda R&D welcomes the MB88395, the first ICto provide the 800Mbps speeds of the 1394 Automotive spec. The importance ofhigh-speed digital transmissions will increase further in the future to handlein-vehicle multimedia as well as to reduce weight. 1394 Automotive is anin-vehicle network that can enrich entertainment and comfort. We plan topromptly evaluate the MB88395.”

The key to the capabilities of the new controller are the physical layercompliant with the 800Mbps specification of 1394 Automotive - double the400Mbps of the previous product - as well the a version of the SmartCODECcompression codec for video that has an even higher compression ratio,compressing video to one-fourth (1/4) it’s original size, compared to one-third(1/3) that of the previous product. The SmartCODEC, which was developed byFujitsu Laboratories and is used in the BT.601 Transport Over IEEE-1394(*3) standard, can compress and decompresshigh resolution video in 2 to 3 milliseconds(2-3ms) without any perceptibleannoying time lag or out of sync contents, which can be a problem when watchingthe same contents on the front and rear monitors.

This results in the ability to transmit HD video from Blu-Ray DVDs anddigital TV, as well as high-resolution navigation images, within the vehiclewithout any perceptible time lag, making this the first IC in the world toallow multiple streams of HD video and navigation images over 1394 Automotive.For example, a HD video stream (1,280 dots x 720 lines) from a Blu-Ray DVD thathas been decompressed has a rate of 885Mbps. With subsequent compression toone-fourth (1/4) with SmartCODEC, the rate becomes 249Mbps, so two (2) channelscan be transmitted in the 800Mbps bandwidth that was not possible over 400Mbpsproducts.

Going forward, Fujitsu Microelectronics plans to expand its lineup of1394 Automotive ICs to handle the increasing information streams inautomobiles, such as video content and peripheral cameras on the vehicle, aswell as to drive further reductions in system costs. These in-vehiclenetworking chips complement Fujitsu Microelectronics’ strong presence inautomotive ICs for processing graphics and video.

Key Features

1. Reduces system costs for rear-seat entertainment

The MB88395 IC includes the 1394 Automotive physical layer and linklayer(*4) as well as DTCP digital rightsmanagement(*5) on one chip, while encoding occursonly within SmartCODEC’s internal line memory, making an external frame bufferunnecessary, and thus reducing the necessary system components and totalmultimedia network system costs by a maximum of 30%.

Also, by being able to simultaneously transmit at high speed severalvideo and audio streams as well as control signals on one network line - notpeer-to-peer - it reduces the number of the wire-harnesses (cables) by amaximum of 70%. This contributes to reducing vehicle weight, leading to higherfuel efficiency. Concretely, this can produce a reduction in the environmentalimpact by approximately 10kg of CO2 per year for a car traveling10,000km (that translates into roughly the amount of CO2 a treeabsorbs in 1 year).

2. HD video compression, decompression and transmission without perceptibletime lag

Includes Fujitsu’s proprietary SmartCODEC which can compress video datato one-fourth in size, an improvement compared to the one-third of the previousproduct, and compress and decompress video within 2-3 milliseconds. Such lowlatency, combined with the doubling of the speed of the physical layer to800Mbps, allows transmission of HD video from Blu-Ray DVDs and digital TV,within the vehicle without any perceptible time lag, which can be a problemwhen watching the same contents on the front and rear monitors. With an MPEGCODEC, there would be a perceptible time lag in transmission.

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