Michael Grotticelli /
06.10.2011 08:00 AM
Panasonic smart TV sets to allow simultaneous TV channel viewing and Internet access

Panasonic has developed a new Cortex A9 Dual Core 1.4GHz CPU for smart TVs that allows users to simultaneously view two HDTV broadcast channels, as well as Internet-based content and interactive applications.

The new LSI chip will allow viewers to “simultaneously enjoy two TV broadcasting channels, as well as Internet-based content and applications in high resolution at the same time,” Panasonic said.

The new chip begins sample deliveries this month. It is expected to open the way for a new generation of smart TVs that also reduce power consumption and the number of components needed to manufacture the sets.

To improve performance and the user interface, smart TVs require powerful software processing capability as they support various applications on the Internet. Achieving these improvements has called for a system chip that has both a high-quality A/V processor and a powerful CPU on a single chip.

In addition to allowing viewing of two broadcast channels at once, the new TV sets will feature Internet applications like Netflix and Pandora, as well as other smart TV applications. Several TV set makers, including Vizio, Samsung and Panasonic, currently offer smart TVs. However, the market is still quite young, and many vendors want to enhance the user experience.

The LSI adopts a new architecture comprising of Panasonic’s UniPhier processor, a device said to assure the processing of audio and visual content and a general-purpose high-speed dual CPU for network applications. It adopts a 1.4GHz dual core CPU (ARM Cortex-A9TM Dual).

A high-performance 3D graphics circuit supporting full HD resolution is essential for smart TVs. Integrating such a 3D graphics circuit and audio and video codec, the new system LSI has all the functions required for smart TVs on a single chip. As a result, it can deliver images by combining graphics and video. The new chip cuts power consumption by about 40 percent.

The processor’s architecture enables parallel, simultaneous real-time operation of TV signal processing. It implements a dual-core CPU and high-capacity cache memory, as well as operation at 1.4GHz clock frequency.

In April, Toshiba unveiled its CEVO multiprocessor powered television sets, which have features like 3-D, 2-D-to-3-D conversion, 3D Resolution+ and NetResolution+.

CEVO chips are multicore processors shaped up from the cell architecture that can be found in the Japanese cell television sets. These chips are meant to boost performance of TV sets, as well as support Web applications.

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