A recent study from Insight Research indicates that global sales of devices that use the MPEG-2 digital video compression standard will reach $23.9 billion in 1999 and top $125 billion in 2003. With MPEG-2 quickly becoming the world's de facto compression standard for digital video transmission, Amsterdam-based Philips Electronics' subsidiary, Philips Semiconductor, has developed what it says is the world's fastest MPEG-2 chipset for compressed audio, video, and data streams for set-tops.
More than twice as fast as its predecessor, the SAA7214, the SAA7219 is designed for the consumer digital receiver market and will be incorporated into Philips' STB5860 set-top box. The chipset is also the first device to deliver a watch-and-record feature, enabling OEMs to build digital receivers that process two channels on the same multiplex stream using a single MPEG transport chip. It enables end users to watch one digital channel while simultaneously recording another through the IEEE1394 interface.
Philips achieved this performance enhancement through an increased cache size (4 K/8 K), double CPU speed (81 MHz) and a 32-bit architecture achieving 162 Mbps peak SDRAM transfer rate. Versions of the SAA 7215 support various broadcast standards, including a full multistandard device for PAL, NTSC and Secam, with or without Macrovision copy protection.