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Tensilica Introduces HiFi EP DSP Core for High Quality Audio in Home Entertainment and Smartphone Applications

Industry's Most Popular Licensable Audio IP Core Enhanced for 40 Percent Lower Power and Up to 50 Percent Size Reduction

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - February 1, 2010 - Building on the success of its HiFi 2 Audio DSP, the leading architecture for audio in system-on-chip (SOC) designs, Tensilica today introduced HiFi EP, a superset of the HiFi 2 architecture that is optimized for simultaneous multichannel codec support and/or continuously expanding audio pre and post processing in home entertainment products such as Blu-ray Disc players, digital television (DTV), and Smartphones. It has also been enhanced for very efficient, high-quality voice pre-and post-processing. These enhancements result in up to 40 percent lower power and up to a 50 percent size reduction. Tensilica will be demonstrating its HiFi EP Audio DSP (digital signal processing) Engine in booth 7C35 at the Mobile World Congress, February 15-18, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.

HiFi 2 DSPs have shipped in tens of millions of units in cellular phones, Blu-ray Disc players, DTV, portable media players, mobile wireless handsets and automobile entertainment devices. Its popularity is due to three major factors: 1) extremely low power consumption, 2) a full software suite with over 60 optimized audio and voice codecs for all popular standards, and 3) a small combined core and memory area to implement a full audio and voice codec subsystem.

The HiFi EP Audio DSP adds a novel and unique 32x24 MAC (multiply accumulator) for higher performance at lower power on the popular DTS Master Audio Lossless decoder used in Blu-ray Disc devices. DTS Master Audio decoding on the HiFi EP DSP requires only 115 MHz of processing power, a savings of over 40 percent compared to other licensable DSP cores, thus reducing power consumption and making it possible to implement a full Blu-ray-Disc-capable home entertainment audio subsystem on only one HiFi EP core.  Other DSP architectures require the use of 2 on chip DSPs - translating into an increase of 2x or more in chip area and power.

Because of the efficiency of the architecture, power consumption is minimized making HiFi EP ideal for low-power portable applications. To address the increasingly demanding requirements in mobile and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) applications for better immunity to background noise and speakerphone mode quality, new instructions have been added to accelerate voice pre- and post-processing for noise cancellation and beam forming microphones.   These instructions also provide better general DSP capabilities.

Tensilica also enhanced the cache memory subsystem for HiFi EP DSPs with a predictive prefetch unit to improve performance in high memory latency SOC designs while preserving ease of programming.  In a Blu-ray Disc SOC with a typical 100 cycle memory access latency to off-chip memory, a HiFi EP DSP  can run the complete worst-case workload Blu-ray Disc suite (DTS Master Audio Lossless 5.1 ch @ 192 kHz, DTS Express 5.1 ch. at 48 kHz, upsample, downsample, mixing and DTS Transcode to 5.1 ch. at 48 kHz)  in only 384 MHz.  Competing architectures often require 600 to 800 MHz of DSP bandwidth for the same workload.

"With this third generation of HiFi Audio products, we offer chip designers a choice of two software-compatible products," stated Steve Roddy, Tensilica's vice president of marketing and business development. "For most products, our standard HiFi 2 Audio DSP provides higher performance than most competing solutions. However, for high-quality voice in mobile applications and for high-end home entertainment products, our new HiFi EP DSP is the right choice."

Library of Over 60 Audio Codecs

Tensilica has been adding to its library of audio codecs since it introduced the first HiFi Audio Engine in 2003. Because the HiFi Audio engines are fully programmable, multiple audio standards can run on the same hardware, allowing the same silicon to be used for multiple applications or the same device to play or record audio in different standards. Decoders and, in many cases, encoders are now available from Tensilica for: AMR narrowband and wideband; DAB/MP2; DAB+; Dolby Digital AC-3; Dolby Digital Compatible Output; Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and 7.1 channels; Dolby ProLogic II and IIx; Dolby Digital TrueHD; DTS-HD Master Audio; DTS Express: DTS Transcode; DTS Neo:6; G.729AB speech; MP3; MPEG-4 aacPlus v1 and v2; MPEG 2/4 AAC LC; MPEG-4 BSAC; Ogg Vorbis; RealAudio 8, 9 and 10; and WMA. Additional audio software packages are available from AM3D, QSound Labs, SPIRIT DSP, and SRS Labs.

About Tensilica

Tensilica, Inc. - the leader in customizable dataplane processors - is a semiconductor IP licensor recognized by the Gartner Group as the fastest growing semiconductor IP supplier in 2008.  Dataplane Processor Units (DPUs) combine the best capabilities of CPUs and DSPs while delivering 10-to-100-times the performance because they can be customized using Tensilica's automated design tools to meet specific dataplane performance targets. Tensilica's DPUs  power SOC designs at system OEMs and five out of the top 10 semiconductor companies for products including mobile phones, consumer electronics devices (including digital TV, Blu-ray Disc players, broadband set top boxes and portable media players), computers, and storage, networking and communications equipment. For more information on Tensilica's patented, benchmark-proven DPUs visit www.tensilica.com.

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Editors' Notes:

  • Tensilica and Xtensa are registered trademarks belonging to Tensilica Inc. All other company and product names mentioned are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
  • Tensilica's announced licensees include:  ADDMM, Afa Technologies, ALPS,  Aquantia, Astute Networks, Atheros, AMD (ATI), Avision, Bay Microsystems, Blue Wonder, Brocade, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, CMC Microsystems, Conexant Systems, Design Art Networks, DS2, EE Solutions, Epson, ETRI, FUJIFILM Microdevices, Fujitsu Ltd., Fujitsu Microelectronics Ltd., Hudson Soft, iBiquity Digital, Ikanos Communications, IDT, Intel, Juniper Networks, LG Electronics, Lucid Information Technology, Marvell,  NEC Laboratories America, NEC Corporation, Neterion, Nethra Imaging, Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT), NuFront, NVIDIA, Olympus Optical Co. Ltd.,  Panasonic Mobile, Penstar, Plato Networks, PnpNetwork Technologies, PowerLayer Microsystems, Samsung, SiBEAM, Sony, STMicroelectronics, Stretch, TranSwitch Corporation, Triductor Technology, UpZide, Valens Semiconductor, Validity Sensors, Victor Company of Japan (JVC), WiLinx, and XM Radio.