Harris Launches Industry's First Macrovision Detect (Videolyzer™) NTSC/PAL Video Decoder

October 13, 1998

Converts analog signals from video sources todigital signals manipulated by PCs

MELBOURNE, Florida, October 13, 1998 – Harris Semiconductor has developed a cost-effective, high-performance NTSC/PAL video decoder family that captures and outputs vertical blanking interval (VBI) data both in raw and bit sliced form.

The chips, called HMP8116 and HMP8117, include all the patented features that enabled superior performance and ease of design in Harris’ last generation decoder chip -- the HMP8115 – but include new design features that take it to the next level. Both chips add an RGB (red-green-blue) input mode feature that delivers on the International Telecommunications Union Recommended (ITU-R) BT.656 transmission standard.

The new video decoder converts analog signals from video sources such as cameras and video cassette recorders (VCRs) to digital signals that can be manipulated by a computer. Applications include home VCR-to-personal computer (PC) editing systems, PC video capture equipment (TV tuners, frame grabbers), video printers, video projection panels and plasma TVs, video compression systems, TV set top boxes and digital VCRs.

Harris’ new video decoder also features an evaluation platform that includes WaveTop application software from Wavephore Inc. WaveTop is the first free nationwide data broadcast service to deliver multimedia content to broadcast-ready PCs in the home. This PC data broadcast service works by embedding data streams into the VBI (Vertical Blanking Interval) of the existing broadcast television signals using the PBS National Datacast infrastructure. Other examples of VBI data include teletext, closed captioning, widescreen signaling (WSS), and Intercast data that lets PCs receive World Wide Web page data along with a television broadcast.

Key features of the HMP8116 and HMP8117 includes the Videolyzer™ Macrovision detect feature, Raw and Sliced VBI data capture and output; four output modes; two on-chip eight-bit A/D converters; patented comb filter for optimum color-luminance separation; and rock-steady digital PLLs for color, sync lock to consumer VCRs.

Both chips maintain key performance characteristics that were available in Harris’ popular HMP8115, including two-line comb filter for the best color-luminance separation and digital phase-locked loops (PLLs) for excellent color and sync lock.

The HMP8116 and HMP8117 accept all versions of NTSC or PAL, in CVBS (composite video blanking and synchronization) and S-video (separate luminance and chrominance) analog video formats. Programmable analog front end controls in both channels allow the user to tailor the chips to the desired gain amplitude required. The decoders have built-in digital adjustments for brightness, contrast, saturation (color intensity), hue, image sharpness and noise reduction via its industry-standard I2C serial interface.

In all output modes, the decoders support CCIR-601 rectangular pixel (720x480 NTSC or 720x576 PAL active resolution) and square pixel (640x480 NTSC or 768x576PAL active resolution) formats.

The HMP8116 is available now for sampling quantities and production available in Q3. The price is $12.00 in 10,000-piece quantities. This is up to 30 percent less expensive than the HMP8116’s closest competitors, which Harris views as decoders with two- or three-line comb filters. Harris believes that this combination of features for the price makes the HMP8116 and HMP8117 the industry’s most cost-effective, high-performance, NTSC/PAL video decoder family.

The HMP8117 will be available in Q3 of this year for $12.50 in 10,000-piece quantities with the additional Videolyzer feature for detecting and correctly processing Macrovision encoded video signals. Macrovision is a anti-copying scheme used for VCR tapes, DVD disk, and some broadcast, and is designed to allow the video signals to be viewed on a TV but not copied by a VCR.

The HMP8116 and HMP8117 represent part of Harris’ company-wide focus on attaining leadership in the convergence of wireless local area networks (LAN) and video applications. Harris video products include decoders, encoders, video op amps, LCD drivers, high speed A/D and D/A converters, and DSP building blocks.

Harris Corporation's Semiconductor sector manufactures discrete semiconductors and integrated circuits and focuses research and development efforts on innovative new products for the communications and power control markets. The company’s broad portfolio of products serve many other markets including automotive, consumer electronic, telecommunications, multimedia, and military and space. The company has sales offices worldwide and manufacturing facilities in Palm Bay (Florida), Mountaintop (Pennsylvania), Findlay (Ohio), Dundalk (Ireland), and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS), with worldwide sales of more than $3.8 billion, is an international communications and electronics company that provides a wide range of products and services such as wireless and personal communications, digital television (HDTV), health care information, multi-media communications, automotive electronics, transportation, business information, defense communications and information, and Lanier office products.

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A note on competition: TI’s 3-line comb filterpart: $15.35 in 10k qtys. Other decoders claim to have comb filters but looking at the architectures, they actually trap filter first then comb filter in subsequent steps. This architecture lends itself to additional DSP processing which translates into larger die area and less efficient due to additional round off error terms within the DSP mathimatical blocks. The VPX3225 (ITT) claims to have a comb filter option but it looks somewhat crude. Price for this part was not available on release issue date.