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Pioneer To Use Sigma Blu-ray Chip

Milpitas, Calif. — Sigma Designs said it has agreed to work with Pioneer on the joint development of a full-featured Blu-ray Disc player using Sigma Designs’ SMP8630 family of media processors.

The processor was described as a virtual system-on-a-chip solution for core Blu-ray Disc player functions. The chip will integrate multimedia processing, content security and peripherals functions.

A Pioneer spokesperson said the forthcoming Blu-ray Disc player will also play back standard-definition DVD discs, among other formats.

It includes advanced decoder engines supporting H.264 (MPEG-4 part 10), Windows Media Video 9 (Microsoft’s implementation of VC-1), MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 (part two) video formats with multiple streams, up to the equivalent of two high-definition video streams.

Also included are high-performance graphics acceleration, multi-standard audio decoding, advanced display processing capabilities and HDMI/HDCP output.

The chip includes a 300-MIPS host CPU, 3.2 GB/second unified memory controller, Ethernet 10/100 controller, dual USB 2.0 controller and IDE controller.

Pioneer plans to introduce the new Blu-ray Disc player in the first half of 2006. Pricing was not disclosed.

“Pioneer intends to be the first company to offer a high-quality, Blu-ray DVD player that contains all the key features expected from a consumer product under our brand name,” said Russ Johnston, marketing and product planning senior VP for the home entertainment division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. “Sigma’s SMP8630 family of chipsets provides a virtual system-on-chip solution for the hardware portion, enabling us to focus on software development and value-added features that extend beyond basic operation.”