Las Vegas – A review of how the Digital Signal Processor (DSP) has already changed the face of consumer electronics, and a glimpse of what is yet to come, was offered up yesterday morning by International CES keynoter Tom Engibous, chairman/president/CEO of Texas Instruments (TI).
DSP is serving as the catalyst as ‘consumer electronics are reaching a new level of performance – a giant leap in capabilities that’s bigger than anything the industry has seen in 20 years or more,’ Engibous said. At this CES ‘you can see the elements coming together for a world of interoperability and ubiquitous connectivity. History shows that this type of quantum leap in capabilities provides a recipe for explosive growth.’
DSPs, he stated, are ‘already at the heart of cellphones, broadband communications and wireless networking. It’s become the technology of choice for digital audio, imaging and video’ and made digital radio practical. And while consumer products have been a ‘fairly small part of TI’s recent past,’ the category ‘will be a huge part of our future,’ he said.
Mobility ‘is doing for portable devices, what the hard-wired Internet did for the PC,’ and it’s ‘creating a flurry of innovation,’ Engibous said. Even so, he continued, ‘we should avoid the kind of hype that led to the dot-com and telecom frenzy.’
The primary lesson for consumer electronics, he stated, ‘is that closed systems must open up or fade away.’ He predicted, ‘Very soon, multimedia cellphones will be the predominant method for Internet access worldwide.’ In other words, he said, ‘the mobile Internet calls for open standards and open platforms.’
Presentation attendees were given demonstrations of how open standards expands the capabilities of cellphones, PDAs, digital video recorders, digital cameras and digital audio products. In one example, it was noted that the new RCA Lyra Audio Video Jukebox records both video and audio, and can store up to 60 hours of video or 5,000 MP3 songs.
Also, upcoming HD Radio products ‘are based on programmable DSPs, which ‘can accommodate advances in the standard with a software upgrade, rather than going back to scratch with new hardware,’ Engibous said.
During a demonstration of TI’s digital light processor, which operates as the video-generating engine in a number of high-definition projection TVs, it was stated that TI has already shipped more than 1.5 million subsystems, ‘largely into the market for business projectors.’ It has launched DLP Cinema and installed projectors in 150 movie theaters worldwide. It was stated that some 6 million people have already seen DLP Cinema in action. This, said Engibous, ‘is helping to get people acquainted with the technology, so when people see these TVs in retail stores, they already appreciate the quality.’