Universal Audio Decoding For All?

More good news for budget-conscious audiophiles who are waiting for that all-in-one universal high-resolution audio player: Yet another chip manufacturer is announcing a decoder IC that will allow new DVD machines to untangle just about any audio file format. Last week, LuxSonor Semiconductors joined the growing list (see previous) of chip manufacturers that are including both DVD-Audio and SACD in one package.

LuxSonor says its new Intrada DVD chip (LS2010) combines standard DVD decoder technologies, new audio decode formats, new advanced video technologies, and back end analog components, all on a single system-on-a-chip solution that hits a low price point. LuxSonor adds that it is one of the first DVD semiconductor companies to utilize 0.18 micron technology, "a distinct advantage because it decreases chip cost and reduces power requirements, making the Intrada the lowest cost and lowest power DVD processor on the market today."

The list of decoding capabilities for audio signals is impressive: SACD, DVD-Audio, CD, HDCD, MP3, WMA, and JPEG as well as Digital AC-3 and DTS with full six-channel decoding. LuxSonor points out that it has developed the Intrada for middle-to-low-end system manufacturers who require high-quality playback and across-the-board compatibility with all current commercial audio formats. Putting these chips in lower-priced products is expected to spur demand for the higher-end formats, says the company.

For the video market, LuxSonor says that the Intrada's integrated NTSC/PAL video encoder offers progressive output (480 lines at 60Hz) and is also equipped with component YUV and RGB output, Macrovision copyright protection and built-in "high quality" triple-10-bit 2x-oversampling video DACs. Additionally, LuxSonor says that the Intrada boasts some heavy processing power with an 81MHz RISC processor and a 32-bit DSP.

LuxSonor's Harold Liang adds that "the Intrada is a chip that provides what system manufacturers have been screaming for: a low-cost, full-featured, highly-integrated solution. This is a hard-core, dedicated DVD chip."

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