Manufacturers Announce SDMI Technology

Last week, Texas Instruments, Liquid Audio, Fraunhofer, and SanDisk announced that they've teamed to offer what they describe as "the first complete solution" for the secure downloading of music off the Internet onto portable audio players. The companies say that their programmable DSP-based technology is the first to meet the newly released Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) guidelines for digital music portable devices, and is now available for manufacturers who want to develop secure players in time for Christmas 1999.

The companies state that they are delivering an openly licensable security solution based on TI's programmable low-power digital signal processors (DSPs) and Liquid Audio's secure portable player platform (SP3). Fraunhofer developed the popular MP3 and AAC audio compression formats, and SanDisk produces flash memory cards used in the portable players. Dan Auclair of SanDisk states that "the fact that all SanDisk products shipped-to-date offer unique serialization ensures that any SanDisk memory card will operate in an SDMI environment."

TI's Gary Johnson, who is also a member of the SDMI group that drafted the specification guidelines, says that "We recognized early on that the market would need a way to securely download music off the Internet, and that the solution would have to offer adaptability, low power, and high performance."

Phil Wiser, CFO of Liquid Audio and an editor of the SDMI specification, states that "Liquid Audio's goal is to enable record labels and music retailers to safely leverage the Internet to promote and sell music to the many consumers who want to download music and enjoy it in secure portable music players. Together, Liquid Audio, TI, Fraunhofer, and SanDisk are delivering the first openly licensable security solution that meets the requirements of the music industry, supports leading music formats, and enables a range of music devices to thrive, as is consistent with the goals of SDMI."