Russia shows home-grown chip for digital TV

March 11, 2011 // By Peter Clarke
Russian microelectronics design house RC Module JSC has demonstrated a 90-nm system-on-chip (SoC) based on its NeuroMatrix DSP technology suitable for use in set-top box television receiver applications.

The demonstration was conducted with the cooperation of STB maker General Satellite Corp., (St. Petersburg, Russia) and RC Module's foundry supplier Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd., (Yokohama, Japan) at the Si-Forum 2011. The forum was held in Gusev, in the Kaliningrad region of Russia, a Russian enclave situated between Poland and Lithuania.

In addition, the three companies have signed a series of agreements on cooperation to address the Russian digital television market, RC Module said. In particular it was agreed that while Fujitsu will manufacture the SoC, packaging and testing operations would be brought to Gusev. First samples of the SoC were demonstrated plugged into a fully working prototype of a high-definition digital STB receiver. "Volume production of the SD/HD SoC will start in Q3/Q4 of 2011," a company spokesman said.

RC Module was founded in 1990 and has roots in providing neural-network software for military applications. The original NeuroMatrix device, the NMC6403 was introduced by RC Module in the late 1990s as a combination of a 32/64-bit RISC processor and a 64-bit vector processor DSP capable of emulating neural networks and supporting neural-net software. The device was originally manufactured for RC Module by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on a 0.5-micron process. With the intention to port the design to a 0.25-micron process with Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe GmbH.

At that time software originally written for military target identification, acquisition and tracking was re-purposed by RC Module for automobile traffic monitoring applications.

In January 2010 RC Module announced the NM6405 on 0.25-micron CMOS and the 1879XK1 programmable baseband processor, an SoC in 90-nm CMOS aimed at mobile phone applications. The baseband processor included an ARM1176JZF-S core and two NMC3 NeuroMatrix DSP cores.

The latest SoC, also labeled 1879 and also manufactured for RC Module by Fujitsu in 90-nm CMOS, includes the ARM1176 core operating at 324-MHz, a multi-standard hardware video decoder: H.264/AVC, VC-1, MPEG-2, a configurable audio decoder engine based on NeuroMatrix DSP


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