Micronas Single-Chip Audio Solution Targets Rapidly Growing Soundbar Market
Micronas MAP-M audio IC solution for soundbars reduces cost and time-to-market and supports product differentiation
Soundbars are wide-but-thin powered speakers, located below a flat-panel TV. Thin TVs simply don't have room for good-quality conventional speakers. Soundbars deliver top-quality sound and solve the audio shortcomings of flat-panel TVs, bridging the gap to high-end home theater systems. They range from 2-speaker types that use virtual surround sound technologies to 4 to 6 built-in speaker designs that add e.g. enhancements for speech clarity. Soundbars enclosing 16 to 32 loudspeakers can generate "sound beams" to fill the room with cinema-like surround sound. These new speakers offer consumers the best combination of price, complexity, size - and audio performance.
With the MAP-M audio processor, Micronas provides a fully integrated single-chip solution for OEMs. MAP-M reduces the BOM and time-to-market for designs by replacing five ICs with one and providing a complete software solution. MAP-M is built on years of experience and millions of consumer audio devices. It supports all applicable audio standards and interfaces, and offers OEMs a range of audio post-processing technologies.
Stefan Hepp, Director of Marketing, Consumer Audio at Micronas, explains: "We enable soundbar applications at a price point suitable for cost-sensitive manufacturers. We make the DSP expertise - gained across millions of audio ICs - and our system integration know-how available to this new rapidly growing market segment on a powerful silicon platform."
Soundbars offer a convincing value proposition and the market is expected to grow considerably. Henry Choy, senior analyst at Jon Peddie Research, explains: "They are one way that the TV companies can differentiate their products and be able to charge a premium - not all TVs will be connected to an AV receiver for surround sound."
Micronas MAP-M solution provides the features that consumers expect. MAP-M-powered designs decode Dolby® Digital, DTS®, and AAC format audio to deliver theater-like surround-sound. They create surround-sound without the need for rear speakers and cables with third-party audio post-processing technologies such as 1Ltd Digital Sound Projector(TM) , BBE ViVA(TM) , Dolby® Virtual Speaker, and SRS TruSurround HD4(TM) . OEMs can also choose from a wide range of royalty-free meloD(TM) audio processing technologies by Micronas.
Micronas manages the complete connectivity issue by including, on-chip, all required interfaces: digital via S/PDIF and I2S, or analog, via stereo line I/O, 6-channel input, or microphone. Micronas-equipped soundbars connect to DVD and Blu-ray Disc(TM) players, set-top boxes, and gaming consoles as well as standard and high-definition TVs.
Micronas lets manufacturers differentiate their products with an optional DSP-code download capability. This feature allows for manufacturer's own audio processing algorithms to be embedded in MAP-M single-chip designs. Audio engineers value the flexibility provided by the Micronas Customizable Modular Processing (CMP) system because it allows them to easily create customized products. They can mix and match off-the-shelf features and add new ones, if desired.
As video signal processing in flat-panel TVs becomes more sophisticated, the video delay inside the TV is increasing. The soundbar's audio must be delayed accordingly to preserve lip sync. Micronas has integrated a lip sync function, including all required memory, into the MAP-M, thus relieving OEMs from the need to engineer a solution to this challenge.
Used in millions of consumer electronics devices, MAP-M is a field-proven solution which is in full production. Samples and evaluation kits are available.
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