NEW YORK -- During the Audio Engineering Society Convention here today, Cirrus Logic Inc. announced an agreement to license IEEE 1394 serial bus firmware from Digital Harmony Technologies Inc. for system-on-chip designs serving low-cost, high-bandwidth digital home entertainment products.
"This agreement enables us to become the first semiconductor manufacturer to bring the advantages of 1394 technology within the reach of the broad consumer market," said Skip Taylor, vice president of marketing for Cirrus Logic's Crystal Audio Products Division. The division plans to offer the 1394 systems-on-chip solutions for use in a range of audio products, including consumer electronics, computers, professional audio, and automotive equipment.
Cirrus' Crystal division plans to "eliminate the cost barrier that has blocked digital A/V audio/visual products from becoming ubiquitous," Taylor said.
The 1394 serial link is also called FireWire by Apple Computer Inc. and iLINK by Sony Corp. The 1394 standard was developed to be an intelligent high-speed connection to all types of consumer electronics, including digital audio systems, game consoles, digital cameras, digital VCRs, Web-enabled TVs, set-top boxes, DVD players, PCs and peripherals. The serial link supports streaming audio/visual transfer rates of up to 400 million bits per second.
According to market researcher In-Stat in Scottsdale, Ariz., about 12 million consumer electronics systems with 1394 technology will be shipped next year. In 2002, about 40 million 1394-enabled systems will be shipped worldwide, said the research firm.
Seattle-based Digital Harmony provides of a 1394 protocol stack firmware for system-on-chips. The company will test and certify equipment containing Cirrus Logic devices. Digital Harmony will provide its brand logo as a "seal of approval" to show products are compatible with the 1394 interoperability standard.
"With the availability of Cirrus Logic's robust 1394 system-on-chip and Digital Harmony's firmware, manufacturers can lower their R&D risk, guarantee interoperability and get to market quickly," said Greg Bartlett, president and CEO of the Seattle company. Bartlett said his company has inked licensing agreements with a number of leading audio/visual equipment makers in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.