AMD Alchemy Au1200 Processor, New Era of Portable Multimedia

Jan 03, 2005
AMD Alchemy

Au1200 processor offers ability to store, manage and play fresh multimedia content on the go

AMD today announced availability of the AMD Alchemy Au1200 processor, a low-power, high-performance, system-on-chip solution designed to provide living-room quality video entertainment for consumers on the go. The Au1200 processor has been optimized for personal media players (PMP) and enables a new generation of conveniences and features, including scalable DVD-quality displays, effortless video content transfers directly from digital video recorders, and long-lasting battery life so consumers can stay mobile longer.

The AMD Alchemy Au1200 processor leverages a 30-year commitment to developing high-performance, low-power solutions to provide a purpose-built, versatile processor for Personal Media Player (PMP), Automotive, and Digital Media Adapter (DMA) applications. The AMD Alchemy Au1200 enables users to download media quickly and enjoy DVD-quality video efficiently delivered at full-frame rates, with low power, and with ample product features.

The AMD Alchemy Au1200 processor gives system designers an easy-to-use, simple solution to create full-featured PMPs with greatly reduced design cycle times. System-on-Chip (SoC) architecture eliminates the need for additional components.

This enhanced functionality is a result of the Au1200 processor’s integrated media acceleration hardware and accompanying media player software. The solution does not require a digital signal processor (DSP) nor complex DSP coding, enabling PMP manufacturers to speed products to market more quickly and potentially offer the devices at more affordable prices.

For consumers, the Au1200 processor provides a simplified user experience and more entertainment value than current generation PMPs. For example, PMPs containing the Au1200 processor can connect directly to digital video recorders (DVR) and transfer video content without the need to transcode the file through a personal computer, thus greatly reducing the time it takes to download and playback fresh video entertainment on a PMP.

AMD is partnering with industry-leading DVR manufacturer TiVo to support the TiVo-To-Go initiative, which enables direct transfer of programs from a Series2™ TiVo® DVR directly to PMPs, laptops and other portable devices.

“TiVo-To-Go enables the secure transfer of broadcast content from a TiVo box to a personal media player and allows consumers to enjoy their TV shows anywhere, in the living room, on a plane, or in a hotel,” said David Sandford, director of technology & licensing business at TiVo. “Portability is a key desire for TiVo subscribers and key innovations in embedded processing, such as the Au1200 processor from AMD, help make it possible to transfer TiVo content directly to portable devices.”

Once content is on the PMP, the Au1200 processor provides a DVD-quality display that can be scaled directly to larger screens without compromising image quality. The Au1200 processor is designed to support industry-standard media formats, including MPEG2, MPEG4, WMV9, H.263 and DivX.

“The explosive growth of MP3 players illustrates the desire consumers have to take entertainment on the go,” said Iain Morris, senior vice president, AMD Personal Connectivity Solutions Group. “The natural progression to the next ‘must have’ portable entertainment device is a video equivalent to the MP3 player, albeit with a slightly different user model. AMD’s Au1200 processor is an embedded solution that provides PMP manufacturers the ability to meet consumer demand for an affordable, easy-to-use, DVD-picture quality product that is capable of having always-fresh content.”

“The AMD Alchemy Au1200 processor offers designers of personal multimedia players a low-power, high-performance device with impressive video capabilities,” said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group. “By eliminating the need for a DSP, the processor’s integrated media acceleration engine simplifies the programming environment and helps OEMs get to market more quickly.”

Product Specifications

Key features of the AMD Alchemy Au1200 include:

-- Low-power, high-performance processor with long-term support
Very-low-power consumption: <400mW @ 400MHz

-- DVD video quality (720x480) with multiple video formats
Scales to larger displays (1024x768)

-- Support for DDR1 and DDR2 memories

-- Integrated Media Acceleration Engine
No need for external DSP providing simpler programming environment and fewer components

-- Multimedia transcoding is not required

-- USB2.0 Host and Device
Enables faster download and flexible connectivity

-- LCD controller with overlays and blending capability

-- Camera interface and Internet access peripherals

-- Security
AES-128 data encryption/decryption in hardware

-- Operating system support
Windows® CE.NET
Linux

Pricing and Availability

The AMD Alchemy Au1200 processor is planned to be available in production quantities in the second quarter of 2005 in 333MHz, 400MHz and 500MHz speed options. In 10,000 unit quantities, the AMD Alchemy Au1200 processor (333MHz version) is priced at $22.50.

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