These three new devices define a new product category, combining the utility of a digital media storage device with simplicity of a plug-n-play consumer appliance.
Portable media devices are a relatively new class of product, driven by the need to conveniently play PC-based and downloaded Internet content on any television without the need of a wired or wireless network. With PCs becoming the media center for home entertainment, consumers have more flexibility in storing and collecting a myriad of content. As a result, portable media devices allow consumers to conveniently store and remotely utilize all their PC-based digital music, photos and video titles. Sigma media processors are designed to address this need, decoding major digital media formats and facilitating control of an embedded device.
These portable media devices typically operate as external PC storage, offering 50 to 250 GB of storage capacity using a USB 2.0 interface. As such, they can be readily loaded up with video files (MPEG-2, DivX, MPEG-4, etc.), audio files (MP3, WMA, etc.) and image files (such as JPEG). Once loaded, they become portable media players that can be used with televisions in the living room, in the car, or while traveling. Common video outputs (composite, S-video, component) and audio outputs (stereo, SPDIF) enable the device to be easily connected to any television. Users access content and control playback in a manner similar to a DVD player, using a convenient remote control that enables set-up, browsing, and playback control (play,-pause, rewind, fast-forward, etc.).
“We see these devices as a continuation of the trend toward whole home entertainment and an extension of the PC’s role as a media center,” said Ken Lowe, vice president of strategic marketing, Sigma Designs. “With an endless choice of video, audio, photo, and other media, which consumers are collecting, products that conveniently access the entertainment library are quickly becoming a necessity.”
The MG-25 from AL Tech
As one of the first products on the market, AL Tech has recently launched its MG-25 portable multimedia player which includes an integral 2.5″ hard disk drive. The MG-25 is based on Sigma’s EM8510 digital media processor and is a sibling model to its already launched MG-100, a desktop DVD/DivX player with network and USB host connectivity. The MG-25 is positioned as a performance-price value leader and will be marketed on a worldwide basis.
“Sigma’s media processors combine the high quality video output consumers need along with a convenient development kit that enables us to focus on value-added features,” said J.Y. Kim, president of AL Tech.
The MG-25 is available now directly from AL Tech.
The MODIX HD-3510 From DTS Infocom
Another new addition is the MODIX HD-3510 from DTS Infocom, which features an integral 3.5″ hard disc drive with up to 400 GB of storage capacity. The MODIX HD-3510 is based on the Sigma’s EM EM8511 digital media processor which provides complete audio/video processing and system control features. The MODIX HD-3510 features a wide range of media format options, HD Component output with programmable upscaling, and Digital 5.1 channel surround sound. It also offers an option for car audio/video applications.
“There is an increasing demand for devices that link the PC and downloaded media with living room playback. Using Sigma media processors will enable us to offer the widest support of new audio/video formats with a consistent high quality output,” said Hyung-Hee Park, CEO of DTS Infocom.
The Modix HD3510 is available now directly from DTS Infocom.
The TViX from Dvico
Also new on the market is the TViX from Dvico, which features an integral 3.5″ hard disc drive with up to 250 GB capacity. The TViX is based on Sigma’s EM8510 digital media processor and supports video decoding for DivX 3.11, 4.x, 5.x, XVID, AVI, MPG, DAT, and VOB and audio decoding for PCM, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, AC3, and DTS. The TViX supports Video Out in both standard 4:3 and widescreen 16:9 high definition resolution. Dolby 5.1 channel surround sound, and offers an optional car-pack system.
“We have designed a full featured media player that supports the widest range of formats available today. The Sigma media processor offers great quality video output with unlimited scaling from any resolution to any aspect ratio of output,” said Jeff Lee, CEO of Dvico.
The TViX is available now directly from Dvico.