Cirrus Logic to offer DivX enabled chips

Through a licensing agreement with DivXNetworks, Cirrus plans to incorporate DivXNetworks’ highly successful DivX technology into upcoming semiconductors for DVD-based digital entertainment products.The DivX series of CODECs is the most popular MPEG-4-compatible compression format in use today, with more than 80 million downloads. As an official DivX Certification partner, Cirrus expects toenable the first sub-$149 DVD player that supports DivX-enabled content by late 2003.

“MPEG-4 technology has the potential to revolutionize digital video much like MP3 technology revolutionized digital audio,” said Terry Ritchie, vice president of Video Marketing, Cirrus. “This DivX licensing agreement capitalizes on the world’s most popular MPEG-4-compatible video compression standard and will enable consumers to take DivX-based content off their PCs on CD media and enjoy it through DVD devices in the living room. With Cirrus DivX-ready silicon planned for later this year, we intend to help DVD manufacturers rapidly deliver this capability to consumers at very affordable price points.”

Ritchie, noting Cirrus’ leadership in developing interactive, Internet-enabled DVD, also known as the Enhanced DVD standard, indicated that licensing DivX technology is also a key step for Cirrus that could speed the creation of a new class of consumer entertainment devices, such as DVD players that access the Internet and play streaming audio and video content in real time.

“Cirrus is already a leader in developing technology to enable interactive DVD-players, and incorporating DivX video capability puts us in a position to drive rapid growth of new segments — markets that will change the way the entertainment industry distributes contents to consumers,” Ritchie said. “Cirrus intends to be the first single-board DVD semiconductor provider to enable affordable DVD devices that support DivX technology, and this will give our customers a real market advantage.”

Ritchie noted three particular factors that will drive a robust market for the direct-to-consumer digital video distribution market. “First, consumer broadband penetration particularly in the U.S. and Europe continues to grow at great rates, and, second, DivX technology affords dramatically reduced download or streaming time over broadband networks versus current popular MPEG-2 standards, while still retaining near DVD video and audio quality,” Ritchie said. “Lastly, through a single-board DVD player strategy and cost reductions, Cirrus intends to enable affordable DVD players that utilize broadband and DivX-based content to harness the power of the Internet to deliver to consumers a new era in access and enjoyment of digital entertainment.”

“Cirrus Logic is a leading innovator in the DVD chip market and an excellent partner to help meet the demand for next-generation DivX Certified consumer electronics devices,” said Shahi Ghanem, President of DivXNetworks. “By adding full DivX playback capability to its leading line of DVD semiconductor platforms, Cirrus is helping to make real multimedia convergence a reality.”

DivX video compression technology enables large digital files to be compressed to relatively small sizes, typically between 7-10 times greater compression than DVD-standard MPEG-2 technology. The DivX Certification program was created by DivXNetworks to ensure that consumer electronics products created by certification partner companies play back all versions of DivX video with the highest possible visual quality and performance.

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