TV is going digital, driven by legislation and consumer demand for high-definition (HD) video and HDTVs. There are more than 15 million digital terrestrial TV households in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Scandinavian countries*. Many governments have set analog shutoff dates. For the U.S., it is Feb. 17, 2009, and by March 1, 2007, all TVs and TV peripherals — such as VCRs, Set-Top Boxes (STBs) and DVD recorders (DVDRs) — must include a digital tuner. These developments have important implications for DVDR designers.
Diverse Standards and Formats
As is typical with consumer electronics (e.g., Blu-ray and HD-DVD), the standards for the DVDR market are somewhat less than standard. The broadcast transmission standards, typically country-specific, are multifaceted. In the U.S., the new digital TV standards are dictated by the Advanced Television System Committee (ATSC); in Europe, by the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) standard; and in Japan, the Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB) standard. There are also multiple optical-media recording formats (DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW, and DVD-RAM), multiple logical formats, multiple video compression algorithms (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, HD MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX), and a larger number of audio standards to support.
Analog and Digital
Although the transition to digital has begun, analog broadcast and simulcast (analog and digital) will continue. In 2007, only 20 percent of all DVDRs in Europe will have a digital TV tuner and only 5 percent in the rest of the world (excluding the U.S. and Japan)*. In the U.S., the DVDR market will divide into two segments: digital TV-compliant and entry-level "tunerless" DVDRs. These trends place increasing pressure on designers to create products that support multiple standards, tuners and diverse feature sets.
The market for DVDRs combined with STBs, Hard-Disk Drives (HDDs) and VCRs, will nearly triple between 2006 and 2008, with most of the growth in the U.S. and Europe*. DVDRs experienced early growth in Japan, and today approximately 90 percent of Japan's DVDRs include HDDs. In Europe, DVDRs that include STB functionality are growing due to the transition to digital. In the U.S., where there is a large installed base of VCRs, the combination VCR/DVDR will be a key product. And worldwide, low price single-drive DVDRs will replace standalone VCRs and DVD players.
Features and Concurrencies
DVDRs need to support features such as electronic program guides, time-shifting and timer-based recording, while concurrently recording or playing a DVD. Most importantly, DVDRs need to be easy to use and offer simple connectivity to camcorders, digital cameras and Flash memory.
These issues mean that designers must choose a flexible and scalable video-processing platform, such as the LSI Logic DoMiNo®architecture, as the foundation for their products. Reducing risk, design complexity and time-to-market, DoMiNo-based solutions have successfully enabled approximately 45 percent of the DVDR market. With the market growing from 20-24 million units in 2006 to 55 million units in 2008, designers need to pick a solution today that supports a diverse product line to address this considerable market opportunity*.