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  • Matsushita Announces Digital TV Operating System Roadmap
  • October 21, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. announced its development roadmap for PiE-OS, an operating system for digital TVs and set-top boxes as well as a microchip for implementing the OS.
    PiE-OS is the operating system for home appliances to be used in conjunction with a set-top box for DirecTV, which started in November 1997. Matsushita is working to enhance Ver. 1.0 of the operating system, and is due to finish the development and issue Ver. 1.5 around December.

    Version 1.5 will be presented as a minor upgrade release, with libraries and middleware for multimedia processing as well as an improved memory protection feature. The new version can run on MCP1+, which is an enhanced version of existing Media Core Processor 1 (MCP1), and some other processors.

    MCP1+ realizes: (1) 480P image output using the progressive (non-interlace) scanning method, (2) decoding of DTS (decoding time stamp) as one of the multi-channel audio systems, and (3) it corresponds to DVD-Audio processing, by means of a 0.25-micron rule to increase the operating frequency to 81MHz (MCP1 employed a 0.35-micron rule and operates at 54MHz).

    Matsushita will deliver PiE-OS Ver. 2.0 between late 1999 and early 2000.

    "This will be a full-scale operating system for a digital TV," a Matsushita official said.

    The operating system will be equipped with presentation engines for controlling the display of data sent as multiplex broadcasting with images in digital broadcasting, program execution engines such as a Java virtual machine, and software modules to correspond to a home network.

    This version will include modules that can be used as services in Japan as well as those for North America and Europe, and it will be for use with terrestrial broadcasting, cable TV and satellite broadcasting. Thus, it will be an operating system for achieving a so-called universal set-top box, Matsushita said.

    MCP2 will work at 108MHz and be able to decode data conforming to MP@HL of MPEG2 as well as AAC of MPEG2, which is used as a voice system in domestic BS digital broadcasting.

    Also, presentation engines are now a focus for standardization, and Japan, the U.S. and Europe are all competing in this arena.

    "Possible specifications to be chosen as the standard include MHEG-5, Java VM, an HTML drawing engine and others. We are developing products so that we can accommodate the new standards, regardless of which candidate is selected," the Matsushita official said.

    (Nikkei Electronics)


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    Updated: Tue Oct 20 18:52:49 1998 PDT