(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| 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
|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
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
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.