Sage Chips Display Video Inputs Simultaneously

BANGALORE, INDIA (05/01/2000) - New processor technology from California-based chip maker Sage Inc. will let manufacturers offer users LCDs (liquid-crystal displays) that can show simultaneous inputs from multiple sources, including HDTV (high-definition television), PC motherboards, and DVD (digital versatile disc) players.

"Using our new Jaguar processors, flat panel displays will get designed into single-display, consumer devices that combine TV, HDTV, PC, and DVD capability into a single appliance," Muthukrishnan Chinnasamy, director of engineering at Sage Design Systems (India) Pvt Ltd., Sage Inc.'s design and development subsidiary in Bangalore, told IDG News Service.

"Consumers want to have one display with a video and PC connector at the back so that they can switch back and forth between these views, or view them simultaneously within windows on the display," added Muthukrishnan.

The new Jaguar processors are already being tested with some undisclosed manufacturers that are building appliances that integrate PC functionality with a mix of TV, DVD, and other functions. "We provide our customers (with) the standard product with reference design," said Pulin Desai, director of marketing at Sage Inc.

"These solutions require firmware, and we customize the firmware for customers or work with them jointly on this," Desai said. Firmware is the programmable software content in integrated circuits.

The Jaguar processor family marks a new opportunity for Sage, which was until recently primarily a vendor of controllers for TFT-LCDs (thin-film transistor LCDs) for PC desktops.

"The Jaguar chips can throw open for the company new markets in applications that converge computing with consumer electronics," Desai added.

The Jaguar family consists of five products -- the Jag-D, Jag135, Jag160, Jag200, and the Jag200Mx. Except for the Jag-D, all the other Jaguar processors can accept and display inputs in a variety of formats such as MPEG-II (Moving Picture Experts Group-II) streams, color output from PC motherboards, or NTSC and PAL -- respectively, the American and European video standards.

This is because the Jaguar processors support a mix of analog and digital inputs to the display. The new processors support displays ranging from XGA (1,024 x 768 pixels) to WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200 pixels) panels.

The Jaguar family's Jag-D processor is aimed at desktop PCs and uses Sage's new ActiveColor Management (ACM) technology, said Kaip Sridhar, also a director for engineering at Sage Design Systems (India).

ACM lets users manipulate different inputs within different windows on a PC flat-panel display.

"The user can for instance change the color saturation, and hue, and other image characteristics in a window running a video stream, with the rest of the display remaining the same," added Sridhar. "This technology gives users greater control over the visual experience."

Sage is migrating ACM to its other Jaguar processors.

The Jaguar chips are due to be shipped in volume in June, and should start appearing in devices on sale for consumers by the end of the year.

Sage Inc. in California can be reached at +1-408-383-5300 or http://www.sageinc.com

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