Chips

AMD Crafts Chipset for Portable Video

AMD today announced another product in direct competition with Intel, achipset designed for portable video devices. The AMD Alchemy Au1200 is alow-power, high-speed processor that AMD said will allow for the speedytransfer of video files without sucking up too much electricity.

The Alchemy Au1200 will be built into TiVo’s DVRs to support TiVoToGo, thecompanies said. The chipset uses the MPEG format, making possible the directtransfer of programs from Series2 TiVo DVRs to personal media players(PMPs), laptops and other portable devices. Intel offers its Xscale chipsetfor the same purpose.

Supports Multiple Formats

GoVideo is also using the chipset in its newest player. It will supportMPEG2/4 video, WMV9 and DivX, among other formats. That means that fileswill not have to be converted from the format in which DVRs record them.

Inorder to play most video formats on small players, the files must beconverted on a PC from an MPEG or other large file into Windows Media Videoformat to be viewed on devices using Windows Mobile media software. Thatprocess is time-consuming and reduces the quality of the videos.

“The video player market is nascent, of course. This is a good move to getinto it now,” Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg toldTechNewsWorld. “There is a lot of consumer interest in mobile video, butthere’s a lack of legal content.”

Keep It Legal

Gartenberg said copyright holders haven’t yet released a lot of content forPMPs because of concerns about piracy and the lack of a standard format.

“So far, it’s mostly for people who downloaded from the Internet and a lotof that was downloaded not necessarily legally. Consumers don’t have the sameability as with CDs to just record. DVDs are protected and most people don’thave TV tuners to record content.”

For those reasons, he said, it will take some time before there’sexponential growth in this market, but he said he believes there will be alot more of the devices on the market as 2005 progresses.

AMD said it imagines the devices will plug into DVRs so that consumers candownload content and bring it to the gym or on their commutes, just as theydo now with audio files. Content may also be viewed on a larger TV screen,allowing consumers to bring content to friends’ homes to be watched.

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