Tensilica Creates First Sub 6 MHz MP3 Decoder

Tensilica(R), Inc. announced that it has optimized the MP3 decoder for its Xtensa(R) HiFi 2 Audio Engine and Diamond Standard 330HiFi processor core. This MP3 decoder now runs at the lowest power and is the most efficient in the industry, requiring just 5.7 MHz when running at 128Kbps, 44.1 KHz and dissipating 0.45 mW in TSMC’s 65nm LP process (including memories). This makes Tensilica’s Xtensa HiFi 2 Audio Engine ideal for adding MP3 playback to cellular phones, where current carrier requirements are for 100 hours of playback time on a battery charge, and increasing to 200 hours in the near future.

This 5.7 MHz requirement includes the entire MP3 decode functionality, including MPEG container parsing and variable length decoding (VLD, also known as Huffman decoding). Some competing offerings are merely accelerator blocks that exclude portions of the complex control code in MP3 such as VLD, and thus rely on a processor to perform VLD decoding. Tensilica’s 5.7 MHz figure is all inclusive.

“Any good designer can get MP3 freeware off the Internet and run it on most processors, but they will find that it requires the processor to run at high MHz and, thus, is power inefficient,” stated Larry Przywara, Tensilica’s director of mobile multimedia marketing. “By carefully optimizing our software, we were able to get better results than we’ve seen from any published competitive performance specifications.”

Tensilica’s MP3 decoder implements MPEG-1, MPEG-2 layer 1/2/3, and MPEG-2.5 layer 3 stereo decoding with support for constant bit rate, variable bit rate and free formats. It is fully compliant with ISO/IEC 11172-4.

Tensilica’s HiFi 2 Audio Engine is the most popular commercial audio processor core for SOC designs, and this year Tensilica’s customers are forecasting they will ship 100 million HiFi Audio Engine-enabled processor cores in a wide variety of consumer devices. Tensilica’s HiFi 2 Audio Engine is optimized with specialized audio instructions to increase code density (reducing memory requirements) and lower power (reducing MHz requirements), making it very efficient for a wide range of audio-enabled consumer products.

Tensilica’s cores with the HiFi 2 Audio Engine are full featured processors, used by customers to run operating systems, control code, and other functions in addition to audio.

In addition to MP3 decode and encode, the following software packages are available for the HiFi 2 Audio Engine: AC-3 decode and encode, AM3D, Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and 7.1 decode, MPEG-4 aacPlus v1 and V2 decode and encode, MPEG-1/4 AAC LC decode and encode, Ogg Vorbis decode, QSound microQ, SONiVOX AudioiNSIDE, WMA decode and encode, AMR narrowband and wideband speech, G.729AB speech, and SRS WOW XT, Xspace 3D and TruSound HD. Tensilica’s audio partners include: AM3D, Coding Technologies, Dolby Laboratories, Microsoft, QSound Labs, SONiVOX, SRS Labs, and Thompson Multimedia.

Pricing and Availability
Tensilica’s MP3 decoder is available now starting at $16,875 for a project-based license. Tensilica’s processor cores are licensed separately.

About Tensilica
Tensilica, Inc., is the recognized leader in configurable processor technology and has leveraged that technology to become the leading supplier of licensable controllers and DSP cores for mobile audio and video applications. Tensilica offers the broadest line of controller, CPU, network, and specialty DSP processors on the market today – including full software toolchain and modeling support – in both an off-the-shelf format via the Diamond Standard Series cores and with full designer configurability with the Xtensa processor family. The modern design behind all of Tensilica’s processor cores provide semiconductor companies and system OEMs with the lowest power, smallest area solutions for high-volume products including mobile phones and other consumer electronics, networking and telecommunications equipment, and computer peripherals.