News Releases Corporate Profiles

March 7, 2000

Media Accelerated Processor for Consumer Appliances: * lowest-cost, highest-performance single-chip media processor available; * supports softoware HDTB, software Personal Video Recorders; * allows products that lead in value, flexibility and longevity
Equator Technologies, Inc. and Hitachi Ltd. In Brief: - Equator and Hitachi announce the MAP-CA(TM)-- Media Accelerated Processor technology at consumer price points - Third-generation, 30GOP processor sets record for DSP/Image Processing performance. - MAP-CA moves central functions of television and imaging products into software, enabling revolution in TV/DTV/imaging product functions and flexibility - Advanced imaging architecture outperforms all other single-chip CPUs/DSPs, MPEG encoders and decoders. - Premium Platform for Internet-connected Appliances for TV/imaging CAMPBELL, CA, and TOKYO, JAPAN-- Equator Technologies, Inc. and Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE:HIT) today announced sampling availability of the MAP-CA Media Accelerated Processor for Consumer Appliances. The MAP-CA, the third generation MAP processor, sets a new world standard for cost-effective image computing. The MAP-CA is expected to change digital television (DTV) product design and development from a hardware-centric to a software- centric approach. Shigemichi Matsuka, Executive Vice President and Director of Hitachi Ltd., said, "Joint development with Equator has given birth to a very powerful product with new concept of software solution. Hitachi strongly believes that together with other Hitachi microprocessor products, MAP-CA gives birth to a family of de facto standard microprocessors for information appliances in the Internet era." This highly integrated, single chip-solution is designed for multimedia products such as interactive set-top boxes, digital TVs, video conferencing systems, medical imaging products, digital video editing equipment, and office automation imaging products, as well as a host of communications products such as modem concentrators and cellular base-stations. The single-chip MAP-CA delivers an unprecedented 30 GOPS (Giga-Operations Per Second) of processing power while programming in a high-level C-language. Programming only in C enables all-software HDTV decoding, video time shifting, full-screen streaming video and video teleconferencing. It also offers a host of other functionality to be delivered at the price of single-function digital television products much faster than today's fixed function design approaches. Using the MAP-CA and the SofTV(TM) (Software TV) applications available from 3rd party ISV's, television- and imaging-centric appliances can keep up with the rapid pace of change of the Internet while offering the best picture quality, capabilities, field upgradability via software downloads and lowest system cost. The MAP-CA VLIW design approach allows system developers to build products that lead the market in value, flexibility and longevity. Because core functions are delivered by application software rather than dedicated hardware, products can be multi-function. For example, a MAP- CA based set-top box can support MPEG-4, H.263 teleconferencing, analog time shifting, modems and a host of other services without incremental cost or complexity. Similarly, the imaging engine in a color printer/copier can be fully soft, and support a wide range of image formats and algorithms at high performance and low cost points. "At five times the performance of existing VLIW DSPs, and at 100 times the price-performance of multimedia desktop general-purpose processors, and with support for all HDTV format decoding in software, the MAP-CA obsoletes hardwired video chips," according to John Setel O'Donnell, co-founder and president of Equator. "Our platform's software-based approach is ideal for designers that have to keep pace with rapidly emerging and constantly evolving standards for Internet-connected appliances and products. This approach allows manufacturers to provide product upgrades and enhancements to units in the field, eliminating both service calls and consumer concerns about early obsolescence. Broadband system operators can greatly cut time-to-revenue for new interactive services, updating in-the-field units via software downloads to add new services as business models are established." TECHNICAL DETAILS The MAP-CA is the latest member of Equator and Hitachi's jointly developed media processor family, and is based on a unique, proprietary VLIW/SIMD architecture delivering the industry's highest levels of signal and image processing power. The MAP-CA performs sixteen multiply- accumulate (MAC) operations per cycle, eight times more than other high-end VLIW DSPs. Professor Yongmin Kim of Image Computing Systems Lab of University of Washington said, "The MAP-CA is currently the most powerful media processor (imaging and video DSP) that exists today. The MAP-CA's key advantage is that it can deliver very high performance, even while programmed in C! I believe that MAP-CA will play an increasingly important role, and become a core platform technology in many digital imaging and video applications." Unlike traditional DSPs, the MAP-CA architecture includes features such as byte addressing, caches, and virtual memory for rapid application porting and wide operating system hardware support. The MAP-CA's outstanding performance is delivered using 100 percent C programming, which greatly improves developer productivity. It combines the cost/performance features of dedicated fixed-function chips with quick response to rapidly evolving standards and longer life cycles. The MAP-CA can unify the host processor with the image processing capabilities, SDRAM and PCI interfaces, and a flexible multimedia I/O system to allow a single external bank of DRAM to support the entire range of OEM product functions. System-level power consumption is reduced both by the MAP-CA's design for low-voltage operation and the unified memory system in comparison with a host processor and several ASIC's with their own memory. In addition to using advanced CMOS technologies, the MAP-CA includes a host of architectural improvements for higher performance in image compression, and improved I/O capabilities such as direct connection to multiple video channels. A glueless SDRAM controller supports access up to 128MB of SDRAM at up to 150MHz. A 32-bit 33/66MHz PCI bus interface is also supported. A parallelizing C compiler, linker, source level debugger, simulators and standard libraries are also available from Equator. Release 5 of Equator's iMMediaTools suite, available today, fully supports the MAP-CA platform, and provides compatibility for software developed for earlier MAP family products. Reference software modules, including MPEG-2 encode and decode, JPEG encode and decode, video post-filtering, audio codec's, telephony, and video teleconferencing codecs are also available from Equator, and MPEG-4 encode and decode and AFD(TM) (All Format Decoder) are available from Hitachi to accelerate customer product development as software applications. AFD(TM) technology developed by Hitachi decodes all eighteen of the United States Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) formats, which include high-definition formats, to be converted to the standard definition format. Thus, a standard definition TV set so equipped would be able to receive high-definition broadcasts to accelerate customer product development. Several independent software companies have been porting new video codec's such as MPEG-4 and high performance powerful wavelet codec's. Ward Labs has ported a set of algorithms that greatly minimize cable noise artifacts. Interval Research has developed a powerful new wavelet codec that provides significant power and DSP advantages over today's existing DCT-based algorithms. Zydacron, a leading video teleconferencing company, will be providing a complete software package for consumer STB OEM's. Price and Availability Pricing is $40 in quantities of 200,000. On any additional details concerning delivery or pricing please contact Equator or Hitachi representatives. Samples are available now, with volume production slated for summer. The Equator /Hitachi MAP family is the premium platform for rapid design and deployment of Internet-connected digital media and imaging products. For more information, visit www.equator.com or www.hitachi.co.jp/index-e.html About Equator Technologies, Inc. Equator Technologies Inc. is a semiconductor systems company with offices in Austin, Texas; Campbell, California; Seattle, Washington; Paris, France, and Tokyo Japan. Formed in 1996, Equator develops and sells semiconductors, applications and systems software, and reference designs. Equator's products are VLIW software-programmable media processor platforms. Visit Equator at http://www.equator.com. About Hitachi, Ltd. Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is one of the world's leading global electronics companies, with fiscal 1998 (ended March 31, 1999) consolidated sales of 7,977 billion yen ($65.9 billion*). The company manufactures and markets a wide range of products, including computers, semiconductors, consumer products and power and industrial equipment. For more information on Hitachi, Ltd., please visit Hitachi's Web site at http://www.hitachi.co.jp. * At an exchange rate of 121 yen to the dollar.

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