Toshiba says it will begin selling DSPs (digital signal processors) designed for use in Internet music players later this year. The move underscores the growing demand for hardware devices that play back music downloaded from Web sites.
Toshiba will start shipping the chips in sample quantities from October to makers of music playback devices such as Diamond Multimedia Inc.'s popular Rio machine. DSPs can be used to decode digital signals and improve the quality of digital audio by eliminating irregularities in incoming signals. The chips are used in a range of products including Digital Video Disk players and cellular phones.
The TC9446F-004, one of the two DSP chips Toshiba announced yesterday, will support the MP3 (Moving Picture Experts Group, Level 3) and Advanced Audio Coding compression formats. The TC9446F-003, meanwhile, supports Dolby Digital, dts from Digital Theater Systems Inc. and Dolby Pro Logic.
Toshiba will sell the chips for a sample price of US$17 and will begin mass production in November at a level of 100,000 units per month, the company said in a statement.
The chips are an indicator that Toshiba expects growing demand for music playback devices. Over the past year, the rapid spread of MP3, which compresses music making it easy to download and play back on PCs and portable music devices, has given birth to a market for so-called MP3 players.
Though MP3's success has rankled record companies -- the format makes it easy to spread pirated music -- many hardware vendors are expected to roll out players in the coming months. For instance, in December Toshiba will launch its player, while Sony next month its likely to announce a similar device.
Toshiba, based in Tokyo, can be reached at +81-3457-2100 or at http://www.toshiba.co.jp/.