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SerDes chipset brings Blu-ray video to rear-seat entertainment systems

October 12, 2010 // Christoph Hammerschmidt

SerDes chipset brings Blu-ray video to rear-seat entertainment systems

National Semiconductor has introduced what it claims to be the industry's first SerDes chipset with high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP) for automotive infotainment systems. The FPD-Link III chipset supports in-car distribution of protected video and audio content - such as Blu-ray movies up to 720p resolution to create a home theater experience in the vehicle.

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National's FPD-Link III SerDes chipset consists of the DS90UH925Q serializer and DS90UH926Q deserializer. Both chips carry digital video, audio, and bidirectional I2C control signals concurrently over a single twisted pair cable using the HDCP-protected interface protocol approved by the Digital Content Protection (DCP) LLC. HDCP is endorsed by major content providers. Each SerDes chipset has a unique HDCP key stored in on-chip memory to protect video content against unauthorized use. National's SerDes encrypt the content data and make required authentication exchanges per the HDCP specification.

The FPD-Link III SerDes on-chip processing of protected content simplifies infotainment system design and eliminates the need for costly secondary components, such as microcontrollers and FPGAs, by handling the computationally intensive tasks of data authentication and encryption. The DS90UH925Q serializer takes data from the head unit processor and converts video, digital I2S audio and control output into a serialized stream of information for distribution through the vehicles cable harness. The DS90UH926Q deserializer converts the serialized information stream back into video, audio and control outputs needed to drive LCD displays in the central information display and rear passenger seats.

According to National Semiconductor, consolidation of video data and control over a single differential pair reduces interconnect size, weight and cost, and further simplifies system design. Both chips serially route 24-bit color video content over distances in excess of 10 meters and provide a wide pixel clock range from 5 MHz to 85 MHz. This enables infotainment system designers to develop a modular platform of video source and display combinations that support an automobile manufacturers entire vehicle portfolio from luxury to base models.

The SerDes are AEC-Q100 Grade-2 qualified for operation between -40 degrees C and 105 degrees C, and are powered by a single 3.3V supply. They feature a built-in self test (BIST) mode for factory test, system start up and diagnostics. The FPD-Link III SerDes electromagnetic interference (EMI) performance ensures that infotainment and driver assist high-speed data links can meet rigorous automotive requirements.

The DS90UH925Q serializer and DS90UH926Q deserializer are the newest members of Nationals popular FPD-Link III family for automotive infotainment and driver-assist systems.

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