TI's 1394b (FireWire) Device Enables Higher Speeds and Greater Distances for Consumer, Computing and Audio/Video Applications

2/3/2003 - Consumer, computing and audio/video applications can now reach higher speeds and greater distances with the industry´s first available 1394b (FireWire) devices from Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN). The enhanced features of 1394b allow designers of computers, mass storage, consumer electronics and industrial applications to increase design functionality while simplifying architecture and reducing costs.

The TSB81BA3 is a three-port bilingual physical layer device capable of speeds up to 800 Mbps, compliant with the approved version of the IEEE 1394b specification. This first to be announced IEEE 1394b PHY not only doubles the speed of previous generation 1394a PHYs to 800 Mbps but also increases communication distances up to 100 meters, ensuring a much better user experience in high speed data transfers and multimedia networking.

"The availability of IEEE 1394b devices enables much higher performance for applications such as external hard drives," said Julie Holland, business manager for TI's connectivity solutions group. "As the need for more and more storage space grows, our TSB81BA3 device and future 1394b devices will provide the desired functionality for moving multimedia and data at high rates over great distances."

Other potential product applications are computers, server networks, audio/video hard disk drives (AVHDD), musical instrument controllers and home networking for audio/video distribution.

"Indigita is confident that the unmatchable speed of 1394b will enhance the already impressive pace of FireWire adoption," said Craig Lewis, vice president of marketing at Indigita. "In addition to vastly improving the performance of existing FireWire applications, 1394b dovetails with the expansion of audio video (AV) applications, including the networking and storage of audio/video content within the home. Indigita's confidence in 1394b is reflected in a host of upcoming 1394b products that satisfy both traditional and A/V applications."

The TSB81BA3 is backward-compatible with 1394a devices, supporting both the data strobe encoding scheme of IEEE 1394a-2000 and the new 8B/10B encoding scheme for 1394b. It also allows any cable topology to be used (loops will be automatically detected and corrected).

"IEEE-1394b and FireWire 800 provide professionals with the most powerful and cost effective tools to keep their creative ideas flowing," said Mike Mihalik, LaCie's FireWire Manager. "Texas Instrument's leadership in providing ultra high-speed bus technology is essential to LaCie's effort to provide the best peripheral solutions for PC and Macintosh computer users."

In addition to the TSB81BA3 device, TI offers a complete 1394b solution by providing the TSB82AA2 link layer device. The TSB82AA2 link layer device is compatible with the Open Host Controller Interface 1.1 (OHCI) standard and provisions of OHCI 1.2, ensuring compatibility with Macintosh and PC host systems with PCI buses. The OHCI standard supports features for higher-speed asynchronous and isochroous data transmissions and advanced power management techniques. The TSB82AA2 will be available in 1Q2003.

"TI continues to show leadership in the 1394 silicon market by being the first to introduce an 800 megabit, 1394b PHY," said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association. "From all indications, interest in 1394 in general and 1394b specifically, is rapidly increasing in both the consumer and OEM sectors. We are also seeing a need in industrial applications which utilize multiple video streams, as well as many new applications which will enter the market using 1394b silicon from TI by the end of 2003."

Design-in support includes datasheets, reference schematics, implementation notes, layout examples with guidelines, software recommendation and 1394b tools recommendations. The TSB81BA3 is available today in an 80-pin PFP package in 1K quantities for $12.50.

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