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Old 12-09-2008, 05:20 AM
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voidpt voidpt is offline
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Sigma SMP8635LF (HD200) vs EM8620L (HD100) & Capability Video/Audio

Thanks to this reference from DevNull to the unboxing with internals of HD200 (site: MissingRemote) we now know the Sigma chip to be SMP8635LF. Compared to EM8620L (or some subversion) for the HD100. Looks like good news, because the SMP8635LF is a step above the EM8620L when it comes to capabilities.

On Sigma's homepage there are some information. They have a selection guide that compares several of their chips. Also there is a more detailed PDF version. There are many references to SMP8634, the SMP8635 looks for most purposes to be the same, its just the "Non-Macrovision Version".

After taking a look at the sheets these are the most obvious differences I could find (between HD200 & HD100):
  • VIDEO DECODING says it is capable of 2 HD streams vs 1 on HD100. Could give possibility for picture-in-picture.
  • AUDIO DSP is (2)300MHz vs 200MHz (not sure what the '2' signifies). Anyway, more MHz, more possibilities.
  • HDMI with audio v1.2 xvYCC. On the HD100 the Sigma chip did not seem to support this directly and a separate Silicon Image SIL9030CTU solution was used (look MissingRemote article). Together with the AUDIO DSP and v1.2 HDMI with audio streems this might give better solutions for audio. It has already been hinted by SageTV that they are looking at TrueHD/DTS-HD decoding and passing it as PCM over HDMI. For future references, they are looking, NOT: it will come. Just be happy it is a theoretical possibility.
  • HOST CPU is 300Mhz MIPS vs 200MHz ARM. Don't know the MIPS vs ARM on MHz. But going by the MHz alone it should be more powerfull.
  • SECURITY CPU 200MHz. Not sure if this is active in SMP8635 (non Macrovision). Sigma material says this: "Security CPU supports wide variety of conditional access (CA) and digital rights management (DRM) solutions". Yeah I know, bad bad stuff But if this could make some commercial streaming solutions accept the HD200 as a valid box, it could be a plus.
  • USB 2.0 host. On the HD100 the USB was not supported directly by Sigma chip but through a VIA VT6212L chip. Ports were there, with power, but not used for anything. Now that they are part of the Sigma solution it is probably easier to make things work through them. As we are already seeing with the stand-alone-mode for HD200.
  • On the VIDEO DECODING specs it still gives same capabilities. Except a "*" that says "L4.1 for Blu-ray applications". Also Blu-ray players/recorders is listed as TARGET MARKETS. Should indicate that the Sigma chip should be capable to decode Blu-ray video streams.
  • 512MB DDR400 RAM compared to 64/128/256MB on HD100 (depending on excact EM8620L model, if MissingRemote has correct RAM spec, it is 128MB). More in any case. And can't hurt.
  • 256MB Flash ROM compared to 64MB. More is better. And in this case probably needed, because of the stand-alone-mode.
Together this hopefully will give us a bright future when we throw high-bitrate 1080p material at HD200. Especially H.264 that has been problematic in some cases. Already several posts indicate that HD200 seems to be better at this. I have some files I know are problematic on HD100 that I look forward to testing on HD200. Will not get the time until the weekend. Getting the HD200 myself tomorrow.
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