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<Press Release>
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November 30, 1998

Sony Develops i.LINK (IEEE1394) Link LSI
Incorporating 5C Digital Content Protection Technology

Tokyo -- Sony Corporation today announced the development of an i.LINK (IEEE1394) link layer LSI that provides robust protection for digital content transmitted between digital electronics products. Sony has begun planning a series of related LSI products and preparing for volume production with the aim of launching products on the U.S. market by Spring 1999.

The dramatic rise in popularity of digital AV and IT electronics products raised concerns-- first within the motion picture industry and then among the entertainment, electronics, and broadcast industries-- about unauthorized copying of copyrighted digital content transmitted between digital electronics products.

In February 1998, five companies: Hitachi, Ltd., Intel Corporation, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., Sony Corporation, and Toshiba Corporation, presented a technical proposal to the Copyright Protection Technical Working Group (CPTWG), an ad-hoc cross-industry body organized to evaluate content protection technologies, for technology that can protect digital that is transmitted across the i.LINK (IEEE1394) digital interface. By providing a digital content protection solution for copyrighted material that is transmitted between digital AV electronics devices and PCs sent out to many products across the home network environment, this technical proposal addresses the concerns of all the relevant industries.

Sony's new LSI was developed based on the five companies' proposal, and its core technology is an embedded cryptographic IC for encryption and decryption of MPEG data streams and other types digital content transmitted across the i.LINK interface. The chip also incorporates a number of functions used by digital products to provided users with added convenience, such as the PID parser and packet insertion functions necessary for delivering certain types of digital broadcast content.

The development of this chip makes it possible to achieve a reliable digital copy protection solution for content transmitted across the i.LINK interface by products such as digital set-top boxes (STBs), DVD players, digital video recorders, and digital television sets as well as products that are anticipated to arrive in the future such as home AV servers and other digital products of the future. To address the needs of the industry, Sony is making related product plans and preparing for volume production of LSIs with the aim of launching products on the market by Spring 1999.

Key Features of the i.LINK link LSI with 5C digital copy protection technology
1. The newly developed LSI reduces the load on a product's microprocessor by internally encrypting and decrypting AV content, such as MPEG data streams. This allows for robust, high-speed protection of high bandwidth content such as video and animation.
2. The chip supports the Program ID (PID) parser and packet insertion functions used by electronic program guides (EPGs) and other interactive broadcast and network applications.
3. It allows for the simultaneous transfer of two separate isochronous signals over a single connection. For example, the LSI can transmit one isochronous signal while receiving another, or it can simultaneously transmit two separate isochronous signals.
4. Other Features:
  • Supports the IEEE1394-1995 standard (maximum transfer rate: 200Mbps)
  • Power supply: 3.3V / 144 pin LQFP package
  • Compatible with IEC958 audio transport
  • Equipped with a 68000 series CPU interface
  • Automatic attachment/ detection of CIP headers
  • High-capacity Asynchronous/Isochronous FIFO transmission and reception