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Philips chips to flip TV displays

The semiconductor division of Royal Philips Electronics hopes to help consumer electronics makers make the move from cathode-ray tube to liquid-crystal display TVs with new chips.

Culture
The semiconductor division of Royal Philips Electronics hopes to help consumer electronics makers make the move from cathode-ray tube to liquid-crystal display televisions with new chips, part of the company's efforts to promote the idea of the connected home.

Philips will unveil new chips at the Internationale Funkausstellung in Berlin on Thursday that it hopes will make it easier and faster for its manufacturing customers to begin producing televisions with LCDs instead of CRTs. The electronics giant will demonstrate the chips during the show, which runs Aug. 29 through Sept. 3.

The company is expected to announce customers for the chips at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early next year, according to Karsten Ottenberg, a senior vice president with Philips Semiconductor.

The new chips are meant to take advantage of several key trends in the market for televisions, Ottenberg said. The falling prices of LCD panels are encouraging manufacturers to move from cathode-ray tubes to LCDs as the main component in a television. Additionally, digital television signals are becoming more prevalent and picture quality on LCD TVs is improving. More consumer electronics devices are also able to process digital content and connecting them through a home network will become a more important differentiating feature.

The chips are part of the company's Nexperia chip family, which Philips wants to see at the center of different types of consumer electronics devices, such as DVD recorders, universal remote controls and televisions. The chips will allow consumers to play back digital content on any of those devices, according to the company.

"Functionality will be distributed across all devices," Ottenberg said.

Companies such as Sony and Hewlett-Packard have promoted the idea of developing products that can plug into a home network, allowing consumers to access content or resources from any other devices connected to the network.

Philips' high-end Nexperia product, dubbed PNX8550, is meant for televisions and will support both digital and analog signals. The chip will also decode and display high definition video as well as digital photos and videos.

At the low end of the market, Philips has teamed with chip designer Pixelworks on the Baseline LCD TV reference design, which is meant as a low-cost method of allowing television makers to move from CRT-based televisions to LCD.

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