[opendtv] New energy guidelines stump CE designers

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 16:39:38 -0500

New energy guidelines stump CE designers

Junko Yoshida
(12/13/2008 12:53 AM EST)
URL: http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212500174

MANHASSET, NY - Do "green TVs" matter? If you ask the Consumer
Electronics Association (CEA), the answer is a resounding yes.

A recent CEA consumer survey shows that a majority of consumers answered
that energy efficiency is the number one feature/performance/concern in
choosing their next television.

While such high environmental consciousness among consumers might
surprise some cynics, the real clincher of the green TV debate today is
the lack of flat panel TVs that can actually meet Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)-approved Version 3.0 Energy Star TV program
Requirements (Energy Star 3.0) that just went into effect on Nov. 1st.

The new Energy Star 3.0 standard slashes the current standby power
requirement from 3 watts to 1 watt or less. Moreover, Energy Star 3.0,
for the first time, places requirements on active-mode power

Energy Star 3.0 demands 149 watts of maximum allowable on-mode power
watts for a 37-inch screen TV, 208 watts for a 42-inch TV and for a
50-inch screen 318 watts, according to calculations done by Steve
Sechrist, editor/analyst at Insight Media.

The same maximum on-mode power consumption guidelines are applied to any
TV regardless of display technologies.

Based on the published numbers, said Sechrist, none of the 37-inch LCD
TVs on the retail shelf today can meet the new standard. In contrast, 7
out of 10 models of 50-inch plasma TVs offer published on-mode power
watts compliant to Energy Star 3.0. Sechrist said, "Interesting from a
screen efficiency view, the larger screen size performs better in
watt/square inch."

Real-life laboratory tests (vs. published numbers) appear to show an
ever harder reality.

While declining to name names, Doug Bartow, strategic marketing manager,
advanced television segment at Analog Devices Inc., said, "We tested
eight HDTVs that were on retail shelves over the last eight to ten
months. And only one passed these new max active power consumption

The new maximum active power consumption guidelines imposed by Energy
Star 3.0 are likely to spark new discussion on display technologies used
by flat panel TV designers, Bartow speculated.

Plasma TVs, for example, face close scrutiny, because they consume more
power than LCDs. But even LCD TVs can be problematic because of
backlights that need to be turned on all the time.

Beyond the choice of display technology for flat-panel TVs, what will
truly stump TV designers is Energy Star 3.0's 1 watt or less standby
mode requirement, predicted Bartow.

The 1 watt requirement is a huge challenge when advanced consumer
entertainment systems need to support the Consumer Electronics Control
(CEC) function. CEC, a part of the HDMI interface standard, is a single
conductor wire or bus technology designed to carry IR-remote and control
commands between interconnected HDMI devices.

For the bidirectional link over a HDMI cable to properly function -- in
sending and receiving CEC commands, "A TV needs to be ready to wake up
or it must monitor the CE bus at all times," Bartow explained.

Insight Media's Sechrist observed, "Most designers would normally use
the SoC to monitor the CEC command, but with new Energy Star compliance,
it blows the 1 watt budget."

Both Sechrist and Bartow expect a digital TV chip that keeps a portion
of the chip awake to monitor activity on the CEC bus. But its problem is
that it requires "a re-design" of the digital TV chip, said Bartow.

Alternatively, Sechrist said, TV designers can buy a separate CEC
controller chip. This will cause "not so much a power issue but add
component cost, board space and time."

He estimated that a microcontroller and/or a clock source will consume
less than a quarter of a watt. "This will also be an 'add-on.' If there
is not enough left over in the power budget, the solution may send
designers back to the drawing board. That blows the launch time."

Of all the available CEC controller design options for CE systems, ADI
will offer a family of HDMI interfaces integrated with a CEC controller.

The company will initially launch deep color HDMI transmitter integrated
with a CEC controller and buffer -- designed for high-definition
audio/video devices.

The EPA's Energy Star guidelines will be applied to a broad range of
consumer electronics devices ranging from ATSC-to-NTSC digital converter
boxes, DVD products (including Blu-Ray), A/V receivers and external
power adapters (such as wall-printed transformers that power digital
photo frames, radios, calculators, desktop LCD monitors and others).

ADI's Bartow said the company's new deep color HDMI transmitter,
designated as ADV7510, features "robust CEC controller software that is
tolerant of ambiguity" of slightly different timing commands implemented
in different systems by different brands.

The typical standby power consumption for ADV7510 is "less than 0.6mW,"
according to Bartow.

Sechrist said that ADI, by integrating a CEC controller in the HDMI
interface chip, solves several design issues at once for system vendors.

ADI's solution comes with "a CEC buffer; already low standby power
consumption of the HDMI interface; no additional board space is
required; the CEC control software is included; plus integrating CEC
feature in the HDMI interface is no cost added to the interface

The ADV7510 deep-color HDMI transmitter is available in production
quantities now, according to ADI. It's priced at $7.59 per unit in 1,000
piece quantities.

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