News Releases

11/05/1998

Hitachi and Equator Technologies to Jointly Develop

TOKYO, JAPAN AND CAMPBELL, CA

Nov 5, 1998 12:09 PM

Hitachi and Equator Technologies to Jointly Develop and Commercialize High-Performance Multimedia Processor

Hitachi, Ltd. and Equator Technologies, Inc. today announced a cooperative relationship in the joint development and commercialization of the Media Processor Series, a high-end multimedia processor platform that utilizes very long instruction word (VLIW) architecture. The Media Processor Series will target multimedia product applications such as set-top boxes, video editing systems, game machines, multimedia PCs, image processing systems for industrial and medical applications, and network equipment. The first products will be shown at COMDEX/Fall '98, that opens November 16 in Las Vegas, and will be launched in the last quarter of 1998.

The Media Processor Series is based on a joint-development agreement the two companies signed in January 1997. Under the agreement, the two companies have been jointly developing very large-scale integrated circuits (VLSIs) and related software, including a compiler and media library. In launching the products, Hitachi will produce the VLSIs, and both companies will have worldwide marketing rights.

"We expect that the Media Processor Series, which is a result of Hitachi's VLIW technology and advanced semiconductor process, will be utilized over a broad range of multimedia related products. Hitachi, Ltd., in cooperation with Equator Technologies Inc., aims to make the Media Processor Series a global de facto standard in the area of multimedia," says Mr. Toshiakira Ikeda, general manager of the Strategic Business Development Division/Information Group of Hitachi.

"Partnering early on with manufacturers of consumer digital products is a key to Equator Technologies' success," states Ron Bell, Equator Technologies' chief executive officer. "Our joint development agreement with Hitachi will enable both of us to supply consumer electronic manufacturers with a media processor series that meets their needs. Ultimately, software tools that allow multiple uses for the same architecture platform provide for a broad range of end applications. The key differentiating factor for Equator is our early focus on both end applications and software."

VLIW is a technology that enhances processor performance by increasing the number of instructions that can be executed simultaneously, making it essential technology of the next generation of processors. The architecture of the Media Processor Series is based on VLIW technology, which enables significant improvement in multimedia functionality through the inclusion of additional instructions for multimedia processing and multimedia peripherals interface capabilities. The result is compatibility over a broad range of multimedia sectors that include digital video processing, graphics processing, network processing and image processing. The processor architecture design, based on a basic architecture developed by Hitachi, has been improved by both companies.

An advanced compiler for simultaneous execution of the VLIW-level instructions will also be provided to make the Media Processor Series a fully programmable platform. The compiler has an extremely powerful scheduling function for parallel instruction implementation and eliminates the need for software developers to use assembler code. This translates into shorter development times and lower development costs.

With a 16-bit summing performance well above 3000 million multiply and accumulations (MMAC) per second, the first product that the two companies plan to introduce is expected to deliver a level of performance far ahead of rival products. The first product aims for high-end digital signal processing (DSP) applications in such areas as video editing and image processing, and is scheduled for market release in the last quarter of 1998, mainly by Equator Technologies at first.

One promising digital TV related application of the Media Processor Series will be as an All Format Decoder (AFDTM) software. AFDTM technology, which was developed by Hitachi America, Ltd., enables all eighteen of the United States Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) formats, which include high-definition formats, to be converted to the standard definition format. Therefore, a standard definition TV set thus equipped would be able to receive high-definition broadcasts. Prototypes of the first media processor products incorporating Hitachi AFDTM software will be demonstrated at the COMDEX/Fall '98.

In the second half of 1999 Hitachi and Equator plan to ship a version specifically for digital TV applications that will offer an improved cost-performance ratio. Another version that offers enhanced graphics support is planned for 2000. In this way, Hitachi and Equator intend to continue to meet the diversifying needs of the digital convergence market.

In the second half of 1999 Hitachi and Equator plan to ship a version specifically for digital TV applications that will offer an improved cost-performance ratio. Another version that offers enhanced graphics support is planned for 2000. In this way, Hitachi and Equator intend to continue to meet the diversifying needs of the digital convergence market.

Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is one of the world's leading global electronics companies, with fiscal 1997 (ended March 31, 1998) consolidated sales of ?8,417 billion ($63.8 billion*). The company manufactures and markets a wide range of products, including computers, semiconductors, consumer products and power and industrial equipment. For more information on Hitachi, Ltd., please visit Hitachi's Web site at http://www.hitachi.co.jp.

*At an exchange rate of 132 yen to the dollar.

Equator Technologies Inc. is a semiconductor systems company with offices in Austin, Texas; Campbell, California; Seattle, Washington, and Tokyo, Japan. Formed in 1996, Equator develops and sells semiconductors, applications and systems software, and reference designs.

Equator Technologies Inc. successfully develops and implements VLIW software-programmable media processor series platforms. Visit Equator at http://www.equator.com.

For Media/Investor Inquiries, please contact:

Gerard F. Corbett
Hitachi America, Ltd.
Vice President
Corp. Communications Group
Tel:(650) 244-7900
Fax: (650) 244-7920
gerard.corbett@hal.hitachi.com

Emi Takase
Hitachi, Ltd.
Tel: +81.3.3258.2055
Tel: +81.3.3258.2055

Terry Kubo
Hitachi America, Ltd.
Tel: (650) 244-7902
tatsuya.kubo@hal.hitachi.com

Cliff Keys
Hitachi Europe, Ltd.
Tel: +44.1628.585162
cliff.keys@hitachi-eu.com

Yutaka Nakajima
Equator Japan K.K.
Tel: +81.3.5354.7530
nakajima@equator.com

Roberta Silverstein or Linda Lyon Accolades
Tel: (408) 374-4384 or (510) 489-3409
grimsby@earthlink.net

For all other inquiries please call:
1-800-HITACHI

If you have any questions specifically about Investor Relations in the United States, please contact our Investor Relations Department at investor.info@hal.hitachi.com