A digital signal processor is a specialized microprocessor chip optimized for processing digital audio and video signals. Digital signal processors are fabricated on MOS integrated circuit chips. They are widely used in audio signal processing, telecommunications, digital image processing, radar, sonar, and speech recognition systems, and in common consumer electronic devices such as mobile phones, disk drives, and high-definition television (HDTV) products.
The goal of a DSP is usually to measure, filter, or compress continuous real-world analog signals. Most general-purpose microprocessors can also execute digital signal processing algorithms successfully, but may not be able to keep up with such processing continuously in real-time. Also, dedicated DSPs usually have better power efficiency, thus they are more suitable in portable devices such as mobile phones because of power consumption constraints. DSPs often use special memory architectures that are able to fetch multiple data or instructions at the same time. DSPs often also implement data compression technology, with the discrete cosine transform (DCT) in particular being a widely used compression technology in DSPs.