By On2April 10, 2008
The mobile phone has become an all-purpose portable media player device. Carried everywhere to enable constant consumer access to voice communications, even low-cost mobile phones have incorporated audio player, video camcorder and other features to create an always available multi-purpose multimedia device. Coupled with the social contagion of user-generated-content (e.g. YouTube and others), mobile phones subscribers—especially the under-30 demographic—are now ubiquitous and prodigious consumers and producers of video content.
According to a leading market research firm, Internet video consumption has increased by nearly 100% over the past year: from an average of 700 terabytes/day in 2006, to 1200 terabytes/day in 2007. They expect video consumption to expand 650% by 2011, to 7800 terabytes/day. Video content creation will expand even more rapidly. According to the same market research firm, Internet video uploads will grow from 500K uploads/day in 2007 to 4800K uploads/day in 2011.
The mobile handset is one of the leading capture platforms for video content. Enabled by rapidly declining non-volatile memory prices, mobile handsets are capable of storing, decoding and encoding ever-longer video clips, with improved resolution. The increasing availability of high-definition (HD) content and display options in the home is driving consumer expectations ever higher for video resolution on the handset. Whether movie trailers, music videos, or user-generated-content, consumers increasingly want, and expect their mobile devices to capture and playback HD video without adversely impacting battery life.
Handset developers have a range of video codec options to satisfy this consumer demand: a) fully customized hardware blocks integrated into system-on-chip (SoC) designs, b) optimized software codecs running on enhanced-instruction set RISC or DSP processors, or c) software running on standard processor cores, like ARM 9 or ARM11. The authors have done extensive simulations to determine the relative trade-offs in performance—especially power consumption—that can be expected from each type of video coder and decoder implementation.
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