Silicon IP Makes High-Def Video Portable
PRINCETON, NJ (May 3, 2005) New silicon intellectual property (IP) for microchips from Sarnoff Corporation (www.sarnoff.com) will decode video based on the H.264 standard, so that PDAs, cell phones, and other portable devices can display vivid high-resolution video for movies, games, and other business and entertainment uses. The silicon IP, the first in a family of several H.264 products being developed by Sarnoff, also promises longer battery life for these devices.
"Sarnoff's H.264 decoder IP will deliver video so vivid that portable device users will feel like they're immersed in the experience," said Bill Mayweather, Sarnoff Silicon Strategies Business Director. "We've used our Emmy Award-winning video expertise to optimize performance and verify compliance.
"That means Sarnoff's H.264 IP will display smooth, high-quality video on every portable device."
The new decoder IP will allow PDAs and similar devices with the right display capabilities to show video in full VGA resolution at normal frame rates, instead of in low-res images with jerky motion sequences. H.264's efficient data compression makes it possible to send this video over the same communication channels now being used for lower-quality images.
Multi-function cell phones will also benefit. Until the bandwidth on cellular networks expands, the Sarnoff decoder can be integrated into phones with wireless LAN networking capabilities. This will improve video performance when the phones are used as 802.11 devices in a local area network such as an office or a public Wi-Fi hot spot.
Functional, Market Benefits
Since Sarnoff's H.264 decoder IP is designed to be incorporated into an existing microprocessor, it does not require the additional cost that a separate device would demand.
The silicon IP includes hardware-based accelerators for maximum flexibility and scalability. By choosing which accelerators are implemented, users can optimize the cost/power tradeoffs to the specific device being targeted, allowing them to customize its performance and maintain brand differentiation.
The IP also allows software or hardware to be used interchangeably for given functions. This means device makers can freely integrate proprietary technology with the IP to enable specific functions or boost performance.
According to Mayweather, this is just the first step on an ambitious path: "to make high-definition video portable."
"We believe that a lot of video will be repurposed for portable devices," he said. "When screens get good enough, we may see high-def content reaching mobile users."
Sarnoff's H.264 decoder IP is available for immediate delivery. Deliverables include "C" source code, a library of optionally implemented Verilog® hardware accelerators, test benches, extensive documentation, and engineering support. The IP can be customized to provide additional features for specific applications.
Princeton, NJ-based Sarnoff Corporation has a long history of video innovations, including a broad line of multimedia IP cores. The company's work in video has earned it nine Emmy® awards for technical achievement, two of them in the area of video quality.
Sarnoff Corporation (www.sarnoff.com) produces innovations in electronic, biomedical and information technology that generate successful new products and services for clients worldwide. Founded in 1942 as RCA Laboratories, it develops breakthroughs in ICs, lasers, and imagers; drug discovery, manufacture and delivery; digital TV and video for security, surveillance, and entertainment; high-performance networking; and wireless communications. Its history includes the development of color TV, the liquid-crystal display, and the disposable hearing aid, and a leadership role in creating the new U.S. digital and HDTV standard. Sarnoff also founds new companies to bring its technologies to market. It is a subsidiary of SRI International.