LONDON, U.K. – November 16, 2011 – Aspex Semiconductor, a provider of video compression technology for next-generation HD video-enabled devices, today announced that it has won the 2011 Low Power Green Design Award from the National Microelectronics Institute (NMI), the trade association representing the UK electronic systems, microelectronics and semiconductor sectors. The award, given at the Institute’s annual award ceremony, honors innovative semiconductor designs that significantly reduce energy consumption.
Aspex was recognized for its advancements in HD video compression technology enabled by its fully programmable architecture. Specifically, the award cited the implementation of Aspex’s proprietary techniques in a high performance chip for professional video applications. The 65-nanometer (nm) device clocks at 500MhZ, integrates more than one billion transistors and passives, and is still able to meet aggressive power consumption requirements. The use of novel low power design techniques and the overall efficiency of Aspex’s technology implementation allow it to operate at 30% of the power required by traditional approaches.
The judges, comprising leading industry experts, commented that the Aspex device was: “an innovative solution,” “a textbook example of good, low-power design,” and “enabling high-quality video at an amazingly low power consumption.”
Aspex has developed an innovative approach for the compression of video that addresses the increasingly demanding processing needs of high-quality, real-time HD video performance. The company supplies its technology through custom design services and chips to customers, as well as licensing its IP. Its breadth of technologies and delivery platforms offer a complete route to silicon for customers requiring the highest video quality, support for multiple standard codecs such as H.264 and MPEG2, and the most flexible user-programming environment.
Although power delivery is not strictly the challenge Aspex addresses, limiting power (and heat) dissipation and managing heat removal is a major concern across all video applications. In this case, the award-winning design was conceived to allow significant improvements in video processing performance and quality in video sub-systems within a system rack environment, while reducing the overall energy requirements and thereby reducing the heat removal burden.
HD video compression requires new approaches
Advanced video compression techniques that operate at both low power and support the highest resolution video are critical as consumers increasingly want to access their entertainment content across multiple screens and devices, from smartphones and portable media players to second TVs, games consoles, PCs, and laptops. As each of these devices and networks supports different screen resolutions, bitrates, and video formats, video needs to be transcoded - a hugely complex computational task, and one that requires software-programmable silicon to support existing and future technologies.
Aspex addresses those needs with a solution that provides massively parallel computational capabilities combined with a fully-programmable approach that allows scalability and efficient customization and upgrades as requirements change. The technology can be implemented in a much more energy-efficient, smaller form factor, and lower cost solution than previous approaches to high-end video compression, such as FPGAs.
Aspex's CEO, Paul Greenfield said: "This prestigious award is a great tribute to our team of software and silicon designers, and validates the innovation behind our approach to HD video compression. This is the industry’s first implementation of a device, shipping in volume, that can compress 10-bit 4:2:2 video at ultra-high levels of quality. There are over 2,500 Aspex DSP cores and 25 RISC processors in the chip – and it was right first time. We continue to enhance our technology platform and are planning support for emerging, even more demanding, new HD video encoding standards such as HEVC and Super HD. The company has earned excellent market support for our technology and we are well positioned for high growth as the requirements for video-enabled products evolve.”
Aspex Semiconductor employs around 40 staff at its design centre in the UK.
For more information about Aspex please visit www.aspex-semi.com.