The Industry’s First Programmable Video Core for New HDTV Consumer Products
WALTHAM, Mass., May 19, 2004, Ultra Data Corporation today announced the availability of the industry’s first fully programmable video processing IP core to enable the new generation of high-definition consumer products. Ultra Data’s first product, the UD3000, is a complete video subsystem available for license to companies developing integrated circuits for the home entertainment market. Key applications include high-definition DVD players and recorders, next generation digital TV receivers, set-top boxes and Internet-connected TVs.
In February, DVD Forum provisionally specified three video decoders for HD DVD players: ITU-T/ISO H.264/AVC, Microsoft’s WMV9 HD and MPEG-2. The UD3000 includes a complete Verilog design package as well as software for all three high-definition video decoders. Compared to MPEG-2 the new generation of advanced video compression algorithms allow higher picture quality at a specific data rate or alternatively, comparable quality at lower data rates for improved transmission and storage efficiency. Now, for the first time, all high-definition video decoders can be executed on one programmable processor.
In a talk today at Embedded Processor Forum, Ultra Data’s cofounder and Principal Design Engineer, Jonah Probell provided the first public disclosure of the UD3000 architecture. The UD3000 includes two enhanced RISC processors for initial processing of the encoded bit stream, three 64-bit VLIW processors for video operations and a “smart” DMA controller for moving two-dimensional arrays of video data. The UD3000 achieves a worst-case clock speed of 400 MHz and sustains 4.8 billion multiply-accumulates per second. According to Probell, "The UD3000 can decode the most demanding H.264 Main Profile Level 4.1 video bitstream. To achieve this level of performance in a programmable processor we defined a unique local memory and register file architecture to ensure that the processor never stalls for data access. We also created an instruction set optimized for the efficient execution of video processing routines.”
Programmability allows semiconductor and consumer electronics companies to future-proof their products. Programmability often causes a larger die area; however, “This is a case where the programmable architecture is smaller,” Probell said. “Multiple decoders can run on a single datapath, rather than requiring separate datapaths for each different decoder supported.”
"High-definition monitors have been flying off the shelves and we expect this trend to accelerate as prices come down and the FCC-mandated move to digital tuners continues," said Will Strauss, President of Forward Concepts. "However, the whole ecosystem of high-definition products has been delayed by standards battles. Ultra Data's new product is the first to support high-definition in a programmable architecture. It should be well-received by video IC developers."
At Embedded Processor Forum, Ultra Data demonstrated the UD3000 technology with H.264 software in an off-the-shelf Altera Nios™ FPGA development board. The UD3000 uses two instantiations of Altera’s newly announced Nios II RISC processor. Craig Lytle, Vice President of Altera’s Intellectual Property business unit, said "Industry innovators like Ultra Data require high-performance implementation options to handle complex design challenges like HD video decoding and other image processing functions. Ultra Data's use of multiple Nios II processors and custom instructions in their HD video solution demonstrates Altera's ability to provide flexible hardware acceleration in leading-edge data-intensive applications."
For ease of integration, the UD3000 is configurable for direct connection to industry-standard system buses: AMBA, OCP and Avalon. The UD3000 Verilog model together with Ultra Data’s H.264/AVC, MPEG-2 HD and WMV9 HD software packages will be available later this year. The UD3000 Software Development Kit (SDK) will also be released.
About Ultra Data Corporation. Ultra Data was founded in 2003 to develop licensable video technology for a new generation of semiconductors enabled by advanced video compression algorithms. Ultra Data’s target markets include home entertainment products such as high-definition DVD players and recorders, new digital TV receivers, set-top boxes and internet TV; wireless video products such as mobile TV and CDMA cell phones; industrial and military applications in robotic systems and video surveillance. The Ultra Data team includes processor experts, video compression experts as well as extensive experience in the development and delivery of semiconductor intellectual property.
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