MPEG4 video codec is all hardware

UK-based IndigoVision Group has developed an MPEG4 codec that will add advanced video capabilities to products from handhelds to set-top boxes.

Two-years in development, the Mainstream codec is implemented entirely in hardware, setting it apart from other announced software and hybrid software /hardware MPEG4 solutions.

The Mainstream codec (encoder/decoder) will be supplied as licensed technology for incorporation by manufacturers in system-on-a-chip designs and multimedia chip products.

IndigoVision claim that the Mainstream hardware codec consumes half the power of RISC-based software-only solutions at low data rates, provides consistent excellent video quality, encodes and decodes video at all 3G data rates and can scale up to encode full-resolution digital TV for personal video recorders.

Most MPEG4 implementations demonstrated to date have relied on software running on high-specification RISC processors because the development time to demonstration video is shorter. Such implementations provide variable quality video in network trials, can only handle video playback not encoding, and cannot handle video at the higher data rates supported by 3G and broadband networks.

The Mainstream video codec is available as a licensed design implemented in VHDL chip design language. As well as the MPEG4 video encoder and decoder, the Mainstream technology includes video capture, video pre- and post-processing, video display, multi-channel DMA and a bus-mastering controller.

IndigoVision has developed the design both as an FPGA and as an ASIC, which reduces the time a licensee requires to integrate system-on-a-chip (SOC) designs. A complete set of tools is available including development boards and bit-accurate software models. Mainstream is fully compatible with IndigoVision’s VideoBridge networked video software that delivers the compressed video and audio over IP networks.

MPEG4 is the multimedia standard selected by 2.5G and 3G mobile phone operators for recording and playing back video messages. It is also at the heart of new multimedia streaming and recording technologies.

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