New silicon intellectual property (IP) from Sarnoff Corporation will decode video based on the H.264 standard, so that PDAs, cell phones, and other portable devices can display vivid high-resolution videos.
The silicon IP, the first in a family of several H.264 products being developed by the company, 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.
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. By choosing which accelerators are implemented, users can optimise the cost/power tradeoffs to a specific device, allowing them to customise 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.
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.