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ADI samples digital cinema codec

Posted: 21 Sep 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:analog devices? adi? jpeg2000? compression chip? digital cinema initiative?

Analog Devices Inc. said it is sampling a high-speed JPEG2000 compression chip suitable for the Digital Cinema Initiative specification. Decoders using the technology are expected to hit the market as early as next spring.

DCI, a consortium of seven major U.S. studios, announced it would adopt JPEG2000, Part 1 compression in May. However, the group provided a more detailed reference specification recently requiring so-called 9/7 low pass/high pass two-dimensional transform filter to ensure high picture quality instead of the more common 5/3 filter.

ADI said it is currently sampling a 150MHz codec that complies with the spec. The chip will be in production at the end of the year.

A division of Sony Corp. has said it expects to field a digital cinema decoder as early as next spring. The decoder could use anywhere from 12-24 of the high-end JPEG2000 codecs, according to ADI.

There are as many as 35,000 movie screens in the U.S., and about 135,000 worldwide that ultimately may move to digital movie distribution. Cost of the digital equipment is estimated at about $70,000 per screen.

Studios, which will see most benefit from the move to digital, have been exploring financing options to help theater owners make the shift. According to studio managers, it costs less than $300 to distribute a movie digitally, compared to about $1,500 to produce each print of a film.

The DCI's adoption of JPEG2000 has spurred interest in the wavelet compression technology in other applications, said Yuzo Shida, a product marketing manager at ADI. Currently, many satellites, government imaging programs and medical imaging applications use the technology.

DCI tested about eight compression schemes in April before choosing JPEG2000. With the codec now fully specified, DCI's work is largely complete. However the group expects to stay in place for several more months as systems makers fine tune the specification as part of building their first-generation systems, said Walt Ordway, DCI's CTO.

- Rick Merritt

EE Times

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