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Startup offers easy implementation of HD encoding in mobiles

Posted: 17 Aug 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MnD Semiconductors? video decoder? transcoder? HD encoding? XX?

French fabless semiconductor startup MnD Semiconductors announced a chip architecture that "can be easily scaled from low cost, high definition, video decoders to high performance, real time, multi-channel, video encoders and transcoders." According to the company, they are now looking to turn this architecture into a family of chips with the primary focus being on high definition (HD) encoding, transcoding and decoding solutions for mobiles.

Dubbed Silver Screen, the HD video codecs promise to enable manufacturers to encode HD video, transcode it to MPEG4 AVC/H.264 to minimize storage space and then play it back at HD 1080p resolution on HDTVs, at a fraction of the cost and power consumption of existing solutions.

The architecture is fully scalable and based on an array of interconnected, fully programmable, 32bit RISC processors, which are derived from the Sun SPARC architecture. MnD CEO Ian Walsh said that this multi-processor array approach is very different from the approach taken by other solution providers who use combination of FPGAs, general purpose processors, DSPs and hardware accelerators.

"It allows a range of devices to be statically developed or dynamically configured for different price and performance points, all running the same software, giving significant economies of scale and reducing the cost, risk and time for system developers," Walsh explained.

Aggregation of cores
A required processing power can be achieved either by having a single processor working flat out or, as in Silver Screen, by having an array of processor cores running at lower processing speeds that aggregate together to deliver the required processing. The cores in the array are very small and consume very little power, which even when all added together, provides a solution that is smaller, cheaper and less power hungry than a single high performance core solution with accelerators, said MnD. Power consumption can be further reduced by switching off cores when not required.

The company added that its Silver Screen library of user-configurable software for AVC video applications will make it easy for developers to use the chips by simply loading up the appropriate set of modules to meets the tasks required. And since it is based on an array, the MnD architecture will scale to handle encoding of multiple channels of video up to resolutions of 1080p at 50fps, as well as transcoding.

The Silver Screen chip will also include an industry standard processor core for OEM use with an API to the HD codec array. It will also have a DDR interface for memory and an HDMI for displays.

MnD's Silver Screen HD video codec will be launched at the IBC2006 show in Amsterdam next month.

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