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Better video quality for portables

Posted: 01 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Qpixel? H.264? video codec? DDR DRAMs? Qpixel Technology International?

Video compression chip vendor Qpixel Technology International Inc. is readying a low-power device that supports both Baseline and Main Profiles of the H.264 video codec standard. The QL201B's architecture and feature set are designed to enable excellent video quality and extended hours of portable operation for consumer electronics devices, the company said.

The QL201B follows the mass production of the company's QL201, a Main Profile H.264 codec chip for consumer applications. The QL201B adds such features as advanced standby power savings, video input preprocessing, encoder processing and support for mobile DDR DRAMs, according to Qpixel.

Qpixel uses a flexible architecture and an advanced design methodology that simulates target applications at the system level, accelerating OEM time-to-production, said Kourosh Amiri, VP of marketing. As a companion chip to an existing host controller in a system, the QL201B can be implemented as a quick upgrade with minimal redesign.

Qpixel claims that systems based on its Main Profile H.264 codecs can store two to three times more content than what is achievable with MPEG-2, the most common compression format used today. With power consumption in the range of 200mW and mobile-DDR support, the QL201B allows OEMs to provide increased storage on portable consumer products for longer periods, according to Qpixel. In STBs, for example, the chip enables higher-efficiency PVR/DVR capability by effectively doubling the amount of content that can be stored.

Amiri said that Qpixel achieved a balance of features with the QL201B. These include low power, low bit rate and low cost, through the adoption of innovative algorithms that can more efficiently implement Main Profile H.264. The QL201B supports full D1 resolutions of 30fps with codec up to 720-by-480pixels. Advanced video preprocessing and enhanced encoder processing techniques bring additional quality improvements.

Qpixel said the QL201B is suited for such portable devices as digital cameras, camcorders and PMPs, as well as digital home applications. Citing various analyst firms, Qpixel said the total available market for H.264 encoding chips for those applications is projected to exceed $1 billion by 2010. "H.264 is the prime candidate for replacing MPEG-2 as the most commonly deployed compression standard," said Michelle Abraham, principal analyst at In-Stat Inc.

QL201B promises storage of improved video with no compromises on quality.

Qpixel said its chips have already been incorporated into several consumer products, including systems from Buffalo, a well-known Japan vendor.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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