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Double treat: Pentamicro's security boost

Posted: 02 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:H.264 multichannel codec? security market? interoperability in networked devices?

Kim: With the announcement of MultiStream II, H.264 will proliferate the security market next year.

The scope of the security market is not large, but it has been growing about 20-30 percent every year. Hence, the number of silicon players in this market is increasing, and the competition is becoming fiercer.

Pentamicro Inc. has recently introduced MultiStream II, which the company claims is the first multichannel H.264 codec targeted at Korea's security market. H.264 technology provides double compression rates compared with MPEG-4, boosts today's digital multimedia broadcasting, video-on-demand and IP STBs by enabling transfer of high-definition images through networks. However, the security industry has not taken advantage of this technology yet.

Kim Ki-Jin, Pentamicro's chief technology officer and director is optimistic, though. "With the announcement of MultiStream II, H.264 will proliferate the security market next year."

The company announced its first multichannel MPEG-4 codec intended for the security market in 2004. The MPEG-4 codec was a great contribution to the security marketmultichannel codec was close to being adopted as a standard. The new H.264 codec is an upgrade of the MPEG-4 codec and has been given a 2007 IT SoC award.

"So far, those who wanted to implement H.264 for security applications had to select chips developed for consumer market," Kim said. "But these chips intended for consumer apps only have single-channel function. Moreover, in order to implement a multichannel function, multiple codecs are required. Our chip, however, provides the multichannel function using only one chip."

The number of channels can be limited when implemented in software. Pentamicro implemented it in hardware. Dedicated hardware chip enables engineers to enhance performance and reduce development time compared with software. Moreover, it enables providers to easily support design changes and fix problems in the field.

The MultiStream II chip includes USB 2.0, PCI 2.2, Ethernet (MAC) and 216MHz ARM9 CPU, provides up to standard definition-level resolution at 16 channels and up to 50Mbit/s compression rates. Auxiliary functions such as CPU, USB and PCI networks are embedded in the SoC. Thus, with only memory and screen-split chip, you can configure a full security system, reducing the unit costs of security systems.

Double capacity
With H.264 in the security market, the required bandwidth can be reduced by 50 percent, enabling an increase in the number of channels. Instead of enhancing picture quality or increasing channels, the designer can opt to double the data storage capacity. For example, data storage that can record a weeklong content can have its storage capacity boosted to record content of two weeks without adding other storages with the technology. This leads to reduced investment costs on storage.

There is also a trend among products with networking function. As these devices become more popular, interoperability between devices becomes a key issue. The MultiStream II chip can operate well with other devices because of its backward compatibility with the six existing standards. The company expects volume production of these chips in the second half, and 1 million of these chips are expected to be sold every year.

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