Green in: Better video and voice for devices

January 01, 2010

Green in: Better video and voice for devices

In our Deep Green Editor's Choice section, we look at technology helping design green into today's new products.

In our Deep Green Editor's Choice section, we look at technology helping design green into today's new products.

The consumer experience is suddenly being driven by much higher-quality video and audio capabilities in all kinds of devices, including mobile devices. During CES this month, several companies introduced products that bring more capability to mobile and home entertainment devices with lower power.

Full HD H.264 processors

Encoding or decoding a full 1920x1080p60 frame on-the-fly in 1 ms is a significant undertaking that requires a tuned architecture for proper execution. Cavium Networks released their latest PureVu video coprocessors to take on the full HD H.264 task in set-top boxes, home media distribution, video conferencing, and other applications.


Figure 1: Cavium Networks PureVu CNW5XXX block diagram




The CNW5XXX family combines a “super-low-latency” H.264 video processor with dual ARM11 MPCores at 500 MHz, a set of hardware accelerators including the Nitrox hardware crypto engine for needs like HDCP 2.0, and a 2D graphics engine for menus and overlays. Versions include dual-port encode/decode, single-port encode only, and single-port decode only Systems-on-Chip (SoCs). A high degree of integration helps reduce power consumption.

Cavium Networks
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In a Flash 10.1

It’s no news that Adobe Flash is the portable platform of choice for multimedia developers. With the backing of the Open Screen Project, the platform is quickly gaining momentum for use on mobile devices with the pending Flash Player 10.1 release. ARM announced their support for Flash Player 10.1 in October, and several other players publicized their support at CES.




Figure 2: Intro to the Open Screen Project




Freescale Semiconductor announced they are working with Adobe and Movial to optimize the experience for the ARM-based i.MX51 family. The i.MX51 implementation is picking up support for OpenGL/ES and H.264 cores for hardware acceleration of Flash-based content playback. This combines the full video experience Flash offers with the resource utilization and battery life mobile devices need.



Also at CES, MIPS Technologies revealed that they are building on support for a MIPS-optimized version of ActionScript and extending support through collaboration with Adobe on MIPS-based solutions. Additionally, Intel, Marvell, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments are working on chipset solutions as part of the Open Screen Project, along with a list of operating system providers, mobile phone designers, and major content developers.



Open Screen Project
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Noise suppression for phones

DSP technology is great at a lot of activities, one of which is extracting useful information from a bunch of noise. Sometimes, when you need to take or make a call on a mobile phone, the surrounding noise makes being heard on the other end difficult. DSP technology should be able to solve this, right?




Figure 3: Audience A1026




This is the job the Audience A1026 is designed to solve. Using third-generation voice processing technology and sophisticated Computational Auditory Scene Analysis to group and process complex mixtures of sound, the A1026 identifies the primary conversation and pulls it out of a noisy environment to enable clear calls. Audience claims a 30 percent power reduction from their previous products, meaning improved battery life with better audio performance.



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Don Dingee (Editorial Director)