Friday, March 16, 2012

Cisco buys NDS

Cisco Systems announced that it would be buying set-top box software maker the NDS Group for $5 billion in cash. NDS, founded in Israel in 1988 and now headquartered in London, focuses on seamless content streaming between different devices, as well as content protection security to combat piracy.

The firm already boasts media giants like British Sky Broadcasting and DirecTV as clients, as well as Sky Italia, and analysts believe the acquisition will boost Cisco’s Videoscape streaming platform and boost software revenue for the firm as its core networks business decreases.

The deal is likely to close by the end of 2012, after regulatory review, and NDS’s CEO Abe Peled will apparently transition to become a senior vice president and chief strategist for Cisco’s video and collaboration group.

Source: EEtimes.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Light & depth sensor

Samsung’s Advanced Institute of Technology has created what they claim is the first CMOS sensor that can collect both visible light data (which you’d use for a normal digital image) and depth data (like a Kinect). It’s accomplished by mixing in depth-sensing pixels with the RGB photosites normally found on such sensors.

The sensor, strictly speaking, doesn’t capture an RGB and depth image at the same time due to wavelength filter restrictions, but it can effectively time-share the available resources to make it appear as though that’s the case. It captures a 1920×720 color image and a 480×360 depth image.

Source: TechCrunch.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

VP8 scalable hardware encoder

WebM project released the fifth generation of the hardware encoder for VP8, internally known as “Evergreen”. In this release they focused on improving the real-time communication features and on optimizing the encoding speed and visual quality.

In particular, they have now enabled temporal and spatial scalability for VP8 video coding, a valuable feature for live streaming, multi-way video conferencing and security applications.

Reportedly, there are no companies offering ITU-T/MPEG SVC (scalable video coding) hardware encoders for chipset manufacturers at the moment. With this release, VP8 now offers scalable coding at the hardware level.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Qualcomm shows HEVC

Qualcomm demonstrated a preliminary version of HEVC (ITU-T/MPEG High Efficiency Video Coding) video on an Android tablet at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona.

In the demo, Qualcomm showed a side-by-side comparison of AVC and HEVC video on an Android tablet powered by a current-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor running at 1.5GHz. The video, showing race cars peeling around a track, played at a bit rate of 610 kilobits per second on HEVC compared to 1,183Kbps for AVC. The size of the video file itself was 3.10 MB for HEVC vs 6.01 MB for AVC. Each video had 800x480-pixel resolution.

Source: Cnet.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Quarterly TV report

DisplaySearch released the new Quarterly TV Design and Features Report. 

The report finds that North American consumers favor large, inexpensive TV sets with fewer features, unlike other regions. Chinese consumers are enthusiastic about richly-featured sets with 3D, LED backlighting and smart TV capabilities.

The report uniquely forecasts the prospects for DVB-T2 reception in TV. It finds that a critical mass of countries have now adopted or committed to DVB-T2. Shipments of DVB-T2-enabled sets are expected to grow from 3.4 million in 2011 to 64.7 million in 2015.

Source: Display Search.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

iPhone 3DUI

Apple Insider reports that Apple has shown interest in developing a new user interface for the iPhone that relies less on the device's touchscreen, and more on manipulating a 3D environment with motion controls.

Apple could remove the need to touch the screen entirely by using orientation data from onboard sensors to determine a "perspective projection of the 3D display environment." Examples of this kind of interaction can be seen with augmented reality applications, or using the gyroscope to view a location with Google Street View in the iOS Maps application.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

France Telecom sells Orange Switzerland

France Telecom SA agreed to sell its Orange Switzerland mobile-phone unit to buyout firm Apax Partners LLP for 1.6 billion euros ($2.1 billion), the first major step in Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard’s plan to unload slow-growing European operations.

France Telecom is shedding assets in Europe, where phone companies are vying for a shrinking pool of new customers amid tightening regulation, to embrace faster-growing markets in Africa and the Middle East.

France’s largest mobile operator is also in talks to sell its Orange Austria unit to Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., people familiar with the situation said in October, and is planning to exit Portugal.

Source: Businessweek.

Friday, December 23, 2011

27% of photos and videos now captured on smartphones

More than a quarter of photos and videos shot by individuals in the U.S. are now being captured by smartphones, according to an online survey of 3,300 Internet users ages 13 and up. Sales data suggest smartphones are replacing consumers’ need for low-end point-and-shoot cameras and camcorders.

The percentage of photos taken with a smartphone went from 17% to 27%, a 44% increase from the year previous, according to a survey conducted by NPD Group. Meanwhile, sales of point-and-shoot cameras dropped 17% in volume and 18% in revenue in the first 11 months of 2011. Individual sales of pocket camcorders dropped 13%, with a 10% decrease in revenue.

Source: Mashable Tech.