Friday, December 18, 2009

Blu-Ray 3D finalized

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) yesterday announced the finalization and release of the “Blu-ray 3DTM specification. The specification, which represents the work of the leading Hollywood studios and consumer electronic and computer manufacturers, will enable the home entertainment industry to bring the 3D experience into consumers’ living rooms on Blu-ray Disc, the most capable high definition home entertainment platform.

The Blu-ray 3D specification calls for encoding 3D video using the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec, an extension to the ITU-T H.264 / MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players. MVC compresses both left and right eye views with a typical 50% overhead compared to equivalent 2D content, and can provide full 1080p resolution backward compatibility with current 2D Blu-ray Disc players. The specification also incorporates enhanced graphic features for 3D. These features provide a new experience for users, enabling navigation using 3D graphic menus and displaying 3D subtitles positioned in 3D video.

Source: Business Wire.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

3D subtitles placement

Subtitling has presented unique challenges for 3D because of concerns that eye-popping imagery could block out the words on screen. Yet Technicolor (a Thomson division) believes it has worked out a placement solution so 3D technology won’t interfere with subtitle use.

“On the replication side, it has been a pretty straight-forward process,” said Ahmad Ouri, chief marketing officer of Thomson/Technicolor. “We are using the same machines, and there are no major changes. We are developing new encoding, authoring and subtitling tools. We are building something new, and we want to be the first to deliver on all of these components. I have no doubt that in the first half of next year, our technology will be ready.”

The company’s 3D launch is dependent on the Blu-ray Disc Association finalizing its specification for the 3D Blu-ray format. The BDA is expected to announce this accomplishment in the next couple of weeks.

Source: Video Business.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NVIDIA demonstrates 3D Blu-ray playback

NVIDIA has been demonstrating a complete 3D movie solution to movie studios, press, and customers, consisting of a PC equipped with a GeForce® GPU and NVIDIA® 3D Vision(TM) active-shutter 3D glasses, as well as new 1080p, 3D LCD displays from Acer to showcase how consumers will experience this new 3D Blu-ray content once it is commercially available.

Over the last few weeks, NVIDIA has successfully demonstrated playback of 3D content encoded with the AVC Multi-View Codec (or AVC-MVC), the codec that is expected to become the foundation for how 3D content is encoded onto Blu-ray discs. 3D Blu-ray content encoded in AVC-MVC can be decoded in real time on select NVIDIA GPUs -- resulting in a home 3D experience that is equal to or better to what is offered in movie theaters today.

NVIDIA GPUs that can decode 3D Blu-ray content include the GeForce GT 240 ($99 U.S. MSRP), as well as upcoming next-generation GF100 GPUs based on the NVIDIA "Fermi" architecture. This will allow consumers to build desktop PCs powered by GeForce GPUs and NVIDIA 3D Vision active shutter glasses for under $1000 in total, making them the ideal platform for watching 3D Blu-ray movies, viewing 3D photographs, browsing 3D Web sites, or playing more than 400 PC game titles in 3D.

For more information about NVIDIA 3D Vision technology, please visit: www.nvidia.com/3DVision.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Worldwide Live Community Screening

Experience the first-ever worldwide Live Community Screening (LCS) exclusive to owners of the "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" Blu-ray Disc and hear star Daniel Radcliffe and director David Yates answer your questions during this live LCS on December 12th, 2009. Also be the first to see footage from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", featured on the Blu-ray and 2-Disc Special Editions of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", available on December 8th, 2009.

LCS initiatives using Blu-ray's Profile 2.0 internet connectivity have been tried by studios before, but this is the first to be available globally and with live audio. Previous linked screenings have been conducted via onscreen text messages.

Warner Bros. BD-Live community members who have registered and signed up will receive an emailed invitation to participate in the event. The first 100,000 members will secure a spot for the screening.

WB BD-Live registered users from the participating territories who own the Blu-ray Disc and have signed up for the BD-Live LCS event will be able to insert the disc, connect to WB BD-Live and logon to the LCS at this designated time to participate in this event.

Friday, November 20, 2009

HP to acquire 3Com

HP and 3Com Corporation today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which HP will purchase 3Com at a price of $7.90 per share in cash or an enterprise value of approximately $2.7 billion.

HP said the acquisition would expand its Ethernet switching offering, add routing solutions and strengthen its position in China. HP will also gain a foothold in the network security space through 3Coms TippingPoint brand.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Logitech to acquire LifeSize Communications

Logitech International announced that it has agreed to acquire privately held LifeSize Communications of Austin, Texas for $405 million in cash. LifeSize is a global leader in high definition (HD) video communication solutions, with more than 9,000 video conferencing customers across 80 countries in large enterprises, small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) and public healthcare, education and government organizations.

Logitech and LifeSize plan to pursue existing and new relationships with unified communications, collaboration and VoIP industry partners and competitors to drive the development of an open eco-system for interoperable video communication.

Read the press release and the comments on NY Times.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Disruptive impact of SVC on videoconference

In the report "H.264 SVC: A Technical Assessment" Wainhouse Research compares SVC (Scalable Video Coding) to the H.264 Baseline Profile used in traditional video-conferencing systems and conclude that SVC videoconferencing systems can:
  • Provide the ability to host video calls on lower cost, loss-prone IP networks, including the Internet, with equal or better quality than that of traditional systems
  • Support video calls between endpoints with widely varying processor power and network connection

  • Deliver much improved interactivity due to noticeable shorter delays on both point-to-point calls and multipoint calls between H.264 SVC-compliant systems

  • Support an impressive reduction in the cost of multipoint infrastructure hardware
Source: Marketwire.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

UHDTV market forecast

The recent In-Stat research "The Market Opportunity for Ultra-High Definition Video" covers the availability of ultra-high definition (7680 x 4320 and 3840 x 2160 pixels) TV units and the availability of ultra-high definition services around the world. In-Stat analysts found the following:
  • The rising popularity of high resolution digital cinema will expose consumers to high resolution content. Then, early UHDTVs will be made available to provide a digital cinema high resolution viewing experience in the home. Ultimately, broadcasters will start offering UHD content to an addressable market of UHDTVs between 2017 and 2022.

  • In-Stat expects the total installed base of UHDTVs Europe to approach 5% household penetration until 2021, and increase to over 28.2% penetration by 2025.

  • In Asia-Pacific, Japan will be among the early adopter countries.
Read the press release.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

U2ube

Millions of people are thought to have watched the U2's show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. on Sunday, October 25th -- the first concert to be streamed in its entirety live on the video sharing website YouTube.

LA Times reports: "U2's live broadcast Sunday night of the Pasadena stop on its 360 Tour generated 10 million streams across seven continents, according to a YouTube spokesman. What's more, since being archived on YouTube on Monday, the concert has tallied more than 1 million streams."

Watch the rebroadcast now on YouTube.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ST and ARM team up

STMicroelectronics and ARM today announced that ST has adopted the ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore™ processor, in addition to the Mali®-400 graphics processor, for its upcoming set-top-box and digital TV system-on-chip.

The Cortex-A9 MPCore processor provides ST with the scalable high performance required to enable the high-bandwidth broadband and broadcast content being streamed into homes, while significantly improving power efficiency when compared to alternative solutions. ST has also licensed the ARM Mali-400 MP multicore scalable graphics processing unit (GPU) technology to meet the growing demand for exciting new graphical user interfaces and the needs of increasingly sophisticated web-based services.

On October 21st, ST-Ericsson also announced a cooperation with ARM to accelerate the next step in mobile user experience and graphics innovation with the creation of a Mali technology-enabled development platform for content and application developers available via the ARM Mali Developer Center. The cooperation will speed up bringing consumers a better gaming experience in terms of high quality graphics, video and audio on their mobile devices.

Monday, October 26, 2009

H.264 (03/2009)

ITU-T Rec. H.264 version (03/2009) is now in force and freely available here.

This revision contains enhancement extensions to support multiview video coding (MVC), specification of a "Constrained Baseline Profile", and some miscellaneous corrections and clarifications.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Layar 3D Reality Browser

Layar 3D, the augmented reality browser platform, makes use of OpenGL, the accelerometer, the GPS and the compass of the phone. Developers can place 3D objects in their content layers based on coordinates. Objects can be optimized in size and orientation to create an immersive and realistic experience. The 3D capabilities support live downloading and rendering of 3D objects. Actions such as “open link” or “play music” can be assigned to 3D objects. Layar will launch 3D to the public in November together with the launch of version 3.0 of the Layar Reality Browser for Android.



Friday, October 23, 2009

YouTube's content identification

Digital Rapids -- leading provider of tools and solutions for bringing television, film and web content to wider audiences -- announced that the company is working with YouTube to integrate support for Content ID, YouTube's content identification and management system, directly into Digital Rapids' award-winning range of media production and repurposing systems.

YouTube's content identification tools compare existing and incoming user-uploaded videos, identifying the ownership of such content and taking the action specified by the owner's usage policies. Content owners can choose to block user-uploaded content, permit it on YouTube while simply tracking usage data, or monetize the uploaded media by running advertising against it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

ATSC approves mobile DTV

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) announced the approval of A/153 Mobile DTV Standard, which defines the technical specifications necessary for broadcasters to provide new services to mobile and handheld devices using digital television (DTV) transmissions.

ATSC Mobile DTV was developed to support a variety of services including free (advertiser-supported) television and interactive services delivered in real-time, subscription-based TV, and file-based content download for playback at a later time. The standard can also be used for transmission of new data broadcasting services.

ATSC Mobile DTV is built around a highly robust transmission system based on Vestigial Side Band (VSB) modulation, with enhanced error correction and other techniques to improve robustness and reduce power consumption in portable receivers, coupled with a flexible and extensible Internet Protocol (IP) based transport system, efficient MPEG AVC (ISO/IEC 14496-10 or ITU H.264) video, and HE AAC v2 audio (ISO/IEC 14496-3) coding. ATSC Mobile DTV services are carried in existing digital broadcast channels along with current DTV services without any adverse impact on legacy receiving equipment.

The draft version of A/153 specifications is available here. Note that Part 7 "Video System Characteristics" (pdf) includes the ITU-T/MPEG Scalable Video Coding technology.

Read the full press release.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

WD TV Live

Western Digital announced the launch of its new WD TV Live HD Media Player, an upgrade over the previous WD TV model, now adding Ethernet connectivity and digital theater sound to its extensive features. Available now for $149.99, the WD TV Live hopes to transform your television into a home media hub.

The concept remains the same: you plug the WD TV into a television set and any external hard drive. The WD TV is designed to take your media files from your external hard drive and play them on your TV. To that end, the WD TV Live is equipped with an HDMI port and a USB port. The device supports many different types of audio and video files and can play back HD video in full 1080p resolution.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cisco to acquire Tandberg

On October 1st, Cisco announced a definitive agreement to launch a recommended voluntary cash offer to acquire TANDBERG. TANDBERG, based in Oslo, Norway, and New York, is a leading provider of telepresence, high-definition videoconferencing and mobile video products and services. TANDBERG's leading video endpoints and network infrastructure solution will be integrated into Cisco's world-class collaboration architecture.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will commence a cash tender offer to purchase all the outstanding shares of TANDBERG for 153.5 Norwegian Kroner per share for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $3.0 billion. The acquisition is expected to close during the first half of 2010.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

HTTP video streaming

With the next version of its Flash Player client, Adobe Systems Inc. says it will finally allow media companies and service providers to stream Flash video without using its proprietary streaming protocol.

Adobe Flash Player 10.1 will support all the same live, on-demand, adaptive bit-rate, and DVR-like capabilities through HTTP that Adobe has built out to work with RTMP, its proprietary streaming protocol.

Microsoft cited scalability as one reason it chose to use HTTP video delivery for its Silverlight Smooth Streaming capabilities. And Akamai recently announced its HTTP-based HD Network, developing its own workaround to enable Flash streaming via HTTP, without Adobe's help.

Source: Contentinople.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

SVC and MVC transcoder from ViXS

ViXS Systems Inc. announced the new High Performance Single & Dual HD Transcoder/Encoder XCode 4100 Network Media Processor family. This family of media processors is the only single chip on the market having the ability to transcode two HD 1080i60 or two 1080p30 video streams simultaneously in real-time.

The transcoder engine also supports full 1080p60 MPEG-2, H.264 or VC-1 to 1080p60 MPEG-2 or H.264 transcoding. In addition the engine can support Scalable Video Coding (SVC) and Multi-view Video Coding (MVC) formats, providing product upgradability to work with the upcoming 1080p60 broadcasts and 3DTV stereoscopic broadcasts.

See the press release.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IDF 2009 (2): the CE4100 SoC

At IDF 2009 Intel Corporation unveiled the Atom CE4100, the newest System-on-Chip (SoC) in a family of media processors designed to bring Internet content and services to digital TVs, DVD players and advanced set-top boxes.

The CE4100 processor, formerly codenamed "Sodaville," is the first 45nm-manufactured consumer electronics (CE) SoC based on Intel architecture. It supports Internet and broadcast applications on one chip, and has the processing power and audio/video components necessary to run rich media applications such as 3-D graphics.

"The architecture of Intel media processors provides a powerful and innovative platform to showcase Flash-based applications in a vivid way," said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Platform Business Unit at Adobe. "Flash Player 10 combined with the performance of the Intel media processor and its support for standards such as OpenGL ES 2.0 offers a compelling environment for Flash-based games, videos and other rich Web content and applications." The companies expect Adobe Flash Player 10 to be available in the first half of 2010 for Intel media processor-based CE devices.

Intel CE media processors provide a full-featured software framework called Widget Channel for the development of Internet applications, or TV widgets. Broadcast networks such as CBS are expanding the gallery of TV widgets to help their viewers find and connect to premium content in a more personalized manner.

See the full press release.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

IDF 2009

The Intel Developer Forum has been held in San Francisco between September 22 and 24, 2009. All the Keynote and Briefing presentations are available at the IDF Pressroom. Here is the full program.

Day 1
  • Keynote: Paul Otellini - Building a Continuum of Computing
  • Keynote: Sean Maloney - Intel® Architecture Innovates and Integrates
  • Briefing: Steve Smith - Intel Roadmap Overview
  • Briefing: Mark Bohr - 22 nm SRAM Announcement
Day 2
  • Keynote: Dadi Perlmutter - Mobile Computing: The Definition of Cool
  • Keynote: Renee James - Developing for the Continuum of Intel Platforms
  • Briefing: Mooly Eden - Revolutionary, Intelligent Intel® Core™ i7 Processors - Coming Soon to a Laptop Near You
Day 3
  • Keynote: Eric Kim - The Architecture of CE Innovation
  • Keynote: Justin Rattner - Convergence is So Yesterday: The Future of Television

SVC honored by IEEE

The prestigious journal IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology awarded Heiko Schwarz, Detlev Marpe and Thomas Wiegand, of Fraunhofer HHI and the TU Berlin, the Best Paper Award for the most outstanding paper of the past two years in recognition of the Scalable Video Coding (SVC) extension of the H.264/AVC video coding standard.

The jury made special mention of the fact that the scientific work of the researchers was not merely documented in published papers but already in use by such leading companies as Cisco, Google and Hitachi.

The paper "Overview of the Scalable Video Coding Extension of the H.264/AVC Standard" is available here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

BDA on 3D

The Blu-Ray Disc Association announced it will complete the specs of 3D BD by the end of this year, followed by studios launching their first 3D discs in 2010.

BDA members made some decisions this week, notably regarding backward-compatibility requirements. Any produced 3D discs will include a 2D version of the film that can be viewed with existing Blu-ray Disc players. Additionally, 3D-capable Blu-ray players must be able to run existing 2D titles.

Coinciding with BDA’s 3D developments, Sony laid out plans for a 2010 line of stereoscopic 3D-enabled products, whereas Panasonic has already committed to its own line of advanced 3D TVs and Blu-ray players, also set to bow in 2010.

Source: Video Business.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Android goes HD

MIPS Technologies and Sigma Designs jointly developed an Android-based system displaying 1080p video on a full HD flat screen display. This HD video demonstration is a major milestone toward the creation of a reference platform for an Android-based set-top box, a goal that Sigma and MIPS have been jointly working toward with other members of the STB working group of the Open Embedded Software Foundation (OESF).

Ken Lowe, vice president of strategic marketing, Sigma Designs, declared "Support for Android is a priority on Sigma's roadmap as we enable our customers to quickly, easily and cost-effectively bring exciting new functionality to their next-generation of connected devices including DTVs, STBs and Blu-ray players."

The code is publicly available at www.mips.com/android.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Inexpensive OLED

Using a new double solvent approach, researchers from the RIKEN Center for Intellectual Property Strategies are able to create a better and less expensive OLED screen. Rather than using spin coated films as before, the dual-solvent concept makes electrospray-deposited films smoother than before. “Using this technology these devices could be manufactured as inexpensively as printing newspapers”, says Yutaka Yamagata.

Yamagata also notes that: “The advantage of using electrospray deposition is that we can fabricate both smooth films and nanostructured film using the same technology.” In the future he believes that this advantage “will also be useful in controlling the structure of organic semiconductor junctions for organic solar cells.”

Friday, August 28, 2009

3D Media Workshop

The 3D Media Workshop will be held at Fraunhofer HHI, Berlin between 15 and 16 October 2009.

It will provide an international forum to discuss and give guidance to future research, standardisation and development activities of 3D, bringing together production and post production companies, multimedia content providers, broadcast operators, regulators, manufacturers, and R&D organizations.

Topics to be presented and discussed cover the complete chain of 3D production to 3D displays for 3D cinema, (mobile) 3DTV, 3D games, and other immersive applications around 3D content.

The Workshop programme is now online.

Major studios sign deals for online videos

Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures and Lionsgate will begin offering the first movie downloads that can be burned to disc using virtually any DVD or Blu-ray Disc burner for playback on a broad range of devices already in millions of consumer homes.

The four studios will offer the downloads through under-the-radar online movie service Film Fresh, which inked the first U.S. movie delivery deal with DivX, maker of a popular video format supported by millions of DVD players, Blu-ray players, TVs, mobile phones, the PlayStation 3 and other devices from the biggest consumer electronics brands, including LG, Samsung and Sony.

DivX has its own built-in copy protection so films can only be played back on certified DivX devices that a consumer registers for their downloads. Film Fresh will allow consumers to make an unlimited number of copies of movies in the Divx format for playback on registered devices.

Read the full story on Video Business and the press release on DivX website.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Avatar Day

August 21 was the Avatar Day, as 20th Century Fox launched the first "extended look" to the new, long awaited James Cameron's movie, filmed with an innovative 3D technology developed by the famous director.

AVATAR takes us to a spectacular new world beyond our imagination, where a reluctant hero embarks on a journey of redemption, discovery and unexpected love, as he leads a heroic battle to save a civilization. The film was first conceived by Cameron 14 years ago, when the means to realize his vision did not yet exist. Now, after four years of actual production work, AVATAR delivers a fully immersive cinematic experience of a new kind, where the revolutionary technology invented to make the film, disappears into the emotion of the characters and the sweep of the story.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sony 3D Blu-Ray in 2010

CNET Australia reports that Yoshinami Takahashi, deputy senior general manager, Home Entertainment Group, Sony Corporation, confirmed that 3D Blu-Ray discs and players would most likely hit the market in October or November of 2010.

Takahashi conceded that shorter-length content was more suited to the technology. As many viewers suffer from headaches and nausea watching full length movies in 3D, documentaries and animated shorts would probably be in greater demand.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fully Networked Car workshop 2010

ITU, ISO and IEC are organizing the 5th edition of The Fully Networked Car workshop (FNC-2010), which focuses on information and communication technologies (ICT) in motor vehicles, bringing together specialists in the field of ICT in cars, from top decision makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials and regulators.

Information relating to the workshop is available on the ITU-T website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sky to launch 3D TV in 2010

On July 30, Sky announced that it will launch the UK’s first 3D channel next year. The channel will offer a broad selection of the best available 3D programming, which is expected to include movies, entertainment and sport.

The service will be broadcast across Sky’s existing HD infrastructure and be available via the current generation of SkyHD set-top boxes. To watch 3D, customers will also require a new '3D Ready' TV, which are expected to be on sale in the UK next year.

Google to acquire On2 Technologies

On2 Technologies, Inc. and Google Inc. jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Google will acquire On2, a leading developer of the VP video compression technology.

VP6 has established itself as the de facto Internet video standard through its inclusion in Adobe Flash Player and JavaFX. Hundreds of web video portals, user generated content, and social networking sites use VP6-based Flash for hundreds of millions of users worldwide. VP8 is reportedly able to outperform the industry-leading H.264/AVC video compresison standard.

Under the terms of the agreement, each outstanding share of On2 common stock will be converted into $0.60 worth of Google class A common stock in a stock-for-stock transaction. The transaction is valued at approximately $106.5 million. The transaction, which is subject to On2 stockholder approval, regulatory clearances and other closing conditions, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Monday, August 10, 2009

FP7-ICT-2009-5

The 5th call for proposals of the European 7th Framework Programme on Information and Communication Technologies has been launched on 30 July 2009 and will close on 26 October 2009 at 17:00 (Brussels local time). This call has a total budget of € 732 000 000.

More details at the CORDIS page.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

YouTube 3D experiments

TechCrunch reports that YouTube is currently experimenting with 3D videos. To have a demonstration click on this link, then you will be able to see a video and to select the "3D viewing style" you prefer.

EU digital dividend consultation

In a consultation document recently published and available at this link, the European Commission says consumers have high expectations for the future development of broadcasting, such as increased choice, high definition, and mobile television and broadband. To achieve this the Commission is proposing that all DTT receivers sold after January 1, 2012 should at least be as efficient as the current H.264/MPEG-4 AVC standard. The Commission believes that this measure would generate a critical mass of high quality TV equipment in Europe, in advance of the deployment of the related network infrastructure that will make full use of this increased transmission capacity. Taking into account an average renewal time frame for set-top boxes and TV sets of 5 to 8 years, such a coordinated move would also alleviate the typical "chicken and egg" issue that is encountered when Member States are migrating from the first generation of digital broadcasting networks to a more advanced one.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

LED backlight leads the way

Declarations of Bob Scaglione, Senior VP of Marketing at Sharp:

"We believe LED is the future," Scaglione said. "We have very aggressive plans to integrate LEDs (light-emitting diodes) in our entire HDTV product line. Sharp plans to be 100 percent LED. By 2011, the entire Sharp product line will feature LED-backlit displays."

"OLED is something we're watching very carefully," Scaglione said. "Although it won't be affordable for at least 5 to 10 years from now, all of the displays showing off the technology are beautiful. But based on price, it's prohibitive. OLED has an opportunity to be a contender, but for the foreseeable future, it's LCD with an LED backlight that will lead the way."

Read the full story on CNET.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Silverlight Smooth Streaming

The new version 3 of Microsoft Silverlight is already available, earlier than expected. Silverlight 3 introduces major media enhancements like out of browser support allowing Web applications to work on the desktop; significant graphics improvements including perspective 3D graphics support, GPU acceleration and H.264 video support and many features to improve development productivity.

One of the most interesting new features is the Smooth Streaming technology (see a demo here) which dynamically detects and seamlessly switches, in real time, the video quality of a media file delivered to Silverlight based on local bandwidth and CPU conditions. This provides support for Live and on-demand true HD (720p+) streaming.

The technical overview tells the following:
IIS Smooth Streaming uses the MPEG-4 Part 14 (ISO/IEC 14496-12) file format as its disk (storage) and wire (transport) format. Specifically, the Smooth Streaming specification defines each chunk/GOP as an MPEG-4 Movie Fragment and stores it within a contiguous MP4 file for easy random access. One MP4 file is expected for each bit rate. When a client requests a specific source time segment from the IIS Web server, the server dynamically finds the appropriate Movie Fragment box within the contiguous MP4 file and sends it over the wire as a standalone file, thus ensuring full cacheability downstream. In other words, with Smooth Streaming, file chunks are created virtually upon client request, but the actual video is stored on disk as a single full-length file per encoded bit rate. This offers tremendous file-management benefits.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

EBU technical review 2009-Q2

The new EBU Technical Review 2009-Q2 is available. The articles in this edition are:
  • Editorial : Innovation - a core activity of public service media organizations
  • DAB+ ... the Australian experience
  • Implementing receiver profiles - the evolution of modules for digital radio
  • TV displays - a progress report
  • Display measurement - a simple approach to small-area luminance uniformity testing
  • Why broadcasters should care about home networking

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

21:9

The Philips new Cinema 21:9 TV (2.39:1 aspect ratio) matches the original movie format used by directors, so you get no black bars or picture loss, just movies the way the director intended them to be seen! See a demo here.

Basic product specifications are as follows
  • Aspect ratio 2.39:1, 21:9
  • Brightness 500 cd/m²
  • Dynamic screen contrast 80,000:1
  • Response time (typical) 1 (BEW equiv.) ms
  • Viewing angle 176º (H)/176º (V)
  • Diagonal screen size (inch) 56 inch
  • Diagonal screen size (metric) 142 cm
  • Display screen type LCD Full HD UW-UXGA Act.matrix
  • Panel resolution 2560 x 1080p

GIPS announces H.264 SVC integration

Global IP Solutions, a leading provider of IP multimedia processing solutions, announced support for a Scalable Video Coding (SVC) implementation integrated inside GIPS video engines, which allows incredible video quality using the minimal bandwidth by adapting to each user's available capacity.

Using GIPS VideoEngine products with H.264 SVC, multi-party video conferencing can now allow different users to take part according to their bandwidth without downgrading any other participant's experience. In addition peer-to-peer video calls have greatly improved error resilience.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kodachrome retirement

The Eastman Kodak Company announced it would retire Kodachrome, its oldest film stock, because of declining customer demand in a digital age. The company, which is based in Rochester, now gets about 70 percent of its revenue from its digital business, but plans to stay in the film business as far into the future as possible.

Friday, June 19, 2009

DVB Internet TV questionnaire

The DVB Project recently initiated a study mission on Internet TV Content Delivery to investigate technology options to deliver DVB-type content over the Internet to a large number of CE devices (including game consoles), PCs or mobile devices. The study mission focuses on content delivery, but other functions such as codecs, security, or metadata are also considered.

To address these objectives, the study mission starts with a questionnaire to collect information on existing technologies in the respective area. DVB members and non-DVB members alike are encouraged to respond to the questionnaire.

You can find the questionnaire at this link.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

HD TV channel and streaming service

Lionsgate, Paramount, and MGM have joined forces to launch Epix, an HD television channel and accompanying online 720p streaming service.

The Epix TV network will air movies that are in the "pay-TV" window, those weeks before a film appears on DVD in which it is available on pay-per-view or HBO, among others.

Epix viewers can access the same material online, on demand, at Epixhd.com. The video is offered through Flash and is multi-bitrate enabled; the player checks the available bandwidth every ten seconds to see if a larger or smaller stream is required. Epix currently creates six different encodings of each film which range from HD 720p support all the way down to 500Kbps (cell phone quality).

Source: ars technica.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

GPU acceleration for Flash

NVIDIA and Adobe Systems recently announced that they are collaborating as part of the Open Screen Project to optimize and enable Adobe Flash Player, a key component of the Adobe Flash Platform, to leverage GPU video and graphics acceleration on a wide range of mobile Internet devices, including netbooks, tablets, mobile phones and other on-the-go media devices.

NVIDIA is also participating in the Open Screen Project, a broad initiative of 25 industry leaders to deliver a consistent runtime environment across devices. Led by Adobe, the Open Screen Project is dedicated to enable Web content and standalone applications across desktops, netbooks, mobile devices, televisions, and other consumer electronics that take advantage of Adobe Flash Platform capabilities.

For more information, visit www.openscreenproject.org.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

No controller required

Microsoft introduced a prototype camera that can be used as a controller for the Xbox 360. Codenamed “Project Natal” the camera eliminates the need for a hand-held input device — instead, the camera can track a player’s full body movement, recognize their face and voice, scan images of real items and respond to both physical and vocal commands. Microsoft also debuted 10 exclusive new games and several additions to the Xbox Live online service.



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nokia's MVC open software

Nokia announced open availability of its MVC source code implementing H.264/MPEG-4 MVC, a leading multi-view video coding standard created jointly by the Telecommunication Standardization Sector of ITU and the Moving Picture Experts Group, MPEG of ISO/IEC. The source code is fully optimized for different uses in mobile devices and includes a player for the Maemo environment, making it easy for developers to take full advantage of the source code in an open, expandable ecosystem.

The software is available for download at http://research.nokia.com/research/mobile3D. The implementation has also been showcased at Nokia World 2008 using a modified Nokia N800 device with an integrated auto-stereoscopic display for natural real-time 3D video playback.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Backside Illumination Technology

OmniVision Technologies, Inc., the largest CMOS image sensor manufacturer today, believes it has found an answer to the sensor shrinkage problem in a novel design that adopts backside illumination (BSI) technology.

Together with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC), OmniVision developed "process tweaks" that allow OmniVision to offer a CMOS sensor with improved image quality while extending its pixel roadmap down to 0.9 micron pixels, according to the company.

OmniVision said that it's ready to start sampling next month an 8-Megapixel product using the new BSI-based sensor design called OmniBSI.

Source: EETimes.

VideoCall MyPresence

MyPresence is a desktop conferencing service that provides for high-quality, low-latency, highly resilient, broad-based deployments over general-purpose networks.

MyPresence is built on technology designed to take advantage of Scalable Video Coding (SVC), which is the key to proving high quality, highly reliable and highly scalable videoconferencing over public and converged IP networks.

Client software encodes SD (up to 30 FPS) and decodes up to HD (up to 30 FPS) on an Intel Core 2 Duo and is currently available from less than £5 per user per week.

MyPresence is powered by Vidyo.

Monday, May 11, 2009

MPEGIF to expand its activities

The MPEG Industry Forum (MPEGIF) announced that it will expand its scope of activities.

The key activities of MPEGIF are structured via three main working groups:
  1. Technology & Engineering
  2. Interoperability & Compliance
  3. Marketing & Communication

The following topics are specific areas of focus for the MPEGIF throughout 2009 and 2010. New, additional work items will be added as and when required.
  • MPEG-4/Scalable Video Coding (SVC)
  • 3DTV
  • Addressable Advertising: extension and adoption of cable Labs SCTE -104 for all multimedia
  • Simplifying competitive licensing
  • Quality of Experience / Quality of Service metrics
  • Royalty free DRM initiatives
  • IPTV ecosystem
  • Ultra HD (7680x4320)
  • MPEG/High-Performance Video Coding (HVC, H.265)
  • MPEG-7 / MPEG-21

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Zunavision

Zunavision was born out of the artificial intelligence lab at Stanford University by three researchers and an Assistant Professor, and what they’ve come up with is technology that enables video publishers - from amateurs who produce content for fun to professionals - to insert image and video advertising units into clips. It is product placment for online video.

This is how it works: an algorithm first analyzes the video, subsequently alters different aspects of embedded images or videos (such as the lighting, color and texture), and then attempts to fit the advertising into the physical space of their videos without appearing like a blatant overlay. Watch the video below for some example results.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Matrox H.264 acceleration

Matrox MAX is a unique technology that implements faster than realtime H.264 encoding for resolutions ranging from iPod to HD.

It uses a dedicated hardware processor to accelerate the creation of H.264 files for Blu-ray, the web, and mobile devices. By using specialized hardware acceleration, jobs are finished with amazing speed and system resources are liberated for other tasks.

Quality and flexibility are ensured through direct integration with professional applications such as Apple Compressor on the Mac and Adobe Media Encoder on the PC. As an added benefit, the Matrox MAX technology allows direct export to higher-quality H.264 Blu-ray compliant files from Compressor.

Matrox CompressHD is the first implementation of Matrox MAX technology in an H.264 accelerator card.

World's first 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264/AVC

ATEME, a leader in AVC/H.264 video compression solutions, is launching the world's first 10-bit 4:2:2 AVC/H.264 solution at NAB 2009, offering broadcasters and content owners native video quality transmission with increased capacity and lower transmission costs.

Pierre Larbier, Chief Technology Officer at ATEME, commented: "With our 10-bit 4:2:2 solution, HD content can be compressed to just 30Mbps - compared to 50-60Mbps with current MPEG-2 solutions - offering 2 HD streams over DVB-S2 link rather than just one, and with improved quality. Ironically 10-bit 4:2:2 solution when applied to H.264 offers greater bandwidth efficiency than 8 bits. It is also a 'one technology fits all' situation as it offers native source quality throughout the multi-generation process chain, offering true HD and digital cinema quality even when bandwidth is not constrained."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Radvision brings SVC to conferencing

Radvision announced plans for the implementation of scalable video coding technology based on H.264 SVC to its SCOPIA conferencing platform during 2009.

SVC technology allows video conferencing devices to send and receive multi-layered video streams composed of a small base layer and optional additional layers that enhance resolution, frame rate and quality. The layering capability of scalable coding provides a dramatically higher degree of error resiliency and video quality than can be provided by conventional video coding without a significant increase in bandwidth requirements. Additionally, a single multi-layer SVC video stream can support a broad range of devices and networks.

Go to this page for further details and to see an online interactive demo of the superior error resiliency provided by SVC.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Flash platform to digital home

Adobe announced the extension of the Flash Platform to connected digital home devices with an optimized implementation of Flash technology that delivers high definition (HD) video and rich applications to Internet-connected televisions, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and other devices in the digital living room.

Major System on Chips (SoC) vendors, OEMs, cable operators and content providers including Atlantic Records, Broadcom, Comcast, Disney Interactive Media Group, Intel, Netflix, STMicroelectronics, The New York Times Company, NXP Semiconductors, Sigma Designs, and others announced support for the optimized Flash technology today.

The Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home is available immediately to OEMs and the first devices and SoC platforms with support for the optimized Flash technology are expected to ship in the second half of 2009.

Delivering Flash technology to the digital home builds on the vision of the Open Screen Project, a broad industry initiative to deliver a consistent runtime environment across devices. Announced in May 2008, the initiative is dedicated to enabling Web content and standalone applications across televisions, desktops, mobile devices and other consumer electronics that take advantage of capabilities of the Adobe Flash Platform. For more information, visit www.openscreenproject.org .

Vanguard showcases SVC IP

Vanguard Software Solutions, Inc., an established video coding supplier, will showcase its latest H.264 technology at NAB 2009 trade show in Las Vegas, NV. Included are: support for Panasonic AVC-Intra and H.264 CABAC IP Cores for FPGA and custom ASICs; Real-Time AVC TRANSCODING required in Internet/Web Video Casting and H.264 SVC support required in video communications markets.

“H.264 SVC is fast becoming a requirement in video communication products and is likely to be adopted by broadcasters in the near future. VSOFTS is ready to provide SVC enabled solutions for x86 and many embedded systems” said VSOFTS President, Irena Terterov.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pirate Bay found guilty

The four co-founders of website The Pirate Bay have been found guilty of assisting the distribution of illegal content online by a Swedish court today and have been sentenced to a year in jail and a $3.6m fine.

The trial began on 16 February in Stockholm district court, when the four co-founders of The Pirate Bay - Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl Lundstrom and Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi - were put in the dock on charges of assisting copyright infringement. All four have pledged to appeal against the decision though the process may take several years.

Charges against the site, which allows web users to access music, movies and TV shows without paying for them and claimed 22 million users during February, were brought by a consortium of media, film and music companies led by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

Source: The Guardian.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

SMPTE report on 3D to the Home

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) said it will define a single mastering standard for viewing on TVs, PCs and mobile phones stereo 3-D content that could come from optical disks, broadcast networks or the Internet.

Responding to a task force report released Monday (April 13), a SMPTE executive said the group will kick off a standards effort this summer with the aim of finishing the specs within a year. The SMPTE task force recommended a mastering standard based on 1920x1080 pixel resolution at 60 frames/second/eye. It said the spec should support an option for falling back to a 2-D image. It also said the standard should support hybrid products, such as Blu-ray disks that can support either 2D or stereo 3-D displays. The report is available at the SMPTE store for a fee of $20.

Other organizations including the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) are working on their own 3DTV standards in parallel with the SMPTE effort. The first step for CEA will be to upgrade the interconnect standard at the heart of the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) to make sure it is ready to carry stereo 3-D data.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

IPTV subscription soars

IPTV subscriptions in Western Europe soared last year despite the economic downturn, with 45% growth between December 2007 and December 2008.

Of all the European markets, France had the widest adoption of IPTV with growth of 23% year on year to 5.7 million, more than half of all subscribers in Western Europe (10.3 millions total).

There have been a couple of IPTV service closures. Volny IPTV in the Czech Republic and Tiscali IPTV in Italy have both closed TV operations recently. Both failed to grow in the face of strong competition in their respective markets. But these examples are very much exceptions to an overall picture of steady growth in most markets.

The figures come from a report written by analysts Point Topic for the Broadband TV forum.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

BBC launches mobile live TV beta

The BBC has debuted its 24-hour live television streaming website for mobile devices. The service currently has eight channels, including five general news streams, one BBC Parliament stream, and CBBC and CBeebies children's programming.

The video displays at 176 x 144 pixels on WiFi-enabled devices. The service will not work over-the-air, and it is only available for U.K. residents. Users can see the streaming video service by visiting http://www.bbc.co.uk/mobile/live/tv/.

The news organization has also launched its BBC Mobile homepage, which gives users customization options such as a WAP version, the choice of more images and graphics, or the full-desktop version of the website. Users can view the news site at bbc.co.uk/mobile.

Source: MobileBurn.

ITU-T on Distributed Computing

ITU-T has just released a new Technology Watch report which examines "Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds".

Expanding communication networks, combined with the growth of affordable broadband in developed countries, has enabled organizations to share their computational resources. What originally started as grid computing, temporarily using remote supercomputers or clusters of mainframes to address scientific problems too large or too complex to be solved on in-house infrastructures, has evolved into service-oriented business models that offer physical and virtual resources on a pay as you go basis – as an alternative to often idle, in-house data centers and stringent license agreements.

The report describes the advent of these new forms of distributed computing, notably grid and cloud computing, the applications that they enable, and their potential impact on future standardization.

"Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds" is freely available to download at http://www.itu.int/oth/T2301000009/en.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Philips 3D Solutions discontinued

As reported by Display Daily, executives in Philips corporate offices have decided to stop operations at Philips 3D Solutions, an incubator business it has been funding for some time.

CEO Jos Swillens declared "Philips has been marketing its leading no-glasses based 3D technologies through a pro-active approach for a long time, because it believes that over time, no-glasses based 3D TVs will bring the ultimate 3D experience to the home. Unfortunately, the current market developments no longer justify such a pro-active approach. As a consequence of this, Philips has decided to scale down its investments in this area. In practice, this means that the 3D Solutions venture will be discontinued".

However, since the 3D Solutions group was not part of Philips Consumer Lifestyle group, which is responsible for consumer TVs, this group is still free to evaluate 3D technologies for use by Philips.

Friday, April 3, 2009

ESA conducting studies on SVC

The Telecommunications and Integrated Applications (TIA) directorate of the European Space Agency (ESA) is conducting a 12-months study on “Scalable Video Coding Applications and Technologies for mobile satellite based hybrid networks”.

The activity shall investigate the viability of integrating Scalable Video Coding (SVC) technologies over DVB-SH networks and disseminate its findings to relevant fora (e.g. DVB TM–SSP, DVB TM–CBMS, or DVB TM–AVC). Partners of the project are Nomor Research GmbH, Fraunhofer HHI, Fraunhofer IIS and Eutelsat S.A.

The individual study objectives may be summarized as follows:

  • To gain insight on the benefits of state-of-the-art Scalable Video Coding (SVC), in a Mobile TV context,
  • To analyze the DVB-SH specifications with regards to supporting SVC,
  • To provide methods for estimating the gains offered by SVC with respect to H.264/AVC,
  • To verify these methods by way of system simulations (to be set-up in the study) of selected DVB-SH use cases (to be identified in the study),
  • To benchmark DVB-SH against other bearer technologies for Mobile TV that exploit SVC-based or non-SVC-based scalable video coding schemes, using public descriptions/results available for these other bearer technologies,
  • If necessary, to influence the SVC standardisation process in DVB (TM-AVC), in coordination with other stakeholders within and outside TM-SSP,
  • To provide recommendation for future work, using the tools developed.
Go to the project webpage.

eInfochips launches SVC codec for TI DSP

eInfochips, Inc., a leading IP driven product development services company, has extended its offerings in the video domain by introducing two high definition (HD) video codecs targeted for the entire embedded video design market.

The codecs, which run on Texas Instruments (TI) digital media processors based on DaVinci (TM) technology, support encode of live HD video up to 1080p and includes H.264 Base-Profile AVC (Advanced Video Codec) and H.264 SVC (Scalable Video Codec).

The H.264 AVC is currently available from eInfochips as a highly optimized DSP-Library based on TI's digital video evaluation module (DVEVM) and eInfochips' DVPB-HD Board. The H.264 SVC is currently available as an optimized C-Library, and will be available as an optimized DSP-Library starting May 2009.

Read the full story.

ATSC considering SVC for mobile DTV

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC - the North-American equivalent of the European DVB) is currently considering Scalable Video Coding (SVC) as a candidate standard for mobile digital television.

More details on Christian Timmerer's blog on Multimedia Communication.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hitachi unveils 3D mobile phone

Japanese cell phone manufacturer KDDI has teamed up with Hitachi for the new WOOO Ketai H001 phone, whose main feature is the display enabling 3D visualization for photos and video playback. Ketai H001’s LCD has a 3 inch diagonal, uses the IPS Technology and supports a 854 x 480 resolution. Pricing has not been announced but the handset is due to hit the Asian market this spring.

You can find totally incomprehensible (at least for me) japanese information here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Satellite live 3D-HD

Sat Expo Europe is an event dedicated to satellite applications and technology. At the Exhibition it will be possible to take part in the 3D-HD stereo shooting of a musical group that will perform on a set created specially for the occasion.

It will be a real concert that will integrally reproduce the conditions of a live event, and it will be shot using the stereoscopic technology elaborated by DBW communication and the contents will be transmitted via satellite with the technology activated by Open-sky.

For the demonstration the ATLANTIC BIRD™ 3 satellite by Eutelsat will be used and the contents will be received in the nearby conference pavilion, where the last supply chain ring will be completed, namely the three-dimensional projection in a film theatre that can be accessed by the public and which is equipped for this exclusive event.

See the press release.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

YouTube blocked in China

The New York Times reported that, according to Google, YouTube video-sharing Web site had been blocked in China. The instant speculation is that YouTube is being blocked because the Tibetan government in exile released a "particular video".

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Economy hurts 3D

Today from IMDb News:
DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, who, only a year ago, was forecasting that the animated Monsters vs. Aliens would open in around 5,000 theaters in 3D -- and had reduced that number by half only last month -- has now concluded that fewer than 2,000 theaters will be capable of showing it in 3D when it opens on Friday. In an interview with the Associated Press in Hong Kong, where the movie is about to have its premiere, Katzenberg pointed out that it costs about $100,000 to install 3D digital projection equipment in a theater. The problem is, he observed, "it's harder to get financing right now." He estimated that only about 15-20 percent of theaters that will be showing the movie when it opens on Friday are 3D compatible.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Silverlight 3 Beta

Microsoft Silverlight 3 Beta was unveiled at MIX09. New features include:
  • Live and on-demand true HD (720p+) Smooth Streaming. IIS Media Services (formerly IIS Media Pack), an integrated HTTP media delivery platform, features Smooth Streaming which dynamically detects and seamlessly switches, in real time, the video quality of a media file delivered to Silverlight based on local bandwidth and CPU conditions.
  • More format choice. In addition to native support for VC-1/WMA, Silverlight 3 now offers users native support for MPEG-4-based H.264/AAC Audio, enabling content distributors to deliver high-quality content to a wide variety of computers and devices.
  • True HD playback in full-screen. Leveraging graphics processor unit (GPU) hardware acceleration, Silverlight experiences can now be delivered in true full-screen HD (720p+).
  • Extensible media format support. With the new Raw AV pipeline, Silverlight can easily support a wide variety of third-party codecs. Audio and video can be decoded outside the runtime and rendered in Silverlight, extending format support beyond the native codecs.
  • Industry leading content protection. Silverlight DRM, Powered by PlayReady Content Protection enables protected in-browser experiences using AES encryption or Windows Media DRM.
It is interesting to know that YouTube is now using Silverlight for live video and audio streaming, as you can see here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Towards Real Virtuality

Towards Real Virtuality is a research cluster founded by EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the UK Government's leading funding agency for research and training in engineering and the physical sciences), which supports a year of activities (April 08 – Mar 09) to determine what is the state-of-the-art in the world with regard to capture/model – store/transmit – deliver the real world the "real virtuality" solution.

The cluster will enable effective collaboration between leading researchers and industry concerned with all aspects of stimuli presentation in respect of each of the five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) including cross-modal effects.

With this knowledge, they will be putting together a blue-print to develop over several years a novel multi-sensory “virtual cocoon” which will deliver real-world experiences to you in the comfort of your home.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

SVC selected by Teliris and Kamakura

On March 5, 2009, Vidyo, the first company to deliver video conferencing solutions and technology built upon the most recent video compression standard H.264/SVC, announced that Teliris, a leading provider of immersive telepresence solutions, has licensed VidyoTechnology™ to enhance select elements of its product portfolio.

On the same day, Vidyo also announced that Kamakura Corporation, a leading provider of risk management information, processing and software, selected VidyoConferencing™ as a key component of the company´s communications with its global clients. Founded in 1990, Kamakura has been a provider of daily default probabilities and default correlations for listed companies since November 2002.

In addition to this news, Vidyo has also issued the announcement Vidyo Secures $15 Million to Expand Leadership.

Monday, March 9, 2009

EBU Best of 2008

EBU Technical Review has just published the "Best of 2008" edition, containing six of the best articles from 2008:

  • "Evolution of the BBC iPlayer", by Anthony Rose (Controller, Vision and Online Media Group, BBC)

  • "Open source Handhelds – a broadcaster-led innovation for BTH services", by François Lefebvre (Project Leader), Jean-Michel Bouffard and Pascal Charest (Communications Research Centre, Canada)

  • "SVC – a highly-scalable version of H.264/AVC", by Adi Kouadio (EBU Technical); Maryline Clare and Ludovic Noblet (Orange Labs, France Telecom R&D); Vincent Bottreau (Thomson Corporate Research)

  • "HDTV production codec test", by Massimo Visca (RAI) and Hans Hoffmann (EBU Technical), EBU Project Group P/HDTP

  • "EBU P2P media portal", by Franc Kozamernik (EBU Technical)

  • "Streaming audio contributions over IP – a new EBU standard", by Lars Jonsson (Swedish Radio) and Mathias Coinchon (EBU Technical)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hindawi open access publications

Hindawi is a rapidly growing academic publisher with more than one hundred open access journals covering all major areas of science, technology, and medicine, and a book publishing program that spans all scholarly disciplines.

Some interesting Hindawi publications on Multimedia subjects are:
  • Advances in Multimedia (link)
  • EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing (link)
  • EURASIP Journal on Image and Video Processing (link)
  • Journal on Computer Systems, Networks and Communications (link)

Monday, March 2, 2009

WD TV media player

The Western Digital's WD TV is an HD media player that, combined with an USB hard-drive or memory stick (sold separately) allows to play movies, songs or view photos on the home TV.

Two USB ports on the player let you connect two USB storage devices and access them simultaneously, whereas the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port lets you connect to the highest quality HDTV or home theater. Additional composite (RCA) outputs ensure compatibility with virtually all television sets.

The WD TV supports basically all the multimedia formats that you may need:
  • Music: MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV/PCM/LPCM, AAC, FLAC, Dolby Digital, AIF/AIFF, MKA
  • Photo: JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG
  • Video: MPEG1/2/4, WMV9, AVI (MPEG4, Xvid, AVC), H.264, MKV, MOV (MPEG4, H.264), MTS, TP, TS.
MPEG2/4, H.264 and WMV9 formats support up to 1920x1080p 24fps, 1920x1080i 30fps, 1280x720p 60fps resolution.

The WD TV, launched during 2008, is sold is at the very interesting price of ~
100 Euros (130$), which makes it a very appealing product in my opinion. Of course you have to add the price of an USB external hard drive, like in particular the Western Digital's My Passport series, but portable HDD's are becoming cheaper and cheaper day after day.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Philips 3D WOWvx video spot

GreenDrive GPS

GreenDrive is a GPS application developed by Road-Guard that works by suggesting the most economical driving style to the driver. When you’re too slow or too fast it’ll tell you to speed up or break so you’re always driving close to the optimal speed for fuel efficiency.

With GreenDrive’s patented "Horizon Prediction" technology, drivers not only achieve real fuel savings (reportedly up to 15-25%), but they also do their bit for the environment, reducing traffic pollution emissions and producing less CO2.

GreenDrive can be installed on GPS navigation devices or GPS powered cell phones.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision

A combination of high-tech wireless glasses and advanced software, GeForce 3D Vision automatically transforms hundreds of PC games into full stereoscopic 3D.

Just slip on the stylish glasses and pair them with an NVIDIA GeForce GPU and a "GeForce 3D Vision-Ready" display to experience characters and environments come to life on the screen.

In addition, you can watch 3D movies and 3D digital photographs in eye popping, crystal-clear quality.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Multimedia Grand Challenge

What problems do Google, Yahoo, HP, Radvision, CeWe, Nokia and other companies see in the future of multimedia?

The Multimedia Grand Challenge is a set of problems and issues from these (and other) industry leaders, geared to engage the Multimedia research community in solving relevant, interesting and challenging questions about the industry’s 2-5 year horizon for multimedia.

The Grand Challenge is initially presented as part of ACM Multimedia 2009. Researchers will be encouraged to submit working systems in response to the challenge to win the Grand Challenge competition!

Can you solve these problems?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Panasonics's 10-bit 4:2:2 camera

Panasonic unveiled the world’s first "affordable" professional camcorder with 10-bit, 4:2:2, individual frame recording and native 2.2 megapixel imagers.

The AG-HPX301E imager incorporates advanced 1/3” 2.2-megapixel 3-MOS technology to acquire full native resolution HD images. Superseding the compromise of 8-bit, long GOP, 4:2:0 recording, the HPX301E provides master-quality, 10bit, 4:2:2 individual frame capture using AVC-Intra 100 and 50 codecs and let you record in a choice of HD video formats. Moreover, it records also in SD frequencies in interlinear and progressive mode. The camera also supports 1080/23.98PsF output (via HD-SDI) for use in high-end movie production.

The HPX301E will be available in March at a suggested list price of 9.500 euros.

See the press release.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nokia cooperates with ST-Ericsson

Yesterday in Barcelona, at the Mobile World Congress, the new ST-Ericsson joint venture announced an important partnership with Nokia to provide the Symbian Foundation with a reference platform based on ST-Ericsson’s U8500 single chip.

The chip, which combines ST-Ericsson’s well-proven application processor and state-of-the-art HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) Release 7 modem, will enable the wide adoption, across the industry, of feature-rich, multimedia 3G Smartphones.

The U8500, which relies on the Nomadik application-processor technology, integrates the latest SMP (Symmetric Multi-Processing) ARM dual-Cortex A9 CPU in a platform supporting Symbian Foundation software. The chip is the first device enabling full High-Definition 1080 progressive-scan camcorder functions together with high-end 3-D graphics acceleration.

Read the press release.

The Pirate Bay trial

The second day of a trial in Sweden in which operators of The Pirate Bay website are facing charges of copyright infringement opened with a victory for the defense. Responding to opening remarks by defense attorneys on Monday, prosecutors acknowledged that Pirate Bay had not copied any films or CDs itself. It then agreed to drop roughly half the charges.

Continue reading on the IMDb.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

HDTV is worth every cent

HDTV finally comes to Springfield. This week, The Simpsons inagurated the new HD 16:9 format, with the first makeover of the opening sequence in 20 years. You can see it in the following YouTube video, and note Bart's chalkboard punchline "HDTV is worth every cent".

Monday, February 16, 2009

Browser chip for TV

Should televisions be able to get access to the Web? And if they should, how should they?

Gordon Campbell, formerly Intel's first chief corporate marketing officer, now works at Personal Web Systems, a company which is ready to ship its first product, a $150 adapter that will attach to televisions to make them fully Internet-enabled.

Read the article on the International Herald Tribune or The New York Times.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

H.264 Corrigendum 1

Corrigendum 1 to Recommendation ITU-T H.264 (2007) was approved on 13 January 2009 by ITU-T Study Group 16 and it is available free of charge in PDF and Word formats on the ITU-T website.

Corrigendum 1 provides a significant number of minor corrections, clarifications, consistency improvements and formatting improvements drafted in response to accumulated errata reports collected since publication of the 2nd edition, dated 2005-03.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Analysts on Blu-Ray future

Quoting from Home Media Magazine:

Depending on who is talking, Blu-ray is either evolving steadily as the high-definition sequel to standard DVD or a pricey consumer electronics curiosity.

J.P. Morgan analyst Imran Khan said he believes Blu-ray unlikely to be a significant near-term catalyst for packaged-media sales going forward considering the economy.

In a consumer survey conducted in December by a third-party vendor, just 62% of respondents were familiar with Blu-ray, and of those, more than 50% said they had no plans to buy a BD player in the next 12 months. This compared to 20% who indicated an interest in purchasing a player and 6% who already owned a BD player.

Among BD consumers, 4% said they intended to replace their collection of standard DVD with Blu-ray once the titles became available. Khan said the fact that only 14% of BD consumers intended to replace their DVD libraries underscored his position.

“The replacement of VHS libraries with DVD was a strong catalyst for the [home video] industry over the past decade,” Khan said in a research note. “For now, at least, it does not appear consumers intend to repeat the cycle with Blu-ray.”

However, a separate study from SNL Kagan found that despite BD’s sluggish start, the next-generation high-definition packaged-media format would attain nearly 60% market share in 2014 and generate $13.1 billion in revenue. The Monterey, Calif.-based research firm said BD market share would soar to 73.8%, or $15.6 billion in revenue by 2017.

“Blu-ray will be the driving force behind the video retail market throughout the next decade,” said Wade Holden, analyst at SNL Kagan. “The current economic climate, however, will slow the growth of this new format and likely keep it from reaching the heights that it may have [reached] in better times.”

Indeed, J.P. Morgan analyst Khan said his consumer study found price to be the primary deterrent to wider consumer adoption of Blu-ray. He said 42% of respondents would consider BD if the price rivaled DVD, even in the current economy.

In a comparison of the top 50 BD and standard-DVD movies on Amazon, Khan found the average price for a new BD release to be $23.90 compared to $17.91 for DVD. Library titles averaged $20.23 for BD and $10.66 for DVD.

The analyst determined that the average 33% price premium for Blu-ray movies over DVD was actually 29% on a weighted-average basis when factoring that the most in-demand releases such as The Dark Knight, Wall-E, Iron Man and Transformers in BD were priced just 12% above DVD.

“We expect Blu-ray discs to drive some incremental sales, but think it’s unlikely their contribution will drive significant out-performance in the coming 12 months,” Khan said.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Monsters, aliens and Chuck

Danish company colorcode3d.com's 3D system was used together with 130 million ColorCodeViewers (with 3D glasses) during the Super Bowl XLIII transmission last Sunday to promote the new DreamWorks 3-D movie, Monsters vs. Aliens.

This was followed up by a double episode of first ever 3-D television series "Chuck", broadcast in US television on Monday night.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blu-ray sales increasing

Quoting from High-Def Digest:

The Blu-ray Disc player industry is seeing increased sales over the past two and a half years. Since the technology was unveiled, 10.7 million players (including Playstation 3s) have been shipped to retail stores across the US. The 2008 sales have increased three-fold compared to 2007 estimates.

According to Adams Media Research, the household penetration for Blu-ray Disc players is 8% after slightly less than three years on the market. Compare this to the three-year estimates of about 3% for Color TV, 2% for CDs and 4% for DVDs, and Blu-rays are looking to be a rapidly growing industry.

Software sales for Blu-ray Disc players are increasing as well. This past October was the first month to hit 2 million disc sales, which increased to 8 million by December. At the close of 2008, disc sales stood at 24.09 million for the year, bringing the total since launch to over 30 million sales.

Future Blu-ray Disc players are using the “BD-Live” technology which allows users to interact with the player over a broadband network. And there will be a significant addition to the 53 disc titles which already allow a digital copy to be downloaded and viewed on mobile devices. Sales of Blu-ray Disc players are projected to increase two to three fold in the next year, according to Adams Media Research.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Advanced graphics capabilities in HDTV

On January 7th, STMicroelectronics announced its plans for its next generation of Set-Top Boxes and digital HDTV application platforms with the licensing of the ARM Mali-400 MP multicore scalable graphics processing unit (GPU) technology to meet the growing demand for superior graphics on increasing screen resolutions in home entertainment products.

Laurent Remont, Advanced System Architecture Director, Home Entertainment and Displays Group, STMicroelectronics, said: As a long-time leader in the set-top-box and digital TV market, ST has continuously been at the forefront in providing broadcasters and consumer OEMs the right technologies at the right time for the development of world-class home entertainment products. HDTV is now the standard in this market, and 3D graphics technology at high-definition resolution has an increasingly important role to play in further heightening the entertainment experience for consumers.

EURASIP Journal on 3DTV

The Journal on Advances in Signal Processing of the European Association for Signal Processing (EURASIP) has recently published a special issue entitled "3DTV: Capture, Transmission, and Display of 3D Video", which can be accessed by following this link.

This is the table of contents:All the papers can be downloaded in PDF format free of charge.