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.