Friday, December 24, 2010

Minority Report interface with Kinect

A member of the research staff at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has created a Minority Report interface using the Kinect 3D sensor and open source software. Not only does the device only cost $150, you can use it without any gloves. Garratt Gallagher, the interfaces’s creator, shows off some basic gesture controls in the video below.

Source: Singularity Hub.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Windows 7, Firefox and H.264/AVC

Microsoft will release a plugin that allows Firefox to tap into Windows 7′s native H.264 support for HTML5 video. This will hopefully help streamline things on the web and get us moving all towards one standard format. However it mightn’t bode well with fans who want to make the move away from H.264.

Source: Windows 7 News.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

3D HD STB SoC Solution

Broadcom Corporation announced and is sampling a new dual high definition (HD) set-top box (STB) system-on-a-chip (SoC) video gateway solution with more than two times the performance over previous generations.

The BCM7422 is the industry's first SoC to combine a 1.3 GHz multi-threaded MIPS® processor with the latest transmission efficient H.264/MPEG Scalable Video Coding (SVC), and Multiview Video Coding(MVC) standards for enabling 1080p60/50 content distribution and full-resolution HD 3DTV.

Complementing this new level of application software and visual performance is a 1G pixel per second OpenGL® ES 2.0 3D GPU for advanced 3D graphics acceleration, as well as integrated whole-home connectivity functionality including MoCA® and DLNA® support.

Source: press release.

Friday, December 10, 2010

H.264/AVC surpasses MPEG-2

ABI research reports that H.264/MPEG-4 AVC set-top box shipments surpassed MPEG-2-only set-top box shipments for the first time in 2010, with about 53% H.264/AVC shipments worldwide. Despite the support for advanced encoding, however, pay-TV operators worldwide have been slow to support interactive features on set-top boxes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

3-D models from online photo databases

See also the weblink.

Italy first to broadcast backwards compatible 3D

Italian viewers will be able to enjoy the free over-the-air content in 2D or 3D.  A new format created by a partnership of both private and public parties in Italy created a new format they're calling 3D Tile, which integrates a pair of 720p frames into a single 1080p frame, allowing reconstructed images to maintain their original resolution. More importantly, it lets viewers with traditional 2D televisions watch 3D content.

Source: High-Def Digest.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fortune names Netflix CEO businessperson of the year

He beat out the likes of Apple’s Steve Jobs and Ford’s Alan Mulally. While Netflix is most famous for its DVDs-by-mail service, Reed Hastings has driven the company to new heights by charging hard into the streaming video space—“disrupting his own business before it gets disrupted,” writes Fortune. Netflix’s Watch Instantly service, which offers unlimited access to 17,000 movies and TV shows to Netfix’s 15 million subscribers, is already nearly ubiquitous, available anywhere from the browser to the Xbox to the iPhone. A recent study found that Netflix streaming accounts for 20% of peak Internet traffic.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

H.264/AVC market growth

Satellite set top boxes continue to be the largest market for H.264 decoder ICs. In addition more and more DTVs are using H.264 decoder ICs rather than only MPEG-2. As a result In-Stat expects H.264 decoder ICs to grow at an annual rate in excess of 20% through 2013.

“Advanced compression, such as H.264, is becoming increasingly popular due to its lower bit rate and smaller file size that especially helps networked video solutions,” says Michelle Abraham, Principal Analyst. “The proliferation of video applications, such as user generated content and online video streaming, embedded DVRs and mobile video are serving to increase demand for low cost, high-quality encoders.”
Source: press release.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The biggest entertainment launch ever

Shattering its own day-one sales record, Activision Publishing, Inc. announced that Treyarch's highly-anticipated Call of Duty®: Black Ops has become the biggest entertainment launch ever with an estimated sell-through of approximately $360 million in North America and the United Kingdom alone in the first 24 hours of its release, as compared to last year's estimated day-one sell-through of $310 million for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare® 2 in North America and the United Kingdom, according to internal Activision estimates.

"Call of Duty: Black Ops", marks the second year in a row that the Call of Duty franchise has set day one launch records across all forms of entertainment.  In its first day on November 9, the blockbuster title sold through approximately 5.6 million copies in North America and the United Kingdom, as compared to 4.7 million copies for last year's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2", according to internal Activision estimates.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Microsoft and Polycom join forces with SVC

Microsoft is among the first companies to announce its intention to adopt Polycom's H.264 SVC technology, furthering the recently announced strategic relationship between the two companies to deliver and market integrated Unified Communications (UC) solutions.

"Microsoft and Polycom are committed to support open, interoperable UC solutions," said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president, Office Business Productivity Marketing Group, Microsoft. "Video collaboration can help improve customer productivity and lower costs. By integrating H.264 SVC technology within our broader solution offering, Microsoft and Polycom can make it easier for millions of people to leverage video communications within familiar Microsoft applications."

Read the press release and watch the video.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

World of Warcraft coming to Google TV

Cloud gaming on your Internet connected TV just got a step closer with Blizzard's popular World of Warcraft coming to Google TV.

GameString Adrenalin offers what it calls "Personal Cloud Gaming", letting you stream the output from seemingly any game on your PC to a browser, where it can be played on a number of devices.

Adrenalin is optimized to let users remotely play the 3D games installed on their home PC through a web browser. Users can webcast games to others and can allow remote users to play by giving them control of the game.

Sources: App Market, Engadget, The Inquirer.

Friday, October 29, 2010

VP8 Aylesbury

WebM project just released the new Aylesbury version of the libvpx VP8 codec, which reportedly provides the following advantages with respect to the previous release:
  • 20-40% (average 28%) improvement in libvpx decoder speed
  • Over 7% overall PSNR improvement (6.3% SSIM) in VP8 "best" quality encoding mode, and up to 60% improvement on very noisy, still or slow moving source video.
The next release, called Bali, is scheduled for Q1 2011.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Hype Cycle

Source: Gartner and Hexus channel.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gartner on Cisco ūmi

Nick Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, commented the new Cisco ūmi telepresence system in this blog post, using the following words:
Why would any sane consumer pay $600 plus $30 a month for something which is available for free elsewhere? I can’t imagine how Cisco imagine this product can provide enough value to convince consumers who believe video calls are something that comes for free with Skype. Based on what I know at the moment I’ll be amazed if it succeeds.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Glasses-free 3DTV unlikely?

B.K. Yoon, the president of visual displays over at Samsung (the world's largest flat-screen television maker by shipments), said recently that he doesn't think we'll be seeing glasses-free 3D televisions in homes any time in the near future. In fact, he predicts that we'll be waiting five to ten years before the technology is good enough and cheap enough.

Yoon says that's not true of handheld devices like cell phones and Nintendo's 3DS. The trouble, he explains, comes when trying to mass produce large displays – there are just too many problems with efficiency and cost.

However, rival Toshiba Corp. of Japan earlier this month unveiled the world's first glasses-free 3D liquid-crystal-display television sets, less than a year after most set makers launched 3D television sets that require the cumbersome eyewear. The company has said it plans to start selling the glasses-free TVs in December. 

Sources: High-Def Digest, Wall Street Journal.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Microsoft patents GPU-accelerated video encoding

In October 2004 Microsoft applied for a patent titled “Accelerated video encoding using a graphics processing unit”, which has been now granted

It outlines a concept where the GPU is used, among others, to perform motion estimation in videos, the use of the depth buffer of the GPU, to determine comprising, collocating video frames, mapping pixels to texels, frame processing using the GPU and output of data to the CPU.

The patent appears to cover all bases of GPU-accelerated video encoding, which hands Microsoft the rights to a major technology that already impacts prosumer applications and is making its way into the mainstream as we are moving into HD and beyond. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

WebP image compression

Google's WebP is a method of lossy compression that can be used on photographic images. WebP offers compression that reportedly has shown 39.8% more byte-size efficiency than JPEG for the same quality in a large scale study of 900,000 images on the Web. The degree of compression is adjustable so a user can choose the trade-off between file size and image quality. A WebP file consists of VP8 image data, and a container based on RIFF.

More information on the WebP website. A performance comparison between H.264 and VP8 for still image coding can be found here on the blog "Diary of an x264 developer".

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cisco ūmi telepresence

Cisco introduces the new ūmi telepresence system, a first-of-its-kind consumer product that connects to an existing HD television and a broadband internet connection to create a clear, natural and lifelike video communications experience.

Once Cisco ūmi is connected to an HD television and a wired or wireless broadband connection, a remote control provides access to an on-screen user interface, through which users can make ūmi calls, access video messages, manage contacts, and customize their profile and settings.

Users can also record their own ūmi videos, which they can share on Facebook, on YouTube, or via email. Users can even keep in touch with people who don't have ūmi by placing and receiving video calls from any computer with a webcam and Google video chat.

The price is $599.

See the press release and the ūmi website.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Qualcomm AR

Qualcomm Inc. announced the availability of its Augmented Reality Software Development Kit for Android smartphones. The kit will enable a new breed of applications that delivers interactive 3-D experiences on everyday objects, such as 3D gaming experiences on tabletops and interactive media experiences on product packaging and promotional items, according to San Diego-based Qualcomm.

The software is available on the Qualcomm Developer Network.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Graphene research wins Nobel prize

Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, two researchers who began their careers in Russia, have been awarded the 2010 Nobel prize for physics "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene."

Graphene is the world’s thinnest material and is also the strongest, while being stiff and yet flexible and extremely good conductor of heat and electricity. Electrons travel further in graphene than in any other material, opening up a range of electronic applications. These include: graphene transistors that could help communications technologies exploit the terahertz part of the electromagnetic spectrum; high performance graphene-based integrated circuits and toxin and pollution sensors that are more sensitive than those currently available.

Graphene is also suitable for use in touch screens and optical applications and holds out promise for the creation of thin, elastic, lightweight composite materials.

Source: EETimes.

Glasses-free 3DTV

Hoping to snare consumers who don’t like glasses with their 3DTVs, Toshiba unveiled two LCD 3DTVs that don’t need them. Available by the end of the year in Japan, the 3DTVs will be available in 12- and 20-inch sizes, and allow for 2D viewing as well. Toshiba did not reveal prices, or say when the 3DTVs would be available elsewhere.

“The commercial launch of our 12-inch and 20-inch 3DTVs without glasses in Japan is a first step into the 3D future in the consumer home cinema market,” said Sascha Lange, head of marketing for Toshiba Visual Products, Europe. “But it will take several years to develop larger 3DTVs without glasses with screen sizes of 40 inches and more at a yet reasonable price point.”

Source: Home Media Magazine.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New MVC/SVC broadcast encoder

Allegro DVT announces its new AL8000 broadcast encoder, packed with new features for H.264/MVC and H.264/SVC applications. The AL8000 complies with AVC high profile at level 4.2, SVC scalable high profile at level 4.2 and MVC stereo high profile at level 4.1. Three use cases are forecasted: H.264/SVC for 2D, H.264/SVC for 3D and H.264/MVC for 3D.

More information at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Google TV this autumn

Google Inc. will launch its Android-based Google TV service to bring the Web to TV screens in the United States this autumn and worldwide next year, its chief executive said, as it extends its reach from the desktop to the living room. CEO Eric Schmidt said the service, which will allow full Internet browsing via the television, would be free, and Google would work with a variety of programme makers and electronics manufacturers to bring it to consumers.

Sony said last week it had agreed to have Google TV on its television sets, and Samsung has said it was looking into using the service.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

PC gaming h/w market

The PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA), a nonprofit corporation dedicated to driving the worldwide growth of PC gaming, unveiled its Horizons Hardware research report, an exclusive research study encompassing major aspects of the PC gaming hardware industry worldwide. Among the key findings: Annual shipment volumes for the PC Gaming hardware market in 2009 were over two times larger than the combined Wii™, PlayStation® 2, PlayStation® 3 and Xbox 360® console units shipped in the same period. This trend for the PC Gaming hardware market to outpace all console shipments combined is expected to continue through the forecasted period of the research...

Source: PCGA.

Monday, August 30, 2010

H.264/AVC: forever free

On August 26, MPEG LA announced that its AVC Patent Portfolio License will continue not to charge royalties for Internet Video that is free to end users (known as “Internet Broadcast AVC Video”) during the entire life of this License.

MPEG LA previously announced it would not charge royalties for such video through December 31, 2015, and today’s announcement makes clear that royalties will continue not to be charged for such video beyond that time. Products and services other than Internet Broadcast AVC Video continue to be royalty-bearing.

The move is arguably aimed at contrasting Google's royalty-free WebM format, especially in view of the forthcoming HTML5 standard.

Monday, August 23, 2010

iPad TV everywhere

Verizon Communications is prepping a new live TV streaming app for tablet PCs like the Apple iPad, a move that could eventually eliminate the need for a home set-top box and set the stage for true "TV everywhere" viewing.

The new app allows Fios TV subscribers to stream live TV from their service onto an iPad over a home Wi-Fi connection.

Initially, the service will work only in the home, but Verizon CIO Shaygan Kheradpir said that eventually the service could be offered as part of Verizon's TV-anywhere strategy, allowing people to access live TV anywhere they are using a username and password to authenticate the service.

cnet news.

Friday, August 20, 2010

MPEGIF Advanced Technology

The MPEG Industry Forum announces the formation of the Advanced Technology Working Group. The goal of the new group is to position MPEGIF and its membership to be better able to address and promote new technologies and the adoption of associated standards that could have major impact on television products and services. Areas of work will include 3DTV, DRM and Interoperability and Conformance Testing programs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Scalable Video Coding for Windows 7

«Recent shipments of Windows 7 for business, comprised almost entirely of multi-core systems, showcase Nefsis scalable video conferencing capabilities for business applications. Nefsis delivers high-quality HD video to Windows 7 desktops by expanding video scalability in three ways: across its worldwide server cloud; across multiple processing cores at each participant's personal computer; and through the use of Scalable Video Coding. With this technology advance virtually any business can enjoy high quality video conferencing that was once the exclusive domain of expensive boardroom installations.»

Source: Nefsis News.

3DTV and HDTV interest

Nations in the MEAP (Middle East, Africa, Pakistan) region dominate other global regions in ownership of and interest in 3DTVs, according to a new study from The Nielsen Company.

MEAP is by far the region with the greatest 3DTV ownership/interest levels. MEAP has an ownership/definite interest index score of 200, meaning residents in MEAP nations are twice as likely as the global average to own or plan to buy a 3DTV. Latin America follows with an index score of 175.

North America has the highest penetration of HDTVs of any major global region, according to other Nielsen study results. “How People Watch” indicates North America leads in the ownership of high-definition television sets. According to Nielsen analysis, dropping prices, a rapid onset of content and the adoption of Blu-ray players and next-generation video game consoles make North Americans 57% more likely than average to own an HDTV set.

Source: Marketing Charts.

Friday, August 13, 2010

SVC implications for videoconference

«Frost & Sullivan believes that SVC is a key milestone in achieving higher quality video at lower network and infrastructure costs, addressing two of the key roadblocks for more pervasive videoconferencing adoption - cost and quality. We believe that even vendors with popular proprietary CODECs will be forced to give SVC its due diligence as it is standards-based and offers undisputable advantages to end users.»

Source: Frost&Sullivan

Thursday, August 12, 2010

ITU-T Question 5/16

At the last meeting held in Geneva between July 19 and 30, ITU-T Study Group 16 approved on an urgent basis the Question 5 on Telepresence Systems. The Rapporteur for the new Question is Mr Stephen Botzko (Polycom, USA). The motivation for the new Q.5/16 is as follows.

Telepresence represents an important evolution of the videoconferencing market. This trend is expected to accelerate, as mainstream video applications begin to offer telepresence features. Many products exist today that, although they are based on IETF SIP and ITU-T H.323 protocols, lack interoperability due to proprietary extensions needed to these base protocols to offer a user-rich experience. The increased penetration of broadband communications and higher user awareness of video applications, coupled with financial and environmental gains brought by remote collaboration tools have brought a boost to applications such as telepresence. This makes it important that standardized solutions be developed to ensure multi-vendor interoperability on a global basis.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


"Despite aggressive promotions from the industry and intense consumer interest generated by the blockbuster Avatar and other titles, the 3-D TV market in 2010 will be limited to a small pool of enthusiastic early adopters,” said Riddhi Patel, director and principal analyst for television systems at iSuppli. “In contrast, Internet-Enabled TVs (IETV) is entering the mainstream in 2010. This is because 3-D is still dealing with a number of barriers, including cost, content availability and interoperability, while IETV provides immediate benefits by allowing TV viewers to access a range of content readily available on the Internet.”

Shipments of IETVs in 2010 will rise by a remarkable 124.9 percent from 12.3 million units last year. Significant growth will continue during the following years. All told, IETV shipments will expand at rates north of 50 percent for the next two years, and then continue to increase at solid double-digit rates until the end of 2014. By then, global IETV shipments are anticipated to reach 148.3 million units, accounting for 54 percent of the total flat-panel TV market.

Source: iSuppli.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nokia Snubs Symbian for MeeGo

A Nokia spokesperson confirmed the company will use the Linux MeeGo operating system in its flagship N-series platform in a bid to remain competitive against the iPhone and Android smartphones. MeeGo was formed in February through the merging of Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo mobile operating systems. Nokia will continue to use its Symbian operating system for its lower-end smartphones.

Source: Linux news.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Skype to any device

The SkypeKit SDK supplies APIs for plugging into Skype's messaging, voice, and video chat service. It also includes an implementation of SILK, the company's audio compression codec. The SDK is currently in closed beta and is only supported on Linux at this stage. Skype intends to extend the SDK to additional platforms next month and will eventually make it more broadly accessible. Skype envisions hardware makers using the SDK to add voice and video chat to devices like televisions.

See also Ars Technica and Engadget.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Looking at VP9

Jim Bankoski, Codec Engineering Manager at Google, wrote on the WebM official blog that they have added an experimental branch to the VP8 source tree.

The WebM community can use this unstable branch to propose changes to VP8 that will produce the best video codec possible, but without the constraints of a frozen bitstream.

At some point in the future, when the experimental branch proves significantly better than the stable branch, they will create a new version of the codec.

Friday, June 18, 2010

MPEG Workshop on Visual Search

MPEG is organizing a Workshop on Visual Search, to be held in conjunction with the 93rd MPEG meeting, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The goal of the meeting is an exchange among companies and university labs driving the technology and the commercial deployment of visual search applications.

MPEG plans to host a small number of invited talks reviewing the underlying technology, addressing applications and requirements a standards body should consider, and/or reporting experiences with prototypes and commercial deployments.

Friday, June 11, 2010

H.264 (03/2010)

ITU-T Rec. H.264 version (03/2010) is now in force and freely available here.

This revision defines a new profile (the Stereo High profile) for two-view video coding with support of interlaced coding tools and specifies the frame packing arrangement SEI message, plus some miscellaneous corrections and clarifications.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

WebM Project

As announced, Google opened the VP8 codec to the open source community as the WebM Project.

WebM defines the file container structure, video and audio formats. WebM files consist of video streams compressed with the VP8 video codec and audio streams compressed with the Vorbis audio codec. The WebM file structure is based on the Matroska container. The full source code is freely donwloadable.

Just yesterday the x264 community released his personal technical opinion on the VP8 codec in this blog post.

Friday, May 14, 2010

26% of web video is H.264

Over one quarter of the videos on the Internet are now available in H.264/AVC format, according to the latest analysis from MeFeedia: 26% compared with just 10% in January. MeFeedia’s video index includes over 30,000 sources, including Hulu, CBS, ABC, YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, MTV, and CNN.

Notably, most sites that support HTML5 automatically detect iPad users and switch to a compatible format, many recent news stories are available in H.264 while most older news content has yet to be re-encoded, and there is very little HTML5 supported episodic content available from major TV networks.

Inside Apple's A4

An analysis by UBM TechInsights shows the Apple A4 processor in the iPad is a single-core ARM Cortex A8 made by Samsung.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Radvision selects Freescale for HD Videoconference

Freescale Semiconductor’s high-performance MSC8144 multicore digital signal processor (DSP) has been selected by Radvision for use in its latest high-definition SCOPIA Elite 5000 Unified Communications Video Infrastructure Multiparty Conferencing Unit.

SCOPIA Elite is the industry’s first standards based MCU to natively support advanced H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) technology. RADVISION’s SVC technology provides a high quality experience over unmanaged networks such as the public Internet, particularly benefitting desktop video conferencing users on the road or teleworkers from their home offices. This approach provides the benefits of high error resiliency while maintaining full interoperability and high quality with conferencing and telepresence systems not currently using SVC.

Tuned for a myriad of wireline and wireless applications, Freescale’s MSC8144 DSP is the workhorse behind SCOPIA Elite high-definition video compression processing, enabling it with high channel density, energy efficiency and form factor advantages. The MSC8144 combines four high-performance 1 GHz DSP cores based on SC3400 StarCore™ technology with 10 MB internal memory and high-speed interconnects such as Serial RapidIO® and Gigabit Ethernet interfaces.

Sources: Businesswire, Radvision.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

HEVC and HTTP streaming

Many news from the 92nd MPEG meeting held in Dresden, Germany from the 19th to the 23rd of April 2010.

The Joint Call for Proposals on Video Compression Technology, which was issued jointly by MPEG and ITU-T VCEG in January 2010, had a very successful outcome. 27 complete proposal submissions were received, and the associated video material was evaluated in extensive subjective tests. The JCT-VC has begun identification and integration of proposed design elements toward development of a new video coding design to be known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).

Moreover, MPEG has decided to launch a separate and immediate standardization effort specifically addressing the need of HTTP based streaming or progressive download of MPEG media and a Call for Proposals, available here, was issued.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The future will be (auto)captioned

YouTube has turned on the ability to add full closed captions to videos. This will not only allow videos to appeal more directly to foreign audiences, but will give YouTube excellent data for searching videos and targeting ads to them.
Quoting the official YouTube blog:
Making video easily accessible is something we're working hard to address at YouTube. One of the first steps we took was the development of a caption feature in 2008. In November of last year we released auto-captioning for a small, select group of partners. Auto-captioning combines some of the speech-to-text algorithms found in Google's Voice Search to automatically generate video captions when requested by a viewer. The video owner can also download the auto-generated captions, improve them, and upload the new version. Viewers can even choose an option to translate those captions into any one of 50 different languages -- all in just a couple of clicks.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Flash thoughts

I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Read Steve Jobs' thoughts on Flash on the Apple website.

Microsoft takes H.264 stand

"In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only," Internet Explorer General Manager Dean Hachamovitch said in a blog post. His reasons for the support: the format is widely used in the computing industry, from video cameras to Google's YouTube, it benefits from hardware decoding support that improves performance, and there are questions about the rights to use H.264's chief rival today, Ogg Theora.

The Web video muddle undermines Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs' argument against Flash made Thursday. He argues that a collection of new Web technologies including HTML5's video can replace what Flash offers and touts the H.264 support in the iPhone, iPad, and Safari. But while the Web video codec debate continues, developers can use Flash to smooth over differences--as long as they don't need to reach the iPhone.

Full article on cnet news.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beyond HDTV

"Beyond HDTV: Implications for Digital Delivery" is an independent report by ZetaCast Ltd, commissioned by Ofcom and released on July 2009.

This report provides a review of next generation television display technology developments, in order to gain insight into the bit rates likely to be required to deliver such services in the future. It concentrates on the potential development of stereoscopic TV (“3D” TV) and Ultra High Definition television (UHDTV), although other issues such as higher frame rate, wider aspect ratio, greater bit depth, improved chrominance resolution and wider colour gamut are also considered.

The report is freely available in PDF.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Google to open VP8

According to a report at NewTeeVee, inside sources have confirmed that Google will be open-sourcing the On2 VP8 video codec next month at the Google I/O conference. Mozilla and Google will also reportedly announce plans to implement support for VP8 in their respective browsers at that time. The move could have profound ramifications on the viability of standards-based video playback and the future of rich media on the Internet.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nokia acquires MetaCarta

Nokia announced that it has acquired MetaCarta Inc., a privately owned company which employs over 30 people and has expertise in geographic intelligence solutions.

MetaCarta Inc. provides technology for finding anything written about any place. MetaCarta unique technology combines geosearch and geotagging capabilities allowing users to find content about a location in internal and external data stores. MetaCarta's products make data and unstructured content "location-aware" and geographically relevant for easier organization and quicker action. MetaCarta's technology will be used in the area of local search in Location and other services.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Advanced Image Coding

The Advanced Image Coding and Evaluation Methodologies (ISO/IEC 29170 - AIC), is a new JPEG work item for standardization of a new evaluation approaches and image compression system for any potential technologies can be identified which significantly would improve the current image coding standards.

AIC ad hoc group is pleased to announce the production of calls for technologies, use cases, requirement, evaluation procedures and test material for three targeted applications: medical imaging, camera sensors imaging and security applications. AIC ad hoc group also continues the progress in the creation of guidelines for evaluation of coding technologies.

See the press release of the 51st WG1 meeting.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Natal motion sensor

Microsoft Corp. and PrimeSense, a company developing 3D-sensing and recognition technologies, announced that PrimeSense will be providing its technology for use in the Project Natal motion sensor for Xbox 360.

The PrimeSensor Reference Design is a low-cost, plug and play, USB-powered device that can either sit on top of or next to a television screen or a monitor, or be integrated into them. The Reference Design generates realtime depth, color and audio data of the living room scene. It works in all room lighting conditions (whether in complete darkness or in a fully lit room). It does not require the user to wear or hold anything, does not require calibration and does not require computational resources from the host’s processor.

The PrimeSense SoC contains a highly parallel computational logic designed by PrimeSense that calculates the depth value of every pixel, based on the signal from a standard CMOS sensor and the NITE processing middleware translates raw visual data, such as depth and color, into meaningful application commands.

Friday, March 26, 2010

XCode 4210

The newly launched XCode 4210 by ViXS incorporates a dual HD 1080p30 decoder that supports picture in picture and the latest H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) decoding standard for content transition to 1080p60/50 broadcasting and an additional media processing engine for flexible decoding of multiple Internet formats.

The XCode 4210 has the ability to transcrypt and transcode any multimedia content to any multimedia and container formats allowing seamless streaming, downloading and sideloading to a multitude of connected consumer entertainment devices, such as set-top box, PC/laptop, TV, game console, DLNA client, wireless tablet, consumer electronics, and wired or wireless portable or smart phone.

The XCode 4210 delivers user performance in excess of 3,200 DMIPS distributed over a main MIPS 74k applications processor and two ARC 750D offload processors, all simultaneously running their own real time operating systems. This level of performance has set a new benchmark in application and communications processing with the highest sustained networked data throughput over 400 Mbit/s in a single chipset.

See the press release.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Interactive television advertising overview

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced the release of “An Interactive Television Advertising Overview”, the latest in its series of Platform Status Reports aimed at educating marketers, agencies and publishers on the state of interactive advertising platforms.

The report provides:
  • An overview of the U.S. interactive television market, including audience segments and specific advertising options for reaching those consumers
  • Key definitions and nomenclature used in interactive television and specific campaign metrics
  • Case studies that highlight the available interactive television advertising products
  • An overview of the different providers of interactive television advertising and their respective capabilities
  • An explanation of key technological and strategic challenges facing interactive television
See the press release and download the report here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

SeaWell Networks

SeaWell Networks Inc. is a provider of Internet video delivery products designed for use by content producers and their content delivery partner organizations. SeaWell leverages video compression standard, H.264 scalable video coding (SVC), to uniquely create and deliver a high-quality viewing experience online while significantly reducing the cost of delivery.

“SeaWell’s technology is a game-changing innovation that allows video providers to create Internet-ready video content and deliver it to any screen or device in HD quality full-screen resolution or in lower resolutions for low bandwidth mobile devices,” said Northwater Vice President and current SeaWell director, Andrew Harrison. “SeaWell will create a superior experience for the viewer on a platform that is more flexible and infinitely more scalable.”

For more information see

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Full SVC with interoperability in 2010

Polycom announced that it will deliver the industry's first "Full Scalable Video Coding" (Full SVC) solution in 2010, which will further address reduced bandwidth requirements, error concealment during packet loss, enhanced scalability for multipoint calling and universality - or interoperability across a broad set of video protocols.

According to Polycom, today's limited SVC solutions attempt to address these issues, but lack standards-based signaling, which precludes interoperability with any other SVC-based systems, and, more importantly, lack interoperability with all standards-based telepresence systems, desktop video collaboration applications and legacy video conferencing endpoints.

Polycom intends to deliver the first Full SVC solution that addresses all of these issues and provides unmatched interoperability. With Full SVC deployed across video endpoints and infrastructure, Polycom will extend the benefits of SVC universally, allowing modern video systems from across multiple standards to fully interoperate with SVC systems, legacy systems, H.264 systems, Microsoft RTV systems, etc.

See the full press release.

Monday, March 8, 2010

HDMI 1.4a

The latest HDMI specification adds key enhancements to support the market requirements for bringing broadcast 3D content into the home, i.e. the addition of two mandatory formats for broadcast content: Side-by-Side Horizontal and Top-and-Bottom. With this addition, the HDMI Specification Version 1.4a provides a level of interoperability for devices designed to deliver 3D content over the HDMI connection.

3D Mandatory Formats are:
  • For movie content:
    • Frame Packing
      • 1080p @ 23.98/24Hz
  • For game content:
    • Frame Packing
      • 720p @ 50 or 59.94/60Hz
  • For broadcast content:
    • Side-by-Side Horizontal
      • 1080i @ 50 or 59.94/60Hz
    • Top-and-Bottom
      • 720p @ 50 or 59.94/60Hz
      • 1080p @ 23.97/24Hz
See the press release.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Multimedia Grand Challenge 2010

Submissions for the ACM Multimedia Grand Challenge 2010 must significantly address one of the industry challenges posted on the Grand Challenge web site and depict working, presentable systems or demos.

The top submissions will be presented in a special event during the ACM Multimedia 2010 conference in Florence, Italy. Based on the presentation, winners will be selected for Grand Challenge awards.

2010 challenges are the following:
  • Google challenge: Robust, As-Accurate-As-Human Genre Classification for Video
  • Google challenge: Indexing and Fast Interactive Searching in Personal Diaries
  • Radvision challenge: Video Conferencing To Surpass “In-Person” Meeting Experience
  • Radvision challenge: Real-time Data Collaboration Adaptation for Multi-Device Video Conferencing
  • HP challenge: High Impact Visual Communication
  • Nokia challenge: Where was this Photo Taken, and How?
  • Yahoo! challenge: Novel Image Understanding
  • Yahoo! challenge: Robust Automatic Segmentation of Video According to Narrative Themes

Friday, March 5, 2010


The preliminary program of the 11th International Workshop on Image Analysis for Multimedia Interactive Services (WIAMIS 2010) is now available here and the Advanced System Technology labs of STMicroelectronics had 4 papers accepted for presentation:
  • "Constant quality variable bit-rate control for SVC" by Tea Anselmo and Daniele Alfonso.
  • "Error Concealment of Intra Coded Video Frames" by Riccardo Bernardini, Luca Celetto, Gianluca Gennari, Matteo Petrani and Roberto Rinaldo.
  • "H.264/AVC Stereo Video Compression Benchmarking" by Subarna Tripathi, Emiliano Piccinelli and Davide Aliprandi.
  • "Segment-Based Depth Maps Extraction from Stereo Video Content" by Alberto La Martina, Davide Aliprandi and Emiliano Piccinelli
See you in Desenzano del Garda, Italy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales

Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totalled 1.211 billion units in 2009, a 0.9 per cent decline from 2008, according to Gartner, Inc. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the market registered a single-digit growth as mobile phone sales to end users surpassed 340 million units, an 8.3 per cent increase from the fourth quarter of 2008.

Three of the top five mobile phone vendors experienced a decline in sales in 2009 (Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson). The top five vendors continued to lose market share to Apple and other vendors, with their combined share dropping from 79.7 in 2008 to 75.3 per cent in 2009.

On the OS side, the two best performers in 2009 were Android and Apple. Android increased its market share by 3.5 percentage points in 2009, while Apple's share grew by 6.2 percentage points from 2008, which helped it move to the No. 3 position and displace Microsoft Windows Mobile.

Much more information in the press release.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Smooth Streaming in Vancouver

NBC plans to offer more than 400 hours of live competition and more than 1,000 hours of full-event replay through its NBC Olympics website, dedicated to the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010. All the shows will be in HD 720p video quality, thanks to the Smooth Streaming capabilities of Microsoft's Silverlight 3.0.

Cnet news reports that Microsoft is also helping NBC by allowing the broadcaster to easily insert ads into the middle of video streams when there is a break in the action, something that proved to be technologically challenging for Beijing, where only so-called "pre-roll" ads were used.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Internet video to remain free

MPEG LA recently announced that its AVC Patent Portfolio License will continue not to charge royalties for Internet Video that is free to end users (known as Internet Broadcast AVC Video) during the next License term from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2015. Products and services other than Internet Broadcast AVC Video continue to be royalty-bearing, and royalties to apply during the next term will be announced before the end of 2010.

Full news release here.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Mono is a software platform designed to allow developers to easily create cross platform applications. Sponsored by Novell, Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET Framework.

Moonlight is an open source implementation of Silverlight, primarily for Linux and other Unix/X11 based operating systems.

Moonlight 2, released on December 2009, runs the Silverlight 2.0 MS-PL controls and 2.0 based applications. The final release of Moonlight 3 is scheduled for Q3'10 and will offer HD Smooth Streaming and native support for MPEG-4-based H.264/AAC Audio. An integrated H.264/AVC decoder is not yet available, though...

Friday, January 29, 2010

HVC call for proposals

At the last meeting held in Kyoto, Japan, ISO/IEC MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group) and ITU-T VCEG (Visual Coding Experts Group) jointly issued the final call for proposals (here) for a new video coding technology, called HVC - High-performance Video Coding.

MPEG and VCEG established a Joint Collaborative Team (JCT) with the mandate to develop the new video coding technology by July 2012, achieving substantially greater bitrate reduction over MPEG-4 AVC High Profile, as specified in the document "Vision, Applications and Requirements for High-Performance Video Coding" (here).

The proposals will be evaluated during the 92nd MPEG meeting, to be held in Dresden, Germany, on April 2010.

Friday, January 22, 2010

3D-Capable TVs shipments forecast

In the newly launched Quarterly TV Design and Features Report, DisplaySearch research indicates that LED backlighting and 240 Hz LCDs will serve as enabling technologies for new feature developments in TVs in 2010, specifically for 3D TVs, an area of intense interest to TV manufacturers. DisplaySearch forecasts 3D-ready TVs will grow from 0.2 million units in 2009 to 64 million units in 2018.

Image source: DisplaySearch Quarterly TV Design and Features Report. See the press release.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Videoconference on a Smartphone

During his keynote presentation at CES 2010, focused on the future of computing, Intel's CEO Paul Otellini showed how advances in processor technologies would make it possible to run even the most demanding applications on smaller devices.

To achieve the demonstration, Intel partnered with Vidyo, a provider of high-definition video conferencing software that uses a multipoint architecture based on the Scalable Video Coding extension to the H.264/AVC standard running on the next generation Moorestown implementation of Intel's Atom processors. Moorestown is a system on a chip that incorporates a next-generation 45-nanometer Atom processor.

All CES keynotes videos are available here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Real-Time Ads in Street Views And Maps

In the recently granted patent “Claiming Real Estate in Panoramic or 3D Mapping Environments for Advertising”, Google outlines its plans to identify posters, billboards and buildings in its online mapping applications and give advertisers the chance to replace these images with more up-to-date adverts.

Google is planning on using software which recognises the posters on a theatre – for instance – and can replace them with a new advert or information. This will allow the theatre to promote its current plays, in spite of a Google Street View image being old.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Intel Atom versus ARM Cortex-A9

The ARMflix channel on Youtube has provided a side-by-side performance comparison of a netbook based on the Intel Atom processor and a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 development board.

Sales Warfare - part 2

Some more numbers from the videogames business.

After a 2009 dominated by lower year-over-year monthly sales figures, the video game industry turned things around in a huge way just in time for the holidays, recording its best month ever, reported analyst firm The NPD Group on Thursday.

According to NPD, the industry turned in U.S. sales of $5.53 billion in December, up 4 percent from $5.32 billion a year earlier. While it could not have been any more of a relief to the companies in the video games business that they had finally turned in a month of year-over-year growth, the December results were especially impressive given that in December 2008 the industry for the first time surpassed the $5 billion mark for a single month.

But despite the fantastic December, the nine straight previous months of lower sales meant that total 2009 industry sales came in 8 percent below those of 2008, the best year the industry has yet seen.

Source: cnet news.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sales Warfare

Activision announced that Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has topped the $1 billion mark in retail sales worldwide since its launch in November, according to internal Activision estimates and

In its first five days alone, the game sold an estimated $550 million worldwide, outpacing five-day worldwide theatrical box office gross figures for such films as Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Dark Night.

Modern Warfare 2 is rated "M" (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence and Language.

Source: press release and I4U.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wireless Display

Presetned at last CES, Intel's Wireless Display technology (WiDi) requires a laptop PC based on select 2010 Intel Core processors, Intel HD Graphics, and Intel Centrino wireless with Intel MyWiFi Technology enabled. In addition, the laptop needs to have Intel Wireless Display preinstalled. Finally, an adapter featuring Intel Wireless Display is required to receive the signals from the PC and display them on the TV. This adapter is connected to the TV via either HDMI (preferred) or standard AV cables.

Intel expects WiDi systems from several PC makers to be available in Best Buy stores by January 17 as reported in the new official WiDi website.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Skype-enabled HDTVs and webcams

Skype announced partnerships with LG and Panasonic to offer Skype-enabled HDTVs, which are expected to be available in mid-2010. Both LG and Panasonic will offer specially-designed HD webcams that are optimized for Skype video calls as separate accessories that can be plugged into the televisions. These webcams support 720p HD at 1 Mb/s symmetrical bandwidth and include special microphones and optics that can pick up sound and video from a couch-distance.

Skype also announced support for video calls on PCs in 720p HD resolution at 30fps, using new Skype Certified HD webcams that can handle the video encoding and processing onboard, removing the need for a high-performance computer to encode the HD video.

Source: I4U News here and here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

HDMI 1.3 will support 3D

The HDMI Licensing group has solved at least the Blu-ray side of the 3D problem. All devices with HDMI 1.3 and an upgrade connection method — Blu-ray Live decks (including PS3), satellite receivers and cable set-top boxes — can be upgraded to output 3D.

The problem is that for a 3D picture, two images have to be shown nearly simultaneously. Since HDMI 1.3 can’t handle two 1080p pictures at that speed, you’ll get two 1080i pictures. With HDMI 1.3 cable boxes, you’ll have the choice between HD and 3D, but not both.

Source: High-Def Digest.