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.