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.