Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fujitsu Aims to Popularize H.264 Video Codec

Fujitsu has announced a small device that may become pretty popular among makers of various digital video recorders or similar devices, as it can convert contemporary MPEG 2 video stream into H.264 video stream on the fly and without using any complex hardware. Besides, the chip can decompress H.264, which makes it useful for high-definition TV-sets or players as well.
Even though modern video codecs like H.264, VC-1 and WMV offer high quality amid relatively low bitrate, there is still a lot of MPEG2 content around. Given that high-definition video is gaining popularity nowadays, MPEG-2 becomes inefficient when it comes to storing of high definition videos recorded from digital terrestrial HDTV broadcasts or digital satellite HDTV broadcasts (which use MPEG2 HD). But Fujitsu claims that it had developed a chip that quickly and efficiently converts MPEG2 HD into H.264 streams.
Focusing on such issues, Fujitsu developed this MB86H52 transcoder large-scaled integrated (LSI) chip that converts MPEG-2 format video data to the H.264 format, which features a higher compression rate. Functionality of this new transcoder is based on the video processing technology of Fujitsu’s full HD H.264 Codec LSI product, MB86H51, which is currently shipped. As the transcoder includes a full HD H.264 CODEC for video encoding and decoding, uncompressed video data can also be compressed to the H.264 format. The transcoder can also decompress video data from compressed or transcoded H.264 to display it on a screen.
Fujitsu MB86H52 can work with various resolutions, but only features 2-channel audio, meaning that it will hardly find home in high-end players that can output multi-channel high-quality audio.
The new transcoder utilizes a proprietary algorithm developed by Fujitsu Laboratories that automatically applies less compression to areas in the image where compression artifacts are most noticeable to human vision, such as human faces or slow-moving objects, and greater compression to other areas. Thus, high image quality for the critical zones is maximized.
The transcoder can be embedded in a multitude of equipment requiring reduction of data size, for example, into digital video recorders or digital media players that can transmit fullHD (1080p) video via home networks, which bandwidth is limited.
Sample shipments of the new chip, the MB86H52, will start from September 1, 2007.

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