YouTube and video analytics are hot
There's one trend -- or mantra -- here at the TI Developers Conference in Dallas that I keep hearing over and over among developers of embedded video applications: YouTube. Everyone, it seems, believes it necessary to incorporate YouTube playback onto their portable device or applications for inclusion in set top box or directly into TVs themselves.
YouTube has made APIs publicly available, and designers appear to be going to town with them. One company in particular, called BlueStreak, appears to have partnered with TI to create a YouTube browser for TV sets that runs on their DaVinci processors. Other companies that appear to have caught the YouTube bug include Bsquare and DigiLink Software DSW, all of whom are exhibiting here.
There are more than a few ironies here, not least of which is the obvious fact that YouTube is currently a money-losing business that Google could pull the plug on at any time. Having spent some $2 billion on it a couple of years back, it's easy to forget that Google has yet to show any payoff from this investment, other than the goodwill and cheers from millions (billions?) of YouTube viewers and contributing filmmakers.
Additionally, on the codec side, YouTube videos do not all conform to a single unified spec, but rather, appear in variety of codecs (including H.263 and H.264) all of which are incorporated into the Flash player, or for embedded apps, a Flash Light version of the player.
Getting all this capability into a handset or portable media player can be challenging -- not to mention the user interface issues (not a single vendor here has yet to demonstrate basic YouTube search functionality, yet) -- but appears, at this point, to be higher in the list of requirements for portable devices than any kind of mobile TV application.
Also noteworthy here is the proliferation of video analytics, built directly into IP surveillance cameras to save money in bandwidth, central processing, displays, and personnel required to monitor the surveillance/security system. Cernium, Apollo Imaging Technologies, and Nuvation are among the vendors here exhibiting camera-based video analytics.
Meanwhile, TI's announcement here of their OMAP 3 processor line, claimed to bring laptop-like PC processing power to portable devices, promises to push the envelope even further in low-power video processing.