Signal Processing DesignLine Blog
I just had a thoughtful chat about video codecs with Jani Huoponen at On2. His company provides both software and hardware video codecs, so he is in a good position to judge where the industry is going. Jani thinks that we are nearing the end of the codec wars. There are still a few upstarts like H.264 SVC and China's AVS, but the flow of new codecs has slowed to a trickle. As Jani sees it, this trend favors clearly favors hardware codecs—the main reason to do things in software is the need to support new codecs.
Of course, not everybody sees it this way. I also spoke to Richard Kingston at DSP vendor CEVA. CEVA have an all-software media-processing solution that is pretty impressive. The solution does everything from decoding video to managing a touch-screen interface to running Bluetooth all on a single DSP. That makes for a much simpler system than (for example) an ARM processor + a hardware video engine + a Bluetooth engine.
So, who will win this dustup in the long run? My bet is that we will see more video move into hardware over time, but that software engines will stick around because their simplicity will provide faster time-to-market in some (many?) cases.