STMicroelectronics is developing a technology portfolio to make audio/video streaming more efficient in wireless home IP-based networks.
The technologies include video transcoding, advanced video encoders and robust decoders (H.264), Adaptive Playout, 802.11n WLAN, and Security/DRM (Digital Rights Management).
STM's goal is to facilitate the seamless sharing of multimedia content between consumer devices such as set-top boxes, PCs, DVD players/recorders, mobile terminals that are connected through wireless links.
One of the important technologies is video transcoding, a technique that allows compressed digital video streams to be adapted to different network transmission and receiver conditions without requiring that the bitstreams be fully decoded.
ST’s Advanced Systems Technology (AST) group is developing a state-of-the-art transcoding technology called Dynamic Bitstream Shaper (DBS). This is a global MPEG-2/ H.264 input/output framework that will support changes in bitrate, frame rate, frame size and coding standard without needing to decode and re-encode the bitstream.
ST has developed and tested high performance algorithms for MPEG-2 to MPEG-2 bitstream and MPEG-2 to H.264 bitstream transcoding, both with bit-rate, frame rate and resolution change supported.
Also under development are advanced algorithms for H.264 to MPEG-2 and H.264 to H.264 bitstream transcoding, also with bit-rate, frame rate and resolution changes. ST is also extending transcoding to support VC-1.
ST’s DBS technology will deliver reduced computational workload and power consumption, reduced delays and increased quality compared to today’s state-of-the-art decoding/re-encoding methods.
In the area of multimedia encoding and decoding, ST has developed new high-quality and low-complexity algorithms for consumer H.264 encoding and decoding, including motion estimation and rate control algorithms. Error detection and concealment algorithms have also been developed for H.264 decoding, allowing the decoder to sustain and conceal data packet losses, a common condition on wireless packed-based best effort IP networks.
Adaptive Playout techniques have also been developed that enable buffering delays during interactive multimedia services such as videoconferencing or channel changing to be minimized, ensuring that the user does not experience annoying artifacts.
To achieve the best possible Quality of Service (QoS), ST’s proprietary Cross-Layer Controller algorithm allows all of the transmission parameters such as WLAN configuration and video stream bit rate, frame rate and resolution to be optimized jointly and dynamically.
ST will demonstrate some these developments at the Consumer Electronics Show to be held in Las Vegas in January 2006, including a wireless home IP-based network in which media servers and renderers share audiovisual content through an IEEE 802.11g Wireless LAN according to DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) guidelines, including UPnP (Universal Plug and Play).
More information is available at www.st.com.