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Mobile devices gain Silverlight codec support

Apr 27, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Codec specialist Hantro has added support for “Silverlight” — a new Adobe Flash-like multimedia technology from Microsoft — to its ultra low-powered hardware VC-1 codec for mobile devices running Linux and other embedded OSes. The “7190 Multiformat decoder” can decode VC-1-encoded 720p video at 30fps, the company said.

Hantro describes Silverlight as a “cross-browser, cross-platform plugin [delivering] media and rich interactive applications for the web.” Like Adobe Flash, it aims to provide provide rich media content to PCs and to mobile devices.

Silverlight is built on top of VC-1, an industry-standard video format developed by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), and best-known for its use in the Windows Media Video (WMV) format. The VC-1 specification (aka SMPTE 421M) relates specifically to the decoding of compressed content, and aims to standardize the decoder bit-stream to facilitate independent implementation of interoperable encoders and decoders.

VC-1 contains a number of “profiles” and “level” combinations that support various types of video encoding. The profile — Simple, Main, or Advanced — determines the codec features that are available, as well as the required decoder complexity. The VC-1 Main Profile, in turn, has three levels: Low, Medium, and High. Low supports a resolution of 320 X 240 at 15 Hz frame rate; high supports 1920 x 1080 at 30 Hz.

Hantro provides a number of video processing codecs, with a particular focus on the wireless mobile market. The codecs support a variety of standards, including MPEG-4. The 7170 decoder supports VC-1 Simple Profile; the 7190 adds support for VC-1 Main Profile.

According to Hantro, “Enabling video in a battery-powered handheld devices is an incredibly challenging task. The complex computational requirements for video encoding and decoding place a high load on the CPU. Minimal power consumption is critical to ensure battery life is optimized.” While in theory there are a variety of ways to do this, including a software-only approach and a hardware DSP implementation, the only practical solution for the wireless handheld market is a special codec, the company claims.

In addition to Linux, Hantro's VC-1 video codec technology targets Windows Mobile, Symbian, and various RTOSes (real-time operating systems), according to the company.

Previously, Oulu, Finland-based Hantro has supported Microsoft's DirectShow on Windows CE and Windows Mobile. DirectShow is an API enabling Windows applications to control a wide variety of audio/video input devices, including DV camcorders, Web cams, DVD drives, and TV tuner cards.

Hantro did not disclose availability or pricing/licensing details for its 7190 codec support.


 
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