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Codec leverages parallel processing

April 10, 2015

junko.yoshida-April 10, 2015

What if video experts were to design a brand new video codec fit for 2015?

We live in the moment of 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV, with a growing number of consumers viewing video sent over unreliable and bandwidth-constrained mobile networks, while CPUs and GPUs inside their mobile devices come with multiple cores, massively parallel processing capabilities and a very large cache.

And yet, we all know that no current video codec can comfortably handle 4K distribution to UHD TV at home, let alone deliver HD video to mobile devices.

The new video compression algorithm, if it emerges in 2015, probably, won’t be based on MPEG, or even the brand-new H.265.

A London-based startup V-Nova believes that the new video codec everyone should consider is its brainchild, called Perseus. It is designed to do hierarchical and scalable video encoding by leveraging massive parallel processing, while sidestepping the complexity of block-based compression algorithms.

Perseus can, in short, encode and transmit UHD quality at HD bitrates, HD at SD bitrates, and SD video at audio bitrates, explained Guido Meardi, CEO & Founder, V-Nova in a phone interview with EE Times. More importantly, with Perseus, “Service providers can upgrade their systems in software, without touching their existing delivering infrastructure or digital assets,” he added.V-Nova will next week come to Las Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention, to showcase Perseus, which the company claims has achieved “2x – 3x average compression gains,” compared with legacy video codecs. V-Nova promises to make 4K transmission commercially viable, while enabling HD on 3G or 4G mobile network by using less power.

Just as human brains function in a hierarchical manner, by first visually recognizing a human being, then, a face, then a goatee, and then, gray hairs mixed into the goatee, Perseus will provide additional details of data representation to the elementary stream of MPEG-2 or H.264, explained Meardi.

V-Nova said it’s been developing and testing Perseus for more than five years, suggesting that the technology has long passed its slideware stage. The first transmission testing of Perseus was carried out by Sky Italia back in 2012. Hitachi provided Sky Italia with the first Perseus-based UHD video gateways.

V-Nova has reportedly collected more than 20 global industry leaders — all working with V-Nova — in an “Open Innovation” consortium. The consortium members publicly listed in V-Nova’s press release include Broadcom, European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), Intel, and Sky Italia.

Broadcom’s spokesperson, reached by EE Times, said, “We support V-Nova with our reference design and software environment.” Perseus implementations are being “driven by V-Nova through a software implementation of their algorithm.” Meanwhile, Broadcom’s set-top chip, currently field-deployed, can support Perseus by using its CPU power.

Continue reading on Embedded's sister site, EE Times: "Parallel processing spawns Non-MPEG codec."


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