Betting that Ultra HD television has a future, Imagination Technologies has committed its technology resources – and its PowerVR Series5 HEVC-enabled encoder and decoder families – to driving the just approved HEVC/H.265 (High Efficiency Video Coding) standard into the mainstream of the consumer video market.
“The 4K TV experience is coming, and Imagination is ready,” said Chris Longstaff, senior business development manager at the company. “Available today in high-end TVs, we will see more 4K enabled products as content increasingly becomes available. This will be driven by next-generation cameras with 4K capture capability, as well as new and traditional broadcast mechanisms.”
To deal with the capabilities offered by the new HEVC standard, the new PowerVR D5500 decoder core is using a new architecture designed specifically for the higher resolutions, frame rates and bitrates of 4K Ultra HD while optimizing silicon area and bandwidth usage.
According Longstaff, for 4K and higher resolutions, HEVC (ISO/IEC 23008-2 MPEG-H Part 2 / ITU-T H.265) video compression technology is designed to deliver comparable video quality to content encoded in the current H.264/AVC standard, but at no more than about half the bitrate.
HEVC targets next-generation Ultra HD television (UHDTV) displays and content capture systems that feature progressive scan, fast frame rates and high resolution displays.
He said that the capabilities of the new HVEC decoder core have been driven by the fact that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has rdetermined that 8-bit colour depths are not enough to satisfy consumer demand for the highest possible quality. (The ITU Recommendation ITU-R BT.2020 mandates the use of at least 10 bits for UHDTV systems ).
To support this, he said, the PowerVR D5500 decoder has been designed for increased colour depth with up to 10 bits of precision, and has increased colour resolution to 4:4:4 (or 4:2:2) to further enhance color rendition. Where the current PowerVR video cores decode H.264HP 1080P30 video in around 10mW (28nm), he said the D5500 is intended to set a new standard for low-power HEVC decoding.
Part of Imagination’s Series5 family, the PowerVR D5500 is a multi-standard, multi-stream video decoder with a multi-core architecture that allows performance to be easily scaled for high resolution or high frame rate applications up to full HEVC level 5.0 using mainstream silicon processes at ultra-low power consumption.
This allows 4K resolution content to be decoded up to H.265 L5.0 4Kx2K at 60fps, said Longstaff. In addition to HEVC/H.265, the PowerVR D5500 video decoder supports all major video standards including H.264 HP, H.264 MP, H.264 BP, H.264 MVC, VC-1, VP8/WebM, H.263, RMVB (Real Video), MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVS, VP6 and JPEG.
To learn more about the context in which Imagination’s HVEC coder will compete, go to “Who’ll win the consumer video codec battles.”