Aspex Introduces Accelera Advanced Video Encoder (AVE)

Aspex Semiconductor(TM), a UK -based fabless semiconductor company developing leading-edge software programmable “Extreme Processors”, today introduced the Accelera Advanced Video Encoder, the world’s only multi-format HD video compression accelerator to support all three High Definition video compression standards currently in use – MPEG-2, H.264 and VC-1.

The Advanced Video Encoder framework is a “Plug and Play” solution which accelerates the time-consuming HD video compression task inside leading applications from Adobe, Sorenson Media, Microsoft and Digital Rapids amongst others, bringing affordable, high quality High Definition video compression to the desktop.

The flexible nature of the AVE framework enables customers to run MPEG-2, H.264, VC-1 or other encoders on the same platform, providing a future proof, multi-codec acceleration solution. The platform is format and resolution independent, providing high quality, low bit rate encoding.

The AVE framework includes Aspex’s new accelerated High Definition H.264 encoding solution. The solution accelerates the performance of PC-based software AVC SD and HD video encoding for IPTV, HD-DVD/Blu-Ray, video-on-demand, corporate, streaming and broadcast applications.

These solutions can be combined with third party video I/O cards, such as the BlueFish444 Fury, for streaming HD video compression.

The framework is available now on the Aspex Accelera 3000 platform and will be available on the newly launched Accelera 5000 platform early next year.

“Alongside the transition from Standard Definition to High Definition, the video compression world has also undergone a dramatic shift, away from single, fixed-function encoder platforms supporting the historic MPEG-2 standard, towards multi-standard platforms supporting multiple advanced codecs, such as H.264/AVC and SMPTE VC-1″, said Jeremy Hendy, VP Marketing, Aspex Semiconductor. “Whether encoding for IPTV or the new HD-DVD / Blu-Ray formats, post-production facilities need the flexibility to encode in many different formats and resolutions, switching “on the fly”. When advanced encoders, such as H.264, are combined with the transition from SD to HD, the computing requirement increases by 25x-30x, making the HD video compression process painfully slow, with even the latest multiprocessor PCs able to achieve only a few frames per second. And the need for agile, multi-format encoding solutions precludes the use of dedicated hardware accelerators based on custom chips.”

Aspex’s AVE solution makes use of Aspex’s ultra-high performance “Extreme Processors” to pack more than 16,000 processing elements on a single PC plug-in card, accelerating PC video compression performance to real-time and beyond, even for HD formats.

By accelerating popular video compression APIs from MainConcept and Microsoft, the solution provides “plug-and-play” acceleration of many standard video compression applications, without making any changes to encoding settings, or new user interfaces to learn.

“By making use of our software-programmable Extreme Processor platform, we can support the three main video compression standards, MPEG-2, H.264 and VC-1, on the same hardware,” said Hendy. “We can also add new codecs in the future, such as Flash/VP6 or RealVideo, via a simple software upgrade, making the platform a futureproof investment for our professional customers, who need both the increased productivity of accelerated encoding, and the flexibility to support any codec and any resolution.”

Aspex will be demonstrating its new Accelera Advanced Video Encoder (AVE) solution on the Aspex stand (7.901) at IBC 2006, Amsterdam.

About Aspex Semiconductor Limited
Aspex Semiconductor is a leading edge fabless semiconductor company specialising in the delivery of extreme processors. These high-performance programmable processors replace FPGAs, ASICs and DSPs at a fraction of the cost. Aspex enables customers to reduce component costs, shorten time to market and reduce risk by moving to software defined platforms. In addition, the company offers services to speed adoption of Aspex products. Aspex Semiconductor has successfully demonstrated its architecture in the market place and by optimising the unique benefits of the Aspex processor family, customers are able to keep pace with the most demanding market conditions. Headquartered in Buckinghamshire, UK, Aspex serves clients and partners worldwide.