Mercury, NTT-AT to Develop Cell BE Processor Based AVC/H.264 Codec

Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY) announced its collaboration with NTT Advanced Technology Corporation (NTT-AT) to develop an image encoding engine based on the Cell Broadband Engine(TM) (BE) processor, at NAB2007, April 16-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The engine is designed for AVC/H.264 (Advanced Video Coding), a codec standard suitable for archiving of high-definition (HD) images, with more than twice the compression capability of MPEG-2.

“Implementation of AVC/H.264 requires an enormous amount of calculation, where more than 50 percent of the calculations are vector mathematics,” said Hiroshi Fuju, Associate Vice President, Video Systems Business Unit, NTT-AT. “Based on this observation, we chose to adopt a hybrid processor approach for AVC/H.264 image codec processing, where the vector processing portion will be handled by Mercury Computer Systems’ Cell Accelerator Board (CAB), and the scalar processing portion will be handled by a PC with Intel(R) x86 architecture CPU. This architecture provides a flexible, software-based approach for customers to create new variations or customizations of their AVC/H.264 codecs.”

Initial performance results show that the vector processing can be accelerated by more than an order of magnitude compared to existing solutions. NTT-AT plans to develop and sell image encoding system products based on this hybrid architecture.

The image encoding system is expected to enable broadcast stations and post production companies to perform high-speed, high-quality encoding of large volumes of HD images while substantially lowering the overall archiving cost.

“We’re pleased to work with NTT-AT in developing an innovative solution that combines the outstanding processing power of the Mercury Cell Accelerator Board with NTT-AT’s optimized encoding software,” said Mark Skalabrin, Vice President and General Manager of Mercury’s Advanced Solutions business. “Accelerating performance and providing a software-based model for the AVC/H.264 codec is a prime example of Mercury’s unique competitive advantage for these types of applications.”

The target for development completion is December 2007. For more information on the AVC/H.264 image encoding system, visit Mercury in Booth #C10246 and NTT-AT in Booth #SU10220 at NAB2007, April 16-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. For more information on Mercury’s multimedia, video and imaging offerings, contact Mercury at (866) 627-6951.