Ambric, MainConcept Team on Am2045 GT Video Reference Platform

Ambric®, Inc., the fabless semiconductor company that delivered the world’s first TeraOPS-class massively parallel, embedded processor, and MainConcept, a leading provider of video codec and other multimedia technologies, have collaborated to accelerate high definition video compression. The collaboration has produced an Ambric Am2045 GT(TM) video reference platform that is integrated with MainConcept’s unique hardware-acceleration software development kit (SDK). The Ambric reference platform is based on Ambric’s Am2045(TM), a TeraOPS-class, massively parallel processor array (MPPA) device with 336 RISC processors. The video reference platform is available on Windows® XP and on Apple® Mac OS® X Leopard.

Ambric will demonstrate its video reference platform with the MainConcept SDK in booth SU13213 in the south hall at NAB in Las Vegas, April 14 – 17. MainConcept will be at NAB in booth SU14905. Also, Ambric customers Pryo AV® (by ADS Tech) and Sorenson Media® will demonstrate their Ambric-based products at NAB. And at NAB, Adobe® Systems will demonstrate the Ambric accelerator card, transparently integrated with Adobe Premiere® Pro CS3 and Adobe After Effects® CS3, in its demo theater, booth SL3220.

Ambric’s acceleration hardware reference platform with MainConcept encoder engines has already been integrated into advanced, high-definition video-processing products and software from Ambric’s OEM customers Pyro AV and Sorenson Media. Ambric also worked closely with Adobe to transparently integrate the accelerator with Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 and Adobe After Effects to dramatically speed encoded export, within the familiar Adobe user interface and workflow. The accelerator also speeds compression for the newest H.264-based Adobe Flash® video standard. These video-processing products will dramatically increase the productivity of the more than one million users of professional and prosumer video editing, effects, and authoring software.

“Our video reference platform, powered by the latest Am2045 MPPA silicon, features tight integration with products from leading video companies such as Sorenson, Pyro AV, and Adobe Systems,” said Jay Eisenlohr, Ambric co-founder and executive vice-president of marketing and business development. “MainConcept was the obvious codec software partner for Ambric. The company’s codecs contain a unique hardware acceleration ‘socket’, which enables Ambric hardware to be compatible with MainConcept’s OEM solutions for customer software products. This is important because this worldwide installed base of users is already large and growing quickly. Plus, MainConcept’s H.264 encoder has been the consistent winner of major video companies’ evaluations as well as Moscow State University’s annual H.264 encoders benchmark. Our partnership benefits video users by delivering dramatic price-performance breakthroughs with plug-and-play ease-of-use.”

Problem Being Addressed
The increased complexity of HD video compression is creating massive performance challenges for the video industry. This results from two major factors. The first is the transition to HD resolution which has about six times more pixels than standard-definition video. The second is the popular, advanced H.264 compression standard, which requires about four times more computation than MPEG-2 for the same resolution. An additional factor is the industry consolidation around the Blu-ray Disc® standard, which requires the highest-quality compression profiles and settings. Even the newest multi-GHz quad-core processors don’t eliminate the bottlenecks that high-end prosumers and video professionals encounter. There are more than four million video processing users worldwide, of which nearly one million are professionals or high-end prosumers—editors, effects artists, videographers, and compressionists. The Am2045 GT satisfies the needs of these users by delivering professional-quality, high-definition video results that are accelerated by up to eight times from within their existing Adobe video editing workflow and user interface, or from within a dedicated transcoder application.

About Ambric’s Technology
Ambric’s Am2000 TM family of MPPA devices and the aDesigner(tm) tool suite deliver the first practical programming model for massively parallel embedded processing. They enable high-performance, highly scalable solutions for developers accustomed to using multiple digital signal processors (DSPs) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) in the design of complex embedded systems, such as video equipment. Ambric’s MPPAs have been chosen by MainConcept, Sorenson and Pyro AV for their programmability, their 1.2 trillion operations-per-second (TeraOPS) performance, and their very low heat and power consumption, only one-tenth that of CPUs and GPUs. Ambric’s MPPAs are 100 percent software programmable, which enables the reference platform to be extended with new software features and updated for new video processing standards, a compelling advantage over fixed-function video chips. Initial standards supported by the reference platform include MPEG-2 and H.264 High Profile for authoring high-quality, high-definition resolution video. The reference platform will be used for DVD, Blu-ray Disc, streaming media and the latest H.264-based Adobe Flash standard. Additional compression formats and other video processing functions will be delivered as field-upgradeable, optional software components throughout the year.

“We are proud to have Ambric integrate our codec hardware-acceleration SDK into its latest Am2045 GT reference platform because it is a perfect example of our ‘every codec – every platform’ strategy,” said Muzaffer Beygirci, MainConcept vice-president of world-wide sales. “The hardware not only accelerates HD encoding by up to eight times, it also provides the best possible productivity, at a breakthrough price-point, for hundreds of thousands of MainConcept video codec users.”

About MainConcept
MainConcept AG is a wholly owned subsidiary of DivX, Inc. and one of the worldwide leading providers of high-quality codec technology for the broadcast, film, consumer electronics, computer software, medical imaging and security markets. MainConcept solutions are optimized for various platforms including PCs, set-top boxes, portable media players and mobile phones. MainConcept supports the most popular industry standards such as MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, H.264/AVC, VC-1, DV, DVCPRO, DVCPro HD, JPEG2000, AAC, HE-AAC and AC3. MainConcept is located in Germany with subsidiaries in the USA, Russia, and Japan. The company serves the Asia-Pacific region through key distribution partners in China, Korea, and Taiwan. MainConcept customers include some of the most respected international companies in the world.

About Ambric, Inc.
Ambric is a fabless semiconductor company delivering the world’s first TeraOPS-class processor and tools that make massively parallel software programming practical for complex, embedded systems, and enable price-performance breakthroughs in video processing. The company’s highly scalable, massively parallel processor arrays (MPPAs) deliver performance that is five to twenty-five times the throughput of the fastest DSPs with programming up to ten times easier and faster than that of multiple-DSP programming. The price-performance also exceeds that of FPGAs on complex applications while enabling faster, easier development in software. Ambric products help companies accelerate time-to-market for their solutions while slashing their system development costs. Established in 2003 and headquartered in Beaverton, Ore., Ambric has received funding from ComVentures, OVP Venture Partners, Northwest Technology Ventures, investment banks, and private investors.

Ambric and the Ambric logo are registered trademarks, and Am2XXX, aDesigner, and Am2045 GT are trademarks of Ambric, Inc.