IPTV pushes silicon_ software solutions

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					IPTV pushes silicon, software solutions
By Roshan Gudapati                   are newer low-bit-rate video          requirements for service-pro-        grammable solutions have been
Director of Product Strategy         codecs that offer higher com-         vider-driven IPT V deploy-           either embedded PCs or expen-
Media Platforms and                  pression than MPEG-2.                 ments. Some silicon providers        sive VLIW architectures, but
Services Group                           Newer codecs offer a good         have tried a hybrid approach in      neither lent themselves well to
Analog Devices Inc.                  viewer experience while using         which some aspects of the video      consumer IPTV solutions be-
E-mail: roshan.gudapati              lower bandwidth than needed           processing are done in soft-         cause of system cost, design                          for MPEG-2. These low-bit-rate        ware. Most of these are near-        complexities and power dissi-
                                     codecs are required in IPTV for       hardware implementations, es-        pation. Fortunately, new solu-
Increasing worldwide broad-          broadband connections. New            sentially sharing the same lim-      tions that overcome these limi-
band penetration and the emer-       silicon for IPTV applications         ited upgradeability and flexibil-    tations are emerging. These
gence of newer, more efficient       must support multiple com-            ity as fully hardware-based          programmable solutions re-
video-compression technolo-          pression technologies such as         deployments.                         quire optimized software for
gies enable telecom and service      H.264, WMV9 and MPEG-4 in                                                  A/V processing, including sup-
providers to deliver Internet        addition to legacy codecs such        Programmable platforms               port for A/V codecs and post-
Protocol (IP)-based video ser-       as MPEG-2. There are several          Fully programmable solutions         processing functions.
vices to consumers. Emerging         approaches for handling this          that handle multiformat A/V
IPTV and networked entertain-        multiformat A/V processing,           processing have so far been the      Net requirements
ment applications bring net-         such as using hardware and            only proven way for handling         IPTV applications need a wired
working and A/V processing           programmable methods.                 the newer low-bit-rate video         or wireless network connec-
together, placing new require-           Historically, MPEG-2 sys-         codecs, along with supporting        tion that is typically 10/100
ments on silicon and software        tems have used the hardware           legacy codecs. Many codec for-       Ethernet, 802.11, HPNA,
for devices such as IP set-top       approach. Even in newer video         mats, such as WMV9, have mul-        powerline or MOCA. A simple
boxes (STBs), digital media          codecs such as WMV9 and               tiple variants, including main       IPTV client, such as an IP STB
adapters, triple-play gateways       H.264, some solution providers        profile, advanced profile and        or a digital media adapter,
and similar IP video appliances.     are using the same hardware-          VC-9 (SMPTE standard). Pro-          would receive media content
   Digital video consumer            based approach on MPEG-2,             grammability provides maxi-          over the IP connection and have
equipment such as DVD play-          but later finding it has many as-     mum f lexibility and upgrad-         to decode the compressed video
ers, STBs and personal video         sociated challenges and issues.       ability, which are important at-     to NTSC/PAL for A/V out to a
recorders (PVRs) primarily use       First, it requires dedicated          tributes for the demanding re-       TV. This basic IP STB can be
MPEG-2 video coding; inte-           hardware for each codec. Sec-         quirements of telecom and ser-       combined with other functions
grated SoCs for these systems        ond, some of the newer codecs         vice-provider-driven IPTV de-        such as gateway, VoIP, video-
have largely implemented             don’t lend themselves well to         ployments. IP STBs and digital       conferencing and PVR. Net-
MPEG-2 in hardware. In an            hardware-based implementa-            media adapters need to work          working protocols that need to
IPTV scenario, where media           tion as they are still in f lux—      with video portals and handle        be supported depend on the
content is sent over a broad-        many of the standards continue        any content they encounter.          functions integrated into
band connection, MPEG-2 is           to evolve with regular revisions      There may be large variations in     the system. Service-provider-
inadequate. Newer, more effi-        at the codec and transport-           the way content may be encoded       driven IPTV applications typi-
cient compression algorithms         stream levels.                        or encapsulated.                     cally require IP-multicast sup-
are needed to enable consumer-           Hardware-based implemen-             Although a fully program-         port for live TV and a number of
quality video-over-broadband         tations have limited flexibility      mable platform is the best ap-       protocols for supporting video-
IP services. For example, Win-       and upgradability, making             proach for a multiformat A/V         on-demand (VoD).
dows Media ver 9 (WMV9) and          them ill-suited to the emerging       solution, it has its own set of         For a VoD-type application,
H.264/MPEG-4 part 10 (AVC)           video standards and var ying          challenges. Until recently, pro-     an IPTV client needs to com-
                                                                                                                municate with a server. RTP,
                                                                                                                RTCP, RTSP and HTTP are the
                                                                                                                protocols used for controlling
                                                                                                                the media and content stream-
                                                                                                                ing. In addition to standards-
                                                                                                                based protocols, most VoD
                                                                                                                server vendors have their own
       Master bedroom                           Closet         Bedroom                                          proprietary QoS extensions.
       Standalone media adapter                 Residential    Networked game console                              When IPTV functions are in-
                                                gateway        mobile A/V component
                                                                                                                tegrated into the gateway along
                                                                                                                with other services like VoIP,
                                                                                                                virtual private network and
                                                                                                                firewall, a more sophisticated
       Living room                                             Den/home office                                  network processor that supports
       IPTV set-top box                                        PC                                               wire-speed forwarding engines,
                                                                                                                IP-QoS and hardware-based
                                                                                                                encryption and authentication
                                                                                                                becomes important.
                                                                                                                   IPTV requires support for
                                                                                                                digital r ights management
                                                                                                                and/or conditional access, de-
IPTV applications need network connection that is typically 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11, HPNA, powerline or MOCA.   pending on the application.

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Description: Digital media adapter functionality, in a nutshell is to audio-visual consumer electronics devices (such as televisions, stereo), and home computers connected together, allowing users to call stored in the computer multimedia resources, such as video and audio files, digital photos, etc. play in the home appliances and browsing.