Semiconductor company STMicroelectronics is developing technologies aimed at improving the way that consumers can wirelessly share audio and video content among devices in their homes such as set-top boxes, PCs, DVD players and mobile devices, the company announced on Wednesday.
Individually, the developments are interesting, but combining them will create an environment that will make it easier and more convenient for consumers to distribute content around the home, said Fabrizio Rovati, audio/visual streaming architectures manager for STMicroelectronics.
One of the technologies ST is developing is video transcoding, which allows compressed digital video streams to be adapted to different network transmission and receiver conditions without having to decode and re-encode the stream. Transcoding is needed in a variety of situations such as sending a high-definition video stream to a standard-definition TV set or to display data designed for a larger screen onto a smaller one.
ST's Dynamic Bitstream Shaper technology enables such transcoding, supporting changes in bitrate, frame time, frame size and coding standard without requiring decoding and re-encoding. The technology is expected to reduce power consumption and delays and increase quality, compared to today's decoding and re-encoding methods, ST said.
ST is also developing techniques to improve buffering delays in services such as videoconferencing or channel changing. In addition, ST expects its Cross-Layer Controller algorithm to improve quality of service by enabling the optimization of functions such as wireless local area networking configuration, video stream bit rate, frame rate and resolution.
ST is working within industry standards to ensure that its techniques will be interoperable with other standard gear. For example, ST's transcoding mechanism creates a new stream of data that complies with standards, such as MPEG2, said Rovati.
The new technologies from ST are still being developed. The next step is for the researchers to propose adding some of these technologies into ST commercial projects. Rovati could not comment on how long that process might take.
ST will demonstrate a wireless home network that supports sharing of audiovisual content using these new technologies at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.