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Multimedia Technologies Thriving

India has become a hotbed for the development of multimedia technologies. Multinational and domestic companies are developing chips and software based on advanced video and audio standards, and universities are helping them along.

Codecs

At Broadcom India, 50 engineers are developing products for MPEG1/2/4, VCEG video, MPEG2, MP3 and AAC audio, according to Rajendra Khare, general manager. The BCM 7020 chip incorporates Broadcom India’s HDTV MPEG technology, and the company is involved in set-top box chip enhancements for features like PVR capability, a dual SDTV/HDTV video interface for view and record operations, an interface to Broadcom’s DVI transmitter chip for copyright protection of HDTV programming, and a high-performance 3D graphics engine for games and acceleration of 3D Internet content.

Bangalore-based Sasken has developed Codecs based on MPEG1/2/4/7, H.26x, G, 72x, and AMR. It has also developed Codec-based solutions for VCD and DVD players, an HDTV reference design, surveillance solutions, an H.323-based video conferencing tool, a 3G-324M video phone terminal, and real-time multimedia streaming solutions based on IETF protocols. The current focus is on MPEG7 applications and multimedia messaging service (MMS) terminals.

FGS Compression

Ittiam Systems in Bangalore, led by Srini Rajam, ex-chief of TI India, has developed MPEG4 Codecs for different applications driven by bandwidth availability and video/audio quality. In addition to producing simple/advanced profile video Codecs, its latest offering is MPEG4 Fine Granularity Scalability (FGS), a compression framework for streaming applications, like video-on-demand and live TV viewing, with which bandwidth is a variable. This framework supports bandwidth-variation scenarios that characterize IP-based networks, and could be used in devices ranging from PCs and handhelds to mobiles and video phones.

Ittiam claims to have developed a proprietary error concealment and recovery technique(Fig) for reconstructing the transmitted signal even in error-prone situations, which makes its technologies suitable for wireless applications.

Multimedia

Emuzed, also in Bangalore, focuses on multimedia. The company’s MPEG2 products are targeted at PC-based DVD, VCD and SVCD authoring. It offers MPEG4 and 3GPP Codecs for multimedia on 3G wireless networks. Target markets are wireless, surveillance and consumer electronics, said Rajesh Rajagopalan, CTO. “For our MPEG2 products, we design using the Broadcom chipset,” he added.

Multimedia companies like STM, C-Cube, Philips, LG, Sony and Sanyo also design digital media products in India. Sanyo’s India subsidiary has, since its inception in 1998, designed 10 chips for digital cameras, VLSI televisions, mini-disk controllers, and television display and tuning controllers. Its India subsidiary is Sanyo’s biggest design center outside Japan.

Meanwhile, the Institutes of Technology at Mumbai, Kanpur and Kharagpur and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, are developing multimedia products based on Cradle Technologies’ Universal Micro System platform for “chipless” design.

by Jude Pinto, Mumbai

(February 2002 Issue, Nikkei Electronics Asia)

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