Implementing the codec algorithm on a chip relieves the loading on processors which otherwise have to decode compressed files using software. The speed increases allow higher quality images to be displayed. This will especially benefit the handheld market, where memory, processor use and poor image quality have been drawbacks in the past.
Indigovision's Mainstream hardware codec uses half the processing power of current software for Risc chips, which are commonly used in handhelds. The company said the system will work at all third generation cell phone data rates and may provide a solution to the expected problems of bringing reasonable quality video downloads to the next generation of mobile phones.
Mainstream also enables video to be encoded, unlike distributed software codecs which only allow decoding. Because this will enable compression, it brings the concept of the mobile videophone a step closer and could also enable portable video recorders to be added to handhelds.
The chip has been designed as a complete system and also controls the video display.