Texas to roll out DSPs for streaming video

Texas Instruments is to support Japanese company Office Noa's codec technology on its four digital signal processor (DSP)...

Texas Instruments is to support Japanese company Office Noa's codec technology on its four digital signal processor (DSP) platforms.

The coder/decoder technology, called Nancy Codec, allows for smooth streaming video on mobile handsets over existing networks. Handsets that use the technology consume less power, the company said.

The technology will be available from the first quarter of 2002 for makers of devices such as mobile handsets and personal digital assistants (PDAs), said Akikazu Okano, manager of Texas Instruments' wireless terminals business unit.

Because the compression is software-based, it takes only 10% of the processing power of the standard Mpeg-4 compression technology, according to Office Noa. The latest algorithm is also twice as fast as Mpeg-4 and the compression code is about 10-times smaller.

With low power consumption being an important feature for mobile device makers, Texas Instruments decided to develop the DSPs itself, as several mobile handset and digital still camera makers asked for Nancy Codec support, Okano said.

Nancy Codec enables smooth real-time streaming video over existing networks at speeds from 28.8Kbps.

"We were wondering why streaming video service should wait until the launch of 3G [third-generation services]," said Noriko Kajiki, chief executive of Office Noa.

"[The] 3G infrastructure needs a lot of money and so only large telecommunications carriers can run those operations. We wanted to make streaming video services possible even before 3G for many vendors."

A real-time music concert streaming trial in December 2000 that used Nancy Codec was accessed by 800,000 users in two hours, Kajiki said.

Through the alliance with Texas Instruments, Office Noa will target other Asian markets, followed by markets across the rest of the world. The company hopes Nancy Codec will become a de facto standard by 2003, Kajiki said.

Office Noa already has a deal with DaimlerChrysler for its car navigation systems and with South Korea's LG Telecom for the 2002 World Cup streaming service. Sharp's latest Zaurus PDA has adopted Nancy Codec, Kajiki said.

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