Tatung and Qpixel Offer New H.264 Reference Platforms for Transcoding and Place-shifting on STBs, and Content Re-formatting for Viewing on Portable Media Devices

Monday, June 2nd, 2008
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Tatung’s New STB and USB Dongle Reference Platforms Rely on Qpixel’s H.264 Compression Technology to Bring OEMs High End Features at Mass Market Pricing

TAIPEI, Taiwan — COMPUTEX — Qpixel Technology, a Silicon Valley, USA-based innovator of video compression silicon and software solutions, and Tatung, a leading provider of design and manufacturing services for digital consumer product, today announced their joint efforts to bring value-add capabilities to standard STB (set top box) designs using Qpixel’s high quality and low power H.264 compression technology. This partnership has resulted in two reference platforms that demonstrate the benefits of adding H.264 compression inside or near a STB. These include analog recording, transcoding and transrating for place-shifting application, and content re-formatting for viewing on portable devices such as Apple’s iPod and Sony’s PSP. These reference platforms will be available for viewing at Qpixel’s Taipei office during this year’s Computex show, June 3 – 6, 2008.

“Our STB customers are constantly under the gun to come up with differentiating features for their next generation products,” said Chi Chang, General Manager for Tatung’s Connected Devices Business Unit. “Adding the H.264 encoder to our STB reference platforms was a worthwhile investment as it enables multiple new features and capabilities. When searching the market for a suitable partner to provide us this compression technology, we found Qpixel’s low power, high quality, and cost effective codecs to be the ideal solution for our new reference platforms.”

The addition of the compression engine has a minimal impact on the overall BOM (bill of material) and PCB (printed circuit board) size and yet the added value of integrating H.264 encoding capability is significant. The first reference platform is a feature-rich hybrid STB design that integrates Qpixel’s QL201B onto the motherboard, as a companion to the main STB decoder, connecting gluelessly through its flexible host port interface. Multiple new applications get enabled through this integration. The higher compression efficiency of Qpixel’s main profile H.264 encoder effectively more than doubles the capacity of the integrated hard drive. Inclusion of analog composite video input ports allows for converting any analog content into digital format for centralized storage on the hard drive. Content re-formatting is another important benefit, whether targeting distribution through the home network or place-shifting for remote viewing. QL201B’s ability to produce a wide range of bitrates and resolutions also provides the ability to convert the received content on the STB into suitable formats for viewing on smaller screen portable players such as iPod or PSP.

Although integration of the compression engine into next generation STB devices is the preferred method for bringing the above enhanced services to the consumer, there is a large installed base of existing STB devices in the market that do not currently deploy any compression technology in their design. In addition, service providers and box manufacturers may want to continue to offer lower end boxes with no internal compression technology as their base model, yet desire the ability to upgrade those models in the field at a later time. For these categories of STB devices, Tatung and Qpixel have come up with a USB dongle design that would seamlessly connect to a low-end STB and, after a simple upgrade to the STB software, bring all the benefits of H.264 compression to the user. This accessory device connects on one side to the A/V output connectors of the STB, digitizes and compresses the audio and video signal, and transfers the compressed audio and video packets back to the STB.

“Our customers have told us that the idea of an accessory recording device to enable capture and encoding of analog video content, including home movies and other user generated content would be strongly desirable,” said Chaim Bechor, CEO of PeerTV. “Tatung’s Qpixel-based USB dongle reference platform offers the perfect mix of quality, power, and performance for our upcoming PeerStation add-on recording box.”

The USB dongle design is capable of converting contents into different resolutions and bit rates, allowing for distribution over both wired and wireless digital home networking environment. It can also enable the consumer to create his/her own video library on the STB Hard Drive or network attached storage (NAS) devices. Fundamentally, this design is an easy and cost-effective way for consumers to make the distributed home audio and video entertainment network a reality.

For pricing and availability information for Tatung’s Qpixel-based H.264 reference platforms, please contact Qpixel at salesinfo@qpixeltech.com, or Tatung at stbodm@tatung.com.