Denver -- Divicom Inc. is set to take the wraps off a new
digital video encoder today, targeted to optimize transmission bandwidth for broadcast,
satellite and cable operators.
The new MediaView MV40 encoder, based on MPEG-2 DV silicon
from Divicom's parent, C-Cube Microsystems Inc., includes a 'look-ahead'
capability that distinguishes it from other video encoders, said executives during a
briefing here Feb. 13.
Tom Lookabaugh, president of Divicom, said the new feature
means that potential customers 'can save money by increasing the efficiency of their
transmission bandwidth and increasing their revenue streams by offering more channels of
programming over the same amount of bandwidth.'
The 'look-ahead' technology works by harnessing
the power of two complete encoding chips, one of which keeps looking at the complexity of
incoming content so that it can predict exactly how much bandwidth will be needed, said
Ben Stanger, marketing manager of Divicom. The second chip actually encodes the material.
'Other encoders work by reacting to digitized content
and taking more of an averaged approach to bandwidth prediction,' he said. 'This
way, you optimize and manage available bandwidth by tracking it precisely.'
Stanger said analog or digital content enters the encoder,
it is processed by an adaptive field-frame decoder and it then moves through an adaptive
preprocessor and noise reducer.
After that, about 16 frames of video at a time flow into a
buffer, so that the first encoding chip can 'look ahead' and determine the
required bit rate. The second encoding chip then performs the actual encoding, with the
appropriate bit rates, and the content is then passed off to a transport-stream-formatting
and control chip before exiting the encoder.
The MV40 encoder is designed to work with Divicom's
'MediaNode' statistical multiplexer, so that up to 32 encoded bit streams can be
Users of the encoder can specify minimum and maximum bit
rates, from 700 kilobits per second up to 8 megabits per second, Stanger said.
The encoder will be commercially available early next
month, at prices ranging from $55,000 to $70,000, executives said.