The first news from chip-maker, VixS, was that the latest version of its “Golden Reference Decoder” box, the GRD2 is now available. The GRD1 was used by many operators and production technology companies, including those making compression systems such as Elemental and Harmonix, as a reference design for testing its HEVC UltraHD compression. The latest version now supports performance of UltraHD at P60 with 10 bit 4:2:2 content. It also supports USB3.0 to allow the faster uploading of large files.
Later this year, the 6800, the next version of the firm’s decoder will ship. Samples should be available in mid-summer and the chip supports 12 bit operation and HDR tone mapping. One of the features that VixS is working on is to show how HDR content can be tone mapped onto SDR displays, but still deliver a more pleasing image than SDR content. This has been done by integrating a “grading engine” in the back end of the chip.
The next demo we looked at was a demo of simultaneous AVC and HEVC decoding. At CES we heard that the company is much quicker to switch between the codecs than alternatives from competitors. However, the demo at TV Connect was showing an UltraHD 60P HEVC stream, a FullHD AVC stream and four 720P streams being decoded at the same time on the current 6400 chip.
Finally, we looked at the Intel gateway collaboration that we reported on from IBC. This is now working (a lot of time was spent making sure the dual Intel/VixS system works properly, e.g. by managing the boot process carefully) and manufacturing is being undertaken by Pegatron and Hitron.