TI to roll out new DSP for 2G streaming video

Texas Instruments Inc. will support Japanese company Office Noa Inc.'s unique codec (coder/decoder) technology, which allows for smooth streaming video on mobile handsets via existing networks and for less power consumption of the handsets, the two companies announced Thursday.

The technology, which is called Nancy Codec, will be optimized for Texas Instruments' four DSP (digital signal processor) platforms. The products will be available from the first quarter 2002 for the makers of devices such as mobile handsets and PDAs (personal digital assistants), said Akikazu Okano, a manager of Wireless Terminals Business Unit of Texas Instruments.

Because the compression is software based, it takes only 10 percent of the processing power of the standard MPEG-4 compression technology, Office Noa said. The new algorithm is also twice as fast as MPEG-4 and the compression code about 10 times smaller, the company said.

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

Smooth real-time streaming video becomes possible over current networks at speeds from 28.8k bps (bits per second) using Nancy Codec, the company said.

"We were wondering why streaming video service should wait until the launch of 3G (third generation)," said Noriko Kajiki, chief executive officer of Office Noa. "3G infrastructure needs a lot of money and so only large telecommunication 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, using Nancy Codec, conducted in December last year, was accessed by 800,000 users in two hours, Kajiki said.

Through the alliance with Texas Instruments, the company will target other Asian markets and later on markets in the rest of the world. It hopes Nancy Codec will become a de facto standard by 2003, Kajiki said.

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

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