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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book


Established in August 1998, PacketVideo was created to deliver enabling multimedia software products for next-generation wireless devices and applications. In June 1999, the company achieved a significant breakthrough by delivering video over existing 14.4-kbps wireless data networks. During this time, the company also established a programming division to build commercial applications and develop relationships with content companies. At the end of 1999, PacketVideo was awarded the Wireless Communications Innovations Award at the international Consumer Electronics Show (CES), capping a remarkable year. Beginning in the first quarter of 2000, the company implemented major consumer trials around the world with wireless leaders such as Sonera, Sprint PCS, SK Telecom, and others. In May 2000, the prestigious Red Herring Magazine designated the company one of the 100 most important emerging companies.

The company markets its software to wireless operators, wireless device and silicon manufacturers, and content providers to ultimately enable mobile consumers to access a variety of applications, including news and financial news, music videos, weather and traffic reports, and home or work security cameras, from any location. The company is privately held; it is actively working with partners in Asia, the Pacific, Europe, and North America and has opened offices in Asia, Europe, and North America.

PacketVideo's products (see Figure 11–2) are designed to be device, operating system, and air-interface independent. (Air interface is the wireless communications protocol used to communicate data between Tags and Readers. The air interface defines such things as the antenna characteristics of the Tag and Reader, the transmit frequencies, transmit power, modulation, coding, bit rate, multiple-access scheme, interference tolerance, and message structure.) These products include:

Figure 11-2Figure 11-2 PacketVideo from production to distribution

  • PVAuthor—This is an easy-to-use MPEG4 standards-based authoring tool that encodes video and audio for transmission over bandwidth-limited, error-prone wireless networks. Because a single PVAuthor encoding scales to simultaneously stream high-quality content over a wide variety of networks, it is a cost-effective solution for encoding both live and on-demand material. PVAuthor 2.0 supports the input of popular digital-content file formats and has interoperability with major live input sources. It is optimized for wireless carriers, content providers, and other video service providers. The system requirements for PVAuthor are:

    Windows 98 SE, 2000, or NT 4.0 (SP 5 and 6a)

    Pentium III 500 MHz, 128 MB RAM

    WDM-compliant video capture card (for use with NTSC-PAL camera or other analog source)

    Sound card with microphone

  • PVServer—This is a scalable wireless multimedia delivery server application that includes services for billing, provisioning, and authorization and provides wireless operators with the features necessary to create a commercial, billable service. PVServer runs on Solaris, Hewlett-Packard HP-UX, and Linux platforms, enabling seamless integration into operators' existing infrastructure. Features of PVServer are:

    Uses an extensible modular architecture with interfaces for billing, provisioning, authorization, validation, and other services

    Allows live streaming from multiple PVAuthor sources

    Supports video on-demand from MPEG4 standards-compliant MP4 files

    Uses a proprietary FrameTrack DRC technology to provide optimum video quality over wireless networks

    Supports up to 1,000 simultaneous streams at over 64 kbps

    Streams or downloads MP4-format files to PVPlayer

    Runs on Solaris, Linux, and HP-UX platforms for high-availability and performance

  • PVPlayer—This intelligently decodes live or on-demand digital media for viewing on wireless devices. PacketVideo's flexible technology enables high-fidelity audio, two-way audio with one-way video, two-way video-audio, and other applications. PVPlayer can be embedded in manufactured devices (e.g., silicon, SmartPhones, PDAs, or laptops) or downloaded for use as needed. Features of PVPlayer are:

    Is a MPEG4-compliant video decoder optimized for streaming video over today's wireless networks

    Supports live streaming for remote viewing applications

    Supports still-image display with streaming audio

    Supports data rates ranging from 9.6 to more than 384 kbps

    Supports from less than 1 to 30 fps

    Supports a variety of audio codecs, including GSM-AMR and others

    Supports a variety of resolutions, including CIF (352 3 288), QCIF (176 3 144), Subquarter Common Intermediate Format (SQCIF; 128 3 96 or smaller); PacketVideo FrameTrack technology, based on MPEG4 temporal scalability; and PacketVideo Dynamic Rate Control (DRC)

    Is optimized for the world's leading wireless platforms and operating systems, including ARM, Intel, Lucent, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Symbian EPOC, Windows CE 3.0, and others

    Supports WinCE 3.0 PocketPC, Windows 98, Windows NT 4, and Windows 2000 operating systems

PacketVideo's software solutions can be deployed in a variety of configurations on a broad range of products and wireless network platforms. The company works closely with customers to optimize networks, devices, and hardware platforms for maximum throughput and audiovisual quality. PacketVideo was designed to support all major digital wireless telephone standards in use today (2G), as well as next-generation wireless networks currently being deployed (2.5G and 3G). PacketVideo's technology is air-interface independent and works across any type of wireless network, including CDMA, TDMA, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, PHS, PDC, and W-CDMA.

PacketVideo supports the MPEG4 global standard. The company believes that compliance with open standards such as MPEG4 is the only way to facilitate the growing interaction and convergence of the previously separate worlds of telecommunications, computing, and the mass media. Open standards such as MPEG4 help prevent technological dead ends. Mobile and stationary user terminals, database access, communications, and new types of interactive services will be major applications for MPEG4. For example, wireless phones are capable of receiving rich interactive digital-video content based on MPEG4 technology. MPEG4 explicitly enables wireless media, even at bit rates as low as 9.6 kbps. MPEG4 also enables digital rights management (DRM) to protect the intellectual property of content providers. PacketVideo technology is compliant with the MPEG4 global standard, which means PacketVideo technology interoperates with MPEG4-compliant hardware and software from other companies. It also means that content encoded in the MPEG4 file format will play on various MPEG4-compliant devices. Because PacketVideo is committed to the MPEG4 open standard, PacketVideo technology is an open development platform, not a proprietary deviation. The company has demonstrated the interoperability of its technology repeatedly and is committed to interoperability with MPEG4- compliant products, applications, and services. The PacketVideo standards-based solution includes compliance to the following standards: MPEG4 (ISO and IEC), H.263 baseline (ITU), 3G-324M (Third Generation Partnership Project, or 3GPP), and RTSP-RTP-RTCP (IETF).

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