High-value H.264 at CES
Loring Wirbel - December 15, 2009
It’s beginning to look a lot like pre-Consumer Electronics Show, and mid-December means it’s time to bring on the first FPGA-oriented announcements from the show. This year’s honor goes to Silicon Image Inc., king of HDMI IP, who will show off the cineramIC intellectual property cores running on Altera Stratix IV GX platforms.
Just to set the record straight, cineramIC has nothing to do with HDMI, but instead is offering 4K and 3D H.264 decoding. Silicon Image implies that the IP is ideal for any set-top box, DTV, surveillance, or medical imaging application that is transitioning from FPGA to custom or ASIC implementation, but as we pointed out yesterday, it’s likely many applications will stick with FPGAs for high-volume production.
I couldn’t point this out without adding a caveat for both Altera and potential customers: Silicon Image is engendering more and more grumbling for its HDMI IP pricing strategies. In the H.264 realm, there is more competition at the algorithmic level, which hopefully will lead to a more rational royalty strategy. At any rate, there will be plenty of attention paid at CES to ultra-HD recording, playback, projection, and I’d be willing to bet the 4K/3D H.264 realm will be white hot come January.