Sharp Microelectronics and Actimagine Collaborate to Boost SoC Video Capabilities

Geschrieben am 22-02-2006

Paris (ots/PRNewswire) -

- Video Decompression Rates Increase Fourfold With Same Power Use

Actimagine announces its collaboration with Sharp Microelectronics
of the Americas to increase video performance for ARM7- and
ARM9-based portfolio of BlueStreak(TM) microcontrollers. By
incorporating an innovative codec developed by Actimagine, Sharp's
SoC devices realize a fourfold increase in video decompression rates
without any additional power consumption.

Anticipating the growing market demand for increased media
performance, Sharp Microelectronics has leveraged its IC expertise
with Actimagine's software technology to deliver advanced performance
solutions for video device designs. These improvements open new
possibilities for media-rich electronic devices by achieving higher
video performance without switching to a higher performance processor
or increasing overall power consumption. These enhanced SoCs are
ideal for portable media devices, including those with Vector
Graphics content.

"Sharp Microelectronics and Actimagine have been collaborating
worldwide for over two years to help our customers meet their
time-to-market demands for cost-effective high quality video and
gaming products," said Al Franceschino, Senior Business Development
Manager for Sharp's Bluestreak line. "The synergy between
Actimagine's software IP and Sharp's SoC line has enhanced our
ability to deliver complete system-level solutions to our customers
while reducing their total bill of materials."

Software-Enhanced Performance

Actimagine's software codec features a powerful new decompression
method designed for general-purpose microcontrollers. A side-by-side
comparison of Actimagine's codec with an MPEG4 codec allowed Sharp's
family of SoCs to render four times more pixels at the same frame
rate and quality. Sharp's ARM7-based MCUs can now support Vector
Graphics at 30 frames per second (fps) and Video at 24 fps on a QVGA
screen at 77 MHz; its ARM9-based MCUs can run Vector Graphics at 30
fps and video at 24 fps on a VGA screen at 266 MHz - all with
excellent audio quality.

"Power consumption is critical in the portable electronics market,
with consumers demanding more functionality in an increasingly
smaller form factor. Actimagine designed this codec to make optimal
use of the available power, rather than requiring additional power,"
said André Pagnac, Chief Executive Officer, Actimagine. "Sharp's
platforms are a good fit for Actimagine's software. When compared to
architectures with similar process speeds, Sharp returns better
performance. Additionally, Sharp's leadership in LCD and system
solutions for video-centric applications gives us access to the
fast-growing mobile electronics market."

Design Benefits

Designers can take advantage of these new enhanced SoCs in two key
ways. They can achieve target frame rates and resolution using
lower-cost and less-complex SoCs. Consequently, they don't have to
design in a new processor to add video functionality to a product.
Products using ARM7 cores are now video capable. This better
performance is attained without additional power, giving a longer
battery life to portable devices.

Conversely, design engineers can lower hardware requirements to
achieve the same resolution. By decreasing the operating frequency of
the controller, customers can reduce both Electromagnetic
Interference (EMI) and cost by using a less complex SoC. This
scenario extends the lifespan of an SoC to meet next-generation
performance demands.

For example, both ARM7 and ARM9 MCUs can run fully interactive
Vector Graphics with sound at 24 fps. Additionally, mobile phones and
video media players can run smooth games beginning with an ARM7 MCU
with 77MHz.


The improved video capabilities will benefit consumer electronic
products such as smart toys, portable game devices, and portable
media players. Other ideal applications include end-of-aisle
displays, digital signage, and kiosks.

"Video and display screens are now an integral part of electronic
designs across several markets. As such, the connection between
software and hardware is a key differentiating factor for a company
whose customers face increasingly tight time-to-market and system
cost challenges," said Noel Giamello, Senior Director, Systems
Solutions Business Unit for Sharp Microelectronics. "We are pleased
to be among the first MCU companies to work with Actimagine, whose
technologies can only continue to enhance the performance of Sharp's
powerful product offerings."

This technology is also advantageous for proprietary content
owners. The media device must have this codec in order to decompress
and play the video. The Actimagine video encoder generates the
Actimagine video format, called "VX." This software encoder converts
any video format such as MPEG4, AVI, and WMV into Actimagine VX
format. The VX encoder is available as stand-alone PC software, as a
server version for "on-the-fly" video conversion and mass conversion,
and as a software library for integration in other video production.
The Actimagine video format offers an additional layer of protection
against piracy.

Sharp Microelectronics and Actimagine will continue to collaborate
on R&D activities for future ICs to remain ahead of customers' design
requirements and to investigate business opportunities to support

Actimagine's technology integrates seamlessly into Sharp's SoC
devices, without any hardware modifications. Sharp's SoCs continue to
form the basis of its total system solutions, including high-quality
LCD displays, Flash memory, optoelectronics devices, and other key
design components, such as a touch screen.

Sharp Microelectronics also offers low-cost development tools to
support these components, including a low-cost software development
kit, developed by Logic Product Development. In addition,
comprehensive software and documentation are available via Sharp's
BlueStreak Software Library, http://able.sharpsma.com.


Sharp's enhanced SoCs are available now. Contact Sharp for
pricing information.

Actimagine will exhibit at the Embedded System Expo &
Conference in Tokyo, Japan, from June 28th to 30th.

For further information, please contact:
Yann VIOT, Vice President Marketing
press@actimagine.com / Tel. +33-1-53-30-03-65 /

About Actimagine

- Actimagine conceives, patents and licenses display software
solutions for video and vector graphics. These solutions allow
displaying video, multimedia interactive contents and user
interfaces. Actimagine has patented a strong DRM solution that allows
the protection of content stored on memory cards. Actimagine display
software can be embedded or used in any product with a color screen,
from low to high speed processors, with or without operating system.
For instance, Actimagine technologies can be used on devices like
mobile phones, MP3 players, toys, set top boxes, TV-sets, home
appliances, digital signage, kiosks, etc.

- Actimagine software solutions provide high quality TV-like
display with lower CPU requirements and no dedicated multimedia extra
chip, thus limiting overheating, reducing battery power consumption
while lowering hardware costs.

- Customer references: Nintendo Co., Ltd, Sony Pictures
Digital, Fisher Price, Majesco Entertainment,

- Headquarter of Actimagine is located in Paris, France. The
company has overseas branches in Tokyo and Singapore.

- www.actimagine.com

About Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas

Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas, Camas, WA, is the
U.S.-based microelectronics sales and marketing unit of Japan's Sharp
Corporation. In 2001, Sharp also designated Sharp Microelectronics of
the Americas as its global development center for Microcontroller and
System-on-Chip products based on the popular ARM7 and ARM9 cores.
Sharp is a worldwide developer of core digital technologies that are
playing an integral role in shaping the next generation of electronic
products for consumer and business needs. Sharp Microelectronics of
the Americas offers breakthrough memory, LCD, optoelectronics, CCD,
RF/IR, microcontroller and System-on-Chip components, along with
packaging and integration skills that help design engineers
throughout North and South America bring their ambitious ideas to
market. Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas is dedicated to
improving people's lives through the use of advanced technology and a
commitment to innovation, quality, value and design. For more
information, visit www.sharpsma.com.

ARM is a registered trademark of ARM Limited. ARM7 and ARM9 are
trademarks of ARM Limited. All other brands or product names are the
property of their respective holders. "ARM" is used to represent ARM
Holdings plc (LSE: ARM and NASDAQ: ARMHY); its operating company ARM
Limited; and the regional subsidiaries ARM INC.; ARM KK; ARM Korea
Ltd.; ARM Taiwan; ARM France SAS; and ARM Consulting (Shanghai) Co.
Ltd.; and ARM Belgium N.V.

ots Originaltext: Actimagine
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.de

For further information, please contact: Yann VIOT, Vice President
Marketing, press@actimagine.com / Tel. +33-1-53-30-03-65 /


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