Ambarella Introduces Next-Generation SoC for HD Camera and H.264 Encoder Platform
Sunnyvale, Californie

Ambarella, Inc., the leader in low-power, high- definition video compression and image processing semiconductors, today announced its second-generation low-power A2 platform targeted at high-definition (HD) camcorder, HD capable Hybrid Digital Cameras and H.264/AVC encoding applications. 

HD Camcorder and Hybrid Camera
The A2 HD H.264/AVC system-on-chip (SoC) enables the development of full high-resolution camcorders at the highest image quality as well as the introduction of hybrid cameras that combine multi million pixels still pictures with full resolution HD video.  Ambarella’s A2 is the first single chip H.264 codec capable of encoding full 1080i HD at 1920 pixels per line resolution. In addition, A2 integrates an image processing pipeline, still image compression, audio compression and all key system functions. The Ambarella A2 platform has extremely low operating power with a 40% power saving over its predecessor, A1 and  increased system integration that makes the high-definition experience a reality for mainstream consumers.

The A2 platform is based on the H.264/AVC video compression standard, which is the next generation of video compression technology. Ambarella’s patent-pending platform delivers a 2.5x compression gain over current MPEG-2/4 solutions, providing the efficiency required to store HD video content in convenient flash-based memory, hard disk drive or recordable DVD. The Ambarella platform programmability enables implementation of multiple formats for HD Video such as the recently introduced AVCHD specification for HD camcorder as well as the formats commonly used on PC platforms.

“Our A2 platform is the first to deliver full 1080i high–definition video with a resolution of 1920×1080” said Dr. Fermi Wang CEO of Ambarella.  “A2 opens the way to a small-size low-power, high-quality HD camcorder  —  something that has eluded the industry for quite a while.”

Samsung Electronic Corp., a leading manufacturer of consumer electronic (CE) products, has selected the Ambarella A2  “HD Camcorder on a Chip” TM platform to enable its new line of camcorders. The high quality, low power and high integration of the Ambarella A2 processor enables the design of HD camcorders with increased picture quality and smaller size.

“We needed a solution that combined excellent video processing, advanced system integration and low power, and it was critical for us to select a partner with advanced compression technology to facilitate the transition from tape-based standard definition camcorder to tapeless high-definition camcorders,” said Dr. Dongho Shin, executive vice-president of Samsung’s AV division. “We selected Ambarella because of their excellent quality, low power and small memory footprint.  These are key features that will redefine the high-definition camcorder market”. 

Broadcast Infrastructure
Ambarella has taken a leading position in the broadcast infrastructure market providing HD and SD H.264 encoder solution based on its single-chip consumer encoder. One might ask: “Why use a “consumer” chip for the infrastructure market?”   Ambarella’s H.264 encoder provides state of the art video compression efficiency, Video cameras need the best possible compression to transition from tape to solid state (Flash memory) storage, and broadcast industry needs the best possible compression to maximize the number of channels that can be transmitted. In addition the low power of consumer chip is a huge breakthrough also for infrastructure because reduced form factor and low power consumption are important in today’s broadcast equipment. The Ambarella A2 processor can encode full 1080×1920  60i resolution HD in a single chip and enables the design of broadcast encoders with increased picture quality while the low power and high integration allows a smaller form factor and reduced power consumption.

Harmonic Inc. (NASDAQ: HLIT), a leading provider of digital video and broadband access solutions to cable, satellite, telecom and terrestrial operators worldwide has selected the Ambarella A2 Encoder platform for its DiviCom® Electra™ MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) HD and SD encoders. 

“Ambarella and Harmonic have a close working relationship with a proven track record of excellence,” stated David Price, vice-president of product marketing and communications for Harmonic, Inc.  “ Harmonic has leveraged this unique joint expertise to offer a H.264 video compression architecture that dramatically reduces bit-rates while delivering superior picture quality. The Ambarella A2 processor replaces previous core silicon allowing greater programming flexibility, higher power efficiency and unmatched channel density.  As a result, Harmonic’s new DiviCom Electra H.264 encoders enable our customers to deliver best-in-class services and enhanced viewing experiences.” 

Full Resolution, Low power, Single memory: a Breakthrough
From small low-power camcorders to the HD broadcast infrastructure, the ability  to capture and compress full HD in a single chip  with less than one Watt of power consumption and using only a single 16–bit-wide DRAM is a significant breakthrough  —  even more so when one realizes that the picture quality is outstanding and meets the exacting requirements of broadcasters.  

Pricing and availability
The Ambarella A2 platform provides a family of solutions covering consumer and professional use. The A2 platform is available in multiple configurations for differing requirements, including camcorder, hybrid cameras, security cameras and broadcast infrastructure. Evaluation kits are available and pricing information can be obtained from Ambarella.