Broadcom today announced sampling of the industry’s first low power multimedia processor that enables a high definition (HD) video camcorder and playback in cell phones and portable media players. The Broadcom VideoCore III multimedia processor also supports an up to 12 megapixel digital camera and delivers high performance yet ultra-low power 3D graphics for a world-class gaming experience. HD video, 3D games and high resolution 12 megapixel pictures can be displayed at top quality on full-sized HD televisions and monitors using an on-chip industry standard HDMI interface.
This groundbreaking technology adds a very significant competitive advantage to Broadcom’s mobile platforms portfolio. Next generation cell phones based on VideoCore III technology will offer a quantum improvement in mobile audio, video, imaging, navigation and gaming experiences — all with similar battery life and size of today’s compact multimedia handsets.
“Mobile handsets with compelling multimedia features are capturing the imagination of consumers and phone developers alike, driving the industry to push the limits of what a handset can do,” said Will Strauss, Principal Analyst from Forward Concepts, in the press release. “Enabling HD quality video without draining the battery will provide another leap forward for mobile devices, taking high definition multimedia from novelty to must-have feature.”
Two-thirds of cell phones sold in 2006 included built-in cameras, and most supported basic games and audio playback, according to Forward Concepts. The current generation of cell phones only supports low resolution video recording and playback, and most consumers do not consider it sufficient to replace their “real” digital cameras. Additionally, low resolution cell phones are not capable of playing pre-recorded and TV content without the cumbersome step of optimizing the content for the particular phone model. Today’s phones are also not capable of supporting emerging 3D user interfaces and navigation applications. Advances in high resolution mobile displays, the rapidly dropping cost of mobile content storage, faster mobile networks and advances in low power media processing are enabling a new generation of high definition mobile devices with significantly improved multimedia quality.
To address this market opportunity, Broadcom delivers the BCM2727 high definition mobile multimedia processor. The BCM2727 is Broadcom’s first product based on its new VideoCore III multimedia architecture, also announced today. VideoCore III is the third generation of Broadcom’s popular and field-proven VideoCore mobile multimedia technology, which has shipped in over 25 million mobile products to date. VideoCore III extends the VideoCore architecture to new performance levels and adds high definition video and multimedia capabilities. By maintaining a superior level of software programmability, VideoCore III can support rapid integration of new features and applications, as well as new and evolving video and audio CODECs in the future. The architecture is based on dual core vector processors tightly coupled with hardware accelerators for video, image processing and 2D/3D graphics. Substantial performance increases for imaging and gaming applications can be achieved while preserving ultra-low power — a hallmark of the VideoCore architecture.
“VideoCore III raises the bar for mobile multimedia, and for the first time, enables a high definition mobile user experience,” said Mark Casey, Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom’s Mobile Multimedia line of business, in the press release. “The BCM2727 delivers a ‘triple-play’ of technology combining HD camcorder with professional quality camera and next generation graphics, all at extremely low power.”
The BCM2727 mobile multimedia processor is the first in the industry to support mobile phone HD camcorder functionality by providing 720p HD video encode and decode with H.264 main profile compression at low power levels. Consumers will now be able to capture video on their cell phones with the same quality used in high definition broadcast television. Handsets can support more than 5 hours of high definition video playback or around 3 hours of HD recording using a standard-sized cell phone battery. Content on the handset up to HD resolution can be played back on televisions via an integrated HDMI 1.3 or analog interface.
In addition to HD camcorder functionality, the BCM2727 also includes built-in high quality camera processing of up to 12 megapixels. Professional quality picture capture and video recording are enabled with an extremely advanced on-chip image signal processor (ISP) supporting features such as sensor and lens compensation, sharpening, exposure compensation, color correction, red eye reduction and image stabilization. A programmable image pipeline provides additional control, as well as rapid development and integration of new features and further image processing. Images are processed at speeds unparalleled in any mobile phone today: with the ability to process up to 144 million pixels per second, VideoCore III supports on-the-fly photography at up to 12 pictures per second at 12 megapixel camera resolution, or even faster for lower resolution camera sensors.
The BCM2727 features on-chip advanced 2D and 3D graphics accelerators and efficient audio technology that provides not only a rich viewing and listening experience, but also a powerful platform for mobile gaming applications. The graphics pipeline is optimized for efficient Open VG 1.0 and Open GL ES 1.1/2.0 operation and is capable of 32 million triangles per second peak performance. Supporting over fifty multimedia standards, formats, codecs and resolutions, VideoCore III provides the broadest mobile multimedia content support in the industry.
Samples of the BCM2727 processor, with VideoCore III mobile multimedia technology, are now available to early access customers.
More info here.