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Transitioning Desktops to Set Tops
Winter 1995 (vol. 12 no. 4)
pp. 8-17

The capture, processing, transmission, digital storage, and display of multimedia requires a delicate balance between available MIPS, Mbytes/sec and Mbytes of dynamic and static memory. Video is the component of multimedia that provides the most visual realism while placing the most stress on computer system design regardless of price point. In a similar manner, interactive real-time, 3D animation graphics produces demanding data processing and transmission challenges.

Multimedia applications of the future will combine interactive video and graphics in new and exciting forms. One example of this integration will be presented as well as some results on operations on video in the compressed domain. We will also address some of the issues and innovations in engendering media-enabled computer systems from conventional desktops such as workstations with modern RISC processors to the next generation of consumer computers known as settops.

To provide a specific example, an MPEG1 decoder that is capable of real-time playback of video and audio on HP's RISC-based workstations will be described. Real-time playback is achieved by examining the complete MPEG1 decoding pipeline and optimizing the algorithms used for the various stages of the video decompression process. The settop functions and general architecture will be delineated with an overview of some system issues that affect the performance of interactive video. The desktop community is seeking TV-like functions such as surround sound and broadcast quality video, while the home consumer desires computer-like interactivity and connectivity.

Index Terms:
Digital video, MPEG, computer graphics, compression, multimedia, compressed-domain processing, settop boxes
Citation:
Frederick L. Kitson, Vasudev Bhaskaran, Devendra Kalra, "Transitioning Desktops to Set Tops," IEEE Design & Test of Computers, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 8-17, Winter 1995, doi:10.1109/MDT.1995.473308
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