Wireless users may soon see improved video quality on their handheld and mobile devices with the new release of PVPlatform 2.0 from PacketVideo, announced this week at the 3GSM World Congress.
PVPlatform combines authoring, server and player software for creating video for wireless devices such as a cellular phone or PDA. New in Version 2.0 is support for the MPEG-4 audio/video format, which is designed to be used over a broader array of bandwidths than previous versions of MPEG, which required fat Internet connections. Also, the new release features FrameTrack, a PacketVideo-designed technology that is said to adjust the video frame rate based on the receiving device's connection speed.
"We can scale continuously between 9.6kbit/sec and 768kbit/sec with a single encoded file," says Edward Knapp, a senior vice president at San Diego PacketVideo. Most video encoders require multiple files to serve multiple bandwidths or can only step between certain bandwidths when packet loss occurs. Most wireless users will not see 768kbit/sec connections until the 3G wireless networks are available, which is still a few years down the road.
PVAuthor lets customers encode their existing media files or live presentations into MPEG-4 for delivery via PVServer. A new feature in Version 2.0 is PV Voice-Over-Pix, which takes a high-quality image and streams it in the background with audio. This is useful for narrowband users that need audio more than video. Users can input AVI, BMP, JPEG, WAV, MPEG-1 and live audio/video feeds into PVAuthor for encoding.
PVServer supports any of the existing cellular and wireless delivery protocols and runs on Solaris, Linux and HP-UX operating systems. The latest release can work with bill tracking software and can support multiple PVAuthors (meaning multiple data feeds.)
The authoring tool and server can deliver to any MPEG-4 compliant player, but work better with PacketVideo's own player, PVPlayer. Knapp says PacketVideo is working with all the major cellular phone chipset providers to embed the PVPlayer technology into silicon, making it easier for phones to view MPEG-4 content. The company is also offering localization capabilities with support for English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish languages.
Applications for PVPlatform include CEO addresses and remote training. PacketVideo, through its PVAirGuide content site, shows live traffic video from its San Diego headquarters as a demonstration of the technology.
Specific pricing for PVPlatform has not been set and will be flexible for each customer's needs, Knapp says.