Software Streams Media To Mobile Devices In Real Time

Entertainment services company Thomson, which created the software, plans to license the technology to telecommunication carriers and cell phone manufacturers.
Entertainment services company Thomson is testing software it developed that manages encoding and decoding of encrypted media in real time as video and audio stream from broadcast stations or telecommunications carriers to cellular phones and hand-held wireless devices.

The unnamed software, took two years to develop, the company said. Trials began in the second quarter of this year. "The software is being tested in France by most of the carrier operators, and we are in discussions in the United States and in the United Kingdom with others," said Jean-Charles Hourcade, senior executive vice president and chief technology officer at Thomson, a global media technologies and creative services company for the entertainment industry.

Hourcade, who is convinced tomorrow's mobile devices will have enough power to manage several critical tasks with software rather than application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), expects to talk about the project Wednesday at the Digital Entertainment & Media Expo in Los Angeles.

Written in C++, the software runs on the Microsoft CE, Symbian, and Linux operating systems. It controls the quality of the transmission as it travels on cellular or wireless networks. There are plans to license the technology to telecommunication carriers and cellular phone manufacturers.

The software is being tested on 2-inch by 3-inch displays. The content is encoded through the software in real time, and is then streamed to the mobile device at between 250 kilobits and 300 kilobits per second in real time.

The content is encapsulated in Internet protocol (IP) real-time transport protocol (RTP), and sent to an access point, such as Wi-Fi. From there the signal is transmitted and captured on a Dell Inc. PDA or Nokia cellular phone, for example, and then encrypted video and audio is decoded in real time on the mobile device.

One benefit to consumers is that with the software, streaming media could be viewed on upgradeable rather than disposable devices. Controlling the quality of the content with software, rather than integrated circuits, however, will require industry standards.

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