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Friday, April 13, 2007

STMicroelectronics is stepping in to support China's domestic audio video codec, lending it more street credibility in a world dominated by MPEG-4 and H.264/AVC standards.

ST will initially take a software-based approach to decode China's Audio Video Coding Standard, using media processors in its existing STi520x and STi710x families that are used in IP set-top boxes. By the end of the year, or early next year, it will have a hardwired implementation in volume production, said Bob Krysiak, ST's general manager for Greater China.

Expect other multinationals, such as Broadcom Corp., to quickly tip plans of their support for AVS, too.

Till now, only a small number of local companies have signed onto AVS, including Celestial Semiconductor, Grandview Semiconductor, Longjing Microelectronics, Fudan Micro Nano and Beijing USC.

A recently released Chinese broadcast mobile TV specification, known as CMMB, also uses AVS as its codec. Still, China Telecom, the largest domestic telecom company, favors H.264 in its IPTV offering and it will likely dominate the market.

AVS backers say the codec is similar to H.264 in terms of technical performance. Unlike MPEG-4/H.264, however, the AVS group probably will not charge "participation fees" to use the codec for subscription-based services, over-the-air free broad- casts or duplication of content on a title-by-title basis.

The complete report can be found here.

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