In Broadcast - NABSHOW 2015 - 21


21

www.inbroadcast.com | NAB SHOW 11-16 April 2015 | InShow Guide

Barco Silex Adds Lightweight VC-2
Compression to Production Toolbox
A high quality, low latency, low-footprint
hardware core is coming...

M

ost codecs were conceived for
distributing and visualising
video to end users. But with the
growing popularity of high-definition
video formats, compression codecs
are also rapidly gaining importance in
the broadcast world. One particularly
interesting codec is VC-2 LD (Low
Delay), now implemented by Barco
Silex as a hardware IP core. Originally
developed at the BBC and standardised
as SMPTE 2042, it is a simple intraframe wavelet codec designed for low
complexity and low latency, combining
light compression with high quality
lossless video.
Light Compression in Production
More and more, video will be
captured in high-definition formats,
while the transport may still depend
on legacy equipment with a lower
bandwidth. A lightweight compression
is the logic bridge.
The emerging UHD video poses

a particular challenge for existing
interconnect links, requiring up to 12
Gbps. With a light VC-2 compression,
UHD video could still be transported
over 10 Gbps Ethernet links, but with
3 Gbps SDI links, uncompressed UHD
will require four parallel links between
equipment. A 4:1 compression can
bring that down to a single link. The
same holds for 4K displays which, for
cost reasons, will still be equipped with
four SDI or HDMI inputs. For higher 120
Hz frame rates and 12 bit 4:4:4 signals,
compression would be even more
advantageous.
Unique Qualities of VC-2 LD
VC-2 LD is an ideal candidate for
lightweight compression. It has
been officially stamped as an SMPTE
standard, doesn't originate with a
single vendor, and is patent-free. So
it may be included in video production
equipment without the potential
costs, legal uncertainties, and

Full HD
video may be
transmitted
over 3 Gbps
SDI links - with
VC-2, the bit
rate can be
halved to make
it suited for 1.5
Gbps SDI links

practical difficulties of including other
comparable codecs. Furthermore,
video equipment is produced in much
lower quantities than consumer
displays, so a complex solution would
significantly impact the costs of
equipment. VC-2, in contrast, can be
integrated in existing designs and lowend Altera and Xilinx FPGAs.
High quality and low latency are
equally important. Long latencies
may be acceptable for end user
distribution, but are not in a
production context - especially live
broadcasts. Hence the standard was
implemented as an intra-frame codec.
VC-2 LD codes frame regions so small
that it achieves a latency down to
a few image lines. To combine that

with high quality compression, VC-2
employs wavelet transforms, the
same mathematical wizardry used in
JPEG2000.
Lastly, designed to be as flexible
as possible to support a wide range
of applications, VC-2 provides
unrestricted image size; unrestricted
bit depth; 4:4:4, 4:2:2, and 4:2:0
colour subsampling; and allows setting
an impressive number of parameters
to find the best trade-off between
compression efficiency, complexity,
and latency for any given application,
while remaining straightforward to use.
With VC-2 included as a standard on
video equipment, video production in
high-definition formats will definitely
get a boost.


http://www.inbroadcast.com http://www.barco-silex.com/ http://nab15.mapyourshow.com/6_0/exhibitor/exhibitor-details.cfm?ExhID=2119 http://www.barco-silex.com/ https://twitter.com/barcosilex https://www.linkedin.com/company/2900300?trk=vsrp_companies_res_name&trkInfo=VSRPsearchId%3A1112579221427198230509%2CVSRPtargetId%3A2900300%2CVSRPcmpt%3Aprimary http://www.barco-silex.com/

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