Contents | < Browse | Browse >
» VxP500 Video Record and Playback Processor «
At Comdex this year, AuraVision unveiled the VxP500 Video Record and
Playback Processor, a product that incorporates far-reaching PC video
processing functionality in a single chip.
Also at the show, Creative Labs, Dolch Computers, Diamond Computer
Systems, and a dozen other vendors have introduced the first PC video
boards to be based on AuraVision's new integrated circuit (IC).
Microsoft, Adobe, Asymetrix, Xing Technologies, Mathematics, Canyon,
and Lenel have announced software support for the chip. SGS-Thomson, C-
Cube, and Zoran have also hopped aboard the AuraVision bandwagon, deve-
loping reference designs for building complete PC compression systems
with the VxP500.
The new VxP500 supplies all the capabilities of a traditional board-
level video processor and more, explained Steve Chan, president and
founder of AuraVision.
The chip is equipped with hardware acceleration capabilities that al-
low full-motion (30-frame-per-second) video to be displayed at full-
screen resolution without the usual visual degradation, said Mark
Hopper, sales director for the Fremont-CA-based startup company. The
product also features a unique time scaling feature that eliminates the
"jerkiness" of motion common to other systems, he maintained.
Although separate audio hardware is still needed, the VxP500 allows
simultaneous capture of video and audio in real time, added Tommy Lee,
senior applications manager. In contrast, other processors require video
and audio to be captured in different sessions.
Also unlike competing video processing systems, the VxP500 supports
color keying as well as chroma keying, according to Lee. Color keying
refers to overlaying graphics on top of video, while chroma keying
refers to overlaying video on top of graphics.
By integrating all video processing into a single IC, the VxP500 sup-
plies cost savings to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that will
in turn be passed on to end users, Lee said.
The price of the VxP500 to OEMs is less than $100, and boards based
on the chips will sell to end users for as low as $300, he estimated.
"In comparison, (other) boards now on the market cost $400 or more, and
the quality of their output isn't nearly as high," he asserted.
The VxP500 can capture video in RGB, Palettized VGA, YUV, and YUV
com-pressed formats under Microsoft Video for Windows, and in RGB, YUV,
and Palettized VGA formats under AVI. Support is provided for all AVI
video codecs, including JPEG, MPEG, Indeo, Cinepak, and Captain Crunch.
The VxP500 also supports VGA, NTSC, and PAL input, and VGA, NTSC, and
Control/L (LANC) videotape output. NTSC support is available for both
the composite video and S-Video formats. The chip permits display of up
to 16 million colors at up to 1024-by-786 resolution, he said.
AuraVision's hardware zoom technique allows the picture to be
expanded without graininess, he explained. The use of vertical
interpolation reduces "motion artifacts," or ghosts, and also promotes
more realistic colors.
Video for Windows software, available to OEMs for bundling with
VxP500-based boards, makes it possible to capture audio from a separate
sound board into a .wav file and to combine the video and audio in an
interleaved format for synchronized playback, he said.
The chip's time scaling feature comes into play when a system lacks
sufficient bandwidth to store 30-frame-per-second video, according to
Lee. Video processing systems deal with this situation by dropping some
of the frames. Time scaling is designed to drop frames in a smooth and
In a press conference at Comdex, Orchid Technologies rolled out a
whole family of VxP500-based boards, including the Vidiola Pro/D full
digital video editing; the Vidiola Pro/C for "cuts only" video editing
without hard disk video storage; and the Vidiola Premium, a daughter
board supplying MJPEG (motion JPEG) compression and decompression.
Aside from Orchid, Creative Labs, Dolch, and Diamond, other OEMs
announcing VxP500-based boards at Comdex included U-Max Data Systems,
Micro Star, Hauppauge Computer Works, CEI, GVC Technologies, VisionEx,
Micro Star, ASCO Corp., Leadtech Research, Lung HWA Corp., and Resonant
In addition to Microsoft's Video for Windows, the following third-
party software is available to OEMs for bundling with the boards:
Premier for Windows and Photoshop from Adobe; Compel and MediaBlitz!
from Asymetrix; Lenel's Multimedia Manager; Xing Technology's Picture
Prowler and MPEG Prowler; Mathematica's Tempra Pro authoring package;
and ICap video capture software from Canyon.
The VxP500 is the first product to be released by AuraVision, a com-
pany established by Chan in July 1992. Chan had previously served as
corporate VP and general manager at Chips & Technologies, VP of
engineering for Headland Technology, VP of ASIC design for LSI Logic,
and staff engineer at Ampex Corp.