Clearly one way to distribute video around the home, be it from a cable signal or household PVR, will be wirelessly, The first company I recall announcing it as a product was Moxi over eight months ago.
The problem with this lies in the theoretical 11Mps that 802.11a offers. This could get used up pretty fast depending on the strength of signal, the number and quality of simultaneously- viewed video streams and the amount of bandwidth other users on the network are taking up.
Recognising this, ViXS Systems have designed a chipset to tackle it. Their customers are being offered samples of its XCode video network processor, which takes in number of sources of video, be it an HD signal or an MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 stream and compresses them down. This can then distributed over any IP based network, WiFi or wireline.
The smart part comes in the fact that the quality of the stream can be adjusted depending on available bandwidth [Acronyms alert – IDS (Intelligent Distributed Video) and the very catchy ABFM (Adaptive Bandwidth Footprint Management)].
The people behind the RealTime Streaming Protocol standard, RTSP, had the idea a while back and companies such as Apple and Real Networks implemented this. By exchanging performance information between the sender of the video and the client, different qualities of video are delivered to the viewer. The downside of this is, if the video wasn’t originally encoded with a version for really bad network conditions (say 80k), the next closest version is shown. This may a high bandwidth version (say 220k) that, as all of the frame information cannot be received in time will display badly. The reality of producing streaming video is that you cannot practically encode a version for every network condition.
The beauty of the Vixs approach is it will do this to any current video source, analogue or digital and, one would assume, finely adjusting quality over many different bandwidths.
They claim to guarantee deliver 30 frames per second (FPS), high quality video over any type of Internet Protocol (IP) network, wired or wireless which is pretty impressive.
Isn’t it interesting that, as we see the industry grow up, companies measure performance in units that start to mean something to the industry their aiming at rather than tech terms.