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Digigami Ships MPressionist HDTV 3.0Testing and analysis for HDV, ATSC HDTV, DVB and HD-DVD MPEG-2 video (June 28, 2005)
Digigami today announced it is now shipping MPressionist HDTV 3.0 for Macintosh OS X (BSD unix-based) workstations, its flagship diagnostic testing and analysis tool for HDV/DTV/DVB device designers, and quality assurance, broadcast and software engineers working with standard (SD) and high-definition (HD) MPEG-2 bitstreams.
The product, in it's third major revision, combines bitstream syntax analysis, bitstream standards conformance, encoder performance feedback, statistical bitrate/compression diagnostics and comparative picture analysis tools into a highly visual and intuitive environment designed to increase engineering productivity by linking the engineer's technical expertise and MPEG knowhow with the bitstream syntax and actual moving picture frames. The toolset, which combines a demultiplexing/analysis preprocessing pass with true random access to the bitstream, makes it possible to understand and visualize all aspects of compressed MPEG-2 video, including the spatial/visual, statistical and syntatical elements.
Widespread Adoption of MPEG-2 Increases Conformance and Interoperability Burden
"The MPEG-2 (ISO/IEC 13818) video compression standard, which is now employed in HDV (prosumer HD), ATSC HDTV, satellite DTV, DVB, DVD and HD-DVD/Blu-Ray, has reached such a high-level of market acceptance that the need for versatile and productive diagnostic tools has never been greater." said Digigami CTO, Gen Kiyooka. "Broadcasters, device designers, engineers and quality assurance professionals are just now beginning to understand that the breadth of the MPEG-2 standard (and interpretations and implementations thereof) creates a significant testing burden with respect to the diverse range of bitstreams discovered when striving for interoperability and standards conformance.
Consumers understand it differently - they read MPEG-2 and they interpret it as a single format - nothing could be further from the truth. Digigami MPressionist HDTV is unique in it's ability to open and decode any MPEG-2 4:2:0 bitstream (MPEG-2 Program, Transport of Video Elementary Stream), and provides unrestricted access to all the headers, user data, compressed and decoded video frames in the bitstream. The big advantage is the ability to work with this diversity of bitstreams in the symbolic (syntactical), visual (compressed frames) and time (statistical) domains at the same time."
First developed as an internal tool to bootstrap HD encoder development at Digigami, since it's initial public '1.0' release the feature set has grown to encompass a wider variety of testing and diagnostic activities. The product is now in use in codec development, quality assurance, compression service bureaus and post-production facilities, educational and training institions, and broadcast environments.
Ideal for QA and Support Engineers
"This product is ideal for Quality Assurance and support technicians and engineers" continued Kiyooka, "Problematic bitstreams can be requested from customers and analyzed using objective metrics, demystifying the underlying causes of artifacts or playback stuttering.
In our own QA and support activities, we have seen a variety of strange MPEG-2 files, including corrupted bitstreams and bitstreams with severe picture artifacts caused by improper encoding. Usually, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the cause of playback problems simply by reviewing a faulty bitstream on a playback device. Diagnosing such problems is surprisingly simple with MPressionist.
One customer provided us with a syntactically-correct 8 Mbs MPEG-2 CBR bitstream that had a randomly-placed 400 Mbs bitrate spike - needless to say, this video did not play properly - and confounded support personnel. Other tools, including the Windows-based MProbe (no longer on the market), had failed to identify the source of the problem. When viewed with MPressionist HDTV, the irregularity was immediately evident."
Built on top of the industrial-strength BSD unix platform of Macintosh OS X, the product works in conjunction with other tools customers have already developed in-house. Because the underlying OS is unix-based, the engineer has access to all the standard unix tools that are commonly used in the professional/engineering workplace. The ability to run on Macintosh hardware also means HD engineers can connect one or more 30" Apple Cinema displays and work with multiple 1920x1080i MPEG-2 HD bitstreams simultaneously.
Comparative Analysis - A Key Ingredient
When dealing with a complex problem space such as HD MPEG-2, the ability of an operator to increase their own knowledge of the domain depends almost exclusively on comparative analysis. It is by objective comparison, and through the identification of key and useful differences, that one's own knowledge expands. Whether it's comparing the statistical bitrate graph of two bitstreams, comparing the relative sizes of I,B and P-frames, comparing gop_header values, comparing source video quality to compressed MPEG quality, or comparing well-formed bitstreams with problematic ones, MPressionist HDTV provides both the visualization tools which lead to intuitive leaps along with the factual bitstream data that is driving the display.
Problems are resolved sooner, reducing time-to-market, decreasing support costs, and increasing the productivity of key design and engineering personnel.
Pricing and Availability
The new 3.0 version of Digigami "MPressionist HDTV" is available now for $2997.00 USD. Registered users of version 2.0 are entitled to a free upgrade.
Site licenses, educational and volume discounts are available.
Digigami is a privately held company headquartered in the greater Los Angeles area. Digigami was founded in 1994 and released its first MPEG-1/MPEG-2 encoder, MegaPEG, in 1996 along with an early Netscape plug-in that provided streaming video in AVI, QuickTime and MPEG formats. For the past 10 years, Digigami has been continuously improving its MPEG compression technology; MPressionist.X Pro HD and MegaPEG.X Pro HD are the most recent additions to the Digigami line.
For details and pricing information on all Digigami products, please visit our Web site at http://www.digigami.com/.
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