Stay Tuned for Video Area Networks

eLABorations: ViXS' XCode system delivers reliable, high-quality video over IP networks

Early this year I wrote about ViXS Systems, a fabless semiconductor company and integrated software solutions provider that developed a system to deliver high-quality video streams over Wireless LANs.

Now its show time: Today, ViXS officially announced its XCode Video Network Processor and management software, which enables delivery of reliable, high-quality video over any IP network, ViXS officials said.

The ViXS chip set and software are designed for home and commercial video network markets, and for devices such as set-top boxes for cable and satellite operators, PVRs (personal video recorders—i.e., TiVo), and home wireless video gateways.

The ViXS integrated circuit modulates the bit rates, resolution and format of multiple MPEG video streams in real time, adapting to the fluctuating network bandwidth to guarantee quality video delivery, even on WLANs.

The XCode video network processor is the first technology that can guarantee 30 fps (frames per second) of high-quality MPEG video over any type of IP network, company officials claim.

When the networking bandwidth fails or fluctuates, users will experience video pixelation and screen freezes. But since the XCode processor modifies the video stream to accommodate available network bandwidth without dropping packets, it can guarantee delivery of 30-fps video streams as long as there is a network connection.

The XCode also has transrating capabilities—for example, it can reduce bit rates from HDTV (high-definition television) resolution to standard TV resolution; and supports real-time transcoding of MPEG file formats, such as MPEG2-to-MPEG4 file conversion.

The ViXS system comes with management software that monitors the network and determines available bandwidths. The software also maintains policy-based QoS (Quality of Service), regardless of network impairments.

The XCode IC ensures content security by supporting DES, 3DES and AES encryption technologies. This is important when transmitting content privately over the WLANs.

ViXS enables media devices to simultaneously deliver quality video to devices including HDTVs, PDAs, desktops and PVRs at the same time over the air. This system will likely appeal not only to home and commercial entertainment industries, but also to corporations, governments, hospitals and schools, officials said.

As video over wireless proliferates, ViXS Systems concept of "Video Area Networks" might be just around the corner. Stay tuned.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at