CES: Rovi Drives Toward High-Efficiency Video Codec

Las Vegas -- Rovi outlined its strategy to support High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), which promises to be at least twice as efficient as MPEG-4, with product updates and launches set for throughout the year.

The vendor’s HEVC Development Program is aimed at letting companies participating in the digital video value chain to take advantage of HEVC, also referred to as H.265, to cut storage and bandwidth costs and deliver an optimized viewing experience.

By 2016, more than 2 billion consumer devices -- predominantly smartphones -- will have HEVC decoding, according to a recent report by Multimedia Research Group. Only high-end set-top boxes that ship to pay-TV providers will add HEVC, the firm predicts.

Rovi’s rollout of HEVC-enabled solutions is planned to begin early this year, after the standard is ratified. HEVC is being developed by the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC), which brings together working groups from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).

The first Rovi HEVC solution will be a new MainConcept software developer’s kit offering core professional HEVC encoding for developers serving the broadcast, professional content creation, mobile and consumer industries.

Starting in the second half of 2013, Rovi anticipates introducing HEVC support in its video-delivery and playback solutions, including its DivX products and technologies. For these solutions, according to Rovi, HEVC should offer better cost/performance ratios for customers involved in the distribution of video and, supported by the DivX Certification program, deliver better playback quality and device interoperability.

“We see HEVC as a huge step, enabling the industry to cost effectively transition more content to high definition formats and, eventually, 4K,” said Matt Milne, Rovi’s executive vice president worldwide sales and marketing. “As with H.264, Rovi will release core video encoding and decoding solutions that will be the foundation of a successful HEVC rollout and enable our customers to save money while enhancing the quality of the video services they offer.”

During CES, Rovi will demo its suite of HEVC/H.265 solutions with demonstrations that will include 4K implementations of software-encoded HEVC video content.

In addition, the company will release findings from an HEVC Market Trajectory Study conducted with Frost & Sullivan that assesses the potential for HEVC across a number of products and application verticals.

Also Monday, Rovi announced:

* The DivX digital rights management (DRM) used with Rovi’s adaptive streaming format has been approved by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) for streaming use within the UltraViolet digital-media “locker” ecosystem.

* Rovi is working with smart TV games network PlayJam to let developers implement multiscreen interactivity and engagement. At CES, the companies will demonstrate Rovi’s Multi-Screen Service enabling two mobile users to play and interact with a TV-based blackjack game.

* Hong Kong media company Mei Ah Entertainment Group, in collaboration with China Mobile Hong Kong, is using Rovi’s DivX Plus Streaming to deliver premium entertainment services to mobile users in Hong Kong. China Mobile Hong Kong’s UTV app enables its 4G LTE and 3G service subscribers to access live TV broadcasting and catch-up video-on-demand from Android-based mobile phones and tablets.