Innovative Ideas for Predictable Success
      Volume 2, Issue 2


  Customer Spotlight
Spotlight Delivering High-Performance IP for Decoding High Definition Media
Charly Lippoth, CTO of leading digital media technology company Nero, explains that achieving superior quality of results for an ASIC implementation became a high priority when selecting an EDA partner to support their IP development project.

Based in Karlsbad, Germany, Nero is a leading developer of digital media solutions. The company recently expanded its product line to include an MPEG-4 AVC (ISO/IEC 14496-10) decoding IP core solution for ASICs and SoCs. The IP core enables fully-compliant high performance decoding of high definition media in the state-of-the-art AVC/H.264 format.

The AVC/H.264 high profile decoding IP core is designed to meet the exacting performance needs of customers like VIA Technologies, a supplier of system components for the PC and embedded markets who recently used the core in an ASIC implementation.

Flexible Support
The current multitude of video formats means that solutions for this application domain must be flexible if they are to last. Nero’s product development efforts have delivered IP that can be used for a wide range of solutions. Nero’s AVC/H.264 core supports any video resolution at an unbeatably low power consumption, which is one of the key reasons why the AVC IP is the basis for the ongoing working relationship with VIA, "This license to use Nero’s AVC/H.264 IP core presents a significant competitive edge in business opportunities for VIA," adds Charly Lippoth.

Design Needs
The Nero AVC IP decoder core supports Baseline, Main, Extended, and High profiles of ISO/IEC 14496-10 in resolutions up to 4096 x 4096 pixels. It synthesizes with major digital cell libraries, and can decode SD content with frequencies as low as 40MHz. As well, HD 1080p and 1080i content can be decoded with 200MHz. It is highly optimized for low internal SRAM usage and provides pixel-perfect output with AVC/H.264 compliance streams and "real world" streams of different encoders on the market.

The core accesses DDR or SDRAM memory, which is managed via a 64-bit shared bus, making it simple to integrate Nero’s solution with existing SoC designs. The decoder streams in source video via serial, PCI, or Ethernet. Other interface types can be implemented in a custom silicon solution along with various controller options.

Development Process
Nero required an ASIC development environment that offers the best quality of results (QoR). With this in mind, Nero took the opportunity to evaluate a number of synthesis tools.

Nero benchmarked Synopsys’ Design Compiler® (DC) synthesis product against a competitive tool to see which solution would provide the best results for the ASIC design, and enable the smoothest development path to ASIC. The design synthesized with DC without problems and exceeded Nero’s QoR goals. As a result, Nero purchased DC and halted the evaluation of the competitor’s synthesis product.

Besides gaining a technical advantage, Charly Lippoth was looking for other things from the relationship with the EDA supplier. “Synopsys has big market knowledge,” he continues. “They proposed the right solutions for our needs and we quickly established a positive working relationship.”

About Nero
Nero is a leading provider of digital multimedia solutions for the personal computer, consumer electronics, and mobile industries. Focused on developing technologies for digital media creation and playback, Nero provides strategic partners with applications, codecs, tools, software development kits, and programming interfaces for use with a variety of the latest platforms and devices. Over 240 million units of Nero’s award-winning software solutions have been distributed globally and are widely used in the home, on the go and professionally.

Nero distributes products globally through hardware manufacturers, international partners, retailers, and directly through Nero AG is headquartered in Karlsbad, Germany and serves the world with regional offices in Karlsbad, Germany (EMEA); Glendale, California, USA (Americas); and Yokohama, Japan (APAC).

©2010 Synopsys, Inc. Synopsys and the Synopsys logo are registered trademarks of Synopsys, Inc. All other company and product names mentioned herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners and should be treated as such.

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-   NERO
"The design synthesized with DC without problems and exceeded Nero’s QoR goals. As a result, Nero purchased DC and halted the evaluation of the competitor’s synthesis product."