Aspex, MainConcept Accelerate High Definition Video Compression Market

4/19/2005 - Aspex SemiconductorTM, a UK-based fabless semiconductor company developing leading-edge software programmable “Extreme Processors”, announced that the company has formed a partnership with MainConcept, a leading provider of video codec and other multimedia technologies, headquartered in Aachen, Germany. The partnership is designed to provide vendors with a dramatically accelerated solution for High Definition video compression.

The increased complexity of High Definition video compression is creating massive performance challenges for the video industry. This is resulting from the transition to High Definition content for HDTV, High Definition DVD, and 2K/4K Digital Cinema standards, and the emergence of advanced compression formats such as H264/AVC.

The emergence of multiple encoding standards for High Definition content, such as MPEG-2, H264/AVC and Windows Media/VC1, has created a critical need for software-defined, multi-standard HD compression platforms. Historically, the development of encoding algorithms has been a process of continuous improvement, favouring the use of software-programmable solutions which can be upgraded after deployment to deliver increased picture quality or lower bit-rates.

“Video compression is widely regarded as something of a ‘black art’”, said Jeremy Hendy, VP Marketing at Aspex Semiconductor. “By partnering with MainConcept, a world leader in video compression, we were able to quickly implement complex encoding functions such as motion estimation on our Accelera platform, taking advantage of their many years of experience in the field.”

Aspex’s “Extreme Processor” solutions are 100% software programmable, yet deliver the performance levels traditionally associated with dedicated hardware solutions, enabling vendors to invest in a reprogrammable, future proof HD encoding platform.

The Aspex – MainConcept partnership has already resulted in the development of a high definition MPEG-2 Encoder which accelerates the performance of PC-based software MPEG-2 HD video encoding, as used in many video editing and post production facilities.

The MPEG-2 encoder incorporates high-level compression software from MainConcept, which runs on a Windows or Linux PC platform, and low-level encoding software from Aspex, which runs on four Aspex Linedancer Extreme Processors on a PCI/PCI-X plug-in card, dramatically accelerating the processor-intensive HD encoding task. And unlike fixed-function video encoders, the Accelera platform can also be used to accelerate other functions in the workflow, such as colour correction or complex video effects processing.

This joint development means that the solution will maintain the same API as MainConcept’s leading MPEG-2 software encoder, allowing MainConcept’s existing licensees and end-customers to immediately benefit from a significant uplift in encoding performance, with no modifications to their software.

“We are proud that Aspex Semiconductor has chosen our technology,” said Markus Moenig, founder and CEO of MainConcept. “Aspex’s software programmable solutions enable companies to bring high-quality solutions to market quickly, and this is an example of the versatility of MainConcept’s codecs. The development partnership between Aspex and MainConcept allows our customers to address their needs for increased performance in a cost-effective way, which is critical to compete in the broadcast marketplace.”

Hendy added, “An important factor when selecting MainConcept was their large installed base of licensees, who have already integrated MainConcept’s MPEG-2 software API with their products. By reusing the same API, we can provide those customers with a “plug and play” accelerated solution.”

Aspex will be previewing their HD MPEG-2 encoder to selected customers in Las Vegas 17th – 21st April, to coincide with NAB 2005. For further details, please contact Aspex Head Office.

About Main Concept
Main Concept is a worldwide leader in codec’s and video editing technologies for personal computers, set-top boxes and other devices. The company offers SDKs which make it easy for companies to implement codec’s and other multimedia features with minimal research and development. Main Concept also has a line of innovative end-user video editing and compositing software which is also available for OEM bundling.

Main Concept AG is headquartered in Apache, Germany, where it was founded and has operated for more than 11 years. The U.S. subsidiary, MainConcept LLC, was established in 2001 in Beachwood, Ohio. In 2002 Technology Joint Corporation (TJC) located in Osaka, Japan, became the exclusive MainConcept distributor for the Asian-Pacific region. For additional information, visit the company's website at

About Aspex Semiconductor Limited
Aspex Semiconductor is a leading edge fabless semiconductor company specialising in the delivery of extreme processors. These high-performance programmable processors replace FPGAs, ASICs and DSPs at a fraction of the cost.

Aspex enables customers to reduce component costs, shorten time to market and reduce risk by moving to software defined platforms. In addition, the company offers services to speed adoption of Aspex products. Aspex Semiconductor has successfully demonstrated its architecture in the market place and by optimising the unique benefits of the Aspex processor family, customers are able to keep pace with the most demanding market conditions.

Headquartered in Buckinghamshire, UK, Aspex serves clients and partners worldwide. For further information visit the Aspex Semiconductor website at

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