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Open source multimedia codec API supports x86, ARM

Jun 30, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 10 views

STMicroelectronics has released an open source sample implementation of OpenMAX IL, a standardized API (application programming interface) for interfacing with hardware- and software-based multimedia codecs. ST's Bellagio v0.2 OpenMAX IL sample code supports Linux on x86 and ARM platforms, according to the Khronos Group, which maintains OpenMAX.

Khronos expects the Bellagio sample implementation to help Linux developers familiarize themselves with OpenMAX IL. The release is intended to foster the development OpenMAX components — such as codecs, video I/O, and audio mixers — for a variety of hardware platforms, including mobile and embedded Linux devices.

“Developers [using Bellagio] are recommended to have experience with C, especially in multithreaded embedded environments based on Linux,” the group said.

The v0.2 Bellagio release includes the libomxil shared library, the OpenMAX IL core, an MP3 decoder software component, a basic volume control, and one audio sink software component (ALSA sink), according to Khronos. “All of these components comply with the OpenMAX base and interoperability profiles, i.e. they can be tunnelled together,” the group said.

Some examples of OpenMAX components that could be based on Bellagio are VoIP and video codecs, audio mixers and audio effects components, and video I/O components, such as Video4Linux.

In particular, ST is developing a set of GStreamer plug-ins that work with Bellagio OpenMAX IL, Khronos reports. GStreamer is a multimedia framework for Linux that supports a wide variety of multimedia components ranging from simple Ogg/Vorbis playback to audio mixing and non-linear video editing. It is used by Linux-based devices such as the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet for multimedia support.

The Bellagio GStreamer plug-ins being developed by ST will allow GSTreamer-based applications to make use of multimedia acceleration, according to ST lead development engineer Diego Melpignano. “This is the beauty of the Khronos OpenMAX IL approach,” Melpignano said.

In addition to working with existing multimedia frameworks such as GStreamer, Bellagio OpenMAX components can also be used directly by applications, according to Khronos. For example, ST has prototyped a VoIP client using OpenMAX components, running on one of ST's multimedia-oriented Nomadik SoCs (system-on-chip processors). “When hardware acceleration is added, there will be considerable power savings for the platform,” Khronos noted.

About OpenMAX IL

OpenMAX IL (integration layer) is the first of three OpenMAX layers that together will “provide comprehensive streaming media codec and application portability by enabling accelerated multimedia components to be developed, integrated and programmed across multiple operating systems and silicon platforms,” according to the Khronos Group.

OpenMAX architecture

Bellagio availability

Bellagio v0.2 is currently available for download on SourceForge.

“STMicroelectronics is pleased to contribute to this open source implementation, and to help broaden the awareness of the OpenMAX IL API as a standard to control multimedia components in future terminals,” said Amedeo Zuccaro, ST's Director of the Secure Entertainment and Multimedia Platform, Advanced System Technology.

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