iCompression was founded in 1996 to develop single-chip, real-time MPEG-2 video/audio/system encoders. The company's mission is to "lead the industry in technological advancement, features integration, highest quality and lowest cost MPEG-2 encoder chips for consumer and PC markets." The company is privately funded and is currently exploring additional financing options. iCompression has about 15 employees.
The first member of the Vivace family, the Vivace-izC, is a single-chip MPEG-2 video, audio and system encoder. The device features an integrated program and transport stream encoder. Vivace-izC includes support for both PAL (720x576) and NTSC (720x480), 4:2:0 chroma, 30 fps at up to 40Mb/s, MP@ML, MP@LL and SP@ML as well as IBBP encoding. The device has advanced editing features such as frame accurate start and stop, picture user data insertion, and automatic scene change detection. Only 10MB of SDRAM is required for all pre- and post-encoding operations. Both PC and standalone applications are supported via an on-chip host bus and a PCI bus. Patent-pending technological advances include a highly optimized motion estimation architecture and highly tuned temporally sequenced encode/decode operations. The device features 6 dedicated processors that can each deliver up to 1 teraflop and 2 small, high-performance processor cores capable of executing Java Virtual Machine instructions and DSP functions.
Target applications include DVD-RAM, DVD+R/W, video conferencing, digital VCR, digital camcorders and home video editing. Vince Guaglianone said that semi-professional and enthusiast video editing is a potentially huge market for iCompression's chips. A low-cost MPEG-2 encoder combined with inexpensive multi-gigabyte hard drives enables the creation of a high quality, low cost video-editing platform. The Vivace-izC has over 6 million transistors and is fabricated by NEC. The device is sampling now; production in 1Q '99; $195 in low volume. Future versions will integrate additional features such as a decoder, ADCs, and DACs. Sales channel agreements are in negotiation. A VP of sales is being recruited.
Govind Kizhepat, founder & president (formerly with Sun and Silicon Magic)
Vince Guaglianone, dir. of bus. development (formerly dir. of DVD mktg. at Oak)