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Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Thomson's Film Grain Technology Specification Approved by DVD Forum


Thomson announced that leading consumer electronics, software and technology companies are implementing its Film Grain Technology.

Developed by Thomson's Technology division in collaboration with its Technicolor business, Film Grain Technology was recently adopted as a Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) registered disclosure document. Consumer electronics giants Toshiba and RCA; technology innovators Broadcom, Sigma Designs, Horizon Semiconductors and NVIDIA; and software leaders Microsoft and Sonic Solutions are set to deploy Film Grain Technology, with two Toshiba HD DVD players, an RCA HD DVD player and a Broadcom IC decoder now entering the marketplace.

"As soon as we identified the impact of advanced compression on film grain, we set our minds to developing Film Grain Technology," said Jeff Cooper, head of Thomson's Princeton Corporate Research Center. "The industry's adoption of our solution is great recognition for our hard work in support of next generation entertainment."

Broadcom's BCM7411D and Horizon Semiconductor's Hz100 and Hz300 are integrated solutions that will incorporate Film Grain Technology and Sigma Designs will offer an IC solution, as well. Sonic Solutions is integrating Film Grain Technology in its HD DVD production tools. NVIDIA is building hardware-accelerated Film Grain Technology for its line of Quadro Graphic Processing Units and InterVideo and CyberLink are integrating the technology into their personal computer HD DVD players. Finally, all HD DVD players will be manufactured with Film Grain Technology, notably RCA's HDV5000, Toshiba's HD-A1 and HD-XA1, and Microsoft's Xbox 360 HD DVD Player.

The first tool of its kind formally documented in cooperation with SMPTE, DVD Forum selected Film Grain Technology for mandatory inclusion in HD DVD products. The technology allows compressed motion pictures to be delivered more efficiently and improves their visual quality. It enables film grain that is extracted before content is compressed to be faithfully re-created during playback.

Film Grain Technology is a streamlined, low-cost solution that is embedded in broadcast and home theater play-out devices. Broadcasters maximize bandwidth; packaged media content creators gain disk space; and viewers see movies that match the filmmaker's intent. It is easily deployed with H.264 compression (also known as MPEG-4 Part 10/Advanced Video Coding), and can be adapted to support other compression solutions.

Film Grain Technology also has significant artistic applications beyond the delivery process. Creatives can use it in postproduction to add the look and feel of conventional film to digitally captured or rendered imagery.

The Film Grain Technology specification is for sale on the SMPTE website: http://www.smpte.org/smpte_store/standards/index.cfm. Thomson is also offering reference design software to help companies understand and implement the technology.


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