Earlier in 2016 we gave you a sneak preview of our brand new Mali video processor, then codenamed Egil. There was a great deal of interest in this exciting new product, not least because of some of the ground-breaking features included and the industry has been impatient to hear more. Well, the big day has finally arrived and we can now announce the official launch of the Mali-V61 video processor.
In developing Mali-V61 we’ve continued to take an alternative approach to the standard video processor which tends to target a specific codec or a very limited selection. Instead, we’ve developed a single, unified video solution which controls all the necessary features of the relevant codecs through firmware with all pixel processing handled by specified hardware blocks. Our firmware is controlled through a single API and we currently provide reference drivers based on the latest Android releases along with a host interface specification. This not only allows flexibility in SoC design but also provides a multi-standard solution to the industry.
Something we consider of high importance through all of our IP development is the need to not only support today’s high end content and devices, but also to be able to adapt to the challenges and additional complexity the future of the industry may bring. With this in mind, we have implemented significant enhancements to our HEVC encode capability as well as creating support for VP9 encode and decode, making Mali-V61 the first multi-standard video processor to be contained in a single IP block.
As well as advanced encode and decode options, we provide an android reference software driver. It handles numerous tasks including the setup of a video session as well as dynamic power gating and memory allocation. The built in core scheduler manages multiple encode/decode streams and maps single or multiple video streams across multiple cores in order to provide maximum performance.
Video conferencing and ‘chat’
The new Mali-V61 video processor’s flexibility in handling multiple encode/decode streams makes it the ideal solution for a range of important use cases. Two-way, real-time video communication is a rapidly increasing use case, whether in more formal video conferencing applications or the growing range of video chat applications that are now prevalent. The complexity required to simultaneously handle multiple video streams from different devices, locations and performance points often means that there are serious compromises in the quality of the final video output. Mali-V61 is able to efficiently handle all of these streams and allocate just the required amount of bandwidth in order to retain the maximum possible video quality and provide a superior visual experience to the end user. This avoids all the awkward delays and accidental interruptions we saw with early mobile video conferencing capabilities.
With the rise of 4K displays has come a need for higher quality content to exploit them to their best advantage. Mali-V61 supports 4k video capture and streaming to a larger screen device, such as your home TV, as well as sharing your content directly with friends or on social media. This allows you to take, watch and share higher quality videos without the need for external hardware.
Configurability and scalability
We’ve designed Mali-V61 to be sufficiently configurable to enable multiple levels of use of the video IP whilst retaining the same high quality encoding and decoding performance. This enables our partners to differentiate based on the requirements of their target devices. They can take into account considerations such as the preferred resolution and frame rate to be supported and whether they want to enable encode or offer only decode capability, for example if they are producing a video player without a camera. Partners can also design their configuration based on whether or not they want to support 10-bit and 8-bit video, or just 8-bit, as well as if they want to support all video codecs, or just a subset. This range of options allows partners using Mali-V61 to deliver very specific points of differentiation for their products, providing them with far greater control.
Mali Multimedia Suite
Following on from the launch of the Mali-DP650 display processor in January 2016 and the Mali-G71 GPU in May 2016, Mali-V61 provides the third element to complete the latest high performance ARM® Mali Multimedia Suite configuration, designed for next generation premium devices. The entire Mali Multimedia Suite comes pre-optimized to work together to produce the highest quality user experience whilst exploiting the latest advances in energy efficiency and bandwidth saving.
A new version of one of ARM’s top bandwidth saving technologies, ARM Frame Buffer Compression (AFBC) has also been adopted for the Mali-V61 VPU as well as the newly released Mali-G51 GPU. This latest version of AFBC is fully backwards compatible while advances in this technology provide a new level of efficiency across the full Mali Multimedia Suite of products.