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“Anthill”: Google’s First VP8 Hardware Encoder IP Release

Google has unveiled “Anthill,” a hardware VP8 decoding solution that is substantially faster and more efficient than current software solutions.

“The H1 encoder offloads the entire VP8 video encoding process from the host CPU to a separate accelerator block on the SOC. It significantly reduces power consumption and enables encoding of 1080p resolution video at full 30 FPS, or 720p at 60 FPS. Without a hardware accelerator like the H1, modern multi-core mobile devices can only encode video at around VGA 25 FPS, and are not able to do much else while doing that,” said Google.

Anthill VP8 encoder

In terms of quality, hardware implementations of real-time encoders are typically behind those running on software, as adaptive algorithms related to motion search and mode selection (or exact rate-distortion optimizations) are often not feasible options in hardware.

The following graph shows PSNR quality metrics for a 720p video conferencing use case, comparing the H1 Anthill release to the libvpx Bali release in different complexity modes (higher PSNR is better).

Anthill vs. libvpx bali

“Anthill,” is now available through the WebM Project hardware page.


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