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STMicro and Fraunhofer show off DASH prototype

The recently released Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP standard - more commonly known as DASH - has received a shot in the arm today with the announcement by STMicroelectronics and Fraunhofer of the world's first DASH-compatible 3D/2D streaming receiver technology.

Semiconductor giant STMicroelectronics and research behemoth Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute joined forces to create the prototype, which is the first device to implement the MPEG-DASH standard for reception of 3D video streams over HTTP with automatic fallback for 2D-only devices.

The prototype system, the pair claim, proves that MPEG-DASH can be successfully used to stream high-quality video to IP connected devices including TV sets, set-top boxes and smartphones, while also demonstrating the workability of the technology's including digital restriction management sub-system for piracy prevention.

The software-based stack created by STMicro and Fraunhofer features technology designed to ensure no interruptions and the best possible viewing quality given the bandwidth available, adjusting the bit-rate on the fly and selecting the optimal resolution and format according to the client device type.

The prototype comprises a video server and two client devices: a PC connected to a 3D monitor, plus a thin-client system hooked up to a more traditional 2D display. Impressively, the system is able to serve the same source video to either client by adjusting the format without user interaction, using the open source GStreamer package to perform the heavy lifting.

"DASH enables efficient and easy video delivery - both on-demand and live streaming - over the existing Internet infrastructure to any connected device without any special provisions," claimed STMicro's Amedeo Zuccaro at the unveiling. "Through our collaboration with HHI, we are the first silicon manufacturer with native support for DASH-based adaptive video streaming integrated in our devices."

DASH is, potentially, a seriously useful technology: thanks to its use of standard HTTP transport streams, network infrastructures need little modification to take advantage of the standard, while performance can be assured with the use of existing caching systems.

Neither STMicro nor Fraunhofer indicated a time scale for commercialisation of the DASH prototype.