Digital video is lighting up screens and capturing the imaginations of computer users everywhere, a trend that places unusually high demands on both computer platforms and software applications. The latest product releases from one of the most agile and innovative software producers in this space, Sonic Solutions, respond to this trend in a direct and forthright way, delivering a series of tuned and optimized applications that capitalize on the forward-looking platform technologies from Intel. The result is enhanced video experiences for consumers and a collection of software applications designed to speed through as many frames per second as is physically possible on a given machine. To some degree, the outstanding results achieved by Sonic in its development efforts can be traced to a rich collaborative history between Sonic and Intel and the hard work of engineers on the staffs of both companies.
This solution brief highlights the tools and techniques that proved useful in the development process and describes some of the areas where substantial performance gains and productivity boosts were achieved.
Techniques for Optimizing and Tuning Video Applications
The collaborative relationship between Sonic Solutions and Intel extends back several years and has yielded significant benefits in numerous areas and on multiple platforms. Among the recent platforms from Intel that have been targeted for upcoming software releases from Sonic are:
- Intel® X58 Express chipset
- Intel® Core™2 Duo processor
- Intel® Centrino®2 processor technology
- Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme processor
- Intel® Core™ i7 processor
- Intel® Core™ i7 mobile processor
Sonic Solutions’ integration of the Intel® Media Software Development Kit (Intel® Media SDK) into Roxio CinePlayer* and Roxio Creator* 2010 provides the advantages of hardware acceleration on today’s graphics platforms with support for future graphics platforms, as well. The video copy-and-conversion feature in Creator 2010 was also optimized to enhance performance and responsiveness through the use of multi-threading. Intel provided assistance in this engineering effort, and Sonic Solutions used a number of tools from the Intel® Software Development Products offering, including the Intel Media SDK, Intel® Threading Building Blocks, Intel® VTune™ Performance Analyzer, Intel® Thread Profiler, and others. The Intel Media SDK, in particular, delivered a productivity boost and the reliability of proven, refined codec performance to the Sonic development team.
Roxio CinePlayer* Enhancements
Providing a cost-effective way to decode and play back DVDs on PCs, Roxio CinePlayer has built a solid customer base in the consumer market for its high-quality video and crisp audio delivery. The Windows Vista*-compatible player provides full support for Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and handles InterActual* content embedded on DVDs. During the engagement with Intel, engineers focused on enhancing playback of high-definition (HD) video content when running on computers equipped with the Intel® G45 Express chipset. To this end, the Intel Media SDK proved useful in providing developers streamlined access to the hardware acceleration features offered by a key component of the Intel G45 Express chipset: the Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD (Intel® GMA X4500HD) with built-in support for 1080p HD video playback.
The hardware acceleration helps provide an enhanced end-user experience through faster decoding of MPEG-2, AVC, and VC1 video content-whether from DVD or streamed from the Internet.
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