Portable multimedia: the world in your pocket

Tag: Portable Multimedia

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With the continuous development of multimedia technology, the integration of wireless communication and other technologies, consumers are no longer satisfied with the multimedia experience in fixed places such as homes. It is this demand that makes portable multimedia come into being.

Portable multimedia feature

Common portable multimedia devices include portable multimedia players (PMPs), mobile phones, mobile TVs, vehicle terminals, etc. Video/audio playback is a core function of portable multimedia devices. On this basis, it can also expand rich functions such as real-time broadcast TV program viewing, audio and video recording, video/photography, e-book, navigation, games, Internet access, etc., and become a portable device that integrates personal information and entertainment. In order to provide sufficient space for storage, most devices use flash memory or micro drive as an external storage medium. The former is light and compact, and the latter has an advantage in capacity. A 3.5-inch color LCD or OLED is typically used as the display screen, or a touch screen that combines function keys with the screen.

Portable multimedia solution

A typical multimedia device should include the main processor, audio and video input and output, power management, storage media and user interface.

As the core of portable multimedia devices, the processor platform is a guarantee for the rich functionality of PMP. Currently providing mainstream solutions include TI, Freescale, Intel, AMD, Sigma Design and other companies. Among them, Intel's PXA27x and AMD's Au1200 provide a general-purpose processor, designers can add software codecs as needed, so they can support rich audio and video formats. However, due to software decoding, it leads to an increase in power consumption. AMD's AU2000 is specifically optimized for this problem to support longer battery life. TI's OMAP solution uses DSP for audio and video codec processing, plus the ARM processor is responsible for system processing and provides peripheral interface. This type of solution can also support new codecs through software upgrades. Freescale's i.MX solution, which implements audio and video encoding and decoding in hardware, can achieve lower power consumption, but also limits the supported media formats, usually focusing on applications on smartphones. Sigma Design's 851EMx integrates a 200MHz 32-bit RISC processor and MPEG decoding processor on a single chip, reducing space, cost and power.

Software is also a big challenge for consumer electronics manufacturers developing portable multimedia. Hardware platforms of different architectures also affect the ease of software development. DSP-based solutions tend to consume more programming time and time than MCU-based solutions. Operating systems, using Linux, WinCE or other operating systems, will also bring significant differences in the amount of software development work.

Portable multimedia trend

As portable multimedia devices begin to lead the trend of personal consumer electronics, the boundaries between various portable devices are beginning to blur, smartphones with digital TVs, PMPs with GPS capabilities, and gaming machines capable of capturing high-pixel images.... Fusion is the key to future trends. It is foreseeable that this convergence will bring more challenges to future portable multimedia design:

Power as a source of portable products provides a rich experience and is of course the biggest challenge for portable multimedia device design in the future. Dynamically adjusting the voltage and operating frequency to manage power consumption, automatically detecting and adjusting the main power consumption components such as backlight consumption, and adopting a more flexible battery mode are the considerations for future low-power design considerations.

In addition, how to achieve a balance between the appearance size and functional integration, how to compromise between equipment cost and playback quality, will be the key factor to determine the future development of portable multimedia devices.

Of course, one thing is certain. Portable multimedia shows people such a wonderful scene: at any time and place, you can get high-quality audio and video experience, record classic moments, and information acquisition and communication are everywhere. Travel the world and enjoy life, maybe just a portable multimedia device in your pocket.

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