Video Decode

One of the stones we've thrown at NVIDIA is the lack of high profile H.264 decode support. Tegra 2 can decode main profile H.264 at up to 20Mbps, but throw any high profile 1080p content at the chip and it can't do it. This is a problem because a lot of video content out there today is high profile, high bitrate 1080p H.264. Today, even on Tegra 2, you'll have to transcode a lot of your 1080p video content to get it to play on the phone.

With Kal-El, that could change.

NVIDIA's video decoder gets an upgrade in Kal-El to support H.264 at 40Mbps sustained (60Mbps peak) at a resolution of 2560 x 1440. This meets the bandwidth requirements for full Blu-ray disc playback. NVIDIA didn't just make the claim however, it showed us a 50Mbps 1440p H.264 stream decoded and output to two screens simultaneously: a 2560 x 1600 30" desktop PC monitor and a 1366 x 768 tablet display.

Did I mention that this is 12-day-old A0 silicon?

Kal-El also supports stereoscopic 3D video playback, although it's unclear to me what the SoC's capabilities are for 3D capture.

I asked NVIDIA if other parts of the SoC have changed, particularly the ISP as we've seen in both the Optimus 2X and Atrix 4G articles that camera quality is pretty poor on the initial Tegra 2 phones. NVIDIA stated that both ISP performance and quality will go up in Kal-El although we don't know any more than that. NVIDIA did insist that its own development Tegra 2 platforms have good still capture quality, so what we've seen from LG and Motorola may just be limited to those implementations.


The Architecture Final Words
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  • softdrinkviking - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

  • softdrinkviking - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Nicholas Cage's son is actually named "Kal-El." Seriously.
  • samirsshah - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    how to compete.
  • j.harper12 - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    Nvidia... I literally just committed myself to buying a new smartphone a year, despite only have a full upgrade every two years. Am I really going to have to buy a new smartphone every six months now?!? Really?!?! Not cool Nvidia... actually, pretty cool, but vicious as far as budgets go.

    Here I was pining over the Optimus 3D...
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    You know, "new stuff exists" does not equal "have to buy it" ;p

  • medi01 - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    How many gigaherzopuxelshmixels does your current phone have?
    How often do you have to charge it?
  • mesiah - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Sounds like best buys buyback plan is in your future :D
  • AuDioFreaK39 - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Can't wait to have a 24-CPU core Nvidia Tegra mobile processor based on Iron Man architecture in 2014!! \m/
  • bplewis24 - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Pffft, while you're buying that I'll be waiting to purchase the 32-core SoC believed to be released in Q1 2015.
  • Gonemad - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    As long you don't need an ark reactor to power it, I'm game too.

    If Nvidia can do SoC chips, can it do full-blown non-mobile CPUs too? Just asking... I guess it's just like nuclear arsenal: can do it in 2 years or less, have all the tools, but won't tell you if it did.

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