CES: ARM demos OpenCL H.265/HEVC decoder


ARM has shown some new technology developments at CES. This time it wasn't a completely new chip or other hardware adjustments, but an efficient HEVC/H.265 decoder. The decoder should allow the playback of Full HD HEVC-encoded content with just minor CPU and GPU load.

The new decoder is programmed using ARM NEON instructions and OpenCL code, which could make it an interesting solution for future smartphones as well. The codec was constructed by Ittiam and we saw it in action combined with a reference platform featuring a Samsung Exynos 5250 processor, which has two Cortex-A15 cores, clocked at 1.7 GHz. The graphics of this SoC are handled by an ARM Mali-T604 chip.

Unfortunately, ARM didn't provide any concrete numbers on CPU and GPU load during playback of the HEVC file. If what ARM claims is legit, it would be quite a remarkable feat, since even an Intel Core i3/i5 processor can have trouble decoding a Full HD HEVC file using a regular software codec.

ARM's test configuration, which showed the HEVC/H.265 decoder, producing...

... this image in Full HD.

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