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Media 100 Introduces Media Supercomputer Platform.

Business/Technology Editors

MARLBORO, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 26, 2002

Custom Silicon Processors Give GenesisEngine(TM) Real-Time

Multi-Stream Throughput And Precision Unmatched At Any Price

Extensible, PC-Compatible Platform To Host 844/X(TM), Future Media

Products From Media 100

At an industry event last night at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City, Media 100 Inc. (NASDAQ: MDEA), a leading provider of advanced media systems, introduced GenesisEngine(TM), a new media supercomputer that the Company is using to host 844/X (also announced today) and future media products.

The product of a substantial, multi-year research effort, GenesisEngine provides real-time image and signal processing to support applications like content design that require the recursive processing of concurrent effects on multiple simultaneous video and key streams. Personal computers can take hours to render media functions that the GenesisEngine can process in real time. GenesisEngine also provides high internal mathematical precision to uphold picture and sound quality through the millions of interim operations intrinsic to this complex processing.

"The GenesisEngine is a technical wonder--our next-generation platform and architecture," said John Molinari, president and chief executive officer of Media 100. "The GenesisEngine gives us, as developers, the power to bring blazingly fast visual effects and integrated editing to the desktop, in solutions that set new benchmarks for speed and quality, yet are open, flexible, and cost-effective."

By eliminating the need to render many computer-intensive media processing functions on host personal computers or advanced workstations, the GenesisEngine saves artists and editors - and facility owners - hours, even days, on important projects. The substitution of slow host-based rendering with real-time GenesisEngine throughput enables creative choices that, previously, time and budget restrictions might have prohibited. Also, the speed of the GenesisEngine gives facility owners improved throughput and productivity, without the expense of proprietary workstations and black-box equipment.

GenesisEngine Core

The image and signal processing core of the GenesisEngine comprises three custom silicon processors--Foss(TM), Holmes(TM), and Hatalsky(TM)--developed by the Company over a multi-year period and fabricated using advanced ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) technology. One Foss Processor, one Holmes Processor, and five Hatalsky Processors are integrated into each GenesisEngine. These seven processors, composed of more than 4.3 million gates--33 million transistors--represent a proprietary transistor blueprint for real-time, multi-stream, high-precision media processing.

In concert, the Foss, Holmes, and Hatalsky processors are capable of processing 12 simultaneous streams of uncompressed video in real time at a data rate exceeding 600 megabytes per second. These custom processors facilitate the use of standard disk storage; they perform real-time instream effects operations like digital video effects (DVEs); and they perform many fundamental image processing functions in real time with 10-bit or greater internal precision.

"At Media 100 we design software, we design hardware, and we integrate them to fit personal computers to deliver speed that is unthinkable and quality that is unmatched at any price," said Giles Rae, vice president of engineering for Media 100. "The GenesisEngine exemplifies this tradition. We built it from the ground up, starting at the semiconductor level. Now, we have equity in an extensible platform and architecture - advanced technology that we can build on for years."


Real-Time Embedded OS

The GenesisEngine uses an embedded software core that comprises a real-time multi-threaded kernel operating system (OS). The real-time embedded OS supports accelerating threads, message queues, semaphores, events, memory pools, timers, and interrupts. The embedded software drives a 64-bit data bus processor that communicates directly with the Foss, Holmes, and Hatalsky processors. The entire integrated software-hardware architecture is optimized to avoid host latency and processing delays by operating with 32,000 64-bit VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word) commands at 60 frames per second (16.7 milliseconds) or 50 frames per second (20 milliseconds). This computing structure is ideal for processing multiple streams in real time, even on a non-real-time personal computer host.

10-Bit Signal Architecture

The GenesisEngine signal architecture is virtually transparent to input SDI video sources and produces extremely high image and signal quality. All the digital video data paths onboard the GenesisEngine are based on 10-bit uncompressed, 4:4:4:4 RGB, Alpha or Y,CB,CR, Alpha signal architectures and progressive frame signal processing at 60 frames per second for 525 line inputs and 50 frames per second for 625 line sources. GenesisEngine is designed with a progressive-frame processing capability that uses field- and line-based adaptive median filter algorithms to eliminate interlace artifacts that may occur when implementing digital effects.

The GenesisEngine uses 10-bit quantization throughout, a technological leap ahead of 8-bit precision. 10-bit quantization steps are one quarter (1/4) the size of those generated with 8-bit quantization; therefore, the higher 10-bit precision does not produce the objectionable "banding" that occurs frequently with 8-bit quantization, particularly in scenes that have relatively large areas of nearly constant luminance and chrominance. Banding in 8-bit processing architectures is not always visible because often it is masked by noise that acts a dither source; noise can be present on digitized input signals or result from the use of compression.

The GenesisEngine is precise. The custom silicon processors use 14-bit coefficients and carry product terms to 31-bit precision in order to maintain extremely high signal quality. Filtering for rotation and scaling is implemented using sub-pixel bicubic interpolation, an advanced algorithm that uses 16 neighboring pixels to produce spatial resolution down to 1/256 of a pixel--all resulting in superior image quality.

Multiple Streams

The GenesisEngine architecture incorporates 10 digital processing channels: four video channels; four related key channels; and one graphics channel and one related key from the onboard Graphics Memory (described later). Each and every one of these paths can process signals simultaneously, in real time, to color correct, introduce chroma and luminance keying, produce motion DVE and dissolve effects, add blur and sharpen filtering, and apply Adobe-standard blend (transfer) modes (such as Add, Overlay, Multiply, Screen, Subtract, Difference, Exclusion, OR, AND, Hard Light, Darken, and Lighten across each and every one of the 10 channels).

Intelligent Layering Architecture(TM)

To support processing unlimited layers, the GenesisEngine uses four channel pairs (eight digital processing channels) to carry digital video and key data, and processes 4:4:4:4 progressive frame signals running at 420 megabytes per second to blend four layers in one pass. The GenesisEngine Intelligent Layering Architecture(TM) (ILA) allows the four-channel processing structure to be used in a recursive configuration that enables users to composite a virtually unlimited number of layers. The recursive process runs at speeds that are orders of magnitude faster than currently available systems. Visual Voicing, an innovation introduced by Media 100, allows the user to view any four layers in a multi-layered program, all in real time, using the same processing power of the GenesisEngine.

Graphics Memory

The GenesisEngine incorporates an onboard resolution-independent Graphics Memory capable of storing any arbitrary rectangular image size of up to 10 million pixels (for example, 1,000 by 10,000 pixels, or a 2,000 by 5,0000 pixels). The contents of this memory can be applied as additional real-time graphic and key streams (one graphic/key pair). The onboard graphic and key channels support real-time full-motion alpha keys along with a complete suite of real-time instream effects.


The GenesisEngine reserves an auxiliary high-speed bi-directional expansion interface, called GenesisConnect(TM), which makes available an auxiliary 4:4:4:4 video data stream at 60 or 50 progressive frames per second. GenesisConnect enables Media 100 engineering to incorporate additional processing subsystems to further enhance the platform.


The architecture of the GenesisEngine enables future support for HDTV formats, defined in the SMPTE 292M standard; and it supports several envisioned HD application and workflow scenarios. These may include: an auxiliary HD serial interface and direct use of GenesisEngine media processing algorithms; use of highly-precise bi-directional scaling to convert between HD and 10-bit SD formats, permitting the use of standard GenesisEngine processing; use of scaling as an offline process in conjunction with use of GenesisEngine media processing algorithms modified to support an online HD-native process. The GenesisEngine is an open, extensible platform capable of supporting HD and SD solutions. The Company plans to support both.


The GenesisEngine is fully prepared architecturally for numerous applications ranging from broadband to broadcasting, with support for multiple GOP (Group Of Pictures) structures and bit rates. For example, the GenesisEngine can directly incorporate high-performance versatile MPEG encoding to compress video streams for storage or delivery. Further, the GenesisEngine can incorporate MPEG decoding to receive compressed streams. The GenesisEngine is well suited to provide support for future compression-reliant applications, including broadband delivery, DVD authoring, long-form editing, and compressed digital storage/archiving. The Company's plan is to provide related compatible solutions for release in the future.

Digital Audio

The GenesisEngine can acquire up to four channel pairs of AES/EBU audio, selected from two input interfaces. The first is 24-bit AES/EBU digital audio inputs at 48, 44.1, or 32 kHz sampling rates; and, alternatively, 48 kHz, 20-bit AES/EBU audio can be extracted from the SDI input data stream. Audio data is stored as 48 kHz samples. The acquired channels can originate from both sources in whatever combination desired. 16 real-time tracks with solo and mute features and track mix grouping are processed and can be mixed by the GenesisEngine.

Digital Facility Integration

The GenesisEngine provides extensive facilities integration capability through its I/O interfaces. The SDI interfaces conform to SMPTE 259M, including embedded audio, D-VITC, ancillary timecode, and HANC and VANC data. Also, the GenesisEngine interfaces four channel pairs of AES/EBU digital audio, genlock input and output references, V-LAN(TM) machine control, LTC timecode, and provides an analog monitoring output. A digital ProcAmp provides control of luminance, chroma, and color difference levels, chroma phase, and black level from the incoming SDI source. The ProcAmp can compensate errors in the digital signal prior to acquisition.

The GenesisEngine accepts an external video Black Burst reference to precisely lock all of the internal timing to the facility. Output H-phase for the SDI, analog monitor output, and output genlock reference can be controlled over a range of several microseconds to a resolution in the order of one nanosecond. Alternatively, the GenesisEngine can be used as the timing master sync source using its highly stable internal Temperature-Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO). In either the genlock or master sync timing modes, it controls deck sources and recorders to zero frame error accuracy using its onboard V-LAN(TM) machine control function. Timecode, essential to frame accurate editing and compositing, is read via the V-LAN interface, processed within the GenesisEngine, and stored with the media.

Standards Compliance

The GenesisEngine is compliant with SMPTE, ITU, ANSI, and AES/EBU standards that govern its signal processing interfaces and internal processing:

-- Serial Digital Interface (SDI)--SMPTE 259M; ITU-R BT.601; ITU-R BT.656

-- SDI Ancillary Audio and Data--SMPTE 291M and SMPTE 272M

-- AES/EBU Digital Audio--ANSI S4.40

-- Analog Video Interfaces--SMPTE 170M and ITU-R BT.470

-- Time Code - SMPTE 12M and SMPTE 266M


The unique signal processing and data control within the GenesisEngine are the subject of two issued US patents that describe specific aspects of the Foss, Holmes, and Hatalsky processors. Additionally, six other patent applications in the areas of the embedded real-time OS, media acquisition, media management, media mastering, the digital ProcAmp, and effects filtering architecture are currently pending.

The GenesisEngine, a PCI-standard subsystem, is assembled in Marlboro, Massachusetts, in the USA, at the Company's manufacturing facility. This operation is an advanced surface-mount facility with support for 12-layer circuit board assembly using 576-pin 0.050" BGA (Ball Grid Array) and fine-pitch 0.040" BGA integrated circuits, including ASICs.

About Media 100

Media 100 develops advanced media systems for content design, enabling creative professionals to create highly evocative effects-intensive work, all on a personal computer. Creative artists and content design teams around the world use Media 100's Emmy Award-winning solutions. The Company is headquartered in Marlboro, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit

Media 100, GenesisEngine and 844/X are registered trademarks of Media 100 Inc. All other products and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 26, 2002
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