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OpenMAX AL is a royalty-free, cross platform open standard for accelerating the capture, and presentation of audio, video, and images in multimedia applications on embedded and mobile devices. OpenMAX AL includes the ability to create and control player and recorder objects and to connect them to configurable inputs and output objects including content readers/writers, audio inputs and outputs, display windows, cameras, analog radios, LEDs, and vibra devices.
The OpenMAX IL (Integration Layer) API defines a standardized media component interface to enable developers and platform providers to integrate and communicate with multimedia codecs implemented in hardware or software.
OpenMAX DL (Development Layer) APIs contains a comprehensive set of audio, video and imaging functions that can be implemented and optimized on new CPUs , hardware engines, and DSPs and then used for a wide range of accelerated codec functionality such as MPEG-4, H.264, MP3, AAC and JPEG.
OpenMAX DL 1.0.2 includes clarifications and corrections to the previous version (1.0.1). All implementations should aim to match this version for interoperability.
Development of multimedia hardware platforms is gathering pace as consumer demand grows for improved functionality from applications such as video, audio, voice, and 3D on platforms such as diverse as smartphones, audio and video media players and games consoles. In general, this class of product requires high-performance processing and high data throughput capabilities. Consequently, a variety of solutions has evolved, each designed to accelerate multimedia applications. Examples include:
One of the key challenges with all of these architectural variants is to develop efficient code. Even though compilers are generally provided, it is rare to be able to exploit the full potential of the entire architecture from a high-level programming language. The outcome is that large portions of the application are often written in assembly language to specifically target the hardware platform. The proliferation of different multimedia hardware solutions means that software must be re-written and optimized for each new platform that it is ported to.
The effect of this inefficiency in implementation is to delay the introduction of new products, increase development costs and reduce product quality, which ultimately slows down innovation in the multimedia domain at a time when market demand is growing.
To address this issue, the OpenMAX Working Group has been formed by the Khronos Group, to define a set of standard, open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for multimedia applications. The goal of this open standard is to reduce the cost and complexity of porting multimedia software to new processors and architectures.
By agreeing a common specification for middleware applications such as multimedia codecs, graphics libraries and other functions for video, image, audio, voice and speech, it will be possible for the developer community to focus on differentiating their products rather than the repeated implementation of common functionality. This will ensure that new products can be brought to market sooner, and will support a broader range of hardware platforms.
OpenMAX is a non-proprietary, royalty-free standard, primarily targeted at middleware developers producing multimedia codecs, games engines and graphics libraries. OpenMAX is widely applicable to all applications where multimedia performance is a critical issue, including smartphones, games consoles, digital televisions and set-top boxes. Through collaboration and support from a growing number of leading stakeholders, the standard will be developed and promoted, with wide industry support and adoption encouraged.
The working group welcomes the input and experience of existing Khronos members, and encourages new members with multimedia knowledge to join and help ensure that the specifications deliver benefits that are relevant to the entire industry. This includes semiconductor manufacturers, independent software vendors, intellectual property vendors, operating system companies and the OEM or product development companies that supply end users.