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Queen’s Award for Argon Streams

The growth in demand for HD video for both TV transmissions and internet streaming has driven the development of ever more complex video codecs, such as HEVC/H.265 and VP9. These codecs provide higher levels of compression for the storage and transmission of video, but at the cost of higher complexity in both the encoder and decoder.

Argon Streams are used to verify that the video decoders required to play back video on mobile phones, computers and set-top boxes, are fully compatible with these new standards. Argon Streams are described as conformance test bit-streams providing full coverage and verification of HEVC/H.265 and VP9 video decoders. The bit-streams are derived directly from the codec specifications, a process which uses directed random numbers to ensure that the bit-streams provide comprehensive coverage testing of all functions and ranges and cross coverage combinations.

The resulting set of bit-streams are measured for test coverage. Argon Streams are used by semiconductor manufacturers such as ARM and Imagination. Headquartered in Cambridge, Argon Design won a 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category in recognition of this product. lan Scott, CEO, Argon Design, said: “The Queen’s Award is the crowning achievement of a hat-trick of recent awards for Argon Streams; complementing the BEEA New Product of the Year and the NMI Innovation of the Year awards, both won by
Argon Streams in 2015.”