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My question is, how are cell phones bale to produce on the fly video like mp4? Are they using a hardware encoder chip?

Because most of them run on ARM chips? Are there ARM chips that can handle the encoding of the video on the software side?

If there are using hardware video encoders, what are they? Are there hardware video encoders for the hardware enthusiast and diy to try and play with them?

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They're usually using either pure hardware encoders or "hardware assisted" encoders (which do most of the computation but leave the final formatting as MP4 to software). The encoder is usually on the same chip as the ARM.

The ubiquitous Raspberry Pi is an example of this: the chip has two hardware camera inputs which go into the GPU. Once encoded, the data is streamed into memory accessible to the ARM.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe though the cameras have their own encoder? I mean, take a look at this pic d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/teCmGKcZBbWWAQo1 It says ARM and a google search lists it as image processor... If thats true, then the software on the phone, when recording a video, takes the encoded video form cam, encoded mp3 from mic and merges them together? \$\endgroup\$ – user1584421 May 5 '14 at 1:41
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Seems, pjc5o is right. Also I already had seen some ICs in video players that after I googled the part number of those I found they were for decoding/encoding the video formats. unfortunately I can't recall the part number of those ICs. I think if you search in internet, you will find sensible results.

Also, the some famous mobile OSs are open source. like symbian or Android or etc. I think if you download those and look at those, will find a good answer for your question.

I wish this answer help you.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm fairly sure that no mobile phone can do fullscreen H264 in pure software, it's very computationally intensive. \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 May 4 '14 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @pjc50 Good point. I changed my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Roh May 4 '14 at 17:20

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