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Survey Of GBA Coding Methods

December 12th, 2005 by Multimedia Mike

Sony’s PlayStation Portable and Apple’s video iPod are enjoying quite a bit of recognition by allowing users to view television shows and movies on their tiny screens. Some folks, however, think that Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance should share in the fun.


Game Boy Advance

Naturally, the PSP and the iPod have a few advantages over the GBA in that they have gobs of storage capacity, either optical or HD-based, whereas the GBA is limited to a few dozen megabytes in ROM. Further, the PSP and iPod presumably have a little more processing muscle (though I do not know the respective specs off the top of my head). PSP and iPod are known to use MPEG-4 technologies for the video. What does the Game Boy Advance use?

Trixter tipped me off about a game cartridge entitled Game Boy Advance Video: SpongeBob SquarePants, Vol. 1. The ROM squeezes out 44 minutes of video. Trixter maintains that the video quality betrays characteristics of a vector quantizer codec. More Majesco GBA video titles can be found here.

What other video options are out there? Trixter pointed me to Caimans video codec for GBA. The website yields zero data about the underlying compression techniques. Further, the MPEG-like 4xm format is known to have been used in at least one GBA title– Britney’s Dance Beat.

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