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TI video processor provides VGA resolution

Posted: 07 Mar 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:texas instruments? tms320dm270? video processor? digital camera processor? dm270?

Edging into the stronghold of ASICs traditionally favored by big-name consumer electronics manufacturers, Texas Instruments Inc. has rolled a DSP-based digital media processor targeting high-resolution digital still cameras, video camcorders, and a host of portable multimedia products.

The TMS320DM270 integrates TI's low-power TM320-C54x DSP with an ARM7 RISC core and video and imaging coprocessors. The DM270 is "the only processor slated for portable devices capable of VGA-resolution video encoding at 30 frames per second," said Kanika Ferrell, U.S. marketing manager for digital still/video cameras at TI.

With hardware blocks specifically designed for auto focus, auto exposure and auto white balance, the DM270 also minimizes shot-to-shot delays that result from changes in light conditions, Ferrell said.

As digital still cameras become mainstream consumer devices, chip makers are waging a "heated battle" for the market, she said, adding that camera makers are looking for better image quality and new features such as video. "This is a market that's really moving quickly," Ferrell said, and camera makers will find it "hard to keep up with the market and make money on their products if they purely depend on a whole new ASIC they'd have to develop for every new product."

Market share doubled

Although acknowledging TI's uphill battle against internally developed ASICs, Ferrell pointed out that TI's family of DSP-based imaging processors has already been designed into products by Kodak, Panasonic, JVC, Sharp, and Archos. "We doubled our market share [in digital-camera silicon] to 10 percent in 2002," she said. TI expects to double its share again, to 20 percent, this year.

TI will make the DM270 available in volume at the end of this month. Fabricated in a 0.13?m process, it will be priced under $15 in quantities of 25,000 units.

With the DM270, TI offers software support for all major video, imaging, audio and voice compression standards, including JPEG, motion-JPEG, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, H.263, DivX and Windows Media Video, as well as audio standards such as MP3, Advanced Audio Coding and Windows Media Audio.

Supported voice standards include G711, G.723.1 and G.726. TI's R&D team is in the process of converting the new H.264 encoding/decoding algorithms for use in the DM270, said Ferrell.

The DM270 can run various operating systems, including Nucleus, Linux, ulTron and VxWorks. It is upwardly code-compatible with Texas Instruments' DSC2x platform.

- Junko Yoshida

EE Times

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