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HD video transcoding IC taps DaVinci tech

Posted: 19 Dec 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital media processor? HD video transcoding? DSP? multimedia codecs?

Texas Instruments Inc. is offering a new DaVinci technology digital media processor for video transcoding in media gateways, multipoint control units, digital media adaptors, video security DVRs and IP STBs.

Wrapped with a complete offering of development tools and digital media software, the TMS320DM6467 DaVinci processor is a DSP-based SoC specifically tuned for real-time, multiformat, high-definition (HD) video transcoding.

"As there is increased demand for access to video on-the-go and across devices and video formats, applications should be able to manage local transcoding between compression formats to adapt HD video, with its large amounts of data, for storage on different media and sharing with other playback devices using different formats," said IdaRose Sylvester, IDC senior research analyst. "Implementing these operations for HD requires greater performance and memory than many systems currently have and multi-format transcoding imposes new requirements on codec algorithms to ensure picture quality."

Smart HD transcoder
The DM6467 is specifically designed to address the HD transcoding challenge of commercial and consumer markets through its multicore design that achieves a 10x performance increase over previous generation digital media processors.

The DM6467 processor integrates the ARM and DSP core along with HD video/imaging coprocessors (HD-VICP), video data conversion engine and targeted video port interfaces. The HD-VICP offers more than three GHz of DSP processing power through dedicated accelerators for HD 1,080i H.264 high profile transcoding, while the video data conversion engine manages video processing tasks, including downscaling, chroma sampling and menu overlay functionality. Less than 300MHz of the DSP core is used to manage the multiformat video transcoding, leaving the rest of the DSP headroom available for additional application performance.

The DM6467 targets markets such as media gateways and MCUs where transcoding is a requirement. The flexibility and efficiency of the DM6467 makes it suitable for use in applications where simultaneous HD encoding and decoding are required such as video telephony, or video security markets where multiple channels of standard definition encoding is important. The device also includes industry standard PCI bus and GbE among the connectivity peripherals.

The level of integration and optimization of the DM6467 also delivers this performance at up to one-tenth the cost of previous application systems while maintaining the flexibility needed to address multiple video formats in applications like multiconferencing units (MCUs) and video security. In an MCU, for example, three 1GHz TMS320C6415T DSPs per HD video channel are required for processing HD video at a cost of $507 per HD channel. With a DM6467-based MCU, the system is reduced to a single chip HD solution, reducing the per channel cost to $35.95. Furthermore, with the DM6467 handling the video transcoding, the system will require less power, less expensive DDR2 memory, reduced flash count and a smaller FPGA generating additional savings for the system BOM.

"As the long tail of online and mobile video grows longer, legacy solutions for transcoding video in multiple formatsessentially, software running on serversare no longer viable and the market demands a new approach," said Brendon Mills, CEO of RipCode. "Using TI's DaVinci technology, we are the first company to approach transcoding as a network appliance and the first to offer an on-demand transcoding capability. TI processors also allow RipCode to quickly incorporate next generation compression standards."

Video security systems will see similar BOM reductions and have the flexibility to implement multiformat multichannel encode (up to four channels of MPEG-4/H.264 MP D1 plus four secondary channels of MPEG4/H.264 MP CIF) or decode (up to six channels of MPEG-4/H.264 MP D1) for hybrid digital video recorder and server systems. The DM6467 has an integrated C64x+ DSP which can accommodate video analytics or proprietary video processing algorithms. The DM6467 integrated ARM9, 10/100/1,000 EMAC and ATA interfaces would eliminate the need for external host processor enabling a single chip DVR/DVS system.

The DM6467 processor takes full advantage of TI's DaVinci development environment, including complete hardware, software and development tools. TI is also offering a corresponding DM6467 digital video evaluation module (DVEVM), which includes MontaVista Linux, industry standard and DaVinci APIs, DaVinci Codec Engine and a host of multimedia codecs for evaluation. In addition to standard video, imaging, speech and audio codecs, the system includes new transcoders such as MPEG-2 to H.264. While the DaVinci system will greatly simplify digital video implementation, additional application-specific software and design expertise is also available from TI's DSP third party network.

The DaVinci TMS320DM6467 is now sampling to select customers and will be sold in 50,000 unit volumes for $35.95. The DVEVM will begin shipping in Q1 08.

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