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Electronic Design

Processors Offer MPEG-4 Encoding/Decoding

Speculation about the first products based on Texas Instruments' DaVinci DSP platform has come to an end with the introduction of two highly integrated digital video processors. The TMS320DM6446 performs full MPEG-4 video encode and decode, while the DM6443 only performs video decode (see the figure).

The chips do a lot more than video, though. They can handle JPEG decoding, decode audio for media player applications, and manage control applications while running an embedded Linux operating system. The high level of integration enables designers to reduce system costs, while the programmability of the processors provides flexibility and futureproofing to extend system capabilities.

Both video processors include an ARM926EJ-S control processor running at up to 300 MHz. The video-imaging coprocessor is based on TI's C64x+ enhanced DSP core running at 600 MHz. A video-output back end contains four 10-bit digital-to-analog converters, a video encoder, and an on-screen display engine.

The processing subsystems are supported by a broad collection of peripheral support functions—a USB 2.0 port; an Ethernet MAC with MDIO support; a DDR2 memory controller; memory-card interfaces for MMC, SD, Compact Flash, and SmartMedia Cards; and an ATA storage interface. Multiple serial interfaces include an audio serial port, multiple UARTs, a serial peripheral interface port, and an I²C port.

The video-optimized TMS320C64x+ core can handle SD H.264 [email protected] streams at 30 frames/s, as well as MPEG-2 [email protected] and MPEG-4 ASP full D1 SD decoding. It also can manage VC1/WMV9 SD (standard definition) decoding at full D1 resolution. For encoding applications, the DM6446 adds a video processing subsystem front-end-based dedicated logic that performs resizing and preview functions as well as histogram calculations. The front end provides a charge-coupled device (CCD) controller and CMOS video interface to support imaging chips as well.

A wide variety of software codecs is available for many multimedia video and audio applications. TI also offers middle-ware and various multimedia application programming interfaces to ease the integration of new codecs and other software applications. The processors support MontaVista and open-source Linux.

Additionally, TI has an integrated development environment based on the Code Composer Studio and a digital video evaluation module (the DV-EVM). Based on the DM6446, the module includes an NTSC/PAL video camera, a 5.6-in. LCD screen, speakers and a microphone, and a 40-Gbyte hard drive. Interfaces on the board include a USB 2.0 port, a 10/100 Ethernet MAC, various memory-card slots, CD-quality audio inputs and outputs, and an NTSC/PAL video input and output.

In lots of 10,000, the TMS320DM6443 and DM6446 cost $29.95 and $34.95 each, respectively. The TMDXEVM6446 evaluation module costs $1995 in single-unit quantities.

Texas Instruments Inc.

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