Electronic Design
SoC Makes Quick Work Of Multiple Media Streams

SoC Makes Quick Work Of Multiple Media Streams

Texas Instruments (TI) is now delivering media processors that were announced last year (see The All-Seeing Eye Of Video Surveillance Cuts The Cord). The TI TMS320DM8168 and TMS320DM8148 system-on-chip (SoC) media processors (Fig. 1) start with Cortex-A8 and C674x DSP cores and add a wide range of peripherals. Their three video coprocessors are the key to the SoC though. They allow the DM8168 to handle three channels of 1080p60. The chips can also handle a larger mix of lower bandwidth streams with the ability to transcode using a wide range of codecs.

Both chips support DDR2 and DDR3 memory. The also have PCI Express interfaces as well as SATA 2.0 controllers. A pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports are just one of the communication interfaces available.

The higher end DM8168 targets multiple HD stream applications like DVR security and teleconferencing systems. Priced at $75, the chip can handle three 1080p60 streams, 6 channels at 1080p30 or 180pi60, or 12 channels at 720p30. The chip has 1.2 GHz Arm Cortex-A8 and 1 GHz C674x fixed and floating point cores.

The chip has a 3D graphics accelerator. It also has an SGX530 display engine capable of handling a pair of 1920 by 1280 pixel displays. It can drive HDMI displays.

The DM8148 is a low power device, 3W at full performance, that targets portable applications. It is priced at $51. It is more limited compared to the DM8168 but it can handle a single 1080p60 channel or 3 channels at 720p 30. The lower number of video accelerators also keeps power requirements down.

The chip has a 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 and a 750 MHz C674x fixed- and floating-point DSP core. The DM8148 shares the DM8168's display support and adds an LCD interface. It adds a 3 port Gigabit Ethernet switch that can be handy in applications like teleconference workstations. CAN communication support is part of the mix.

The $1995 EVM (evaluation module) is available for the DM8168 (Fig. 2). This includes the EZ SDK (software development kit) suite of tools that address these SoCs as well as TI's other ARM- and DSP-based chips. The EZ SDK's IDE is the Eclipse-based Code Composer Studio 5. It includes the Qt graphics SDK plug-in as well as a range of codecs including H.264, MPEG2, MPEG4, G.711 and AAC. The EVM support Linux, Android Gingerbread and Windows Embedded Compact 7.

Also check out the Texas Instruments: Developing HD Video Applications with the TI DaVinci DM8168 video on Engineering TV courtesy of TI.

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