MANHASSET, N.Y. With an emphasis on Internet Protocol-enabled set-top boxes, Analog Devices Inc. is launching this week (Jan 31) a new line of BlackFin DSP-based processors that also encompass automotive and medical and remote monitoring applications.
While all leverage the 600-MHz core with I/O and memory configurations required for their target markets, the IP set-top box implementation puts extra emphasis on carrier-grade software support.
"Carriers need to feel comfortable before they support IP services," said Scot Robertson, product line manager for Media Node Products at Analog Devices (Norwood, Mass.). To be comfortable, he said, they need a "carrier-class" support that will allow them to deploy a product or service such as video without failures that can lead to costly high return rates for the set-top boxes.
"OEMs need to be able to guarantee the software," said Robertson, so while ADI is adding video and networking support, "we're also putting the weight of our own company behind the software."
That is the philosophy behind the new ADSP-BF566-eM30 dual-core processor. Along with video-enabling features such as double-data-rate memory support and four video ports, the processor also embeds 10/100 Ethernet media access control with a media-independent interface, a 32-bit external bus interface, 32-bit, 66-MHz PCI support, ATAPI/ATA and a host-port interface.
On top of the embedded hardware, ADI has designed its software architecture to take maximum advantage of the Blackfin's RISC and DSP capabilities. For example, when resources are required for application processing, 90 percent of the processor is applied. Alternatively, when resources are required for media processing, all required resources are applied.
According to Bill Gotschewski, manager of BlackFin general purpose processing, the hardware and software architecture reduces overall cost and software complexity, while allowing carriers to upgrade set tops as needed.
The other processors in the new lineup are single-core: the CAN-enabled and high-temperature-range BF534 for automotive applications and the CAN- and Ethernet network-enabled BF536/BF537 processors for medical and remote monitoring applications.
All are sampling now with production set for the second quarter. Pricing is set at under $25 for the BF566eM30, between $9.65 and $13.10 for the BF534, depending on processing speed, and $8.05 and $14.30 for the BF536/537 depending on memory support and processing speed.