NEW YORK – Hoping for design wins in high-definition video products such as surveillance servers, multi-screen video conferencing and media players/servers for digital signage, Texas Instruments is unveiling Tuesday (March 1) two new DaVinci media processors featuring what the company proclaims the industry’s highest performing video engine.
The new DaVinci media processors, designated as TMS320DM8168 (designed for high performance) and TMS320DM8148 (designed for low power), come with high-performance video accelerators. The new architecture completely frees TI’s 674x-series DSP core and ARM Cortex-A8 CPU core – both integrated in each DaVinci media processor – from such chores as running video processing. Instead, the processing powers of the DSP and ARM cores run a variety of system-level differentiations, according to Kim Devlin-Allen, TI’s director of marketing responsible for DaVinci digital media processors.
The DM8168 provides up to three simultaneous1080p at 60 frames per second video streams, 12 simultaneous 750p 30 frames per second video streams or a combination of lower resolution streams. TI’s Devlin-Allen described its performance as “three times the video streaming capability, compared to our competitors’ solutions.” Also integrated on the chip are high-bandwidth peripherals including SATA 2.0, two Ethernet MACs, HDMI, DDR2/DDR3 and PCIexpress. The highly integrated DM8168 is designed to compress raw video, store it to HDD or send it to the Internet, for various applications that range from DVR for security to video conferencing and video broadcasting.
Meanwhile, the lower-power DM8148 DaVinci digital media processor offers a single 1080p60 fps video stream, three simultaneous 720p30 fps video streams or multiple lower resolution streams “at three watts,” TI’s Devlin-Allen, added.
The high-level integration achieved in both processors reduced bill-of-material costs “by as much as 50 percent,” according to TI.
Freeing the DSP and ARM cores from video processing
Considering that TI has always stressed the importance of its DSP’s video processing capabilities in DaVinci media processors, the move to shift its core task to video accelerators was “surprising,” noted Michael Palma, research manager at IDC’s consumer device semiconductors & electronics manufacturing services. But he said, “I think TI [engineers] find the hardware acceleration helps them achieve the video processing goals they have set, better than a DSP can deliver on. This also frees up the processor core and the DSP to handle other tasks such as managing the multiple streams; to provide the analytics portion of the solution; and to handle other applications.” He added, “Especially for the DM8168, they are moving up the value chain and this is where they are using the extra processing horsepower.”
And that – “doing more than video capture processing” – may be precisely the strength of the new DaVinci processors.