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Device Profile: DVEO NCoder HD transport stream encoder

May 19, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

DVEO used Linux to build a high-definition MPEG-2 4:2:2 transport stream encoder that compresses HD-SDI video from HD cameras in near real time, and encodes it for transmission over satellite uplinks or cable networks. The NCoder HD targets sports broadcasters, corporate HD videoconferencing, and military applications.

(Click to enlarge)

DVEO is the recently formed broadcast division of Computer Modules, Inc (CMI). CMI founder Laszlo (Les) Zoltan said DVEO sells digital video and HDTV products to “the top television broadcast companies throughout the world.”

The Ncoder HD's distinguishing feature, according to Zoltan, is its low latency. “Typical encoders have a latency of 800 milliseconds. The NCoder HD features a normal mode of 120 milliseconds, and a low-delay mode of 60 milliseconds,” he said.

Claimed features include:

  • Compatible with both PAL and NTSC
  • MPEG-2 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 video compression: 15 to 100 Mbps
  • MPEG-1 Layer-II audio encoding
  • HD-SDI Input
  • DVB-ASI output
  • Accepts all three types of HD content — 1080i, 1080p, and 720p
  • Stereo audio bit rates to 384 Kbps
  • Audio sampling rates: 32K, 44.1K, and 48K samp/sec

The NCoder HD can be controlled through front-panel mounted hardware buttons and LCD display. The device also offers a web-based interface for remote operation.

DVEO is currently working on a portable version that will be powered by a 12-volt battery pack, Zoltan said.

What's behind the curtain?

The NCoder HD is powered by an Intel Celeron processor clocked at 2.8GHz. It has 512MB of DDR 333 RAM. It boots from an unspecified amount of flash memory, and runs most of its applications in “firmware mode,” Zoltan said, possibly indicating that they are executed in place (XIP) from NOR flash.

NCoder HD ports
(Click to enlarge)

Important I/O connections on the NCoder HD include an HD-SDI Input port, and a DVB-ASI output port, which appear to be routed to coaxial BNC-type connectors. The device also has several standard PC I/O ports, including VGA, serial, USB, and dual gigabit Ethernet ports.

The NCoder runs a “customized version” of Linux that DVEO implemented in-house, without the help of a support provider, according to Zoltan.

Zoltan said DVEO chose Linux for its reliability and security. “Because it is Linux-based, the NCoder HD can run 24/7. We use embedded Linux in a number of our broadcast products, and we'll definitely use it again,” he said.

An added benefit, according to Zoltan, is interoperability. “Using embedded Linux helps ensure our products are compatible with equipment from other companies.”


The NCoder HD is available now, priced at $21,995.

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