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Linux-ready SoC touted for video analytics

Apr 7, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 34 views

Texas Instruments has spun a new IP camera system-on-chip (SoC) that enables 720p video and analytics for the video surveillance market. The TMS320DMVA1 SoC combines an ARM9 core, a new Vision analytics co-processor, and a codec co-processor, and is offered in a Linux-ready DMVA1 IP camera reference design, says TI.

The TMS320DMVA1 (DMVA1) SoC and related IP camera reference design (pictured) offer entry level video analytics by integrating a new vision co-processor, says Texas Instruments (TI). The DMVA1 is said to support functionality such as people counting, trip zone, intelligent motion detection, camera tamper detection, and streaming metadata.

The DMVA1 is said to be pin-to-pin and software compatible with TI's DaVinci-based DM36x platform. This would include the 1080p-ready TMS320DM365, which began sampling in Feb. 2009.

The 65 × 50mm DMVA1 integrates a 300MHz ARM926EJ-S, the Vision co-processor, and a video codec coprocessor, providing support for H.264, MPEG-4, and MJPEG, says the company. The DMVA1 SoC supports H.264 video in high, main, or base profile D1 at 30 frames per second, or 720p at reduced frame rates, according to TI.

The SoC also is said to provide an Ethernet MAC (EMAC), real-time clock (RTC), and voice codec. Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), audio I/O, and SD storage are all supported, TI adds.

Judging from the camera reference design block diagram pictured below, the DMVA1 also offers support for DDR memory, and supplies I/O including USB, I2C, ISIF, SPI, GPIO, AEMIF, VENC, and UARTs. As for the SoC's new Vision coprocessor, TI appears to be keeping the details under wraps.

DMVA1 IP camera reference design

The DMVA1IPNC-MT5 IP camera reference design is one of several Linux-ready, DaVinci-based camera designs the company has co-developed with Appro Photoelectron, in collaboration with Micron's Aptina Imaging division. The latter supplies the DMVA1 reference design's Aptina five-megapixel CMOS imager, which is said to be optimized for low-light performance.

DMVA1 IP camera reference design block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Beyond that, TI does not offer many hardware details on the design, but the above diagram shows features including the DMVA1 SoC, DDR SDRAM, NAND flash, an SD card slot, and a USB port. Other features appear to include a microphone, speaker out, component video out, auto iris controls, and power components that include a PoE regulator.

The camera design also incorporates TI's on-chip ISP solution, which "eliminates the need for customers to create custom algorithms in-house or purchase expensive optics to achieve high-quality images," claims TI. The imaging technology is said to provide video stabilization, face detection, noise filtering, auto white balance, auto focus, auto exposure, and edge enhancement. Developers can also integrate TI's TMS320DM6435 DaVinci DSP with the design to "achieve advanced analytics capabilities," says the company.

Software architecture for the DMVA1 IP camera reference design

The reference design offers a graphical user interface (GUI) for smart analytics functions, as well as a complete Linux-based IP camera application, including free source code, says TI. In addition, the design is said to include royalty-free codecs, as well as a software framework that includes I/O and media APIs, plus a codec engine.

Stated Yangzhong Hu, president, Hikvision, "We are excited that TI's DMVA1 with integrated video analytics enables Hikvision to offer this differentiated feature across our IP camera portfolio. By offering pin-to-pin and software compatibility with TI's existing DM36x platform, we can develop a scalable product line quickly by leveraging our existing investments."


The DMVA1 video security camera SoC will begin sampling in the second quarter to early adopter video security customers, says Texas Instruments. TI's DMVA1IPNC-MT5 IP camera reference design is now available for order, and is priced at $795. More information may be found here.

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