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RISC/DSP chip comes with Linux, targets HD video

Dec 3, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 14 views

Texas Instruments (TI) announced a new DaVinci family chip claimed capable of transcoding high-definition video at line rates. The TMS320DM6467 system-on-chip (SoC) weds a 297MHz ARM9 core with a 600MHz C64+ DSP, and is available with a development board and software stack based on MontaVista Linux.

The single-chip, 90nm-process TMS320DM6467 tunes core DaVinci digital signal processing (DSP) functions to the task of HD transcoding, says TI. For example, it can translate between video codecs, bit rates and resolutions as video is moved between different devices on home media networks, the chipmaker claims.

Target devices include media gateways, multi-point control units, digital media adaptors, digital video recorders (DVRs) and IP set-top boxes (STBs). The chip is also suitable for other applications that require intermixing of multiple video streams and formats, says TI, such as multi-channel videoconferencing units and video security.

Typical application in high-end DVR supporting 8-channel H.264 MP D1 video
(Click to enlarge)

The DM6467 is a dual-core processor built around a ARM926EJ-S RISC core and a TI C64 DSP. The ARM9 core clocks to 584MHz, while the DSP runs at 297MHz.

The SoC also integrates an HD video/imaging coprocessor (HD-VICP), which is said to offer 3GHz of DSP processing power using dedicated 1080i H.264 accelerators. The HD-VICP can speed tasks like motion estimation/compensation, context adaptive coding/decoding, and loop filtering, TI avows. Other on-chip hardware includes targeted video port interfaces, and a conversion engine for accelerating downscaling, chroma sampling, and menu overlays.

TI DM6467 functional block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

TI claims its new DM6467 provides a “10x performance improvement over previous generation processors” for “simultaneous, multi-format HD encode, decode, and transcoding up to H.264 [email protected],” which is defined as being 1080p at 30frames per second (fps), 1080i at 60fps, or 720p at 60fps. According to TI, the DM6476 can support up to four channels of MPEG4/H.264 MP D1 plus four secondary channels of MPEG4/H.264 MP CIF, or it can decode up to six channels of MPEG4/H.264 MP D1 video.

Stated Brendon Mills, CEO of TI customer RipCode, “Legacy solutions for transcoding video in multiple formats — essentially, software running on servers — are no longer viable.”


The DaVinci TMS320DM6467 is now sampling to select customers and will ship in 1Q 08 for $36 at 50Ku volume. A digital video evaluation module (DVEVM) is available for $2,000, with MontaVista Linux, application programming interfaces (APIs), the DaVinci Codec Engine, and numerous multimedia codecs, including MPEG-2 to H.264 transcoders.

The DM6467 succeeds TI's initial DM644x DaVinci processors, the TMS320DM6446 and TMS320DM6443, and later TMS320DM6441. Previously, TI had positioned its DM6446 as its transcoding solution, but now appears to pitch that chip as more of a generic advanced video processor for videophones and STBs.

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