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Video front-end comes with Linux drivers

Sep 15, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 30 views

Nuvation is shipping a “video front end” reference design that digitizes multiple analog video streams, tiling them for display on a 1080i monitor. The Multichannel Video Front-End (McVFE) uses Texas Instruments (TI) video decoders and a Xilinx Spartan 3A FPGA, and ships with Linux drivers.

(Click for larger view of the McVFE design)

McVFE is aimed at video security original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that need to aggregate multiple CCTV video streams for encoding, says Nuvation. Announced in February when Nuvation also announced two IP Camera reference designs based on TI's TMS320DM644x DaVinci system-on-chip (SoC), the McVFE is designed to work as a “front end” to a decoder based on TI's (DVEVM) design, which runs MontaVista Linux on a TMS320DM6467 SoC.

McVFE block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

The McVFE design supports four, eight, or 16 analog video channel inputs, from CIF to NTSC/PAL resolution. The channels can be scaled through the McVFE's four TI TVP5154A quad-channel video decoders, says Nuvation. The streams are then time-multiplexed in line, field, or frame mode in a Xilinx Spartan-3A FPGA (field programmable gate array). Using an optional adapter card and cable kit supplied by Nuvation, the video is then streamed over an HD-ready BT-1120 serial digital interface (SDI) from the McVFE board to the DM6467 module. Finally, multi-channel Linux drivers for TI's DM6467 receive the BT-1120 input and tile the streamed video to a 1080i component display, says Nuvation.

Freely licensed McVFE reference design source files are said to include:

  • Board schematics
  • Bill of material
  • PCB layout database
  • Gerber files
  • Verilog FPGA code
  • Quick-start guide
  • Embedded Linux multichannel drivers for the DM6467 DVEVM (for frame-only mode):
    • FPGA programming driver
    • Video for Linux 2 (V4L2) accessible McVFE driver
    • Embedded Linux demo application that displays individual streams on a 1080i display
    • EDMA driver and API
    • McVFE FPGA configuration driver and API
    • McVFE TVP5154 configuration driver (no API)
    • Linux kernel patch for MontaVista Linux kernel, modifying VPIF driver to add 16-bit wide video capture support for NTSC and CIF

Customers can separately license optional TI digital media software, such as H.264-HD and multi-channel encode/decode from Nuvation, and licensees are said to receive special pricing from Xilinx for the Spartan 3A chips. Additional support service are also available.

Stated Danny Petkevich, TI Video Surveillance and Digital Imaging business manager, “This is one of the first production releases utilizing our most recent digital media processor based on DaVinci technology. Nuvation brought together system architecture, mixed-signal board design, FPGA logic development, embedded Linux driver development, DSP coding, and turnkey product realization services in a truly seamless fashion.”


Engineering evaluation units for Nuvation's McVFE are available now for $800 plus $250 for the BT-1120 cable kit. Reference design source files can be licensed free of charge. The TMS320DM6467 DVEVM is available for $2,000 from TI. More information on McVFE may be found here.

McVFE is being demonstrated at the ASIS International 2008 security conference in Atlanta, Georgia on September 15-18 in the TI area of the ObjectVideo booth, #3235. TI will also be demonstrating two new IP camera designs that it announced yesterday.

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