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TI at The Core of Video Delivery

Michelle Manafy

Texas Instruments has revved-up its programmable DSPs to empower third-generation wireless and broadband infrastructure as well as imaging and video applications. The new DSPs, based on TI's TMS320C64x DSP core introduced last year, combine enhanced speed with lower power dissipation. TI believes that these programmable DSPs will enable the delivery of real-time, high-resolution images and video over wireless and broadband infrastructures for the first time.

Tom Engibous, TI chairman, president, and CEO, says, "These new programmable DSPs will make possible things we have only dreamed or talked about before--wireless streaming video and the full convergence of video, voice, and data on all broadband networks both wired and wireless."

The three new devices, the TMS320C6414, TMS320C6415, and TMS320C6416, offer 10 to 15 times the performance of existing DSPs, depending on the application, according to TI. Operating at speeds up to 600mHz and computing up to nearly five billion instructions per second, the new devices are well suited to the demands of today's communications industry. With these performance levels, it will now be possible to deliver large amounts of personalized data, video, and voice over a single broadband line.

TI has also employed many of the power-saving techniques that it created in the development of its previous generation of DSPs (based on the TMS320C55x core) and, as a result, the three new devices will use only one third of the power of current high-performance DSPs. This power efficiency will allow manufacturers to pack more channels of content into smaller spaces--channel density that is crucial for the emerging broadband and wireless applications because it helps drive down costs for consumers while it increases capacity for vendors.

Mico Perales, senior director of software and business development at Advis, Inc., believes that TI's C64X core will facilitate the development of the company's next generation of multimedia Internet appliances. He says, "Current Internet appliances are limited in their multimedia capabilities, or must solve multimedia with a multi-chip solution. Using a multi-chip solution for streaming and real-time communication applications creates additional challenges such as synchronization of audio and video streams, not to mention handling of multiple streams from each source." Perales believes that the new core will enable Advis to deliver that next-generation video over IP experience more quickly, and with fewer system challenges.

According to TI, its new DSPs are designed to make video and images available in the same real-time operations. They employ the very-long-instruction-word (VLIW) architecture of the C64x core to pack multiple channels into one system allowing the delivery of high-quality video, voice, and data. A single C64x DSP can simultaneously perform one channel of MPEG-4 video encode, one channel of MPEG-4 video decode, and one channel of MPEG-2 video decode and still have as much as 50% headroom remaining for multi-channel voice and data coding.

The C64x core is scalable to over 1.1GHx and supports multicore designs. TI says that future C64x DSP devices will include a variety of memory, peripheral, and coprocessor combinations tailored to meet the needs of targeted broadband infrastructure and imaging applications.

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