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Implementing analogue video interfaces into complex SoCs (Part 1)

Posted: 11 Jun 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:analogue video interface  interface IP SoC  DAC video 

Analogue video interfaces are essential components of digital home and personal entertainment systems. This is mainly due to their ability to deliver very high image quality with very low power consumption, while maintaining compatibility with most modern and earlier-generation video devices where analogue video interfaces are the prevalent video interface.

In the past, analogue video interfaces were implemented using external components. With the proliferation of richer multimedia content in advanced consumer electronics such as DVD players, DTVs and STBs, integrating high-speed analogue interface intellectual property (IP)—including analogue video interfaces and other multimedia analogue and digital interfaces—into SoCs has become critical to achieve the necessary processing power and image quality.

Video formats can be divided into the following resolution categories: standard TV (PAL, NTSC etc.), HDTV (e.g. 1080p) and widescreen VGA formats (e.g. 1,920 x 1,200) for PC graphics. All of these formats require the accurate transmission of colour, brightness and synchronism information over a long cable. To accomplish this, the video transmitter must be able to transmit the video signal reliably and independent of the quality of the transmission cable. Conversely, the receiver must be able to accurately receive the signal and decode the synchronism information in order to re-create a high-quality image.

Maintaining competitiveness in today�s consumer electronic products market requires integrating increased functionality into the same digital SoC, which, in turn, poses key design challenges in terms of power dissipation, form-factor reduction and ability to handle multiple video sources.

This two-part series discusses implementation of analogue video interfaces that can be embedded into complex SoCs. Part one focuses on the transmitter part of the analogue video interface, which is essentially a DAC with video performance, and discusses the characteristics of the source and of the transmission medium. Part two of this article provides a detailed review of the receiver part of the analogue video interface, which is based on a video analogue front-end. Key characteristics will be covered, highlighting the special features embedded into the IP that allow it to recreate a high-quality image on the destination side.

View the PDF document for more information.

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