Continuing to fuel the digital video revolution, Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) (TI) announced the sampling of the TMS320DM6441 system-on-chip (SoC) based on DaVinci(TM) technology. Additional DaVinci software and development tools for the DM6441 make it possible to deliver high-quality video combined with power saving modes for portable audio and video applications, including portable media players (PMPs), consumer video security devices, medical devices, data terminals, IP netcams, automotive/in-flight entertainment systems and other digital audio and video applications.
“TI has brought together the optimal blend of performance, flexibility, and power efficiency for portable media players,” said Henri Crohas, founder and chief executive officer, ARCHOS. “The DM644x device easily supports multiple video formats, which has given ARCHOS the base technology to develop and launch three devices of our latest Generation 4: the ARCHOS 404, the ARCHOS 504 and the ARCHOS 604.”
The DM6441 is a dual-core SoC that consists of an ARM9(R) and TMS320C64x+(TM) digital signal processor (DSP) core plus video/imaging co-processors. By offering this device, TI expands the possibilities of DaVinci technology for those seeking video performance of H.264, MPEG 2, MPEG 4 or VC-1, among others, at 30 frames per second combined with power efficient optimizations for a whole new realm of consumer applications. The DM6441 provides the key peripherals required for today’s portable media applications, including Ethernet, MMC and SD card interfaces, ATA hard disk drive interface, USB 2.0 and multiple UARTs, while offering developers the programmable flexibility and customization they need to design cost-effective portable entertainment products. Furthermore, the power optimization of the device makes it possible for developers to implement power over Ethernet, which is suitable for many video security systems.
“By releasing an SoC with specific power management capabilities to the broad market, TI is further driving the adoption of digital video technology into an increasingly wide array of consumer portable audio and video applications,” said Greg Mar, SoC platform marketing manager, TI. “Building on DaVinci technology, we are able to provide the optimized application software developers need to design cost-effective, power-efficient digital video products and bring them to market quickly.
Optimized Power Savings
The advanced power saving capabilities of the DM6441 make it ideal for portable audio and video applications. With dual power modes the DM6441 can run at full speed (513 MHz DSP and 256 MHz ARM) at 1.2 V or in power-reduced mode (405 MHz DSP and 202 MHz ARM) at 1.05 V. The dual power modes allow the reduction of power consumption during operations, such as audio-only playback, when the full capabilities of the DSP are not required.
Additional clock gating capabilities provide a mechanism for turning off peripherals that are not in use. Isolating the power domains of the DSP and ARM cores has made it possible to power down the DSP core individually during non-video operations. The combination of dual power mode, clock gating and isolated power domains can yield overall power savings up to 35 percent over the previously released TMS320DM6443 and TMS320DM6446 devices.
Developers can begin product design with the Digital Video Evaluation Module (DVEVM, TMDXEVM6446), which is available today. The DVEVM includes proven design modules for additional power savings with TI’s analog devices and microcontrollers. The DM6441 can also be paired with TI’s ultra low-power microcontroller, the MSP430, which offers an exceptional standby current under one microamp and power-manages the DM6441 in its most efficient sleep/halt mode to further reduce average current consumption.
Exceptional Efficiency through Enhanced Software
Software plays a major role in enabling developers to achieve the best performance, quality and power efficiency from SoC silicon. The DM6441 device’s software application programming interface and multimedia framework manages control of power to maximize battery life for portable devices with minimal effort from developers. The increased power efficiency of the DM6441 has also made it possible for TI to expand the variety of codecs available off-the-shelf for portable devices, including VC-1 and H.264. TI has also introduced availability of the industry-standard uClibc library, making the DM6441 TI’s first device to bring uClibc to the broad market. uClibc reduces product development costs by shrinking application footprints, leading to faster boot times, the need for less external memory and improved reliability through reduced system complexity.
The DM6441 is pin-for-pin and software compatible with the DM6443 and DM6446 devices, enabling engineers to leverage the extensive infrastructure of development tools available through the DaVinci ecosystem and TI’s third-party partners. These tools include the aforementioned DVEVM and the Digital Video Software Development Kit (DVSDK, TMDSSDK6446-L), the latter of which allows system developers to integrate discrete software modules and combine them into a single executable file while avoiding tedious manual integration. Together, these tools save months of development time, enabling developers to quickly design and bring to market compact, quality and competitively priced portable media applications.
Software and Development Tools Spur Development
To deliver the most advanced solutions for PMP manufacturers, TI is working with third party developers including ATEME, Ingenient and Ittiam, to offer the market reference designs for PMPs. The reference designs leverage TI’s complete suite of production-ready digital media software, including MPEG-2 MP, H.264 MP and AC3. Information on the codec combinations available from TI.
Pricing and Availability
The DM6441 for portable audio and video applications is sampling now and it is $24.95 each in quantities of 10,000. More information: DM6441 and DaVinci technology