Continuing to simplify development of digital video products with the most comprehensive selection of production-ready software, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN) introduced the eXpressDSP(TM) Digital Media Software Standard (xDM), a low-level application programming interface (API) for DSP-based software that provides a framework for seamlessly integrating and exchanging multiple codecs within an application. As an integral part of TI’s offering to digital video developers leveraging DaVinci(TM) technology, xDM compliant codecs of the same class (Video, Imaging, Speech, and Audio) can be exchanged easily with no changes required at the application layer.
“TI has delivered on its promise to create a framework to make software more flexible and easy to use,” said Brian Jeff, eXpressDSP software marketing manager, TI. “Through xDM, OEMs will be able to access an ever-growing repository of off-the-shelf software that expands market possibilities, simplifies product development, and significantly reduces time-to-market.”
xDM is an extension of TI’s widely deployed eXpressDSP Algorithm Interoperability Standard (xDAIS), and makes it possible to exchange codecs by simplifying codec APIs to encode, decode, and control functions. Simple exchange of algorithms is an essential characteristic for many applications. For fixed applications, the ability to swap out different algorithms without having to rewrite application code enables developers to leverage the same hardware platform across a wide range of applications. For emerging applications, such as Surveillance IP Networked cameras that can support both MPEG-4 and H.264, the ability to dynamically exchange codecs improves management of limited network bandwidth and allows flexible use with security DVRs and other equipment.
The xDM standard also enables OEMs to create highly specialized codecs that offer an advantage to customers who use the OEM’s equipment end-to-end. For example, a camera could support standard MPEG-4 when connected to other vendor’s equipment and utilize a specialized but non-compliant version of MPEG-4 that achieves greater compression efficiency when operating with the vendor’s own equipment. The same applies to compression algorithms used to play back or record video and audio in a wide range of applications.
Designed for Optimized Efficiency
An important implementation aspect of xDM is that it is flexible enough to allow access to codec internal data, while still remaining structured enough to allow the exchange of codecs. An example of this flexibility is seen in some versions of TI encoders and decoders that allow users access to motion vectors, enabling more efficient video analytics such as motion detection, object recognition and event triggering. xDM also supports IDMA, an interface for efficiently managing allocation of DMA resources while maximizing codec performance. IDMA is critical to the efficiency of video applications as the use of buffers to pass data through APIs introduces extras reads and writes that can be eliminated with direct DMA access.
By extending the eXpressDSP Algorithm Standard to include xDM, TI enables OEMs and third parties to easily achieve xDM compliance with their existing intellectual property. Additionally, the new DaVinci Codec Engine and TI’s digital media software, a suite of encoders and decoders such as H.264 and MPEG4, are already xDM compliant. Proprietary software can be made xDM-compliant with a thin, efficient wrapper, usually in less than a day. xDM wrappers are written entirely in C, not C++, for high-speed execution and to avoid unnecessary object-oriented overhead.
“Ittiam is an enthusiastic proponent and an early adopter of TI’s xDM standard,” said Dr. Sriram Sethuraman, technologist and distinguished member of the technical staff, Ittiam Systems. “The enhanced flexibility, extensibility and interchangeability of xDM-compliant digital video codecs increase the number of target applications that we can cost-effectively address. The standardization significantly eases the integration efforts of our customers and it reduces the amount of technical support we need to provide to each customer across multiple codecs.”
Pricing and Availability
TI is releasing xDM in the eXpressDSP Algorithm Standard Developer’s Kit, together with a related package called Multimedia Framework Products (MFP). MFP includes an updated version of the DaVinci Codec Engine and framework components. These software modules are a part of TI’s DaVinci software infrastructure, the foundation for software development on both Linux and Windows Embedded CE for TI’s DSP-based SoC processors, and for software development on embedded Linux or DSP/BIOS(TM) real-time kernel for TI’s DSP-only devices with DaVinci technology. Because xDM, Codec Engine, and the framework components are implemented across DaVinci technology portfolio, customers can migrate more easily among the platforms within DaVinci technology.
The xDAIS Developer’s Kit includes source files, example applications, and a comprehensive user guide for consumers and developers of algorithms. The xDM Developer’s Kit and MPF Multimedia Framework Products (MFP) is available for immediate download.