Axon Creates SDI Video Processing Module with Stratix II GX FPGAs

Harnessing the processing power of Stratix(R) II GX transceiver-based FPGAs from Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR), Axon Digital Design BV has created a quad split module that is the market’s first video signal processing product to support triple-rate serial digital interface (SDI) standards, the companies announced today. Key applications for Axon’s GQW200 quad split module include high-resolution monitor walls used in the surveillance industry and truck preview monitoring and shading equipment used to deliver live television broadcasts.

With the GQW200 quad split—the latest addition to Axon’s Synapse portfolio of modular broadcast media systems—broadcast studio engineers can readily accommodate 270-Mbps, 1.5-Gbps and 3-Gbps SDI signals. The GQW200 quad split offers four triple-rate SDI inputs, two triple-rate SDI outputs, or a digital video interface (DVI) output. The module adapts instantly to the three different transmission rates, enabling broadcast studio engineers to work easily with a mix of equipment conforming to standard- and high-definition (HD) formats.

“By offering the industry’s most comprehensive triple-rate SDI solution, Altera enabled us to complete an aggressive, one-year prototype-to-production schedule,” said Peter Schut, senior product manager at Axon. “Altera’s solution made it easy to exploit the superior signal integrity of the Stratix II GX devices, which eased our engineering effort and helped us to offer a more robust product. Also, the high quality and best-in-class productivity of the Quartus II development tools and the Altera intellectual property cores allowed us to quickly tackle significant design challenges like 3-Gbps SDI implementation and high-speed DDR2 memory interfacing.”

FPGA Yields Greater Reliability, Lower Cost
Axon’s GQW200 module runs on the Linux operating environment. Its processing power comes primarily from a Stratix II GX FPGA, which supports automatic switching between SDI, HD-SDI and 3-Gbps SDI data speeds with up to 20 triple-rate SDI full-duplex transceiver channels operating across a range of 270 Mbps to 3 Gbps.

Stratix II GX FPGAs offer generous on-chip memory, reliable external DDR2 memory interfaces, and powerful digital signal processing (DSP) resources, which are an ideal fit for implementing the post-processing features offered by the GQW200, including color space conversion, gain, sharpness, graphic overlay and overlay insertion. By leveraging Stratix II GX devices, Axon was able to reduce component count compared to their prior quad split product, which increases the product’s overall reliability, lowers manufacturing cost, and reduces form factor.

“The shift to 1080p production over 3-Gbps SDI will take a number of years to complete,” said Todd Scott, senior director of Altera’s broadcast business unit. “Robust triple-rate SDI solutions are key to future-proofing the studio and enabling the highest quality video results during this transition. Altera, the only supplier to offer a comprehensive, characterized triple-rate SDI solution, and Axon, with its groundbreaking new quad split module, are first in line to meet this need.”

Quad Split Featured at Upcoming IBC2007
Axon will display its GQW200 quad split module at IBC2007, September 7 to 11 at RAI Congress Centre, Amsterdam (stand 10.111/10.211).

The Altera(R) Audio Video Development Kit, Stratix II GX Edition, was integral in helping Axon meet its aggressive product development timeline. Broadcast equipment manufacturers can quickly develop triple-rate SDI-based products by taking advantage of this kit, which includes a development board, Quartus(R) II design software, evaluation intellectual property (IP) cores, the SDI reference design, and documentation. The kit, the industry’s first and only to support triple-rate SDI with auto detect and switch, allows broadcast audio and video equipment designers to develop their systems on a single programmable platform while addressing cost, performance, quality and time-to-market requirements.

About Axon Digital Design
Axon Digital Design develops, manufactures and markets modular systems and equipment for the processing of audio and video signals, serving many of the major players in the broadcasting industry. Axon creates space- and cost-effective solutions for a flexible and high-density infrastructure and aims to delight every client that it serves. Axon’s engineers, designers, sales teams, back office support teams and distributors are driven by our customers’ success; we actively seek out the challenge of staying ahead in development, innovation, customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. The long and personal involvement with our international customer base of acclaimed broadcasting companies is testimony to Axon’s dedication to supporting and serving a worldwide industry.

The Axon team is made up of individuals from more than 5 countries, supported by and working hand in hand with more than 40 distributors covering the globe, to ensure our customers’ success. Axon is headquartered in the Netherlands and has offices in the United Kingdom and China.

About Altera
Altera programmable solutions enable system and semiconductor companies to rapidly and cost effectively innovate, differentiate and win in their markets.

Altera, The Programmable Solutions Company, the stylized Altera logo, specific device designations and all other words that are identified as trademarks and/or service marks are, unless noted otherwise, the trademarks and service marks of Altera Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.