TI and Aptina deliver $35 HD IP camera reference design - Embedded.com

TI and Aptina deliver $35 HD IP camera reference design

HOUSTON and SAN JOSE – Texas Instruments (TI) and Aptina Imaging today announced a high-definition (HD) IP camera reference design, the DM355IPNC-MT5. Based on TI's TMS320DM355 DaVinci processor and Aptina's 5-megapixel sensor, the camera is capable of serving up simultaneous 720p and CIF MPEG-4 streams along with G.711 audio. Aiming to replace analog CCTV cameras, the DM355IPNC-MT5 has an electronic bill of materials (eBOM) starting at $35 (50k quantities), and sports analog camera outputs for backwards compatibility to analog networks. Power consumption for the camera ranges from 1mW for sleep mode to 400 mW for HD encode (550 mW including DRAM power).


Figure 1. DM355IPNC-MT5 network IP camera

The DM355IPNC-MT5 comes in two flavors, a low-end version and a mid-range version. Both versions are based on the DM355, which features an ARM 9 running at 216 or 270 MHz and coprocessors for MPEG-4 and MJPEG encoding. The low-end camera with only the processor and sensor boards starts at $35. Additional features such as power over Ethernet, audio, and UART increment the price up to just under $50. For solutions requiring analytics, TI also offers a “mid-range” device, which augments the low-end version with an analytics daughtercard powered by a DM643x DaVinci.

In addition to the OS, network stacks, and audio/video codecs offered with previous DaVinci devices, the DM355IPNC-MT5 ships with an example camera application (source code included) for manufacturers to build on. The source code includes all basic functionality required to implement a camera, including integrated auto white balance/auto exposure, simple motion detection, dual stream HD MPEG4 and MJPEG codecs, and the DaVinci IP network camera software frameworks. The design also includes schematics, gerber files, and free Linux application source code. “We surveyed over 30 customers and asked them what specific functions and features they needed and made sure that was all incorporated,” said Danny Petkevich, Video Surveillance & Imaging Business Manager at TI. “This is truly production ware.”

For the image sensor, TI worked closely with third party Aptina Imaging to tune the image sensor to TI's processing board. The 5 MegaPixel Aptina sensor utilizes 2×2 binning of pixels to produce a 1.3 MegaPixel image before sending to the processing board. This pixel binning improves the sensor's low-light performance.

The TMS320DM355 will allow a new class of camera OEMs to enter the IP surveillance market. “The general trend is towards simplification and cost”, says Mark Kirstein, president of market and technology analysis firm MultiMedia Intelligence. “This camera enables the mainstream camera manufacturer, the people in the second and third tier of the manufacturing community that are competing primarily on price. That community hasn't really been able to enter this market yet, primarily because they don't have the brand cache or the R&D expertise of some of the leading camera manufacturers, and so this design kit targets that end of the market and enables them to enter.”

The DM355IPNC-MT5 IP network camera reference design is expected to begin shipping in the second quarter of 2008. It will cost $795 and be royalty free with the exception of the auto white balance and auto exposure (2A), which must be licensed separately—if the customer already owns 2A IP the design is royalty free. For more information visit www.ti.com/ipnetcampr.

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