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Processors embed audio, video and comms

An Analog Devices product story
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Edited by the Electronicstalk editorial team Feb 3, 2005

Analog Devices has released four new network-enabled Blackfin processors designed for embedded audio, video and communications applications.

Analog Devices has released four new network-enabled Blackfin processors designed for embedded audio, video and communications applications.

Representing the continued progression of the company's Blackfin processor portfolio, these newest offerings extend scalability, portability and connectivity to new embedded products that include IP set-top boxes, portable and networked media players, automotive telematics and networked security gear.

The Blackfin architecture combines the robust audio and video processing capabilities of digital signal processors (DSPs) and media processors with the programming ease of embedded 16/32bit microprocessors.

The newly available ADSP-BF534, BF536 and BF537 processors and the BF566 eM30 eMedia Platform are highly integrated system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for the next generation of embedded, network-connected applications.

By combining industry-standard network interfaces with a high-performance processor core, users can develop cost-effective solutions quickly without the need for costly external components.

These new products continue to make the Blackfin processor the architecture of choice for next-generation applications that require control and network processing, multimedia support and leading-edge signal processing in one, homogeneous architecture.

"The availability of the latest Blackfin processors expands our portfolio of programmable, expandable and upgradeable general-purpose processors, enabling our customers to rapidly introduce new classes of media-rich, networked devices", said John Croteau, General Manager, Media Platforms and Services Group, Analog Devices.

"In the past year, the Blackfin processor has been designed into thousands of applications such as automotive driver assistance and telematics systems, wireless handsets, security and surveillance cameras, networked media players, IP set-top boxes, biometric sensing devices and videophones".

"Each of these customers chose the Blackfin processor because it meets the challenge of creating new classes of media-rich, networked devices with a minimal bill of materials, breakthrough power efficiency and fast time-to-market".

IP-based video delivery is poised to enter the mainstream, now that service providers are gaining the ability to offer digital TV and video-on-demand services over broadband IP connections.

Blackfin processors have already made an immediate impact on the emerging market, enabling IP-based television, voice and videoconferencing services over the existing broadband infrastructure.

Designed specifically for IP set-top boxes, the high-performance media processing and networked capability of the Blackfin BF566 eM30 allows IP TV service providers to equip their set-top boxes with the flexibility to support advanced codecs such as H.264 and VC1, legacy codecs such as MPEG-2, and guarantee the programmability to ensure future upgrades and standards.

Blackfin's unique combination of control and network processing, multimedia support and signal processing is optimised for the security, packet, voice and video processing challenges found in new classes of IP set-top boxes, gateways and Internet access devices.

"IP-based video delivery has become a reality", said Michelle Abraham, Senior Analyst, In-Stat/MDR.

"For years, providers talked about supplying television over phone networks".

"But until recently they couldn't deliver on that promise in a cost-effective manner, because they lacked a processor architecture that afforded the cost structure and freedom of design required to satisfy the demands of television, data and voice".

"The arrival of flexible processors like ADI's Blackfin, are making all media decoding and encoding fully software-programmable and enabling mass-market development of advanced codecs for IP TV and other applications".

The new Blackfin processors are ideal for applications such as portable and networked media players; automotive telematics, infotainment and driver assistance; and networked security.

The ADSP-BF534 processors' system peripherals include an integrated CAN 2.0B controller, a two wire interface controller, two UART ports, an SPI port, two serial ports, two external DMA request lines, nine general-purpose 32bit timers (eight with PWM capability), a real-time clock, a watchdog timer, 48 general-purpose I/O pins and a parallel peripheral interface.

The ADSP-BF536/537 further extends the feature set by adding an integrated IEEE-compliant 802.3 10/100 Ethernet MAC and an enhanced DMA system for high network-bandwidth capability.

ADI's Blackfin processor is the first in a new breed of 16/32bit embedded processors designed specifically to meet the computational demands and power constraints of today's embedded audio, video and communications applications.

Based on the Micro Signal Architecture (MSA) jointly developed with Intel Corp, the Blackfin processor family combines a 32bit RISC-like instruction set with 16bit dual multiply accumulate (MAC) signal processing functionality and ease-of-use attributes found in general-purpose microcontrollers.

Dynamic power management enables breakthrough power consumption by allowing the simultaneous adjustment of operating frequency and voltage under application control.

Because of their code compatibility, all Blackfin processors provide portability of design.

Blackfin processors are fully supported by ADI's Crosscore Tools product line, which consists of the VisualDSP++ development and debugging environment, EZ-Kit Lite evaluation kits, EZ-Extender daughterboards and emulators.

The easy-to-use VisualDSP++ integrated development environment speeds development, debugging and deployment while shrinking product development cycles and improves time to market.

Release 4.0 of VisualDSP++ incorporates TCP/IP and USB support, a processor configuration/start-up code wizard and multiple project management.

Analog Devices has also made available two new Blackfin EZ-Extender daughterboards, giving developers the ability to connect various peripherals from Analog Devices and third parties to the expansion interface of the EZ-Kit Lite evaluation kits.

Emulators are available for both PCI and USB host platforms for rapid on-chip debugging.

Additionally, Blackfin processors are supported by a number of third parties such as Green Hills and National Instruments.

Green Hills software provides industry-leading Multi IDE, small and fast Velosity microkernel and memory protected Integrity real-time operating system.

With the new ADI Blackfin Test Integration Toolkit for LabView, engineers now can use National Instruments LabView graphical development with ADI's VisualDSP++T embedded development environment to streamline the development of Blackfin-based systems.

Available today, the ADSP-BF534 is available at 400 and 500MHz, the ADSP-BF536 is available at 300 and 400MHz, and the ADSP-BF537 is available at 500 and 600MHz.

Per-unit pricing for the ADSP-BF534 ranges from $9.65-$13.10 in 10,000-unit quantities; per-unit pricing for the ADSP-BF536/537 ranges from $8.05-$16.55 in 10,000-unit quantities.

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