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Design cuts the cost of HD security cameras

A Texas Instruments (April 2006-) product story
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Edited by the Electronicstalk editorial team Mar 28, 2008

High-definition IP network camera reference design combines TI's DaVinci TMS320DM355 digital media processor with Aptina's 5Mpixel HD security image sensor.

As security camera system designers move from aging CCTV to high-quality Internet Protocol (IP) networks, they are challenged with keeping overall system costs down, increasing image quality and reducing camera design complexity and implementation time.

Recognising these challenges, Texas Instruments and Aptina Imaging are offering the DM355IPNC-MT5 high-definition (HD) IP network camera reference design based on TI's DaVinci TMS320DM355 digital media processor and Aptina's 5Mpixel HD security image sensor.

With an electronic bill of materials (eBOM) costs of less than US $40, video surveillance providers can now add these cameras to their existing systems - at the cost of a traditional analogue video camera - and gain the flexibility to upgrade to an IP-based, HD network camera when ready.

"The rapidly growing market for security and surveillance cameras is fueling the need for increasing levels of image quality and functionality at affordable prices", says Curtis Stith, Director of New Markets for Aptina.

"Through our joint development work with TI on this new reference design, we are making it much easier for security system designers to make the shift to high quality IP network video".

Unlike traditional CCTV cameras, the DM355IPNC-MT5 allows for simple scalability while providing remote viewing and storage capabilities in a distributed network.

Complexity and cost of the network are reduced by utilising the TI/Aptina reference design, producing a field of view of 1280 x 720 pixel, whereas traditional surveillance systems typically use two D1 cameras each seeing 480 x 720 pixel to capture the same scene.

Additionally, by leveraging Aptina's 5-megapixel image sensor, image quality is greatly improved with the sensor delivering exceptionally low noise levels and low-light sensitivity.

The IP camera reference design also supports analogue output for existing CCTV customers who are not yet ready to migrate to IP allowing them use the camera system to future-proof their investment.

Functioning at 400mW during HD MPEG-4 encode, the TI/Aptina camera can operate at less than 3W, reducing the power requirements of even complex networks.

Optimised reference design reduces development time to four months From device drivers and application software to hardware and image pipe tuning, a video surveillance camera system can often take more than 150 man months to develop.

The DM355IPNC-MT5 reference design reduces system development to less than four months by including complete and optimised schematics, Gerber files, as well as free Linux application source code.

Included in the source code, for example, is functionality for integrated auto white balance/auto exposure, simple motion detection, dual stream HD MPEG4 and MJPEG video codecs and DaVinci IP network camera software frameworks to quickly bring this camera into production.

The reference design further saves time and drives performance by taking advantage of TI's wide portfolio of analogue, power management and logic technology including the TLV320AIC26 audio codec and the TPS23750 power over Ethernet controller.

"The combination of TI's DaVinci DM355 digital media technology with Aptina's leading image sensor makes for a powerful but highly cost effective solution", says Danny Petkevich, Video Surveillance and Imaging Business Manager, TI.

"Working closely with Aptina, we've removed the traditional barriers-like cost, complexity and design skill sets-to implementing IP-based HD video surveillance systems".

Order entry is open for the TI/Aptina HD IP network camera reference design on the TI website.

The US $795 royalty free reference design includes the camera, tripod, cables, and power adapter as well a quick start guide and production agreement.

The camera system is expected to begin shipping in the second quarter 2008.

For production quantities, TI's DM355 processor is available today at just US $10 and consists of an integrated video processing subsystem, an MPEG-4-JPEG coprocessor (MJCP), a 270MHz ARM926EJ-S core and peripherals.

The DM355 also includes an integrated DAC that can be used along with the OPA361 video amplifier to drive composite Pal or NTSC output.

The MJCP provides HD MPEG-4 SP encode or decode at 720p and 30 frames per second and JPEG encode or decode at 75Mpixel per second.

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