Daniel Ogilvie, SingMai Electronics
EETimes (3/21/2013 6:17 AM EDT)
Digital video broadcasting, video compression, and ever expanding video resolutions such as 4k x 2k dominate the news in electronics magazines. Yet that little yellow RCA connector remains ubiquitous and large numbers of people still rely on NTSC or PAL analog broadcasting for their viewing pleasure. This article looks at how FPGAs are breathing new life into this presumed dead format.
There are two main components to enable analog video transmission: the encoder at the transmitter (e.g., the camera) and the decoder at the receiver (e.g., the television). Most major semiconductor manufacturers offer at least one of these components – most offer both. Not surprisingly, these components are usually older designs, some perhaps having their origins as much as 20-30 years ago. After all, the standards have not changed, so why the need to update the ICs. In this article I will consider how the introduction of low-cost, high-functionality FPGAs justifies looking once again at analog video transmission.
Returning to old friends
Even high definition video sources can benefit from having that RCA connector, even when – for legacy reasons – they aren't obliged to do so (e.g., your Blu-ray player). How many times have you had a blank screen when using HDMI and wished you had another robust output just to check you are not going mad?
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