[This is part of our Designing Hardware for HD series. Be sure to check it out!]
There are a few more issues I’d like to tackle in this series of posts, and some of these issues have more of a general nature to them. This time I’m looking into the future.
If you are about to develop an HD video terminal, then you are going to invest a considerable amount of thought and time in your hardware. It also means that you’re in for the long haul – it’s not a one-time product that you’ll be releasing to market and forgetting about it, but rather a kind of a product line that will need to improve as time goes by.
The visual communication industry started with QCIF resolutions at 15 frames per second. Today we’ve come all the way to 720p and 30 frames per second or more – that’s over 72 times the pixels to process. And it’s not going to end there. You will definitely need to do additional changes in the future: add peripherals, change the user interface, improve the camera, the resolutions, the frame rate – whatever.
In order to make sure the investment you’re making now will serve you well in the future, make sure you check the roadmap of the components you are using in your solution. Here are a few important ones for you to check and know. Most of them deal with the video coding chip:
- Is there a roadmap at all for the future chips?
- When are they planned to be introduced to the market?
- Is the supplier committed to visual communication solutions or is this just a “hobby”?
- Will the codecs and framework that you use run on future chips (backward compatibility) or will you need to adapt these to the new chip’s architecture?
- Will this chip enable you to run the rest of the stuff you plan on pushing into it as well or will you need to offload stuff to other processors?
- Might this future solution be able to save you some chips you are using today and reduce costs? Maybe you can place the scaling engine on it, or the OSD for instance.
- What’s the power consumption of these future solutions? Are they suitable for your system or will it be an overkill? Will you be able to save on power with them?
- Will you be able to extend your solution with these chips? With more resolution, more bandwidth, more video streams, etc.
The more you know now, the more it will assist you in your planning and in making sure you make the right choices today.