DSP

CEVA adapts DSP core for DTV demodulator applications

December 16, 2011 — Mike Demler, Editorial Director

CEVA is a developer of (DSP) cores, which they license in the form of synthesizable (i.e. soft) Intellectual Property (IP) for integration in Systems on a Chip (SoCs). By partnering with providers of application-specific software IP, CEVA has been able to adapt the soft-modem architecture of the CEVA-XC323 core for use in a variety of applications, such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and 3G/4G infrastructure equipment. Mindspeed has licensed the CEVA-XC323 as the core of their software-defined radio in the Transcede processor for . Now, in preparation for the upcoming January 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), CEVA has announced a collaboration with IDEA! Electronic Systems to apply the CEVA-XC323 in Digital Television (DTV) demodulators, starting with the Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard which is used in Japan, Brazil and other countries in South America.

Eyal Bergman, Director of Product Marketing at CEVA, says that TV manufacturers have a need for a single, universal demodulator chip that can support the variety of standards that have been developed for terrestrial, satellite, cable and mobile TV broadcasting. Currently, manufacturers need to maintain inventories of multiple standard-specific DTV demodulators, says Bergman, in order to address markets worldwide. A universal software-defined DTV demodulator will eliminate that problem, and enable integration of the function into application processors in 2-3 years, according to Bergman.

CEVA's Bergman says that the lack of a universal DTV design has been a barrier to SoC integration up until now, but that he expects that application processor vendors such as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are working to incorporate such functions in the future, targeting tablet computers that are expected to increasingly be used as alternate screens for viewing TV content. He contrasts the CEVA approach, based on a communications-specific DSP core, to competitors such as Mirics who build their software demodulator on general-purpose processors such as ARM cores. These solutions have relatively weak processing capabilities, says Bergman, and result in higher cost for embedded applications.


In comparison, CEVA's approach is to build a complete software-defined subsystem by combining the XC323 core with the appropriate hardware accelerators and interconnect fabric required for a targeted application. In this latest example, by partnering with IDEA! for the ISDB-T IP, CEVA has been able to develop a software-defined DTV reference platform. SoC integrators can make use of CEVA tools and software libraries to configure a device for multiple DTV standards. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can then modify and control the platform in specific TVs through software APIs. At CES, CEVA and IDEA! will demonstrate the DTV reference platform on an FPGA-based prototype of a complete ISDB-T receiver.

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