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Processors for Video Applications

Authored on: May 2, 2007 by Bjorn Hori and Jennifer Eyre

Technical Paper / Conference Paper

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To create a successful digital video product, you need to choose the right processor. Sounds simple—but of course, it is not. A big part of the challenge is that there are so many different types of processors: media processors, application processors, general-purpose CPUs, FPGAs, DSPs, configurable processors, and fixed-function chips, among others. Each of these varies significantly in key metrics like speed, price and energy consumption—not to mention the less easily quantified characteristics, like the quality of the associated development tools. So how do you know which type of processor is a good fit for your application? A further complication is that digital video is a fast-moving field, with standards that are shifting and evolving. As a result, a processor's ability to adapt to changes tends to be more important in digital video than in many other applications—but such flexibility usually comes at the cost of reduced efficiency. What trade-offs does each type of processor make?

This paper explains how to choose the right processor — one that won't compromise the success of your product.

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