Television mixers have historically been built with dedicated hardware to achieve a specific fixed functionality. As mixers have evolved from devices built with discrete transistors to more modern mixers with advanced large-scale integration (LSI) integrated circuits, a common limitation has been that these devices were built with fixed signal and data paths that pre-define the topology of the mixer. Thus, a mixer targeted for two mix/effects (M/Es) and two keyers per M/E is built specifically for that function, with limited or no future adaptability.

The Echolab Nova series completely breaks with tradition in this regard, moving to a completely reconfigurable platform based on a system-on-chip architecture. We used a single Xilinx® Virtex™-II Pro FPGA to create a completely reprogrammable video switching system. By
absorbing the interconnects of the mixer into a single FPGA, the limitations of a fixed signal path architecture have been removed, and the topology of the mixer can be redefined again and again throughout the life of the product.

Reprinted with permission from Xcell Journal / First Quarter 2006. Article © Xcell Journal.