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HDMI and FPGA Close the Gap between CE and Industrial

HDMI and FPGA Close the Gap between CE and Industrial
Posted 06/07/2016 by David Wang

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How many times have you seen this scene in a movie or police procedural? The police is reviewing footage looking for a suspect and think they have found him. The detective leans over the shoulder of the tech and asks to zoom in closer on the face of the suspect. Suddenly the blurry image resolves into a crystal clear image of the perpetrator’s face. It’s one of the most common tropes in Hollywood; and it’s completely fake.

Unlike the consumer electronics market, which has experienced a significant growth of digital video since the introduction of the DVD in 1997, the transition from analog video to digital video is still in the early stages for the industrial market. Many industrial video applications like security cameras, retail and advertising video walls, machine vision on the factory lines, and vision guided Robotics (VGR), are far from HD.

There are a number of factors contributing to this slow adoption. One big reason is the higher infrastructure costs associated with upgrading industrial video. Rewiring a building for security, or taking down a factory line to upgrade the machine vision cameras can easily cost millions. Psychological factors can also be at play. Potential new adopters may see digital video like HDMI as a relatively complicated standard to implement, requiring compliance testing to guarantee interoperability with other devices. Security is a type of insurance, hard to justify paying a premium on until something goes wrong and it’s too late. And the capital expenditure of industrial video is typically amortized over a longer expected lifespan, which also slows down adoption of new technologies.

However, as digital solutions continue to drop in cost, existing analog installations begin to reach the end of life, and in a rapidly evolving security situation, it seems that the market may at last be ready to move forward.

To drive the video aspect of Industry 4.0 forward, we have recently announced the availability of HDMI solutions for industrial video applications. The combination of HDMI-enabled ASSP devices and low power, small form factor FPGA devices provide comprehensive solutions for industrial video capture, delivery and display. The HDMI ASSP portfolio includes transmitters, receivers, port processors and video processors and both HDCP and non-HDCP versions. These ASSP and programmable solutions meet industrial environment specifications and long operating life standards. With the addition of HDMI-enabled products, we can help OEMs solve key bridging issues or perform video processing functions to enhance human machine interface, security and surveillance as well as digital signage applications.

Lattice’s portfolio of HDMI ASSP and FPGA devices are an ideal solution for various interface bridging applications including:

  • Video Capture – Capture, transform, and transmit FullHD/4K UHD video from HDMI/DVI, SDI or image sensors
  • Video Delivery – Leverage adaptive video scaler, noise reduction and image enhancement technologies with VRS® ClearView
  • Video Display – Support both FullHD/4K UHD video and industrial analog video switching and signaling with auto format detection and Analog Front-end (AFE) technology

Using a consumer-proven technology with the pedigree of HDMI reduces risks and provides an easy and cost-effective way to upgrade systems. In addition, the unparalleled flexibility of Lattice’s FPGAs allows easy integration into existing systems and keeping them future-proof.

This transition has been a long time coming, but as industrial video finally goes digital expect to see the same benefits that we saw in the CE space – higher resolution, lossless video transmission, and the ability to easily move video over the Internet. Industrial video is a broad market with many applications, and digital video promises to bring significant benefits to the market, from enhanced security, simplified connectivity, higher resolution advertising, to more precise error detection on the factory line.