Hi everyone!

 

Jason Moss, one of our product specialists recently had some great success in spinning up the VCU that is included in the Avnet UltraZed-EV 7EV based SOM!

 

What is the VCU you might ask?  This is an acronym that stands for Video Codec Unit.  It is a piece of hardened IP that is included in the "EV" specific family of MPSoC  devices from Xilinx.

It can do H.264/H.265 at 4K resolutions with a frame rate of 60FPS!  All the while not using up your precious Programmable Logic fabric!  As someone that has worked with some video codec HDL, I can certainly say that while resourcing is a challenge, the timing ends up so much more critical due to not only the data RATES but the data VOLUME!

 

Consider the amount of data in a 14bit pixel, in a 4k frame, running at 60FPS.  That is an absolutely HUGE volume of data to chew.  Especially having to look at multiple frame, some hysteresis, as well as the math involved to modify the video stream!  Having done some testing of my own personal videos using a PC to convert from my old DV camcorder to H.264 and H.265, I can certainly say that while you get MUCH better compression to quality with H.265, using PC software it is almost NOT worth the additional time to compress due to costing of electricity and wear on the PC itself.  Although to get similar quality at 1/10 the size, OR getting 10x the quality at similar size is rather nice, hard drive space is cheap!

 

How does this relate to the VCU?  At nearly NO additional cost, you can get REAL-TIME H.265 compression!  That is AMAZING!  For the reference design, Jason was able to not only show decoding, but ENCODING in H.264 over a streamed network connection.  As part of this there is also a step to look at the processor use to compare and contrast the difference using the codec and not!

 

For more information on the VCU itself:

https://www.xilinx.com/products/intellectual-property/v-vcu.html

 

For access to Jason's BLOG where he posted the write-up, with access to all the code and downloads in order to generate your OWN design for the UltraZed-EV see this link:

UltraZED-EV + IO Carrier Card VCU Design Example (v2018.3)

 

Here are two blogs related to this that might be of interest!

Quick Take Videos giving you a high level view of what the above blog offers:

UltraZed-EV VCU (Video Codec Unit) Design Quick Take Videos

Companion Videos for the Above blog:

UltraZED-EV + IO Carrier Card VCU Design Example (v2018.3) Companion Videos

 

Have fun and happy encoding!

 

--Dan