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Ambarella Inc. has introduced an IP camera system-on-chip (SoC) designed to enhance the performance of megapixel and high definition cameras, especially in low-light situations.

Ambarella's A7 SoC, making its debut next week at ISC West 2011 in Las Vegas, comes in the wake of two Texas Instruments DaVinci digital media processors announced at the beginning of March. In particular, the A7 appears positioned against the DaVinci DM8148, which offers a single 1080p60 frames-per-second video stream, or three simultaneous 720p30 fps video streams at 3 watts.

Ambarella-A7-IP-Camera-Chip.jpgThe A7 (pictured), with a front-end imaging sensor using a 500-MHz pixel capture rate--equivalent to 8 megapixels at 60 fps, delivers one 1080p60 stream, two streams at 1080p30, four at 720p30, or 5 megapixels at 24 fps. It also supports digital pan-tilt-zoom. Power consumption is below 1.5 watts, enabling the chip to be used in compact cameras, said Chris Day, vice president of marketing and business development at Ambarella.

The high-speed imaging processor offers a number of advantages, Day said. First, when transmitting multiple streams, each stream can be encoded in different resolutions, frame rates, bit rates or profile. This achieves optimal efficiency for recording and storage, Day said, allowing the user to balance the quality and speed of a stream. Second, the processor's digital wide dynamic range (WDR) can adjust picture contrast at the pixel level. Combined with on-board 3D motion compensated noise reduction, the SoC can substantially boost image clarity in low light, Day added.

Not only can these features improve image quality and resolution at night or in dark indoor environments, they can show images that might otherwise be lost in the shadows of in an  image saturated with light.  

The SoC, based on a Linux platform, is priced under $50 per unit, Day said, with deeper discounts for quantity orders. The SoC comes with a software development kit camera manufacturers can use to integrate it with their own camera software. Ambarella is ramping up for shipments now, Day said. He anticipates customers will roll out the cameras equipped with the A7 by the end of this year or early 2012.

Recently in ISC West 2010 Category