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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

A Systematic Approach to Design Low-Power Video Codec Cores

  • 1Email author,
  • 4,
  • 4,
  • 4,
  • 4,
  • 1, 2, 3 and
  • 5
EURASIP Journal on Embedded Systems20072007:064569

  • Received: 2 June 2006
  • Accepted: 5 March 2007
  • Published:


The higher resolutions and new functionality of video applications increase their throughput and processing requirements. In contrast, the energy and heat limitations of mobile devices demand low-power video cores. We propose a memory and communication centric design methodology to reach an energy-efficient dedicated implementation. First, memory optimizations are combined with algorithmic tuning. Then, a partitioning exploration introduces parallelism using a cyclo-static dataflow model that also expresses implementation-specific aspects of communication channels. Towards hardware, these channels are implemented as a restricted set of communication primitives. They enable an automated RTL development strategy for rigorous functional verification. The FPGA/ASIC design of an MPEG-4 Simple Profile video codec demonstrates the methodology. The video pipeline exploits the inherent functional parallelism of the codec and contains a tailored memory hierarchy with burst accesses to external memory. 4CIF encoding at 30 fps, consumes 71 mW in a 180 nm, 1.62 V UMC technology.


  • External Memory
  • Memory Hierarchy
  • Video Codec
  • Algorithmic Tuning
  • Memory Optimization

[1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52]

Authors’ Affiliations

D6, IMEC, Kapeldreef 75, Leuven, 3001, Belgium
Department of Electrical Engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL), Leuven, 3001, Belgium
Department of Electrical Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussel, 1050, Belgium
Xilinx Inc, 2100 Logic Drive, San Jose, CA 95124-3400, USA
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Technical University Eindhoven, Den Dolech 2, Eindhoven, 5612, AZ, The Netherlands


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© Denolf et al. 2007

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