Video Encoder Wing

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Awhile back I was playing with a CS4954 Video Encoder. It's a great little chip, inexpensive, supports NTSC/PAL, S-Video, SCART, etc via 6 on board 10-bit DACs.

Here is my NTSC/PAL breakout board:


It runs off 5V or 3.3v and requires a 27MHz clock. The interface is via 8bit parallel bus or I2C. If you use I2C, the 8 bit parallel I/O bus becomes an 8 bit GPIO! The pixel data is fed to it via a dedicated 8 bit bus. Using I2C you basically get these I/O lines back with the GPIO. :)

It supports both Master mode where it will supply the vertical and horizontal syncs or Slave where those signals are provided by the host device.

I have seen some cool things done with this chip in the forums with FPGAs and was curious if anyone would like to help me get some VHDL going on Papilio for this thing. I have the i2c start up sequences to get output running and have drawn some simple patterns with it using an Arduino, but that's about it.


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I'm sure a lot of the functionality could be, but you would still need the external 10 bit DACs and all the I/O that goes with them. For a $7 chip, I'm not sure what the advantage would be.

I'm personally interested in it to do text and graphic OSD type things for video that will be transmitted with a cheap NTSC/PAL transmitter.

Thought it might also be useful for the retro computer projects as well.

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I like the chip, it looks interesting. :) When we talked earlier about it I thought it was meant to capture composite video rather then output it.

You might want to take a look at Ben L's TV output Wing, it uses less then $.30 in parts! Full VHDL source code is available. I've actually got this to work on my end without very much trouble.


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  • 1 month later...

Here are some snaphots of the wing displaying data from the camera (center) and Closed Caption text.

For default register settings the color looks great :) Since the cs4954 provides a Frame signal I am able to interlace the image from the camera and not just doube the scan lines which keeps things at the right ratio.

The garbage on the left is a display of internal color map data for debugging.


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