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Comparing RTL and high-level synthesis methodologies in the design of a theora video decoder IP core

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2 Author(s)
Piga, L. ; Inst. of Comput., Univ. of Campinas, Campinas ; Rigo, S.

An important share of the consumer electronics market is focused on devices capable of running multimedia applications, like audio and video decoders. In order to achieve the performance level demanded by these applications, it is important to develop specialized hardware IPs in order to cope with the most computational intensive parts. Nowadays, designers are facing the challenge of integrating several components, including processor, memory, and specialized IP cores, into a single chip, giving raise to the so called systems-on-chip (SoC). The high complexity of such systems and the strict time-to-market in the electronics industry motivated the introduction of new design methodologies during the last years. This work presents a comparison between two hardware development methodologies in order to design a Theora video decoder IP core from algorithm down to FPGA.We first implemented it in hand-written RTL code using VHDL, resulting in a 56% time reduction in the decoding process when compared to a software library. The second methodology implements the same hardware using SystemC and behavioral synthesis. The second IP core was developed in 70% less time with satisfactory results. We compare the two approaches in terms of area and latency.

Published in:

Programmable Logic, 2009. SPL. 5th Southern Conference on

Date of Conference:

1-3 April 2009