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I am looking for any chip that I can use to display video at a high resolution (at least 720p). There is no need for

I know of the Blackfin processors, but they are all BGA. The PIC24FJ256DA210 is capable of only 640 x 480 sadly.

I am guessing that FPGA's are the last option that I have in this situation, but am more curious about anything that would require me to do less work than having to make the entire video system on an FPGA.

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    \$\begingroup\$ displaying video isn't all that demanding. decompressing it on the hand can be. FYI there are (or at lest were) members of the blackfin family in leaded surface mount packages, though they may not be up to your specific task. The leaded FPGAs tend to be the less capable end of each family. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15 '11 at 2:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chris Stratton, Not demanding? You're writing 10MB/s to frame memory for monochrome. \$\endgroup\$
    – kenny
    Jul 15 '11 at 11:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @kenny One does not ordinarily drive a display with a program executing in the CPU core but instead with a DMA engine, for which this is "no sweat" at all. Just yesterday I found an early 90's vga card with the capability of driving that resolution in my junk box, big high profile leaded SMT components. As I said, the demanding task is not driving the display, but rather decompressing video or rendering computed graphics - the latter especially being why modern GPUs are basically consumer-priced supercomputers. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15 '11 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chris Stratton, from the question, I don't think a DMA was 'understood'. But good point. \$\endgroup\$
    – kenny
    Jul 16 '11 at 1:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @kenny DMA (possibly even via dual port memory) is pretty much a given for getting the data out of the memory when driving the display (certain historic video game and modern embedded hacks excepted). Where it gets more CPU (or specialized core) intensive is getting the data into the memory, especially if it's motion video data that must be decompressed - that difference was what I was driving at with my initial comment. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16 '11 at 3:45
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Nearly all CPUs are not directly capable of producing video -- some other piece of hardware (typically using a DMA engine) fetches data from main memory or video memory and displays it.

Some of the few CPUs that are capable of directly producing video include:

As far as I know, the only 32-bit CPU currently manufactured in a DIP package is the Parallax Propeller. The Propeller, unlike most CPUs, has built-in hardware to support VGA video generation. I see that several different Propeller boards support 1024x768 bitmap graphics http://www.parallax.com/tabid/252/Default.aspx

Chuck Moore's F21, i21, and MuP21 CPUs, unlike most CPUs, have built-in hardware to support VGA graphics.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There's at least a decade of difference chock full of leaded surface mount packages between the constraint of "DIP package" and the "non-BGA" that was asked ;-) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 5 '11 at 22:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chris Stratton - The Propeller is also available in QFP and QFN, if you want... \$\endgroup\$ Aug 6 '11 at 5:35
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Maybe look at the xcore from xmos.com. Bridges the gap between processor and fpga.

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Here is a demo of someone playing video directly from an xmos chip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmKrLcJGlmI

Here is another video of video output with an xmos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5eU8pHpy-c&feature=player_embedded

It doesn't look high def, but from the notes he states that he is using only 2 of the available 4 hardware threads--and that's on the bottom of the line xmos chip (it does 400 MIPS).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Someone posting about XMOS and it's not Leon! I'm shocked ;-) \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Aug 9 '11 at 7:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I actually just ordered my first XMOS development board the other day, so I've been researching the platform. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9 '11 at 18:59

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