DaVinci chip’s role in police security video

2 November 2012

ALLEN, Texas–The explosion of low-cost video capture devices has the unintended consequence of complicating lives and overwhelming storage systems.

We saw this in Vancouver when we met with the folks at Avigilon, one of the fastest-growing software companies in North America, thanks to their video-surveillance technology that allows a system to capture images at a quality level that’s determined by the action.

Down here, in Texas, Bob Vanman’s got a similar approach. He and his employees at 10-year-old WatchGuard are building video-surveillance systems for police cars that offer portability (DVDs) and selectable definition levels depending on what kind of activity is taking place. You see that grainy footage all the time on “COPS,” but in the real world, it’s a different story. A third of all police cars don’t have in-car video, and the two-thirds that do can usually benefit from higher definition images when court time comes.

“We treat routine events different than critical,” Vanman said. “The system keeps critical events in high definition.”

WatchGuard engineers tapped Texas Instruments’ DaVinci DSP ICs for the job.

WatchGuard’s high-definition system, the 4RE, was the first to employ main profile H.264 compression, which Vanman said takes 10 times the processing power of a baseline profile system.

Since DaVinci was one of the first chipsets to support main profile, Vanman said, WatchGuard employed it in its system.

Here’s Vanman describing not only the high-definition-capable 4RE but the company’s server-based and DVD-based systems:

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