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Synaptics VS680 Powers Multimedia AI

February 11, 2020

Author: Mike Demler

The Synaptics VideoSmart VS680 is a multimedia powerhouse that combines a Qdeo 4K-video engine, an audio processor capable of far-field keyword detection and voice recognition, and a proprietary SyNap deep-learning accelerator (DLA). The new chip upgrades from the “little” Cortex-A53 CPUs in the predecessor BG5CT to “big” Cortex-A73s, and it also integrates a higher-performance Imagination PowerVR Series9 GPU. Another new feature is an ISP with HDR capabilities that can handle two 4K cameras.

 Previous VideoSmart products target the streaming-video set-top-box (STB) market, but the VS680 aims for a broader range of smart-home devices. It’s well suited to the Facebook Portal and other smart displays, which enable video calling. The audio processor can drive a smart speaker or sound bar, but when coupled with the DLA, it handles on-device voice-UI functions in addition to providing the front end to a cloud-based digital assistant. The DLA works with the dual ISP to run neural networks on video streams from front and rear cameras, enabling face ID, object recognition, and security monitoring, among other tasks. The Qdeo engine can drive two displays, allowing the device to power a 1080p touchscreen panel in an STB while simultaneously streaming to a 4K TV.

The company recently received the first working silicon for the new VideoSmart, which it hopes to quickly characterize and begin sampling by the end of 1Q20, leading to 3Q20 production. It manufactures the VS680 in TSMC’s 12nm technology.

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