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Designing with ADI Video Parts


Analog Devices provides a wide variety of tools and documentation and products for video designs but it's not always clear which are needed for a given application. The purpose of this FAQ is to clarify how each of our tools and documentation packages are intended to be used with the various products and our recommendations for things you'll need at various points in the design process.

Product Selection

This is well covered in our  Read First: Design Support Files Overview FAQ. The main point to keep in mind is that not all parts are the same in terms of support. It is strongly suggested that products marked as "Recommended for New Designs" be used. Support for products not marked as "Recommended for New Designs" is limited.

Also note that products and evaluation boards with part numbers that end in "-P" do not contain HDCP keys and can be purchased by anybody but it also means that it won't work with any encrypted source.  Use of the product will be limited to testing/using with test pattern generators, some computers, or proprietary non-encrypted hardware.  We are not aware of any consumer DVD player, Blu-ray or other HDMI source that was not encrypted.

Details of restrictions regarding products capable of decrypting content protected with HDCP (High Definition Content Protection can be found here: Digital Content Protection

Component Evaluation

It is strongly suggested to purchase an evaluation board for the product that is being considered or being used in a design.  All "Recommended for New Designs" products have low cost evaluation boards listed on the respective product pags and atAdvantivTm Video Evaluation Boards. The evaluation board is the best way to test your unique application. Support is much more efficient when you have an evaluation board and can duplicate on the evaluation board an issue that is being experienced in your design.

All of evaluation boards come with a full software stack that will program the HDMI products chips dynamically. The evaluation board is controlled through a serial port and provides the ability to send system level commands and read and write individual registers. We use Tera Term as a terminal but any terminal program should be fine. For most products, a simple "help" command will get you started with figuring out commands. Scripts will be added for the ADV8005 and ADV8003 NatureVueTm Video Signal Processors to add functions (like Picture-in-Picture) which can only be done dynamically through the terminal and not via the OSD menu.

AdvantivTm Video Evaluation Software 3 (AVES3) is available for hardware validation, debugging, and very specific or unusual tests. AVES3 is not intended for product evaluation because it only runs static scripts. Scripts are generally only useful as an example or with test equipment. Real systems are dynamic and require that the system controller react to events rather than run a script once and forget. Scripts are most useful when validating first prototype hardware.

For video products withOn-Screen Display (OSD) capabilities, theBlimp OSD Designer is downloadable software which can demonstrate the OSD capabilites of the products, is used as the OSD development tool, and can emulate it on a PC.

PCB Design

For the PCB design stage of the process, example schematics, layouts, and symbol / package models are generally available as well as recommended guidelines for layouts and schematics.  The schematics for evaluation boards are posted on the respective product page. Most schematics have been created in Orcad capture DSN format and the DSN and PDF version are available. Schematics aren't available in other formats.

Schematic symbols can be lifted from the DSN file but ADI also provides a company-wide system for symbols in BXL format. BXLs are available for newer products. If there is not a BXL available for a product, please ask as there might be one available that is not on the product page. Please check on the product page first. Information on how to use the BXL files is here:

Gerber files and board files are available for most evaluation boards on the board pages. Evaluation board layouts are generally in Allegro and only that format available. Note: evaluation board layouts are good examples for some aspects (like HDMI TMDS pairs) but not necessarily all aspects of the design. For example, several evaluation boards allow customers to insert of extract video data on the TTL pixel bus. This is not a good layout example if the system does not require this.  HDMI layout guidelines can be found here: HDMI Layout Guide. Schematic review checklists may be posted in the future. Schematic review requests should be posted on the forum.

Hardware Bring-up

Once prototype hardware back is available, the first step is to verify the functionality of the hardware design. An HDMI test pattern generator (TPG) is very useful at this stage. A DVD player, or other consumer HDMI source is not useful at this point without software to handle dynamic handshaking between source and sink. We use Quantum Data - 882 Video Test Generator but there are also lower cost TPGs like this one:

The benefits of using a TPG include the ability to disable/enable HDCP easily and that they don't check EDID or react at all to hardware-- whatever you program them to send they will send.  This can be invaluable when hardware is new and it can be difficult to determine if the problem is hardware or if there is an incorrect configuration or handshake.

For this stage of the process AdvantivTm Video Evaluation Software 3 (AVES3) is highly useful.  If you are using a TPG, scripts will be sufficient. On the evaluation board pages or design support files pages that there is an AVES3 "folder" available for download.  This folder contains XMLs, scripts, and hint files.  To use AVES with your hardware, either jumper the I2C lines from the evaluation board to your board or use AVES with the Aardvark I2C/SPI Host Adapter. The only exception is with the ADV8003/ADV8005 as the scripts for hardware validation are still in development and will be posted as soon as possible.

If you are developing a product with an HDMI Transmitter, we'd urge you to have an HDMI analyzer. We use an Astro VA-1838. There are lower cost alternatives but we haven't used any.  It is possible to use consumer TVs/monitors at bring up but it can be much more difficult.  If you don't have an analyzer, we'd suggest you have several different TVs/Monitors from several different manufacturers.  Many TVs and monitors may not behave correctly in all situations which can result in wasting a lot of time during bring up when there is no software to handle any issues.  This is especially true of low cost 4k displays.

System Software Development

Please refer to What software is available from ADI for Video parts? for the options for HDMI software.

Final Product Certification

ADI does not offer any pre-testing service. We do test our evaluation boards for HDMI compliance so we know the process and often can point you in the right direction if your product is failing a particular test.