[Theora-dev] FPGA implementation

Ralph Giles giles at xiph.org
Fri Nov 26 14:48:30 PST 2004

On Fri, Nov 26, 2004 at 04:42:37PM -0600, John Kintree wrote:

> Right now, what I'm thinking about is a video camera with hardware support
> for theora compression that could be USB connected to a laptop computer, or
> could be built into a laptop/handheld computer.  This video camera would be 
> used for both videoconferencing and as a camcorder.

That would be nice. Might be more useful if you could just talk to it 
over 802.11b; it's often not very convienient to run a cable to your 
laptop from wherever you've stuck the camera.

> How small could such a camera be?  What would be the costs per device for the
> materials, assembly, production, packaging, sales and support in a quantity
> of 100,000?  As long as I am pretending, what would be the costs per device
> in a quantity of 1 million?

I'm sure Andrey is better equipped to answer all this, but I'd guess 
something the size of an isight is reasonable. probably bigger if you
have to attach a battery.

The limiting factor on cost in those quantities is the optics, so it 
boils down to how good an image quality you want and features like
focus and zoom. I suspect there's not much difference between 100k an 1M 
units. At 1M you would fab a custom encoder chip rather than use an 
fgpa, which will cut the price of that part by a half or 3/4, but that 
won't be the only expensive component. Maybe if you put all the other 
electronics in the same custom chip?

> Could a virtual company develop the specs, work out the costs, take advance
> orders online, and manage the entire operation for extremely low-overhead,
> thereby keeping the per unit cost as low as possible, and the potential
> market as large as possible?

If they had a few million in venture capital they certainly could. To 
sell a million units will require as much sales and marketing as 


More information about the Theora-dev mailing list