New CMOS chip promises HD video for digital still cameras

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New CMOS chip promises HD video for digital still cameras

Omnivision today announced the availability of a new CMOS image sensor that can record high-definition video. According to the manufacturer, the OV5620 CMOS chip is able to capture 5- megapixel still images HD video at 1280×720 pixel progressive (720p) resolution. Cameras equipped with the chip could play back the video on a regular or HDTV display.

Omnivision says the chip should fit standard 3X zoom lens modules and is the first CMOS chip able to compete in the traditionally CCD dominated consumer hybrid camera market. There will be two video modes on the OV5620. The first allows the camera to record video at a resolution of 720 pixels by 480 pixels (D1) at 60 frames per second. The second mode records at 1280 pixels by 720 pixels at 30 progessive frames per second.

Brian O’Rourke, senior analyst at In-Stat, told TG Daily that CMOS chips have several advantages over traditional CCDs. “They are generally cheaper because CMOS doesn’t require as much supporting circuitry like timing chips,” O’Rourke explained. In addition, CMOS consumes less power and can read images in “Windowing” mode by focusing on a certain area of a sensor. In contrast, CCDs must be read in a series from the first pixel to the last.

While many high-end digital cameras use CMOS chips, CMOS-based mainstream consumer cameras generally provide less image quality than their CCD-based cousins, according to O’Rourke.

Omnivision says the OV5620 chip is currently shipping to camera manufacturers.

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