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Adam Taylor’s MicroZed Chronicles, Part 211: Working with HDMI using Zynq SoC and MPSoC Dev Boards

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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By Adam Taylor


Throughout this series we have looked at numerous image-processing applications. One of the simplest ways to capture or display an image in these applications is using HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface). HDMI is a proprietary standard that carries HD digital video and audio data. It is a widely adopted standard supported by many video displays and cameras. Its widespread adoption makes HDMI an ideal interface for our Zynq-based image processing applications.


In this blog, I am going to outline the different options for implementing HDMI in our Zynq design using the different boards we have looked as targets. This exploration will also provide ideas for us when we are designing our own custom hardware.





Arty Z7 HDMI In and Out Example




The several Zynq boards we have used in this series so far support HDMI using one of two methods: an external or internal CODEC.






Zynq-based boards with HDMI capabilities




If the board uses an external CODEC, it is fitted with an Analog Devices ADV7511 or ADV7611 for transmission and reception respectively. The external HDMI CODEC interfaces directly with the HDMI connector and generates the TMDS (Transition-Minimized Differential Signalling) signals containing the image and audio data.


The interface between the CODEC and Zynq PL (programmable logic) consists of a I2C bus, pixel-data bus, timing sync signals, and the pixel clock. We route the pixel data, sync signals, and clock directly into the PL. We use the I2C controller in the Zynq PS (processing system) for the I2C interface with the Zynq SoC’s I2C IO signals routed via the EMIO to the PL IO.

To ease integration between CODEC and PL, AVNET has developed two IP cores. They are available on the Avnet GitHub. In the image-processing chain, these IP blocks will be located at the very front and end of the chain if you are using them to interface to external CODECs.


The alternate approach is to use an internal CODEC located within the Zynq PL. In this case, the HDMI TMDS signals are routed directly to the PL IO and the CODEC is implemented with programmable logic. To save having to write such complicated CODECs from scratch, Digilent provides two CODEC IP cores. They are available from the Digilent GitHub. Using these cores within the design means the TMDS signals’ IO standard within the constraints file is set to TMDS_33 IO.


Note: This IO standard is only available on the High Range (HR) IO banks.





 HDMI IP Cores mentioned in the blog




Not every board I have discussed in the MicroZed Chronicles series can both receive and transmit HDMI signals. The ZedBoard and TySOM only provide HDMI output. If we are using one of these boards and the application must receive HDMI signals, we can use the FMC connector with an FMC HDMI input card.


The Digilent FMC-HDMI provides two HDMI inputs with the ability to receive HDMI data using both external and internal CODECs. Of its two inputs, the first uses the ADV7611, while the second equalizes and passes the HDMI Signals through to be decoded directly in the Zynq PL.







This provides us with the ability to demonstrate how both internal and external CODECs can be implanted on the ZedBoard when using an external CODEC for image transmission.


However first I need to get my soldering iron out to fit a jumper to J18 so that we can set VADJ on the ZedBoard to 3v3 as required for the FMC-HDMI.


We should also remember that while I have predominantly talked about the Zynq SoC here, the same discussion applies to the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, although that device family also incorporates DisplayPort capabilities.



Code is available on Github as always.



If you want E book or hardback versions of previous MicroZed chronicle blogs, you can get them below.




  • First Year E Book here
  • First Year Hardback here.



 MicroZed Chronicles hardcopy.jpg



  • Second Year E Book here
  • Second Year Hardback here


MicroZed Chronicles Second Year.jpg