Ambarella is a company that has been designing SoCs (System on a Chip) for video-centric devices for years. A few years ago, practically every ActionCam (including GoPro) and many drones (including some DJI models) were equipped with Ambarella chips. These SoCs offer the entire functionality of typical video gadgets on a single chip.
In addition to reading out common sensors, playing back on a display and recording with common codecs, the Ambarella SoCs can also manage RAM memory and integrate SD/USB removable storage. However, as the growth markets for Ambarella have shifted significantly in recent years, the new SoCs not "only" master classic camera functions but also bring integrated function blocks for dashcams and basic automotive applications with many sensor interfaces (and support for up to 14 (!!!) cameras, among others.
Nevertheless, even the basic video functions for a potential classic camera are impressive. In combination with a powerful sensor, the new CV5 can record up to 8K60p in various H.264 and H.265 variants. And it does so with very low power consumption (maximum 2W for 8K30p and maximum 5W for 8K60p).
What is striking is the lack of support for AV1, which should actually be particularly interesting for manufacturers like Ambarella because of its lack of licensing costs. But according to Anandtech this is precisely a problem: Ambarella is said to claim that there is hesitation among its customers with regard to AV1 because of the unclear situation regarding licensing. Perhaps they are afraid of subsequent lawsuits from H.265 patent holders.
On the other hand, the integrated CV-Flow Engine, which is a programmable AI accelerator, sounds much more positive. This can be fed with model exports from TensorFlow Lite, PyTorch, ONNX or Caffee.
It is also worth noting that this CV5 SoC is manufactured by Samsung using the brand-new 5LPE process. While this process is not quite comparable to TSMC's 5nm processes, it is still slightly ahead of TSMC's 7nm processes in terms of specs. It is therefore a good sign that Samsung can now also offer reasonably up-to-date processor production.
However, Samsung may not be as fast as we assume here. Ambarella does not plan to sample the CV5 to customers until the second quarter of 2021.