Pixelworks display chip purges motion blur, judder
"First screen" is the title mobile devices now claim as consumers mostly use their gadgets for watching videos. Only, there's one glaring flaw: the high-resolution screens display video artifacts when streaming HD content.
Large-screen living-room HDTVs are equipped with a video post-processing IC designed to enhance images, but mobile devices come with no such processing pipelines today. They frequently produce images with motion blur and judder.
Pixelworks is the first chip vendor to address this issue. It has developed a small, hardwired mobile video display processor that sits between a mobile SoC and the mobile device's panel. The co-processor uses MIPI for input and small eDP for output.
Figure 1: Pixelworks' mobile video processor block diagram. Source: Pixelworks
Expect other vendors (including MediaTek, Qualcomm, Imagination, and NXP Software) to join the mobile video post-processing race, but with vastly different approaches. So far, Pixelworks is the only company launching a small, stand-alone co-processor to do the job.
System-level power savings
Now armed with its working silicon, Pixelworks is demonstrating what it calls the world's first mobile video display processor this week at Computex 2014 in Taiwan. Richard Miller, senior vice president at Pixelworks, told us its co-processor is already attracting interest from an array of mobile system vendors. "We are sampling the co-processor to our customers shortly," and mass production is scheduled for the second half of this year.
Pixelworks' mobile video display processor, code-named Iris, is ideal for a broad spectrum of mobile screens, ranging from five-inch smartphones and phablets to tablets and 13-inch ultrabooks, Miller said. It is "highly optimised for video processing" and does an excellent job enhancing video images on mobile screens. It offers scaling, motion blur and judder removal, colour management, and image enhancement.
Further, mobile devices won't suffer a power hit from adding the co-processor. Adding the chip "often leads to substantial power savings on a system level." By offloading both the CPU and GPU, the mobile video display processor can improve battery life and free up system resources. Moreover, since it can handle contrast management and LED backlight control, viewing can be optimised under any ambient lighting condition. In fact, integrating the Pixelworks chip could result in power savings of much as 44 per cent.
With 15 years of experience in bringing HD video to large-screen high-resolution TVs produced by top OEMs, Pixelworks is no stranger to sophisticated video post-processing technologies, Miller said. "When it comes to pixel quality, our bar is already very high. We are bringing a whole new level of cinematic-quality video to mobile screens now."
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