PARIS Hoping to capture more of the growing flat-panel LCD TV market, Philips Semiconductors has rolled out a new generation motion compensation and estimation IC, designed to improve LCD picture quality.
The new chip, designated SAA4998, targets two of the most annoying artifacts visibly present on today's LCD TVs: "jagged edges" and "movie judder."
According to Jos Klippert, marketing director for high-end TV at Philips Semiconductors, the new chip featuring its patented "Edge Dependent De-Interlacing (EDDI)" technology removes jagged edges, or artifacts often created when conventional de-interlacing is applied to the LCD.
EDDI, on the other hand, is designed to "adapt the de-interlacing to the steepness of the edges in a picture," he said. The end result is reproduction of sharper characters and diagonal lines on the LCD screen, Klippert said.
The new chip also comes with motion estimation/compensation features, which increase the frame rate and reduce motion blur based on motion compensated picture interpolation.
Motion blur, also known as "movie judder," results from the fact that filmed material is recorded at 24 frames per second and then needs to be upconverted to 50 or 60 Hz before broadcast or DVD creation. The process, which involves repeating frames as many as three times to get from 26 to 60 Hz, "causes moving objects not to move naturally but rather ina stop/go movement, which looks artificial and blurry on the screen," Klippert explained.
In contrast, Philips' technology calculates the trajectory of moving objects and updates the fields with motion information. This produces "clean and natural movement," Klippert said. "The technology is particularly compelling when viewing DVD movies, where movie judder is highly visible."
Another new element is embedded DRAM integrated on the chip. "It reduces the chip count and reduces the integral system cost," Klippert said. For LCD TVs with inherently limited space, embedded DRAM can help make even more compact designs, he added.
This is not the first time Philips has introduced TV chips featuring its motion compensation technology. Philips' technology has played a key role in the European market since 1995 in the development of motion-compensated 100-Hz TVs using cathode ray tubes.
By integrating EDDI and embedded DRAM into the new chip along with motion compensation technology, Philips hopes to make the technology more affordable for a much broader TV market that includes LCDs, plasma, 100 Hz and progressive-scan TV sets. Compared to the company's previous generation ICs, the SAA4998, which integrates all external memory, could reduce application cost by up to 30 percent, Philips said.
The SAA4998 chip is sampling now, and is scheduled for volume production next month. It is priced at $20 in volume quantities of 200,000 units.