PORTLAND, Ore.—Dolby took the very best available audio and made it better, but nothing like it has existed for video. Now DarbeeVision Inc. hopes to do for video what Dolby did for audio—enhance the details while suppressing the noise. And like the first Dolby devices for audio, the first DarbeeVision equipped devices—due out by Christmas—will be equipped with a on/off button, so you can prove to yourself how well it improves picture quality.
"This is a little like Dolby in the early days," said DarbeeVision’s CEO, Paul Darbee. "When Dolby first came out for audio, it had an on/off button which you could push to find out what it was you were buying. DarbeeVision is like that too—we have to show you the 'before' before you can appreciate the 'after'."
So far no one shown the demonstration has chosen "before," because the difference is like hitting the windshield wipers during rain—suddenly you can see details and depth that were only vague shapes of indeterminate distance before. Look carefully at the image illustrating this story to observe "visual presence" added by DarbeeVision (akin to the "audible presence" added by Dolby). Or visit the DarbeeVision Gallary, where you can click to toggle the effect on and off--causing the 3-D details to "pop" and making the "before" image appear flat (2-D) and out-of-focus.
How's it work?
DarbeeVision (Anaheim, Calif.) developed its video enhancing algorithm by taking the depth information from duel stereo cameras—one for each eye—and encoding it into a single image that can be viewed or printed using any display of printer, but which nevertheless triggers the perception detail and depth in the viewer. DarbeeVision-enhanced devices will include TV sets, set-top-boxes, video game consoles, mobile devices, digital picture frames and "smart" HDMI cables with "DarbeeVision inside," so you can retrofit your current HDTV. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can choose from an IP block for their own ASIC, a Darbee-manufactured FPGA, or as firmware for a graphics processing unit.
Darbee originally discovered the technique back in early 1970s, but he got sidetracked in the 1980s when he invented the universal remote control,for which he is still collecting royalties after half a billion units sold. But the new company has even higher market penetration hopes it the DarbeeVision algorithm.