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TI sharpens decoder chip for high-end displays

Posted: 18 Oct 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:dvd recorder? ntsc? pal? secam? digital video display?

Texas Instruments Inc. unveiled a video decoder that deploys image improvement features for high-end DVD recorders and the TV market.

The TVP5160 chip translates analog video signals from sources such as NTSC, PAL and Secam into digital video for display on TV or for storage on DVD disks.

The chip includes such image improvement features as 2D and 3D comb filtering, time-based correction, noise reduction, IF compensation and 480 progressive-video processing.

The single-chip digital video decoder, capable of operating all of these noise-reduction functions concurrently, takes over the tasks that are often carried out by two or three separate chips in a high-end DVD recorder or TV set today, according to Ron Richter, worldwide marketing manager for TI's mixed-signal video group.

TI hopes that its family of mixed-signal video decoder ICs will help it effectively compete against dominant players such as Philips Semiconductors and Micronas. TI has been in the mixed-signal video decoder chip market since 1997.

The video decoder IC is clearly made to meet a growing demand for improved image quality on DVD recorders and high-resolution displays such as DLP, LCD and plasma TVs. It supports all major worldwide broadcasting standards and can receive a variety of video streams including composite, S-Video, component or Scart.

Most video decoders today already offer a 2D comb filter, which is designed to process several lines of video data to capture and improve images. For a better-quality video image, however, system vendors have been adding a separate 3D comb filter, which uses multiple frame buffers to process video over the time domain for static background images.

The TVP5160, equipped with a dedicated video processor core and a flexible motion-detection algorithm, can examine the video image per pixel to determine whether to apply its improved 2D, five-line adaptive comb filter for moving images or its three-frame 3D comb filter for static background images, according to TI.

Richter, who declined to disclose the specifics of the dedicated video processor used in the TVP5160, said that the chip provides an image improvement capability that's flexible enough to match the preferences of target manufacturers and their display technology.

The industry has already seen a few video decoders integrated with both 2D and 3D comb filters, acknowledged Richter. Because of the weak or non-standard signals used in different parts of the world, however, system OEMs have often added an existing, trusted 2D comb filter chip to their system, Richter observed. With the TVP5160, there is no need to do so, he added.

Beyond the integration of 2D and 3D comb filters, the TVP5160 offers image-improving features such as IF compensation, time-based correction and 3D noise reduction. Each is designed to respond to video quality associated with different video sources, Richter said. IF compensation, for example, corrects color distortions along image edges caused by TV tuners. And time-based correction is needed to synch up images that are often misaligned because of mechanical problems with VCR heads: "A lot of nasty things can happen with VCRs," he said.

Three-D noise reduction reduces random or intermittent video artifacts associated with weak broadcast signals and older VCR tapes.

The video decoder chip also removes all possible restrictions caused by limited memory bandwidth because it keeps its memory external, said Richter. In contrast, he said, when the 3D comb filter in some competing products is enabled to improve the TV broadcast image, the noise-reduction feature must be disabled. Moreover, chip's architecture allows for serial overlay of a number of noise-reduction functions onto the video stream, whether from S-Video, composite or component input.

The chip uses 0.18?m process and is scheduled for volume production by January. While declining to name an exact price, Richter said it will be priced at "less than $10."

- Junko Yoshida

EE Times





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