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Deliver optimal images with GDCs

Posted: 01 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:graphics display controllers? car infotainment systems? navigation? automotive video?

Graphics display controllers (GDCs) are the central engines of automotive infotainment systems, including head-end units and fully configurable instrument clusters that require versatile human-machine interfaces. Originally designed for navigation systems in high-end vehicles in the Japanese and European markets, GDCs are now found at the heart of midrange and lower-end models worldwide.

An automotive GDC combines many functions required in the car environment. A GDC's principal function is to control the LCD panel while producing a wide range of rich graphical content. The GDC can enable advanced functions such as point-of-view navigation, realistic representations of analog gauges, vibrant splash screens and other animations that are possible without placing too much pressure on the main CPU. Additionally, a GDC will perform at power levels that make external cooling components such as fans or heat sinks unnecessary.

Unlike desktop graphics controllers, a GDC designed for embedded applications is used with smaller screens of lower resolutions. Automotive displays are typically limited to resolutions that range from CIF (320 x 240) for basic information displays to Ultra Wide VGA (1024 x 480) for instrument clusters. Considering the amount of information that may be displayed on these small screens and the need to present the information very clearly, the vehicle environment presents some specific challenges. GDCs use multiple layers and a variety of transparency options that allow the viewer to have several screens visible at one time. Screens can be resized and moved around the display area similarly to a Windows desktop system. The GDC will allow the viewer to see underlying screens or icons, thus improving the efficiency of the display.

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