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ASSP reduces image, video blurring

Posted: 09 Feb 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ASSP NEC? blurring image video? resolution high?

NEC Electronics Corp. has introduced a new ASSP to address the divergence between the image resolution of older, less capable devices and the high resolution of today's display systems.

Based on NEC's single-frame super-resolution technology, the small, low-power ASSP (part number uPD9245GJ) reduces the blurring that occurs when low-resolution images are expanded and displayed in high-resolution. The ASSP sharpens out-of-focus images, smoothes rough edges, and refines contours by analyzing and processing information contained in one frame of data in real time. Using standard video interfaces for data input and output, designers can integrate the ASSP into a wide variety of consumer, industrial, medical and automotive devices that handle images and video.

The technology is also available as an IP core that can be embedded into ASICs or other ASSP products such as NEC's Enhanced Multimedia Architecture (EMMA) ASSP for digital A/V devices. NEC plans to continue developing next-generation super-resolution ASSPs with increased operating frequency and expanded video output size. By 2010, the company expects to receive orders totaling more than $110 million for super-resolution products.

'Digitizing' consumers' lives
The rapid development of today's high-performance digital A/V devicesfrom computers, digital cameras and mobile phones to DVD recorders and HDTVs has left consumers with the challenge of how to view low-resolution images on their new high-definition electronic products. The new NEC Electronics ASSP corrects the difference between yesterday's resolution and today's. Now, clearer images can be achieved quickly, easily and inexpensively. NEC said that they expect this new technology to help "digitize" consumers' lives, holding onto valuable memories previously recorded with lower-resolution technologies.

Previous image-resolution technologies used a multiframe technique to process image data, which required large-capacity external memory that made it expensive and difficult to create hardware capable of real-time processing. NEC's new technology enables very high-resolution processing with just one frame of image data. Reducing the processing load eliminates the need for expensive, external high-capacity memory such as DDR SDRAM, thereby reducing cost and power consumption and simplifying connections to existing systems. With standard video interfaces such as 24bit CMOS I/O with RGB or YUV for easy connection, the super-resolution ASSP easily can be added to existing designs.

The technology enhances image data from QVGA resolution (320pixels x 240pixels) to WVGA resolution (800pixels x 480pixels) for clear image display on mobile phones and car navigation systems. The technology also achieves crisp images in 1,920pixels x 1,080pixels HDTV broadcasts by boosting image data in the 640pixels x 480pixels VGA format ordinarily used for TV broadcasts and DVD storage to 6x the resolution.

The key features of the uPD9245GJ ASSP are the following:

??Resolution of 60fps for 1,280pixel x 1,024pixel SXGA resolution;

??60fps resolution for HDTV (1,366pixels x 768pixels)

??Built-in I?C bus for register setting;

??JTAG support;

??10-30MHz system clock;

??108MHz pixel clock (max.);

??3.3V power supply for I/O and 1.5V supply for the core;

??0.9W typical power consumption at 60fps for SXGA resolution;

??-40C to +70C operating temperature;

??144-pin low-profile LQFP.

Other possible applications for the new ASSP include shooting photos and video on lower-resolution digital cameras and other devices, and playing them back as high-resolution images, enabling the consumer to capture more images using the same amount of memory. For example, if 1Gbyte of memory is used, NEC's super-resolution technology allows about 34mins. of video to be shot in a standard 4Mbyte resolution mode, which would be similar to a 17min. video shot using an 8Mbyte high-resolution mode. Alternatively, scanning with low-resolution sensors and rendering the image in high resolution shortens scanning time and reduces system costs.

Samples of NEC Electronics' uPD9245GJ ASSP are available now with pricing beginning under $10 for more than 1,000 pieces and $30 in lower volumes. Super-resolution IP cores are also available for NEC Electronics' cell-based ASIC (CB-90 and CB-12) and gate array (CMOS-12M) libraries.

NEC Electronics also has developed an evaluation board to support the uPD9245GJ ASSP. The small, 4-inch x 2-inch board includes an evaluation version of the ASSP running alongside an NEC Electronics 78K0/KE2 MCU, a DVI-D video interface and an I?C slave interface and USB connector.

- Cliff Roth
Video Imaging DesignLine

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