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Optoelectronics/Displays??

MIT Quad HD TV chip promises 4x resolution

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Massachusetts Institute of Technology? Quad HD TV? 4K? UHD? HEVC?

Recently, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have unveiled their own as high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) chip which, along with the like of ultra high-def (UHD), Quad HD or 4K, claim to increase the resolution of today's HD video by four times. The researchers' design was executed by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, through its University Shuttle Program, and Texas Instruments (TI) that funded the project.

Although the MIT chip isn't intended for commercial release, its developers believe that the challenge of implementing HEVC algorithms in silicon helps illustrate design principles that could be broadly useful. Moreover, "because now we have the chip with us, it is now possible for us to figure out ways in which different types of video data actually interact with hardware," said Mehul Tikekar, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and one of the paper's co-authors.

Like older coding standards, the HEVC standard exploits the fact that in successive frames of video, most of the pixels stay the same. Rather than transmitting entire frames, it's usually enough for broadcasters to transmit just the moving pixels, saving a great deal of bandwidth. The first step in the encoding process is thus to calculate "motion vectors"mathematical descriptions of the motion of objects in the frame.

On the receiving, end, however, that description will not yield a perfectly faithful image, as the orientation of a moving object and the way it's illuminated can change as it moves. So the next step is to add a little extra information to correct motion estimates that are based solely on the vectors. Finally, to save even more bandwidth, the motion vectors and the corrective information are run through a standard data-compression algorithm, and the results are sent to the receiver.

The new chip performs this process in reverse. It was designed by researchers in the lab of Anantha Chandrakasan, the Joseph F. and Nancy P. Keithley Professor of Electrical Engineering and head of the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In addition to Chandrakasan and Tikekar, these include Chiraag Juvekar, another graduate student in Chandrakasan's group; former postdoc Chao-Tsung Huang; and former graduate student Vivienne Sze, now at TI.


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