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High-res mobile screens need help in video processing

Posted: 06 May 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Retina Display? tablets? smartphones? display processor?

Most users of iPad's Retina Display (or a similar tablet featuring a display with Retina-like higher resolution technology) are aware that the video that looked fine on an old iPad 2 turns out to look noticeably bad on a Retina Display. Adding a display processor to the tablet could rectify the problem, but at a price.

Take for example a standard-definition video clip downloaded from the Web. Video that looked OK on an older iPad2 looks much smaller on the new iPad's Retina Display, which boasts 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution. There is an option to stretch the video to fit the larger screen of the Retina Display. But doing this degrades the quality of the videounless the mobile device includes a currently non-existent function to upscale video to a resolution of 2048 x 1536.

Flaws in any video not only remain uncorrected but actually get magnified in the newfangled high-res mobile displays. To make the matter worse, mobile videodelivered on tablets or smartphonesCis often degraded through compression, or a poor network connection.

Richard Shim, senior analyst for NPD DisplaySearch, describes the problem as a "disconnect" between a tablet's capabilities and what actually appears on the device's screen.

Although his research at this point is based solely on personal experience, Shim said that regardless of whether a tablet has a high-resolution display or not, "the [video viewing] experience [on mobile devices] is similarly poor," especially due to "judder and pixilation." This is particularly frustrating to a consumer because on a high-resolution panel, the user has dearly paid for a display that is expected to demonstrate high-quality video.

On Retina display, the industry consensus is that "you can't see pixels anymore."

As fantastic as it sounds, the problem is that typical issues with motion videosuch as judder, motion blur, contrast, sharpness and colour artifactscan become more and more apparent on such higher resolution mobile displays.

The simple fact is that all displays benefit from display processing. TV OEMs have known this for years. They universally include in their unit a sophisticated display processing pipeline. But for some reason, display processing has never made it to mobile devices.

Retina Display

The threshold for a Retina Display needs to be determined by taking into account of both screen resolution and the distance from which the device is viewed. Source: EE Times.

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