Electronic Design
Improving HDTV At CES 2011

Improving HDTV At CES 2011

Well, about half of the video interviews we shot at CES 2011 are up. A significant number were related to HDTV technology. I have another article coming up on pico project systems that were also hot at CES. I divided the technologies we viewed into sections in case you want to find something in particular. As with most of our interviews, the technologies are under the hood. You won't find any HDTV reviews here. There are plenty of other sites covering CES from a consumer perspective.

3D Technology

3D HDTV was the rage last year and there were even more HDTVs with 3D support on display at CES 2011. There were a few prototypes of 3D HDTVs that do not use glasses but the only ones that are close to shipping or useful will be the smaller screens found on smartphones or tablets. These tend to have a limited viewing angle and are designed for a single viewer.

This means we will have 3D glasses around for awhile. They are getting lighter and more stylish. The underlying technology is likely to be changing as well.

Initially infrared communication was used for 3D glasses. It was a simple system where an infrared transmitter flashed in synch with the frames. The LCD shutter glasses turned on and off in synch with the frames so each eye got to view one of the 3D frames.

The new approach will utilize ZigBee. Our friends at Freescale do a better job of presenting this so check out this vidoe: 3D Television Viewing with Wireless Communications. Essentially a micro keeps time in the glasses and the RF communication keeps the micro in synch with the display.

Remote Control

Remote controls used to change channels, volume and turn TVs on an off. Most were simple infrared devices. All this is changing with new pointing technologies and the use of RF4CE.

Here are just a couple we saw at CES.

Atmel's approach uses the ZigBee-based RF4CE. This eliminates the need to point the control at the device. It also provides two-way communication.

UWand is a direct pointing, camera-based system that still employs infrared technology but allows the on screen display to track where the remote is pointing. It is an impressive demo.

Wireless HDMI

Here are a couple of demos for wirelessly connecting a video source to an HDTV. These are just some of the wireless HDMI technologies shown at CES.

Alereon NoWire technology uses ultra wideband technology to stream HDMI. Amimon delivers chips for WHDI, the Wireless Home Digital Interface. The WHDI Consortium includes a number of companies including Samsung, Sharp, Sony and LG Electronics. The goal for WHDI is to incorporate the technology into HDTVs and sources such as set top boxes.

Improved Picture

1080p HDTV brought a new quality standard to TV viewing. Digital encoding provided great pictures from sources such as Blu-Ray disks. But developers were not satisfied with just a higher resoution picture. Instead, a number of companies have worked on technology to improve the quality of the video displayed on screen including these we saw at CES.

Darbee Vision looks to put more depth into 2D displays. It is not 3D without glasses but it is the next best thing. It adjusts the visual cues in a picture to highlight depth placement. It works in real time and on any video stream including gaming.

IDT also looks to clean up the display. It is especially handy for compress streaming video.

The eeColor demo is interesting because it takes into account the range of colors possible versus the capability of the display. Like most technology in this section, it is designed to eventually wind up in the HDTV.

Display Technology

There are a number of ways to improve display technology. We saw a couple of these at CES.

We've covered quantum dots at Electronic Design before (see Mobile Phone Cameras Sharpen Their Focus On Quantum Dots and QuantumFilm Increases Camera Efficiency). It should provide more vibrant and more efficient displays.

Connectivity

So wireless is not the connectivity method you are using? Then check out some fo the wired technology designed to improve HDMI, Displayport and fiber connectivity.

Hi-Def Audio

Texas Instruments was showing off their dev kit for wireless communication. It is a neat set of headphones suitable for watching HDTVs as well as other audio.

Summit Semiconductor's home theater will bring out the best for an HDTV. Best of all, the set up is automatic. Check out how they utilze ultrasonics to do this.

That's it for now but check outall video interviews we shot at CES 2011 as more are being posted as you read this (unless of course it is 2012).

TAGS: Components
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