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Display Compression Technology for Consistent Rendering - Regardless of Device

Figures recently published by Atlas suggest that, in many economies, by 2019 the average number of connected devices per head of the population will have almost doubled from what it was five years earlier. In North America the number of connected devices each person used on average was 6.1 in 2014, but this is projected to rise to 11.6 by 2019.

Figures recently published by Atlas suggest that, in many economies, by 2019 the average number of connected devices per head of the population will have almost doubled from what it was five years earlier. In North America the number of connected devices each person used on average was 6.1 in 2014, but this is projected to rise to 11.6 by 2019. This trend is being seen here in Western Europe too, with the average going up from 4.4 to 8.2 in the same period of time.

There are a plethora of different products that consumers will access over the course of their normal day (covering everything from flat panel TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphones, through to smart watches). They do not want to be restricted by the device they are using at that time, they want to be able to view the same multimedia content, play the same games and access the same social media platforms without dramatic differences in the look and feel they experience. It is paramount that the quality of the material sourced from one device does not impact on how it is viewed on higher resolution equipment. For example, it should be possible for a video clip that has been shot using a smartphone to be subsequently watched on a 4K flat panel TV without significant quality problems.

Clearly device diversity has implications in relation to how content is displayed. It means that the manufacturers of handheld electronics goods and wearable technology need to employ a more versatile method for the rendering of HD content to benefit a broad array of different screen types and form factors.

The displays incorporated into portable products are becoming more advanced (with resolutions being scaled up considerably), but the elevated data throughputs needed to support high resolutions and accelerated refresh rates represent a major drain on their battery reserves. The use of visually lossless algorithms, such as display stream compression (DSC), to compress pixel data offers a way of addressing the issues that device diversity is currently raising. This technology can bring about dramatic reductions in pixel data rates - thereby dealing with the associated bandwidth and power concerns. In addition, as the nature of this compression algorithm is simpler than other transform-based algorithms, it helps to combat latency problems (something that would otherwise impair the user experience) and alleviate the heavy data storage demands. There are still a large proportion of handheld/wearable devices on the market that have processors which lack support for DSC. For others, the processors may have DSC functionality present, but won’t have enough available DSC lanes that they can connect directly to the off-the-shelf display modules commonly used in portable designs (so to use this technology more expensive displays would need to be specified, which would be impractical).

The advent of highly advanced bridge ICs with built-in DSC has enabled delivery of the compression needed by portable devices in a convenient manner, while minimising operational overheads and keeping bill of materials costs in check.

For more details on the bridge ICs offered by Toshiba and also new reference design relating specifically to DSC compression in portable devices click here:

Click here to learn more about DSC compression

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