Display Standard


Display Standard
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Display Standards
The goal of this newsletter is to bring subscribers the most comprehensive review of recent
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Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
Veritas et Visus
August 2007
TMD, p46
UC Irvine, p50
Vol 2 No 10
Taiwan MEA, p64
Letter from the publisher: Dingle, Dangle, Dongle, by Mark Fihn
HDMI Special Supplement
HDMI emerges as successful interface by Brian O’Rourke
HDMI and DisplayPort - reconciling views by Rodolfo La Maestra
Backwards compatibility and forward thinking by Fluppeteer
Interview with Joe Lee from Silicon Image
Interview with David Auld from Zoran
Interview with Nick Merz from OQO
HDMI-related news
Display-related standards news
SID 2007 Symposium and Exhibition, May 20-25, Long Beach, California
Phillip Hill covers presentations from TMD, US AFRL, National Chiao Tung University, Sony, UC Irvine, FDA
KB’s display dictionary: Karlheinz Blankenbach tutorial about displays and ambient light
Display metrology news
E-waste round-up: Keith Baker reviews news about displays and the environment
Qualcomm mired in continuing legal battles by Aldo Cugnini
The home network/entertainment connection is… easy by Andy Marken
A-VSB: Advanced-Vestigial Side-Band Part 2 – the implementation by Rodolfo La Maestra
SID ICDM activity by Joe Miseli
The financial standard: by WitsView
The Last Word: Where to participate by Karl Best
Calendar of events
The Display Standard is focused on bringing news and commentary about display-related standards and
regulations. The Display Standard is published electronically 10 times annually by Veritas et Visus, 3305 Chelsea
Place, Temple, Texas, USA, 76502. Phone: +1 254 791 0603. http://www.veritasetvisus.com
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Managing Editor
Associate Editor
Mark Fihn
[email protected]
Phillip Hill
[email protected]
Geoff Walker
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Keith Baker, Karl Best, Karlheinz Blankenbach, Aldo Cugnini, Fluppeteer,
Rodolfo La Maestra, Andy Marken, Joe Miseli, Brian O’Rourke
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Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
Dingle, Dangle, Dongle…
by Mark Fihn
Do you remember the first time you heard the word “dongle”? The first time I heard the word I remember
specifically that I laughed out loud thinking that the engineer I was talking to had just made up the word. She
proceeded to explain that a dongle was a simple way to minimize the number of connectors on a computer – using
when connecting and then converting it to a different connector depending on the need.
In preparing for this article, I learned that although the word dongle is commonly used as I learned it, the original
use of the word dongle started in about 1980 as a reference to software protection devices, as follows:
don·gle : (dôn'gəl, dŏng'-) n. A hardware device that serves as copy protection for certain software by
rendering the software inoperable when the device is not plugged into a printer port.
Today, this notion of a dongle as a security device is not in common usage and the word dongle is primarily used to
refer to connector or cabling solutions that convert one connector to another form factor.
Just for fun, I counted the number of dongles that I have in my drawer of miscellaneous electronic devices. For
various and sundry historical purposes, I was amazed to discover that I have 29 dongles cluttering up my drawer. A
few of them were useful in the past, but most of them simply shipped with another device just in case I needed it to
get up and running.
By the way, my favorite definition of the word dongle came from a computer slang dictionary as follows:
don·gle : (dôn'gəl, dŏng'-) n. Another word for a complete twerp. A “dongle” will often be extremely
clumsy and will come up with stupid ideas which, in reality, have no chance of working.
DisplayPort/HDMI coverage from Veritas et Visus
Long-time readers of the Display Standard will certainly know that I am very critical of VESA’s effort to introduce
DisplayPort. Although I have repeatedly asked the question – “Why DisplayPort?” – I have yet to hear a single
answer that makes sense to me, save perhaps, “because my customer is demanding it”. The DisplayPort group’s
recently released interoperability guidelines, (referred to by many as the “DisplayPort dongle strategy”), serves
only to confuse me further. I’m not alone!
Of all the things we cover in our various newsletters, my commentaries about DisplayPort, by far, have received the
most attention and feedback. My Outlook folder titled “DisplayPort feedback” currently has 1281 files from 428
different people. For the Veritas et Visus venture, that’s 10 times the feedback we’ve received about any other
single topic across all five our newsletters. The feedback related to DisplayPort is of four kinds:
“DisplayPort makes no sense to me either”.
“Here’s some additional information about DisplayPort that you might want to know about”.
“HDMI has plenty of problems”.
“You obviously have an agenda that is pro-HDMI or anti-DisplayPort”.
For the small number of you that are convinced that I am secretly employed by Silicon Image, rest assured - there is
no “agenda” that favors HDMI beyond the fact that it has been proven by the market to be wildly popular. I do
admit to some antagonism towards the DisplayPort folks; but two threatened legal actions from VESA’s attorneys
tend to elicit that reaction.
For the record, I am aware of criticisms from individuals at Dell, HP, Genesis MicroChip, and Samsung, either
directly or indirectly, for what they have suggested is biased reporting about DisplayPort. To all such criticisms, I
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
have invited the DisplayPort supporters to write an article for publication in the Display Standard, which I’ve
promised would be published unedited, so that they can respond to my critical reporting. Once again – I welcome
anyone to write and explain why they think DisplayPort is a good thing for the industry or how it serves to benefit
end users.
This edition of the Display Standard
Again in this edition of the newsletter, we feature a lengthy section about the role of the HDMI and DisplayPort
interface standards. We include three expert commentaries and three interviews. To balance the interview with Joe
Lee from Silicon Image we presented a similar set of questions to an individual that has been actively involved in
VESA’s DisplayPort development effort in hopes that we could provide an alternative perspective about
DisplayPort. Unfortunately, as of publication time, we did not get a response. Perhaps in the next edition of the
Display Standard, we will be able to publish this interview. So most of the coverage and analysis is related to
HDMI, as I continue to find it difficult to find anyone supportive of DisplayPort that is willing to tell us why… As
such, to my mind, the case favoring HDMI just gets stronger and stronger.
HDMI/DisplayPort and my current PC
My current computer (a notebook PC) has a total of 16 connectivity ports. In my normal set-up, I use three of them,
(power, Ethernet, and one USB). I don’t actually need the Ethernet hook-up since I have wireless connectivity, but I
get slightly better performance when hard-wired to the cable modem, so when sitting in my office, I usually plug it
in. The USB cable connects to a USB hub to which several other devices are attached. Occasionally, I also use an
audio jack and, once in a while, I use one of the other USB ports to plug in a memory stick or an alternative mouse.
When traveling, I also sometimes use the VGA port to link to projectors, and a couple of times when my cable
modem service has gone down, I’ve used the phone jack to gain access to the Internet. Of the 16 ports on my
computer, in the three years I’ve had it, I’ve never used 9 of them.
In my current office, I have no need for an HDMI connector on my PC. I do have a couple of devices in my home
with HDMI ports, but I have never used them.
The DisplayPort promoters argue that they can replace the DVI, VGA, and LVDS connectors on my computer,
which I think is very compelling. I’m in favor of eliminating legacy connectors, but let’s consider the situation:
Although somewhat aging, my computer still cannot be considered a low-end machine. It boasts a 17inch display (at 1920x1200 pixels). I can’t find an external monitor that gives me that level of pixel
density, so I have no desire for an external connection.
My computer doesn’t have a DVI port. While they are becoming increasingly common on notebooks,
the vast majority of notebooks produced today do not have DVI connectors.
Although I rarely use the VGA port, it’s difficult to imagine that DisplayPort will displace VGA
connectors quickly; it’s likely to be a long transition.
LVDS adequately and inexpensively supports my 1920x1200 display. I would love to have an even
higher resolution display, to be sure, but despite claims from the DisplayPort promoters, LVDS is really
not a problem in that area for some time into the future. In any case, perhaps DisplayPort is useful for
the internal interface for very high-end notebook PCs at some point in the future, if for some reason
LVDS cannot keep up with the performance demanded by displays used on notebook PCs.
In other words, for my PC usage today, I have no need for either HDMI or DisplayPort. If I were to buy a new
computer, unless someone can provide me with an irresistible advantage favoring DisplayPort, I’d want to be
able to hook up to the hundreds of millions of devices that are already enabled by the HDMI interface.
In the chart on the next page, you can see that with Dell’s notebook PCs, there is very little opportunity for
DisplayPort to help reduce connector count. It will almost certainly result in at least one additional connector,
and then the dongles…
Vostro 1700
Latitude D430
Latitude D830
Latitude D630
Latitude D520
Latitude ATG
Latitude D430
XPS M1330
XPS M2010
XPS M1710
Precision M90
Precision M4300
PC Card Expansion Slot (PCMCIA)
ExpressCard Slot
USB 2.0
Serial Port
IrDA Sensor
3-in-1 Media Card Reader
5-in-1 Media Card Reader
8-in-1 Media Card Reader
13-in-2 Media Card Reader
IEEE 1394
S-Video (Out)
Smart Card Reader
Track Stick (Dual-Pointing)
External Monitor (VGA)
RJ-45 (Ethernet)
RJ-11 (Phone)
Microphone Input
Dual Headphone Jacks
Vostro 1500
Small Business Recommendations
Connectivity Selection Chart
August 2007
Vostro 1400
Dell's Notebook PCs
Display Standard
Vostro 1000
Veritas et Visus
As shown on Dell’s website, the connectivity solutions offered in Dell’s notebook PCs are extensive. Only
three of the systems come with DVI ports. Interestingly, Dell’s new XPS M1330 features an HDMI port, but
Dell’s chart does not list it. My guess, when Dell finally introduces a notebook PC with a DisplayPort
connector, they won’t forget to include it in their connectivity chart…
The DisplayPort dongle strategy
Despite the fact that I personally have no current need for an external digital interface on my computer, the
DisplayPort folks have recognized a need to co-exist with the hundreds of millions of devices already in the market
that have DVI and HDMI ports. As a result, the DisplayPort promoters recently published interoperability
guidelines to enable DisplayPort to link to these existing systems (and the many hundreds of millions more
expected to ship in the coming years). Although dongle strategies have rarely worked in the past, let’s say that the
DisplayPort hype is strong enough to actually entice people to pay extra for a dongle. But I still have several
problems with the DisplayPort dongle strategy:
Routing signals through an extra set of connectors will almost certainly degrade the signal, and will
unquestionably create an additional target for connectivity failure.
The DisplayPort dongle strategy doesn’t help assure interoperability. Now, instead of only having
problems with HDMI to HDMI interoperability, and HDCP interoperability within HDMI, we will
additionally add interoperability and compliance issues related to DisplayPort.
From the DisplayPort interoperability guidelines:
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Display Standard
August 2007
“There is industry interest in establishing a means for achieving interoperability between DisplayPort
Devices and DVI 1.0/HDMI compatible Devices. For example, it is desirable to have the ability to
connect a cable between a DisplayPort Source Device and a DVI 1.0/HDMI Sink Device (or vice versa)
and have the devices interoperate. This interoperability cannot currently be accomplished at the
specification level, but can be accomplished at the product level for products that compliantly support
both DisplayPort 1.1 and either the DVI 1.0 or HDMI specification.”
I have no idea what this means (cannot be interoperable on the spec level, but can be on the product
level), but it doesn’t give me much comfort. My guess, is that if a device passes the DisplayPort
compliance testing, but then fails to interoperate properly with a device that has passed the DVI/HDMI
compliance process, the result will be that the DisplayPort folks will simply point to the HDMI/DVI
system and say, “there’s the problem”… And it’s a huge problem! At least with HDMI-to-HDMI
interoperability issues, there are many incentives to quickly find solutions. The DisplayPort dongle
strategy, however, is more likely to provide incentives for pointing fingers, without solving problems…
How important is Samsung’s announcement?
In late July, Samsung announced that it had created the first LCD using the DisplayPort interface. I received several
phone calls that day asking my opinion about the importance of this announcement. I have several thoughts on the
DisplayPort was publicly announced in May of 2005 after about three years of development work prior
to that. The initial specification came out in May of 2006, and was revised in April 2007. In other words,
to date, what the public has seen about DisplayPort has consumed 2-1/2 years of hype with scarcely
anything more than the paperwork being generated. As such, it is essential for the DisplayPort promoters
to start making announcements that deal with products, and not just specifications. So from that
perspective, Samsung’s announcement is important.
It’s not entirely a new announcement. Dell showed off a monitor last January at CES that was reportedly
DisplayPort enabled, but I suppose that one was not the latest revision.
One wonders about the source side of the equation. If Samsung was ready to announce a DisplayPortready monitor, why didn’t they simultaneously announce a DisplayPort-enabled PC? The source side is
a bit more difficult - requiring DisplayPort support in the graphics card, and newly designed
motherboards. In fact, rumors out of Dell suggest that initial DisplayPort-enabled PCs may not support
audio along with the video. If the rumors are correct, Dell’s initial DisplayPort solutions will still require
two cables to the monitor. The Samsung announcement provides us no information about such
performance factors.
The Samsung announcement included a few things that deserve further comment:
o “DisplayPort will serve as a replacement for DVI, LVDS and eventually VGA”. That’s a strong
statement, without much evidence to back it up, but it’s become a common theme to all
DisplayPort-related announcements.
o “For Samsung’s new 30-inch LCD, the DisplayPort interface transmits graphics data at a total
data rate of 10.8 Gbps. This speed enables 2560x1600 resolution without any color smear”. I bet
the product marketing people at Samsung who are currently trying to sell Samsungs 30-inch
monitors loved this statement. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think maybe Samsung forget to tell
us in their existing promotional literature about this color smear problem.
o “By using a transmission speed more than double that of today’s interfaces, Samsung’s new
LCD only requires a single DisplayPort interface, instead of the two DVI (Digital Visual
Interface) ports now used”. Wouldn’t an HDMI 1.3 interface accomplish the same thing?
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
o “Mass production of the 30-inch panel is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2008”.
Wow! People complain when Apple creates hype by pre-announcing devices by a few months –
here’s Samsung pre-announcing a product by almost a year. Be aware - this is hype, not a formal
product announcement.
In my opinion, Samsung is unlikely to go into mass production of a DisplayPort-only 30-inch monitor anytime
soon. (The press release did not mention if the device will simultaneously support DVI). The problem is that even
by Q2’08, there will be very few systems in the market that support DisplayPort. Until there are sizable numbers of
DisplayPort graphics cards in the market, it will be tough to sell DisplayPort monitors. And so now we’re back to
the dongle strategy – I guess if the monitor is DisplayPort-only, you could hook it, via a dongle, to a DVI source…
But wouldn’t that put you back to “color smear” and such?
Perhaps the Samsung 30-inch monitor will only be
bundled with high-end DisplayPort systems. But
only a few companies have the clout to translate
such a bundle into high volumes – and those
companies are likely to bundle within their own
brand. Again, it seems unlikely that this product
will be sold under the Samsung brand anytime
But the real test will be when Samsung puts its
DisplayPort monitor up against their existing DVI
monitor. If not significantly less expensive, it will
be difficult to convince customers to give up
compatibility with the huge installed base of PCs
and graphics cards already out there. Samsung is
not in the business of selling display interface
devices – they want to sell displays, so it’s
unlikely that Samsung will discredit the
performance of the DVI monitor in order to tout
the DisplayPort monitor, (unless perhaps this color
smear problem is really noticeable – but even then
it’s a tricky marketing message).
I don’t know if this image was actually shown on Samsung’s
DisplayPort monitor, but it was circulated broadly in connection
to the Samsung press release. I think it’s a perfect image to
represent the dilemmas facing DisplayPort: a brightly lit bridge,
leading from an unknown origin to a dark and unknown shore in
a sky of gray clouds. There is sunshine peaking through, but at
the moment, all we have is the brightly lit bridge.
Bottom line, even for these 30-inch high-resolution monitors, DisplayPort faces the difficult reality that DVI is
inexpensive, it’s widely available, and it works quite well. DisplayPort is going to find it difficult to gain a foothold
in the market against any one of those realities, let alone all three of them.
Will DisplayPort really happen?
An analyst asked me the other day if I thought DisplayPort would really happen. My answer was quick. Yes, I think
DisplayPort is almost certain to be introduced into the market. There are three reasons for this:
VESA needs DisplayPort to happen. With very little else to show for itself over the past several years, in
my opinion at any rate, VESA’s leaders recognize that it is increasingly difficult to claim to be “the
worldwide leader in the development and promotion of open display interface standards” without
actually introducing any new interface specifications that gain broad market acceptance.
I personally think it’s inappropriate to refer to DisplayPort as a “standard”. DisplayPort is currently only
a specification. To become a “standard it needs to be widely adopted in the industry. This situation is
true of most of what VESA has adopted in the past several years.
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
If DisplayPort becomes another of what is a rather long line-up of interface carcasses in the VESA
library, then the organization really serves a very limited purpose.
Genesis Microchip needs DisplayPort to come to market. Genesis has performed poorly in the past
couple of years. In their most recent quarterly report, (for the period ending June 30, 2007), revenues
were down by 21% over the same period in 2006,
showing a loss of more than $12 million on revenues of
$44 million). The company has publicly announced that
DisplayPort will help bring it back to profitability. Not
only does Genesis need DisplayPort to succeed, but they
need it to bring in relatively high profit margins to help
Considering its lackluster financial performance,
overcome its losses in other areas. Since DisplayPort
it’s ironic that Genesis, a company that prides
will be going up against lower cost solutions (DVI,
on high quality video performance, uses a
LVDS, and VGA) on the low-end, and a hugely
successful competitor that serves to provide virtually all blurred and pixellated image as the header for the
web pages related to its financial information.
the same functionality (HDMI) in all other market, it’s
difficult to see how DisplayPort will help Genesis back to profitability. One analyst told me: “Ironically,
if DisplayPort is successful, Genesis probably won’t be because they can’t afford to do everything
necessary to bring the product to market.”
Dell needs DisplayPort to be successful. Actually, Dell doesn’t need DisplayPort at all, and in fact
Dell’s promotion of DisplayPort is highly uncharacteristic of the company. But Dell’s CTO has
apparently been instructed that Dell needs to demonstrate some technology leadership, and DisplayPort
has become the path the CTO has chosen to show Dell’s technology prowess. Although the DisplayPort
technology is from Genesis and Dell has claimed no related intellectual property (to date), Dell’s
website explains:
“In 2003 Dell launched and pioneered an industry-wide initiative to develop the next-generation
digital display interface… The DisplayPort initiative is a great example of how Dell leadership
has advanced the PC technology base for the ultimate benefit of our customers.”
- Kevin Kettler, Dell CTO
Kettler added that in creating DisplayPort, Dell solicited inputs from its customers who told them:
“Too many connectors! Customers said they wanted an easier, more direct connection from their PC to
displays, projectors or HDTVs. Too many cables! They also wanted an easy, single-cable connection
from their displays to peripherals, such as built-in speakers, cameras and microphones.”
Kettler’s portrayal of the problem of too many connectors and cables is unquestionable. What is in
contention, however, is whether Dell’s technologists will be willing to admit that their DisplayPort solution,
rather than improving industry connectivity and interoperability, is only serving to make things worse.
So yes, regrettably, I think DisplayPort will happen. It will happen primarily due to the bureaucratic needs of a
standards body that has a poor record of developing new standards; due to the increasingly dire financial needs of
the company that developed the core technology, and due to the internal politics inside of a company that has a
history of being a technology follower and not the market leader they are now pretending to be.
Although I think DisplayPort will be introduced to the market, I also think it will fail. It’s my hope that pragmatic
minds at companies like Dell, HP, and Samsung, will lead DisplayPort to failure before the entire market is
consumed by the confusion and needless expense of what in the end is likely to be just another dongle in the junk
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Display Standard
August 2007
HDMI emerges as successful interface
by Brian O’Rourke
Brian O’Rourke is a principal analyst in the Enabling Technologies Group at In-Stat. He
specializes in wired and wireless interface technologies, including USB, Wireless USB, 1394
(FireWire), Bluetooth, Ultrawideband, DisplayPort, DVI and HDMI, in addition to topics
ranging from online gaming to digital imaging. Prior to joining In-Stat, Brian was a senior
analyst at Strategies Unlimited, a market research and consulting firm in Mountain View,
California, where he specialized in optoelectronic semiconductor markets. In-Stat will issue
an updated report about HDMI in Q4’07.
HDMI emerged from sister technology Digital Visual Interface (DVI), which had been
developed as a digital connector between PCs and LCD monitors. HDMI added a smaller
connector, audio capability and content protection to the DVI standard, all of which made
it very attractive to consumer electronics (CE) manufacturers. It was first integrated in
digital televisions (DTVs) in volume in 2004, and has been very successful in the CE
segment ever since.
About 50% of DTVs that shipped in 2006 had HDMI, which should increase to about 90% of 2010 shipments.
HDMI penetration of the set top box market is increasing, particularly satellite and telco TV boxes, in addition to
DVD players and recorders. The Sony PS3, released in November 2006, offers dual HDMI outputs. In addition, the
digital camcorder and digital still camera markets both saw their first HDMI-enabled offerings in 2006.
HDMI will gain limited traction in PC markets over the next few years. The smaller HDMI connector is attractive
to the notebook market, which never adopted HDMI’s cousin DVI connector in any quantity. In addition, since
HDMI is so popular in consumer electronics, it is becoming a choice for media-centric PCs that wish to emphasize
connectivity to DTVs and other advanced CE devices. However, HDMI will be pushed hard in the PC market by
the emerging DisplayPort standard, a next-generation digital interface targeted at PCs and LCD monitors. In-Stat’s
forecast for devices enabled with HDMI can be seen below:
As with Ethernet and USB, the next logical progression for HDMI is to move into the wireless realm. Wireless
HDMI makes sense as a way of easing connections between advanced CE devices, as well as a way to replace
expensive cables. The primary problem is that
Systems with HDMI Ports
top speeds of the most common wireless
technologies today are only in the tens or
hundreds of megabits per second range.
Meanwhile, the lowest speed of HDMI is about
1.6 Gbps.
Source: In-Stat, 10/06
PC Peripherals
Worldwide HDMI penetration forecast by product
segment 2004–2010 (units in thousands)
There are two companies working on products
to transmit HDMI signals wirelessly via
ultrawideband (UWB), an emerging high
Technologies and Radiospire Networks. In
addition, a new standards effort was announced
in early November 2006, called WirelessHD.
Backed by several major CE vendors, the
group is promising video transmission
bandwidths that will dwarf UWB.
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
HDMI and DisplayPort - reconciling views
by Rodolfo La Maestra
Rodolfo La Maestra is the senior technical director for HDTV Magazine. He has been
involved in HD since the 1980s when it was proposed as an analog system. His industry
career, spanning nearly 40 years, has included computer systems and audio and video
electronics. He has been authoring the annual HDTV Technology Review since 2002. This
article is excerpted from his “Annual HDTV Technology Review”, published by
DisplaySearch in May 2007. To facilitate the reading of this article, Rodolfo first provides a
brief description of the HDMI v1.3 specification and the DisplayPort v1.1 specification for the
purpose of opening the subject of comparing the two specifications.
HDMI v1.3 specification: In January 2006, the seven HDMI founders announced the
key capabilities under development for the next version of HDMI targeted for the first
half of 2006. The version includes support for deep color, higher speed, and easier
integration into personal computers.
From HDMI Licensing LLC’s press release, those capabilities under development for HDMI v1.3 include:
Higher speed: Though HDMI has more than twice the bandwidth needed to support all HDTV formats,
HDMI will increase its single-link bandwidth to support the demands of future HD display devices, such
as higher resolutions, deep color, and high frame rates.
Deep color: HDMI will support 30-bit, 36-bit, and 48-bit color depths for stunning rendering of over
one billion colors in unprecedented detail.
Greater PC/CE convergence: HDMI will be enhanced for easier integration into low voltage, ACcoupled PC graphics controllers, cementing HDMI's position as the de facto standard digital multimedia
interface enabling true convergence cross PC and CE platforms. The HDMI Founders also support
compatibility between HDMI and the Unified Display Interface (UDI), the HDMI-compatible
digital video interface for PC displays announced recently by a group of leading PC technology makers.
New mini connector: With small portable devices such as HD camcorders and still cameras demanding
seamless HDTV connectivity, HDMI will offer a new, smaller form-factor connector option. Since
HDMI offers the highest quality digital audio and video on a single connection, such devices will be also
benefit from a reduced connector count.
Lip Sync: CE devices are employing increasingly complex digital signal processing of high-resolution
video and audio formats to enhance the clarity and detail of the content. As a result, synchronization of
video and audio in user devices has become a greater challenge and could potentially require complex
end-user adjustments. HDMI will incorporate features to enable this synchronization to be done
automatically by the devices with greater accuracy.
New compressed audio formats: In addition to HDMI's current ability to support high-bandwidth
uncompressed digital audio and all currently available compressed formats (such as Dolby Digital and
DTS), HDMI will add additional support for new compressed digital audio formats Dolby TrueHD and
Compatibility: Products implementing these new versions of the HDMI specification will continue to
be fully backward compatible with earlier HDMI products.
DisplayPort v1.1 specification: According to promotional information, DisplayPort is a digital display interface
specification that is emerging for broad application in computer monitors, TV displays, projectors, PCs, and other
sources of image content. It is designed to accelerate the adoption of protected digital outputs on PCs to support the
viewing of high definition and other types of protected content through an optional content protection capability,
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Display Standard
August 2007
while enabling higher levels of display performance. The following are the main events of its establishment as a
May 05: The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) announced the development
program of a new digital display interface (DisplayPort) specification for broad application within
most forms of displays, including LCD, plasma, CRT and projection displays, as well as PCs and
other sources of image content. DisplayPort “will accelerate the adoption of protected digital outputs
on PCs to broadly support viewing of high definition and other types of protected content through an
optional content protection capability, while enabling higher levels of display performance.”
Aug 05: The DisplayPort standard for PCs, monitors, TV displays, and projectors was declared as
turned over from the Promoter Group to VESA for finalization and approval as a standard.
Regarding its technical features, the following specifications were provided at that time:
o “DisplayPort allows high quality audio to be available to the display device over the same
cable as the video signal. It delivers true plug-and-play with robust interoperability, and is
cost-competitive with existing digital display interconnects.”
o “Layered, Modular Architecture Includes Main Link and Auxiliary Channel DisplayPort
incorporates a Main Link, a high-bandwidth, low-latency, unidirectional connection
supporting isonchronous stream transport. One stream video with associated audio is
supported in Version.1.0, but DisplayPort is seamlessly extensible, enabling support of
multiple video streams”.
o “Version 1.0 also includes an Auxiliary Channel to provide consistent-bandwidth, lowlatency, bi-directional connectivity with Main Link management, and device control based
on VESA’s E-DDC, E-EDID, DDC/CI, and MCCS standards. The Link configuration
enables true ‘Plug-and-Play’. The Main Link bandwidth enables data transfer at up to 10.8
Gbps using a total of four lanes”.
May 06: VESA released the DisplayPort v1.0 interface standard. “Going forward, the micro-packet
architecture of DisplayPort can support new innovative features and display product usages that are
not possible today with DVI or HDMI,” Dell stated.
Jan 07: VESA unveiled DisplayPort 1.1, a digital connectivity standard that was under review by
the VESA membership, expecting to be voted within Jan 07.
Apr 07: VESA approved version 1.1 of DisplayPort.
How does HDMI fit into the DisplayPort picture? Both support uncompressed HD video, multi-channel digital
audio, superior content protection, simplified cabling, user convenience, why then have both? Is this because one
was driven by the consumer electronics industry and the other by the computer industry? Why both industries could
not capitalize from the concept of convergence and use the existing or upgraded HDMI 1.3 digital connectivity
solution? Why let the consumer deal with yet another interface in their electronic life?
In pursuing for a response to the questions above, I contacted HDMI Licensing LLC, and VESA; their input is
included below, as well as my final comments.
The official position - HDMI Licensing LLC: The company offered a clarification of some press coverage that
claimed that the DisplayPort interface was compatible with HDMI, which they say is not technically accurate,
because DisplayPort and HDMI use completely different and incompatible signaling technologies, as follows:
“HDMI Licensing, LLC would like to make clear that any future products implementing DisplayPort can be
made to interface with an HDMI-enabled product only by including chip technology to generate HDMI
signals in addition to separate chip technology to generate DisplayPort signals. The same chip technology
cannot be used to generate both types of signals.
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Therefore, products that purport to interface to both DisplayPort and HDMI will have to either use separate
interface chips for each signal type or a multi-mode interface chip (meaning more complex and expensive
electronics) that can output both HDMI and DisplayPort signals. In addition, since the DisplayPort and
HDMI connectors are different, DisplayPort products will also need to bundle an adapter or “dongle” to
connect to HDMI products.
We would also like to note that DisplayPort devices may or may not implement the same content protection
technology as HDMI devices. The use of the same content protection technology is also a requirement for
interoperability. Currently, the only authorized content protection technology for HDMI is High-bandwidth
Digital Content Protection (HDCP), and most HDMI products incorporate this technology.
The DisplayPort specification, by contrast, allows for the option of implementing either DisplayPort
Content Protection (DPCP) or HDCP. Since the DPCP and HDCP technologies are not compatible with one
another, this presents another factor that would impact the ability to build a DisplayPort product that would
interoperate with an HDMI device.
Therefore, if a DisplayPort source product (e.g., graphics card) was to interface to both a DisplayPort/DPCP
monitor and an HDMI/HDCP HDTV, it would need to incorporate two incompatible signaling technologies
(HDMI and DisplayPort) as well as two incompatible content protection technologies (HDCP and DPCP)
and at least one dongle.
By way of comparison, it is theoretically possible to design an interface chip that supports both Serial ATA
and USB to interface with either an external SATA or USB storage device, but it would be misleading to
simply state that SATA is then “compatible” with USB.
To the best of our knowledge there is no requirement for DisplayPort products to have this “multi-mode”
capability, and so consumers will be left to do their own research to determine if such capability exists in a
DisplayPort product, and whether it can support interoperability with an HDMI device.”
Analysis of additional feedback from HDMI Licensing: Under the VESA agreement for implementing
DisplayPort (DP), each VESA member that has its intellectual property incorporated into DP may charge a
reasonable, non-discriminatory royalty for that IP. There is no total cap on the royalty, only a statement that the
royalty that each company charges must be “reasonable”. So far, it is known that at least one company plans on
charging a separate royalty for its technology that is being incorporated into DP (in addition to the royalty that
Philips will be charging for its content protection scheme), and there may be others that decide to charge a royalty if
the standard is implemented.
This is in contrast with HDMI, where all HDMI Adopters agree to share a portion of the fixed HDMI royalty
(typically 4 cents per unit), which (to the knowledge of the source) has not been raised as an issue by any
manufacturer. Reportedly, Display Port cited the licensing costs of HDMI as an issue. If the licensing costs were
prohibitive, HDMI would not have over 500 licensees and an estimated 60 million units shipped in 2006, growing
to ~300m in 2009. In comparison, as mentioned above, the real license fees for Display Port are unknown, as any
owner of IP may set whatever royalty they deem “reasonable”.
It was informally commented that perhaps the real reason for DisplayPort to exist might be that certain influential
members of VESA wanted to show that they can define an important architectural component of the PC system,
and rather than work with HDMI, they decided to start their own initiative.
VESA originally announced that DisplayPort was going to bring additional bandwidth. However, with the release
of HDMI 1.3, there is no meaningful technical capability in DisplayPort that HDMI does not already have or will
not soon implement. Moreover, according to HDMI, DP does not do many of the things that HDMI currently does
(e.g. Lip Sync).
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The issue of royalties: feedback and analysis: DisplayPort product makers are looking to charge a premium for
implementing DP. There are a great number of HDMI silicon sources, and the prices of HDMI transmitters and
receivers are already on a decline price path. Will DisplayPort be more expensive than HDMI as there are fewer
suppliers and it has not even begun to see a decline?
As of January 11, three companies (Genesis, JAE Electronics, Inc., and Molex Inc.) have asserted over 200 patent
claims that may cover DisplayPort. Note: since then, AMD has asserted additional claims to intellectual property
used in DisplayPort). These IP holders are free to charge royalties under RAND terms (RAND = Reasonable and
Non-Discriminatory). Manufacturers have no idea what this rate will be; “reasonable” could be unreasonable to
others. Moreover, additional IP holders may come forward and charge more royalties in the future; this is especially
true if the DisplayPort standard ever evolves to incorporate new technologies. There is also the concern that
DisplayPort implementers may be required to pay royalties for both HDCP and the proprietary Display Port
Content Protection.
There is also the mention at the top of page 3 of the DisplayPort specification document dated Jan 11, 07 (V1.1
Draft 3) that there may be some IP that is not covered under this assurance of RAND (meaning the other IP holders
have made no guarantees about licensing terms). VESA also makes it clear that they give no assurances and assume
no responsibility in these regards (i.e. users are on their own).
On the other hand the HDMI standard is quite clear about such terms including the royalties (4 cents per product in
most cases, as mentioned above) – and increases are essentially limited. Apparently, a consumer will be forced to
indirectly pay for the additional royalties of DisplayPort/DPCP licenses on enabled equipment, in addition to the
HDMI/HDCP licenses for the digital connectivity to mainstream CE components.
The compatibility subject – HDMI’s view: Regarding the specific technical claims of DisplayPort I further
discussed the subject with HDMI Licensing, LLC and obtained the following feedback (published under HDMI’s
“Compatibility: The DP presentation does not fully disclose the conditions for a DP connector to be
compatible with HDMI. Just to be clear, the DisplayPort interface itself is not compatible with HDMI or
DVI. Rather, DisplayPort has issued a design guideline describing how it might be possible to design a
DisplayPort transmitter chip that multiplexes the DisplayPort signal pins with HDMI. So this guideline
describes in theory how to design a transmitter chip that integrates two separate cores- a DisplayPort
core, and an HDMI core.
These guidelines are based on the assumption that a transmitter chip has both a DisplayPort and HDMI
core available. The theory is that such a PC with a “dual mode” interface system can reliably determine
whether it is connected to a DP or HDMI display, and then automatically go into the proper mode and
assign the proper signals to the pins. Therefore, this passive mechanical dongle would only work for
dual mode DisplayPort/HDMI systems, and would not work for the cost sensitive systems that have only
one mode (DisplayPort or HDMI) available.
However, this solution poses several challenges:
The cost of such a solution would likely be higher due to increased silicon demand.
Such a solution does not have a “safe mode” which is guaranteed to bring up a viewable image in
the case of issues such as inability to read a display’s EDID capabilities chip properly. With
HDMI (and even with DVI), we require all devices to be able to fall back to 480p and 2 channel
audio in such an event. With a dual mode system, you may be in the wrong mode and thus get a
blank screen, and the user does not even has the ability to manually get into the display settings
menu to set things right. Lack of such a safe mode is a step back in ensuring a minimum user
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How to clearly communicate to the consumer whether the DisplayPort product supports such a
"dual mode" feature. I can think of no precedent where a technology had the option of multiple,
incompatible output modes, and consumers understood this well and were able to easily
understand distinguish between devices with and without this optional feature.
Ensuring that such a dual mode device could be compatible with future HDMI specifications.
There is no agreement between HDMI and VESA to ensure continued interoperability with
DisplayPort, and this cannot be guaranteed in the future as the HDMI specification continues to
innovate in response to the market needs.
“HDMI release schedule: The first HDMI specification (v1.0) was released in Dec 2002, while
DisplayPort was first announced in May 2005, so there is a significant time to market difference
between HDMI and DisplayPort.
“Feature advantages: Most of the stated advantages of DisplayPort are already incorporated in HDMI,
with the advantage of being HDMI features proven in actual products with an enormous installed base.
It’s possible that this statement about DisplayPort was made without realizing the fast changing
demands of the CE market, and the innovation that HDMI has been adding in response to market
demand. If you break down these specific “advantages”:
1) Direct drive monitors: This is something that is not distinct to DisplayPort. In fact, Apple
pioneered this type of monitor over five years ago using DVI. Clearly, this is not something that
requires a new interface technology to realize.
2) Scaleable performance: HDMI increased the bandwidth to over 10Gbps (essentially the same
as DisplayPort) with the technical foundation to continue going faster as the market. Currently
HDMI has not specified AC-coupling for source side devices, and this could shortly become an
issue for manufacturers seeking to integrate HDMI transmitters into SOCs, such as graphics
processors, in very low-micron manufacturing processes (sub 65 nanometers). We recognize this
issue and hope to release an AC-coupled specification this year.
3) Optional audio and CP: Obviously, this is something HDMI brought to the industry when it
was first released over 4 years ago. Moreover, DisplayPort’s nature of making the audio and the
choice of two completely different content protection standards optional presents a challenge for
consumers to figure out which DisplayPort product have the features they need. HDMI, for
example, makes audio essentially a requirement, so users just know that any HDMI device will
support audio.
4) Packetized video: This technology has existed for some time for DVI, but there has been no
market demand or adoption since it was created. Packetized video is essentially creating a
compressed video standard, which adds more cost to the display, results in latency or lag (which
is unacceptable for gamers), can degrade the video quality (depending on the compression
scheme used), and can render the display obsolete should the compression standard get upgraded
in the future. Nevertheless, such a feature could be easily added into HDMI when the market
demand justifies it.
5) Optical fiber support: A number of manufacturers have already created products that convert
the HDMI signal to optical for very long cable length run applications. Again, the HDMI
standard could define a very low cost conversion scheme standard that would enable HDMI to be
easily integrated into an optical interface when the market demand is there.
“In summary, the DisplayPort message about its advantages appears to be based on comparing
DisplayPort’s future specification with HDMI’s much older, previous specifications. By the time
DisplayPort products come out, it’s very possible, if not likely, that HDMI’s latest specification and
products will exceed DisplayPort’s features significantly. HDMI Licensing LLC has a strong history of
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adding meaningful features into the specification in direct response to clear market needs, and we intend to
continue to do so in the future. If you combine our innovative, market sensitive actions with the fast
growing installed base of HDMI products which consumers can plug into, and compare this to the much
smaller estimated size of DisplayPort products, we believe that consumer will benefit from using products
with HDMI technology.”
VESA responds to my inquiry: In opening the discussion regarding why a consumer needs yet another digital
connectivity solution, I contacted DisplayPort officials so they could clarify the compatibility claims with HDMI,
DVI, and HDCP. Here is my exchange with VESA (published under VESA permission):
Why HDMI (now in 1.3 with similar 10Gb bandwidth) was not considered, and VESA decided to
create a new standard?
“We recognize that HDMI is the interface of choice for TV products, and we expect it to continue to be
successful in that market. However, there have always been some aspects of the HDMI specification and
licensing structure that have been problematic for the PC industry.
This was also recognized by several of the original HDMI promoters, who recently have been involved
with either the DisplayPort effort or other attempts at a new PC-oriented interface. Developing a new
"clean sheet" specification permitted us to make DisplayPort a very flexible, extensible, and open
standard, and one which from the start will be easily integrated into current and future silicon processes.
And unlike any previous digital display interface, DisplayPort isn't just standard raster-scan video
signals in digital form - by using a packet video protocol, we can very easily provide support for audio
and other additional data in the video stream, as well as later support for new features not possible with
other approaches, such as multiple displays on a single physical output, conditional updating of the
displayed image, and so forth.
The packetized approach also permits unprecedented flexibility in the physical interface; low-end
display products can be supported with only two physical pairs of wires, as the interface will configure
itself as needed, supporting a range of formats, refresh rates, and color bit depths as appropriate for the
available channel capacity.
Finally, and perhaps one of the most significant advantages for DisplayPort over earlier standards, is the
fact that it has been designed from the start to be applicable to both “external” applications, such as the
desktop monitor interface, as well as “internal” connection - the interface to the panel itself within a
monitor, notebook PC, etc.
Besides bringing some significant cost and performance advantages vs. the existing panel interface
standards, this will also mean that DisplayPort will enable a new class of “direct-drive” monitor
products. These are monitors in which the usual “front end” monitor electronics are no longer necessary,
and the LCD panel itself is essentially driven directly from the "external" monitor interface. This again
can bring significant cost advantages to this market.”
Why HDCP was neither used and VESA decided to create another new standard, DPCP?
“As of the soon-to-be-released DisplayPort 1.1 specification, HDCP (as well as “DPCP”) is fully
supported on this interface, and Digital Content Protection, LLC (http://www.digital-cp.com/, the
licensing authority for HDCP) has already issued the HDCP 1.3 specification which recognizes
DisplayPort as a supported interface.
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It needs to be stressed that VESA did not create the “DPCP” system, and is not involved in the support
or licensing of that specification. DPCP was created by Philips, and is administered by them. The VESA
specification recognizes both of these systems as supported by the DisplayPort standard, but leaves the
choice of which content-protection method to implement, or even if content protection will be used at
all, up to the individual implementers of the standard. This is in keeping with previous similar standards,
such as DVI or HDMI.”
Statements were issued regarding compatibility with DVI, HDMI, and HDCP. Please specify how
that is technically possible. HDMI Licensing says is not possible and cannot be solved by an
adaptor, it requires doubling up the interfaces in equipment, which the consumer would have to
“The VESA DisplayPort Task Group is currently finishing the DisplayPort Interoperability Guide, a
document which is intended to supplement the DisplayPort standard and provide guidance on how
interoperability with other interfaces can be achieved. Basically, though, it is our expectation that during
the transition from DVI to DisplayPort, for example, “dual-mode” devices will be available from a
number of suppliers, which will be capable (when used with the proper physical adaptors, to ensure
connector-level compliance) of use as fully-compliant sources and sinks under either specification.
This will ensure the continued usefulness of the installed base of equipment with these earlier interfaces,
while enabling an easy transition to the higher performance and enhanced features available under
How the DisplayPort connection would be implemented in the large mass of consumer electronic
devices that currently implement HDMI as de-facto standard. Doubling up connectors?
“As previously noted, we recognize the widespread use of HDMI within the consumer electronics
market, and DisplayPort is not intended to compete there. The DisplayPort standard was created
specifically to address the needs of the PC industry for a new, high-performance, and extensible
standard which could replace the existing DVI and VGA interfaces and become the first truly universal
digital interface in this market.
As DisplayPort is an open and royalty-free standard, CE manufacturers are of course free to implement
it if they choose, but it is not our intention to push DisplayPort into that market. We are also, of course,
very open to discussions with any CE manufacturers or organizations regarding possible future
convergence of the two markets to a common interface standard.”
Final thoughts: From a consumer point view (as well as from an analyst point of view), assuming there is actual
incompatibility between HDMI and DisplayPort signals, content protection system, etc, and that such
incompatibility cannot be resolved by a simple low cost adapter, DisplayPort seems to have created the need to
doubling up chip functionality, and the additional hardware/software to permit user-transparent interoperability
with HDMI and DisplayPort compatible devices. In other words, a new connectivity standard that complicates the
decision a consumer has to make when purchasing new equipment.
Why HDMI 1.3 was not sufficient for VESA purposes? Or, considering how flexible the HDMI standard upgrade
path has demonstrated to be, why HDMI 1.4 could not have been encouraged to bring whatever features VESA
claims to be missing in 1.3? Is this about missing technical features or about revenue? Or both?
A consumer is left with no other choice than running the risk of purchasing new incompatible devices, solving the
issue of legacy compatibility, possibly paying additional for making them compatible, making upgrades that might
not be otherwise necessary, or living with devices that should be compatible and are not. Not to mention the
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unnecessary complexity and confusion this apparent digital connectivity competition creates among consumers and
the retail environment.
Backwards compatibility and forward thinking
Or DisplayPort – what’s going to be in it for me?
by Fluppeteer
Fluppeteer is contributing to Veritas et Visus based on a long background working as a
computer graphics programmer, and a similarly long background torturing his display
hardware to within an inch of its life. He uses an IBM T221 display (3840x2400 pixels) and
multi-monitor set-ups, the attempts to extract the best out of which have given him some insights
into the issues specific to high-resolution displays. Fluppeteer holds an MA from the University
of Cambridge (England) and an MSc in Advanced Computing from King’s College London. His
attempts to extract the most from monitors stretch from ASCII art to ray tracing. Laser eye
surgery has left him most comfortable 1-2 feet away from the monitor, making high resolution a
necessity. He usually writes for High Resolution – this is his second contribution to the Display
Standard. He is also ranked 27th in the world at tiddlywinks.
The DisplayPort movement is slowly gaining momentum. Samsung announced a monitor with support for the
connection (although details are a little sketchy), Dell has demonstrated a prototype, and both AMD and nVidia
have indicated that graphics cards with DisplayPort support will be coming next year. So why the lack of
enthusiasm for the Next Big Thing? Why aren’t the computer and consumer electronics industries shouting it from
the rooftops in the way that HDTV, the next generation disc formats, and Vista have been pushed?
I have a theory about that. DVI took a long time to achieve market penetration, because it offered nothing for CRT
monitors - at least, nothing that wasn’t being provided by reasonable-quality RAMDACs and decent-quality
cabling. Only when LCDs started to become common was the public in a position to latch on to the “DVI is better
than VGA” message - and even then, signal processing in LCD monitors had progressed to such a point that the
message is more taken on faith than being demonstrable on the shop floor, at least with the average consumer
display. Even today, some customers object that a DVI connection may not provide all the image controls that the
same monitor provides via an analog connection – there’s a difference between a “perfect image” and what the
customer actually wants to see.
DVI was a technology that presented the customer with a clear decision: to pay extra for the alleged increased
image quality, or not. As more monitors and graphics cards came to support DVI, and as the price premium for
these models decreased, the arguments for having the connection (at least for future proofing) became more
convincing. DVI-I’s backward-compatibility with VGA meant there was no significant downside, and the
technology is now ubiquitous except in those markets where the minor cost and size disadvantages compared with a
15-pin VGA connector are still significant.
HDMI is, to me, less justifiable - not the data transfer protocol (which is a simple extension of DVI-D and to which
I have no objections), but the physical connectors. These are smaller (but, compared with the size of an HDTV,
who cares?) and cheaper (but, compared with the cost of an HDTV, who cares?) equivalents of the DVI-D
connector, losing the DVI-A analog component and implementing dual-link (HDMI type B) in a manner which
requires two different connectors. The result is less solid than DVI, and takes up more space where multiple
connector or converters are needed for compatibility. HDMI has taken a ride with the HDTV boom - at least, those
parts of it not using component video cables - with the result that it’s penetrated far more as a consumer standard
than it would have done had it had to stand on its merits against the same protocol over the DVI connector; the
downside of the association with HDTV is that the lack of need for resolutions higher than 1920x1080 at 60Hz has
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left the type B connector unnecessary. The HDMI type B connector has had such poor penetration that the HDMI
1.3 specification has had to raise the bandwidth of a single link to compensate for the lack of head room.
So what benefit does DisplayPort provide to justify its existence? It has a small bandwidth advantage (360 MHz of
24 bpp equivalent) over single-link HDMI 1.3 (340 MHz) and dual-link DVI (usually 330 MHz, since the singlelink to dual-link switch point requires at least one link to support 165 MHz); there is no official upper limit to either
HDMI type B or dual-link DVI, so this disadvantage of the existing standards is debatable. It can combine high
color depths with high resolution, as can HDMI 1.3 (dual-link DVI is one or the other). It provides a slight
resilience improvement over the HDMI connector (it’s less likely to fall out on its own), whilst not being as robust
as DVI or other larger connectors. There is, apparently, a small price benefit over the HDMI license fee - dwarfed, I
suspect, by the costs of supporting multiple connections for a transition period. DisplayPort has its own content
protection scheme (possibly less trivial to break than HDCP), but is required to support HDCP for compatibility
with HDTV/next generation content standards. It offers compatibility with an internal video signal for laptops
(replacing LVDS), and is simpler than DVI to integrate with modern chip processes - neither of which help much if
the devices supporting DisplayPort are obliged to maintain backwards compatibility with VGA, DVI and HDMI.
DisplayPort has partial backwards compatibility, both through providing DVI/HDMI through the DisplayPort
physical connection and through allowing electronic conversion between standards without needing a frame buffer
- but without the purely physical conversion which is possible between HDMI and DVI-D, or DVI-I and VGA.
The specification for DisplayPort appears to be slightly cleaner than that for DVI/HDMI. Indeed, reading the
standard, I have nothing particular against it - at least from a consumer viewpoint. However, aesthetics do not
necessarily lead to a real-world advantage. Without a genuine benefit to the end user, it’s hard to persuade them to
buy into a standard; as DVI showed this is hard enough even when the advantage is demonstrable, but where there
is an existing infrastructure with which to compete and no inherent advantage (to the consumer) to tip the balance,
Joe Public will not pay the OEMs to add the feature. The recent DisplayPort announcements are benefiting slightly
from the aura of the mystical new standard; I suspect that consumer interest is going to drop off sharply when it
becomes obvious that the benefits of sending 30-bit data to a 2560x1600 panel compared with sending 24-bit data
(using existing technology) are hard to see, and that there’s little the new standard can do which the existing ones
The question, then, is whether there is a benefit to the OEMs to switch to the new standard. A saving of a few cents
won’t persuade a user one way or the other in his $1000 HDTV, but these differences do influence OEMs.
However, no OEM ever gained from adding a feature which cost them money, and for which the customer
wouldn’t pay a premium. Adding DisplayPort instead of HDMI may make sense, but persuading the user that the
HDMI port wasn’t needed is going to be tricky - and the cost of adding both sockets is worse than any cheaper
socket may provide. Every display, consumer video source and graphics card will need multiple sockets or
adaptors, and consumer confusion and the cost of adding extra connectors will further reduce confidence in an
industry which, in the public eye, already has a poor reputation over the inability to pick a single standard for
HDTV, HDMI/HDCP and next generation video disc. To add a personal note for those who argue against
maintaining backwards compatibility, I recently had a satellite video box die; although I don’t personally own an
HDTV yet, I considered an HD replacement with a view to a future display upgrade, only to find that the HD
decoder didn’t support analog signals even for standard definition (my content provider therefore lost out on an
early upgrade).
How does the industry get out of this hole? What I’d like to see happen is graphics cards gaining HDMI 1.3 support
(with 340MHz pixel clocks on a DVI/HDMI channel). If these cards maintain dual-link DVI support as well, this
would mean graphics cards would be capable of analog output (via DVI-I/DVI-A), HDMI type A and B (through
physical converters), and, obviously, DVI. Allow the links to be separated by using DMS-59 or a similar connector,
with separate clocks, and existing cards can maintain the quad-head ability advocated by the DisplayPort
specification. Using HDMI type B connectors or dual link DVI along with 340 MHz of pixel data per link, the card
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could support 48 bits per pixel at 340 MHz, 24 bits per pixel at 680 MHz, or an HDMI 1.3-friendly mixture of the
two. This is more than enough bandwidth to support T221-class and 4K monitors, where DisplayPort adds nothing
significant to the limits of possible displays. Adding two TMDS transmitters capable of high frequency operation
may not be significantly harder than both supporting one high frequency part and supporting lower frequency duallink operation, so I would like to think the steps necessary to achieve this would be small. Taking these steps would
provide a genuine potential advantage to users, without the disadvantage provided by a move to DisplayPort.
Making the physical connectors easier to use (more finger-friendly, more secure, more robust) and making the
cables better at maintaining a signal over the longer runs remain issues for engineering to resolve, but I’m
convinced that these can be handled by premium cable suppliers without the need for the installed base for whom
the existing solutions suffice to pay for a change - there are existing solutions for very long runs of DVI over Cat5
and fiber-optic cabling, at a cost.
It may be that selling the consumer on the Next Big Thing should only be easy if there’s a genuine benefit - and if
it’s hard to sell, maybe there’s a reason. Technology shouldn’t be forced onto the user until the benefits are so clear
that the explanation of the need to upgrade is superfluous. In the meantime, let’s avoid the costs of a change in
technology until we can justify it. Future jumps in resolution and three-dimensional displays will need their own
upgrades to the display interface, so maybe we shouldn’t jump the gun.
Disclaimer: I want to stress that I have no vested interest in any display technology, either for or against
DisplayPort or HDMI - but as a consumer, I don’t want to throw out all my devices until the replacement is a
definite improvement. Neither my T221 nor my 3200x2400 CRT are looking threatened just yet.
Interview with Joe Lee from Silicon Image
Joseph Lee is the director of strategic business development for Silicon Image, Inc. one of
the founding companies behind the DVI and HDMI standards. He is responsible for
establishing industry partnerships and forming strategies to proliferate standards that
benefit the consumer electronics and PC markets. He has been with Silicon Image for
nine years, with a previous position as director of product marketing for the PC
semiconductor products. Lee holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from
Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Please give us some background about your involvement with the implementation
of the HDMI specification. I hold two distinct roles related to HDMI. As a Silicon
Image staff member, I participate in the HDMI committee that writes the HDMI
specification and related guidelines. As one of the founding companies behind HDMI,
Silicon Image brings expertise and experience in secure, high-speed serial interface
technologies for semiconductors through open industry standards. I am also part of the HDMI Licensing LLC staff,
where my title is “technology evangelist”. In this position, I am responsible for accelerating the adoption of HDMI
as the de facto digital multimedia interface standard for devices in the CE and PC markets. I interact regularly with
the press, analysts, manufacturers, retailers, installers and end consumers to educate the industry about the many
capabilities and benefits of HDMI, including the latest HDMI 1.3 specification.
In the overall roll-out of HDMI products, what has been your biggest source of satisfaction? It would have to
be the sheer volume and speed of adoption. I take great satisfaction seeing HDMI on pretty much every high
definition CE device in stores, and finding that the average consumer, not just high end experts, know what HDMI
is, and prefer using it due to the higher quality and ease of use.
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If you can accept the notion that competition is good, do you consider the emergence of DisplayPort as
something that is healthy for the industry, and has DisplayPort actually helped Silicon Image maintain its
focus and competitiveness? Competition is indeed good, but confusion is bad, potentially even worse in terms of
the overall effect to the consumers. The beta vs. VHS video tape war is one classic example. Today, the high
definition disc format war is another example where most would agree that initially no one wins in these types of
battles. HDMI is driven to stay on top of the market needs by the competitive nature of consumer electronics, not
by a competing interface technology. The HDMI working group consists of six major consumer electronics
manufacturers who have to differentiate their products with features in order to compete with other manufacturers
in the market. In many instances, HDMI is a critical technology that allows manufacturers to differentiate and
compete, and this has manifested in four major revisions of the HDMI specification over the past several years. But
unlike the HD disc format war, HDMI already has a significant adoption base. Given that HDMI has over 650
adopters and will have 400 million products on the market by next year, it seems clear that the industry has spoken
and embraced HDMI. The introduction of another digital interface such as DisplayPort that is functionally similar
(or functionally a subset of HDMI in some aspects) to HDMI but completely incompatible may be confusing and
expensive for some consumers. Fortunately for CE consumers, HDMI has been widely adopted by CE
manufacturers and is already known as the de facto standard for consumer electronics, and we are not seeing CE
manufacturers expressing interest or confusion over the press releases surrounding DisplayPort, which they see as
mainly a new PC technology.
Was there ever an effort between the HDMI founders and the DisplayPort promoters (many of which are
HDMI adopters) to reach a single solution that would satisfy the needs of both the PC and CE markets?
There has not been any official interaction or coordination between the two groups, though there were likely private
meetings between specific companies involved with the two standards. Silicon Image feels that the best solution for
the PC consumer’s point of view is a single interface technology that would allow any PC to seamlessly connect to
any PC or CE display without worrying about forward or backwards compatibility. We were willing to license our
TMDS technology on royalty free terms for a next generation PC interface that would have the benefits of being
compatible with DVI and HDMI. Our efforts ended up being put into the UDI specification, which is like a version
of HDMI without audio. However, we found that PC manufacturers realized that it was better to implement HDMI
in its entirety, and the royalty associated with HDMI (4 cents per system in most cases) are trivial considering the
benefits. HDMI is really like two connectors in one: 1) a DVI video connector (since HDMI is fully backwards
compatible with the over 45 million DVI LCD monitors on the market) and 2) a HDMI audio/video connector for
seamless connection to HDMI TVs and HDMI PC monitors. Since DisplayPort is incompatible with DVI and
HDMI, the writers of DisplayPort have had to create a design guide that defines how it might be theoretically
possible to design DisplayPort functionality into an HDMI PC. However, this “kitchen sink” approach is of course
the most costly approach for consumers due to the requirement for multiple interface circuits, compliance
validation for multiple specifications, and the requirement to potentially pay royalty fees associated for both HDMI
and DisplayPort.
Assuming it is desirable to simplify connectivity options for the consumer, is it now too late to establish an
accord between the HDMI and DisplayPort groups? We are always open to working with other industry groups
to improve HDMI’s reach into the PC and CE markets. In fact, we have been working directly with several
companies involved with DisplayPort to see what HDMI specification changes are needed to better support the PC
industry’s requirements. Our efforts to outreach to the PC community seems to be bearing fruit, given that we are
already seeing graphics chips (both discrete GPUs and integrated graphics chipsets) with integrated DVI and HDMI
shipping from AMD and nVidia. We are also seeing numerous HDMI-enabled PCs now shipping from many of the
same PC OEMs involved with DisplayPort, including Dell and HP. In addition, numerous HDMI graphics cards,
motherboards, and even PC monitors with HDMI are now shipping from major manufacturers. It will be hard to
ignore the massive size of the DVI and HDMI installed base by the time DisplayPort products finally come into the
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What are the major performance advantages that HDMI 1.3 boasts over DisplayPort? HDMI and
DisplayPort are similar in many aspects, such as having similar data rates, and supporting deep color depths.
HDMI focuses on ease of use features for the consumer, such as automatic lip sync, CEC (for manufacturer
agnostic device control), and other protocols to enable a true automatic plug-and-play experience. HDMI also
requires the inclusion of audio, whereas audio support is optional in DisplayPort. Finally, HDMI brings validation
of the specification through the installed base of hundreds of millions of functional, interoperable product.
One of the intriguing features offered by DisplayPort is packetized video. Please give us your thoughts. This
is technology that has been around for quite a while and was demonstrated over DVI many years ago, yet there has
not been any market demand for it on a practical level. HDMI could simply add support for it should we find
validation from the market that there is a real user benefit for it. Consumers are more interested than a high quality
video experience that HDMI delivers with an uncompressed, high data rate link. When displays demand more
bandwidth, HDMI already has the technical foundation to further increase the data rate, so the need to use a
compression method like packetized video is a compromise in quality we do not see the need to bear.
Tell us more about CEC. Why should we care? How many remotes controls do you have in your living room?
If you wish it was only one that didn’t require any programming of manufacturer specific codes, then HDMI’s CEC
functionality is for you. CEC allows you to turn on your entire home theater stack, automatically configure the
devices to the right inputs and format, and start playing the show with the touch of one button, and all this is done
with one generic remote. CEC allows devices to remotely control each other, and because this is done with HDMI
standardized protocols, it is manufacturer-agnostic and consumers can mix and match different brands of devices
and use any remote control to control all the CEC-enabled HDMI devices in the home theater stack.
Numerous PC companies have now introduced notebooks and desktops with HDMI ports. Do you imagine
that when DisplayPort is launched that HDMI and DisplayPort connectors will co-exist on PCs, or will PC
brands choose one and rely on dongles to connect to the other? Our guess is that PCs will have to choose one
connector, and potentially use dongles. This is because there simply isn’t enough space for multiple connectors on
notebooks, and the cost of multiple connectors can also be prohibitive. We believe that a strategy that relies on the
usage of dongles is not likely to go over very well with consumers, as history shows us that mainstream consumers
are not receptive to the idea of constantly changing the cable or dongle depending on the usage. Consumers really
need it to be simple, ideally a cable that has the same connector on both sides. Even today, there are a significant
number of consumers that don’t know what a DVI-to-HDMI dongle or DVI-to-VGA dongle is used for. In addition,
PC manufacturers cannot sustain the cost of including multiple dongles with the products long term. We believe
this is why so many PC products are now shipping with HDMI connectors.
The focus of DisplayPort to date seems to be on the PC industry. Do you see any threat from the DisplayPort
camp in attracting interest from the CE industry? No, we are seeing no interest from the CE industry in
One of the claims from the DisplayPort promoters is that it will result in lower cost solutions. Do you agree?
If DisplayPort had entered the market five years ago and created the installed base that HDMI has already achieved,
then this might have been possible. But the reality is that there are over 45 million DVI LCD monitors and nearly
200 million HDMI TVs already in the market. As a result, DisplayPort PCs will also need to support DVI and
HDMI, which is clearly more costly than a HDMI only PC. In addition, HDMI’s maturity and mass volume means
that the cost of HDMI components (i.e., connectors, cables, semiconductors) are highly competitive and
manufactured in a cost optimized manner. The opposite is true for DisplayPort, where one of the primary
proponents of DisplayPort has gone on record saying that they are looking to “charge a premium” for their
DisplayPort chips to help them fight ASP decline of their current display semiconductors.
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How much do you think the DisplayPort “dongle strategy” will add to overall costs? A DisplayPort-to-HDMI
or DisplayPort-to-DVI dongle requires active electronics, so from a design standpoint it is more complicated and it
will be more costly than simple mechanical dongles like HDMI-to-DVI dongles. We estimate that such a dongle
will initially cost around $0.75-$1.00 more to manufacture than a strictly mechanical dongle, which is a very
significant amount of cost for a PC product.
Can you envision a time when Silicon Image might create devices that support DisplayPort? If it was a
market requirement, it’s certainly possible. Over time, DisplayPort has the potential of replacing LVDS as an
internal interface for systems, and Silicon Image has products that require support for such an internal interface.
For HDMI, an adopter pays a $10,000 annual fee, plus a $0.04/system royalty. Will these fees allow you to
stay competitive with the DisplayPort solution? The rate of adoption of HDMI in the PC market indicates that
this is not a barrier. DisplayPort’s fees and royalties are unclear as their specification does not define the royalties,
but merely says that numerous companies with IP in DisplayPort may charge reasonable and non-discriminatory
fees at their discretion. This type of unknown, inconsistent fee structure is a difficult approach for an industry
standard and could prove to make the HDMI fees look like the bargain it is.
Important DisplayPort promoters, Dell and HP are not HDMI adopters, yet both companies offer numerous
products with HDMI ports. How is this possible? The HDMI Adopter Agreement has provisions to allow a
system OEM to have the flexibility to choose to be an adopter themselves, or to have their contracted system
manufacturer to be the adopter.
Although HP is not an HDMI adopter, it is a member of the Simplay HDT Testing Program. Why do you
think this is? Being an HDMI adopter has little bearing on whether they consider HDMI to be a market
requirement. For example, there are a number of major HDMI cable brands that are not HDMI adopters, yet they
put significant marketing resources into promoting HDMI and their related products. Companies that join the
SimplayHD testing program generally do so because they recognize that consumers expect a seamless and reliable
experience when using HDMI and the SimplayHD test is one of the best ways to validate that their products will
meet this expectation.
What do you think of the DisplayPort idea of offering both HDCP and DPCP? The market will eventually
decide which of these content protection standards are needed for DisplayPort. HDCP clearly meets the
requirements of the market given how widely it is implemented in DVI and HDMI products. It could be initially
somewhat confusing for manufacturers to decide which of these content protection standards should be
implemented in their products. Further adding confusion is the fact that some important industry standards, such as
DVD CCA, do not approve DisplayPort with HDCP as a digital output for video greater than 480p.
The new DisplayPort interoperability guidelines suggest that DisplayPort is compatible with HDMI. Please
comment. DisplayPort is simply not compatible with HDMI. The signals and protocols are completely different
and incompatible. This guideline is intended to allow a PC to support both HDMI and DisplayPort with a single
connector instead of two separate connectors. The theory is to multiplex some of the signals, and then use an
actively powered dongle to convert from DisplayPort’s AC-coupled signal to HDMI’s DC-coupled signal. Such a
dual mode PC not only loses the purported benefit of being lower cost and royalty free, but is actually maximum
cost as it must support two transmitter circuits, be subject to fees for two licenses, and requires the use of a
relatively costly active dongle. It is similar to the idea of designing a USB connector to support both USB and
SATA signals with a dongle. It’s technically possible to do (in fact, we’ve seen such a product on the market), and
it does allow a device to use a single connector for dual purposes, but it’s more costly and more confusing to the
consumer. I’m not aware of a single interface standard that was able to sustain such a dongle strategy and become
successfully adopted in mass volume.
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
With the proposed compliance guidelines related to DisplayPort, it’s easy to imagine one product being
DisplayPort-compliant and a mating product being HDMI-compliant. Are there any plans in place to assure
these two compliant products actually work together? There are no plans for this as the HDMI specification can
only be designed to function reliably with other HDMI products. It’s not clear whether the DisplayPort
specification adequately defines the requirements to ensure reliable interoperability as it was written by PC
companies and a PC-centric approach to compliance and compatibility. In comparison, HDMI was written by major
consumer electronics companies whose very business relies on cross compatibility of devices and a reliable plug
and play experience by consumers. Additionally, HDMI has the advantage of years of development, a proven
compliance testing program, and hundreds of millions of shipped products to achieve a high level of maturity and
consistent compatibility.
When you develop future revisions of HDMI, will you assure interoperability with DisplayPort? There are no
plans to develop such functionality into HDMI as this does not appear to be a market requirement. We will continue
to focus our efforts on making HDMI products reliably interoperate with HDMI products.
The equity markets can be fickle. What happens to the HDMI technology if for some reason Silicon Image
doesn’t make it? We believe that Silicon Image plays an important role in bringing many of HDMI’s critical
functions (such as high data rates, Deep Color, cable equalization, and others) to the specification and ultimately
into products. On the other hand, HDMI is a mass market technology with numerous semiconductor vendors. If for
some hypothetical reason, Silicon Image did not continue to participate in the development of the HDMI
specification and the manufacture of market leading semiconductors, we’d like to think that HDMI would continue
to evolve given its widespread adoption, although we believe the rate of innovation could be affected.
As someone involved for a long time in the creation and implementation of display-related standards, what
do you think is the #1 benefit that HDMI is bringing to the industry? The delivery of the premium high
definition content itself to consumers is the first benefit. HDMI played an important part in allowing consumers to
get access to the rich, high definition video and audio content. Just look at the availability of HD content today
(such as from broadcast and optical media), and the other innovations that have been unlocked such as lossless
surround sound formats. None of this would have been possible without an industry approved, secure digital
interface. While consumers may not realize the enabling effect that HDMI has in this regard, this was a key factor
that catalyzed the explosion of HD CE devices. If you ask a typical consumer what they think is the best benefit of
HDMI, it would probably be first - highest quality, and second - ease of use (from using a single, plug-and-plug
Twenty Interviews
Interviews from Veritas et Visus newsletters – Volume 1
+ Actuality Systems, Gregg Favalora, Founder and CTO
+ Cambrios, Hash Pakbaz, VP Business Development
+ DisplaySearch, Barry Young, Senior Vice President
+ EBL-WG, Kamal Shah, Chairman
+ E Ink, Russ Wilcox, President and CEO
+ Elo TouchSystems, Mark Mendenhall, President
+ Gunze, John Stetson, Sales Manager
+ Optronic Systems, Alexandre Fong, VP Sales/Marketing
+ NeurOK Optics, Tom Striegler, CEO
+ Polar Sensor Technologies, David Chenault, President
+ Rolltronics, Glenn Sanders, Chief Operating Officer
+ SeeReal Technologies, Erik Nielsen, Director of Sales
+ Silicon Image, Brett Gaines, VP Strategic Business
+ Steridian, Guido Voltolina, Chief Marketing Officer
+ TouchKO, Ted Cox, Chief Marketing Officer
+ UniPixel Displays, Jim Tassone, Chief Finance Officer
+ University of Cincinnati, Jason Heikenfeld, Professor
+ USDC, Brett Bryars, Director of Technical Programs
+ Vitex Systems, Robert Jan Visser, Chief Technical Officer
+ Wacom, Steve Sedaker, Sales Manager
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Twenty Interviews
Volume 2 just released!
Interviews from Veritas et Visus newsletters – Volume 2
+ 21st Century 3D, Jason Goodman, Founder and CEO
+ Add-Vision, Matt Wilkinson, President and CEO
+ Alienware, Darek Kaminski, Product Manager
+ CDT, David Fyfe, Founder and CTO
+ DisplayMasters, David Rodley, Academic Coordinator
+ HDMI Licensing, Les Chard, President
+ JazzMutant, Guillaume Largillier, CEO
+ Lumicure, Ifor Samuel, Founder and CTO
+ Luxtera, Eileen Robarge, Director of Marketing
+ QFT, Merv Rose, Founder and CTO
+ RPO, Ian Maxwell, Founder and Executive Director
+ SMART Technologies, David Martin, Executive Chairman
+ Sony, Kevin Kuroiwa, Product Planning Manager
+ STRIKE Technologies, David Tulbert, Founder
+ TelAztec, Jim Nole, Vice President – Business Development
+ TYZX, Ron Buck, President and CEO
+ UniPixel Display, Reed Killion, President
+ xRez, Greg Downing, Co-founder
+ Zebra Imaging, Mark Lucente, Program Manager
+ Zoomify, David Urbanic, Founder, President, and CEO
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Interview with David Auld from Zoran
David Auld joined Zoran Corporation as vice president, technology in 2003 with
Zoran’s acquisition of Oak Technology, where he was chief technology officer. Prior
to joining Oak, he served as vice president, systems engineering and chief technology
officer and vice president, VLSI Engineering at TeraLogic Inc., which was acquired
by Oak in 2002. Previously he was director of systems engineering, Consumer
Products Group at LSI Logic from 1990 to 1997. Mr. Auld holds a Bachelor of Science
degree in Computer Engineering from Manchester University in the UK. He holds 18
US patents relating to video coding technology.
Tell us about Zoran and how you got into supporting the high performance
digital video industry. Zoran was founded in 1983 to develop high performance
DSP chips. However, it soon became apparent that the best growth opportunities
were in emerging digital consumer products. Zoran was an early pioneer in digital
camera ICs, developing a product used in the world’s first consumer digital camera in 1989, which was not a big
success due to lack of digital photography infrastructure at the time. Zoran saw an opportunity to apply its DSP
know-how to digital audio and video. Today, Zoran is a major supplier of single chip DVD ICs. When consumer
digital photography finally became a reality around 2000, Zoran re-entered the market with the COACH digital
camera processor product line. Today, Zoran is the largest supplier of camera chips in the world, serving the large
“point-and-shoot” camera market with images up to 12-megapixels. In 2003, Zoran acquired Oak Technology and
entered the high definition digital television and imaging (digital printing) markets. The digital television business
is focused on providing highly integrated solutions for digital flat-panel TVs. Zoran supplies single chip solutions
and software for TV receivers, decoders and image processors.
Please give us some inputs about the standards bodies relating to digital video with which you are associated.
Zoran is a member of ATSC, SMPTE, DVD-Forum, BD-Association and many others. Digital consumer products
require the integration of many technologies that are selected during the standardization process on the basis of
their technical merit and their availability for licensing, typically under RAND terms. An end product is a
combination of the standardized technologies, plus differentiated features. For example, digital television in the US
is standardized by the ATSC, but products can be differentiated by levels of integration, and by superior image
processing, which is not standardized.
Zoran was recently the first company to exceed the A/74 requirements for digital broadcasting. Please
explain why this is significant. A/74 is a recommended practice of the ATSC. It establishes a benchmark for the
performance of an ATSC receiver; basically how robust the reception will be under various operating conditions.
The ATSC broadcast standard, based on 8-VSB, has been criticized for its robustness since its inception. ATSC
developed A/74 as a benchmark, which receivers should meet beyond simple technical compliance to the standard.
However, due to technical limitations in the 8-VSB system, it has taken many years for IC providers to come up
with ICs which can meet the benchmark. Zoran is the first company to do so; it means that customers of Zoran
chips, and ultimately consumers, will benefit from robust TV reception.
With regard to this A/74 compliance testing, you used the “Communications Research Centre Canada”
(CRC). There are a number of independent compliance testing groups, what factors made you choose the
CRC? The CRC is focused on testing A/74 compliance. They have the best reputation for this work, and are
trusted by our customers.
Since there are several different test houses, is there a risk that one compliance house will certify a product
as compliant, while the next one will not? In other words, in your experience, does compliance really assure
glitch-free interoperability? It all depends on how compliance testing is performed. A/74 specifies a fairly
rigorous test procedure, which is easily reproduced. It is possible for Zoran, or any other supplier or customer, to
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August 2007
test against the procedure before the product is submitted for testing. There are usually no surprises when the test is
carried out. Problems with interoperability occur if the test procedure is incomplete, poorly documented, or worse -undocumented. Then it is difficult for a supplier to guarantee that a product has a good chance of passing the test,
and impossible for the test itself to guarantee interoperability. Of course, designing a comprehensive compliance
test plan is very difficult for some advanced consumer products.
A few days ago, Zoran announced it is supplying the Vaddis 966 DVD processor and HDXtreme2 1080p
HDMI transmitter with integrated upconverter to Samsung Electronics for its new DVD models. First of all,
I thought DVD was 720x480 pixels – how do you support 1920x1080? DVD is 720x480 pixels. However, many
DVD manufacturers want to support HDMI so there is sales synergy with their TV product lines. Also, DVD is
commoditized, so premium suppliers like Samsung are looking for ways to differentiate their product. HDXtreme2
is a scaler IC with 1080P output. It up scales the video from the DVD to 1080P. Of course, your TV can do this
scaling too; just connect the DVD player in 480i or 480p mode. The real benefits occur when you use the DVD
player with a memory card from your digital camera. Then, you can display still pictures at 1920x1080p without
scaling. It makes a huge difference in quality. The DVD player has basically become a connection point for all your
digital media.
Secondly, you certainly don’t need HDMI to support DVD-level bandwidths. So why did you choose it?
Zoran has made a major commitment to HDMI. You can find it across all our product lines; DVD, DTV, COACH
and Imaging. It is the only consumer interconnect standard which can deliver copy-protected, digital images from
source devices to display. Almost all flat screen TVs today come with two or more HDMI interfaces. It is very easy
for the consumer to connect their digital device to their display with a single cable.
You recently wrote to Veritas et Visus the following criticism about the SimplayHD program:
“The Simplay specification and test procedure is not available to anyone outside of Silicon Image; it is
impossible for non-SI implementation to guarantee compliance before testing in the Simplay labs which will
result in significant time-to-market impact for product based on non-SI components. We think this is a
disservice to the industry and the consumer, as it creates a non-level playing field for suppliers. We believe
that Silicon Image should make the Simplay specification and its successors, a transparent process with
reasonable controls and timelines to compliance.”
Do you have any additional comments on this topic? I am pleased to say that Simplay Labs have made a great
effort to address these concerns. We have found them to be generally responsive to questions on the test
procedures, and have been able to adjust our product firmware to come into compliance with Simplay Labs test
procedure. Zoran supports the effort to improve HDMI interoperability, and ultimately the consumer experience.
We hope for continued collaboration with Simplay Labs, and that future changes to the test procedure are made
with the desired level of transparency. As I responded in a previous question, this will result in a compliance testing
environment that the industry can rely on, with minimal impact to business operations.
Describe Zoran’s experience(s) in going through the Simplay certification process. It has been an overall
positive experience. I think it helped Zoran that some of our largest customers in the DVD business were also
Simplay early adopters. It was in the interest of both Zoran and Simplay that these customer production schedules
not be disrupted.
Retailers like Best Buy now mandate Simplay compliance. Do you think this is reasonable? It is an industry
rumor that HDMI cables are the #1 returned item at Best Buy. Consumers who can’t connect their products using
HDMI assume the cable is broken and return it. I don’t know if it is really true, but clearly some form of testing
beyond strict standard compliance is desirable. Zoran supports improved interoperability testing for HDMI. We ask
that such test procedures are open, well documented, and can be applied independently of the test laboratory before
the product is submitted for testing. It is the best way to prevent disruption in the supply chain.
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Are the fees associated with Simplay compliance similar to other test houses? We believe that the Simplay
fees are reasonable considering the scope of the tests performed.
When you did your testing with the CRC related to A/74 compliance, were the test procedures/specifications
understood up front, or did you work with the CRC to define what all would be tested? The CRC tests vs. the
A/74 recommendation, which is open. Zoran can test vs.
A/74 before submitting the equipment to CRC. There
“Problems with interoperability occur if
are therefore very few surprises. This is the best method
the test procedure is incomplete, poorly
to ensure minimum disruption to the production
schedule. If a test procedure is undocumented, or
documented, or worse - undocumented.
closed, we cannot ensure compliance to it. Since it costs
Then it is… impossible for the test itself
millions of dollars to design and manufacture an IC, it is
to guarantee interoperability”
a huge financial risk if we can’t build the compliance
into the part from day 1. A similar situation exists
further down the supply chain; TV manufactures can’t afford the end-product to fail a compliance test which can
only be performed on the final product. It would represent a huge setback as the product cannot be shipped.
A possible detraction from your suggestion to make compliance testing completely transparent is that
manufacturers may design products to pass the minimum specification requirements – rather than designing
products that will exceed the requirements. “Passing the test” is not always a desirable goal – that’s a “D”
grade, after all... Please comment. I think that all in the industry want the customer experience to be a good one.
Both A/74 and Simplay were developed in response to a real need; the original standards (A/53 and HDMI
respectively) did not sufficiently address robustness. It was possible to achieve compliance without adequate levels
of performance or interoperability. The consumer has the right to expect that his DVD player can connect to his
TV. Most would agree that doing so over 100 foot cable is optional, and that the market will reward those products
which can perform at that level, in home theater applications for example.
Please let us know what you see as the next big step in the world of digital interface technologies? I am not
sure there will be a big step any time soon. HDMI gets the job done. HDMI 1.3 supports deep color, wide gamut
and high frame-rate displays. I think HDMI 1.3 brings some difficulties for consumer adoption; how will the
consumer know which “optional” features are supported? I think there is a lot of ground for confusion there.
Fortunately, we have the Internet which can provide the detailed specifications to educated consumers which you
just can’t get from the local retail store. I am personally interested in where wireless HDMI ends up; will it be built
into the consumer device, or as an add-on box?
What do you think are the biggest unfulfilled needs with regard to standards in digital video devices? As
Andrew Tanenbaum once said, “The wonderful thing about standards is that there's so many of them to choose
from.” I think the biggest challenge for the industry is to contain its enthusiasm for making products unnecessarily
complex. An example is the BluRay DVD player. I think most consumers will be happy to buy and watch high
definition movies on their new 40-inch flat screen TVs. However, the industry has decided that players will have
interactive features; the most frequently given example is you will be able to order the sunglasses worn by the
protagonist just by clicking the remote. The problem is that to do that, you need to implement BD-J in the player.
For that, you need a Java stack compatible to PBP 1.06 and JSSE 1.0.2. In addition, you need to comply with the
BD-J format spec which runs 390 pages long. On page 70 of the spec, it states “BD-J players shall comply in full
with a profile of DB-GEM”. DVB-GEM is 129 pages long, and references full compliance to MHP, which is 1367
pages long. All that so I can order the guy’s sunglasses. How many consumers will buy the sunglasses? If a
consumer clicks the button and the BluRay player crashes, will he return the player to Best Buy? It is an
unreasonable burden to impose on the product.
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
Interview with Nick Merz from OQO
Nick Merz is VP of design for OQO. Prior to co-founding OQO, Nick worked in the Apple Portable Product Design
group. He engineered the media bays on Apple's Powerbook G3 Bronze, took the laptop through mass production, and
was a key member of the team for the G4 Titanium Powerbook, from conception through early engineering builds. His
professional engineering experience ranges from tooling design for radio telescope dishes, to the invention and
development of demolition equipment, disposable dishware, and stereo photography equipment. Nick has four patents
pending from his work on the Titanium G4 display, two from the OQO model 01, and one from personal projects.
Nick holds a BS degree in Product Design from Stanford University.
For readers who might not be familiar with OQO, please tell us a little about the company and what markets
you are working to penetrate. OQO was founded in 2000 with the aim of transforming personal computing the
way cell phones transformed telephony – making it ubiquitous and truly mobile. We launched the UMPC category
of computers in 2005 with the model 01, the world’s smallest Windows computer, recognized by the Guinness
Book of World Records. We continue to lead the category with the model 02, the smallest form factor and most
elegantly designed UMPC on the market.
Your new Model 02 is said to be the smallest Windows Vista PC in the world. Give us a quick overview. The
model 02 measures 5.6 x 3.3-inches and is 1.0-inch thick, weighing less than a pound. It is the only Vista computer
that is pocketable. Small as it is, it is an uncompromised Windows computer with a 1.5 GHz processor, 1GB of
RAM, Vista Ultimate, 802.11 a/b/g, EVDO through Sprint or Verizon, Bluetooth, native USB, audio, HDMI ports,
and a bright 5.0-inch 800x480 display. The display slides up to reveal a backlit, thumb keyboard with an integrated
Trakstick and numeric keypad. We have worked hard on every feature to make a device with the productivity of a
laptop, yet available anywhere and everywhere. (Note: the system described is a full-featured “best” configuration)
The Model 02 specification identifies that you support VGA, HDMI, and DVI monitors. Does the device
include all three connectors? The model 02 has a native HDMI connector. It also ships with a small adapter that
plugs into the docking connector and provides a VGA and Ethernet jack. As accessories, we sell a short HDMI to
DVI adapter, and a long HDMI to DVI cable. We also sell a docking station that has both VGA and HDMI ports
on it. The docking station comes bundled with an HDMI to DVI adapter.
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August 2007
Are you using HDMI v1.3 or v1.2? HDMI v1.2
On such a small device, physical space must be a major factor in almost every decision you make. Given the
space constraints, what tradeoffs went into your decision to include an HDMI port? The physical space is
extremely tight. That said, the ability to plug directly into a projector, a DVI monitor, or a flat screen TV is very
powerful. It greatly enhances the mobility of the product and expands the contexts for computing. The electrical
compatibility of DVI and HDMI mean there is a large and growing class of display devices with which the model
02 can directly interface, and that is a compelling feature for us, not a tradeoff at all.
Since the Model 02 does not come with an optical drive, the concept of PC/CE convergence is somewhat
diminished. Please comment. The model 02 is physically smaller than a DVD, essential to it being a pocketable
device. However, two versions of docking stations with optical drives are available for the model 02, one with
DVD+-RW/RAM, and one with DVD-ROM/CD+-RW. The docking station itself folds into a compact shape and
is portable, so when used with the airplane/car power adapter, it can act as a mobile DVD/CD player.
Does OQO consider the Model 02 to be primarily a PC device, a CE device, or one of the emerging set of
products that hopes to span the two markets? The model 02 is a full-featured PC device. The standard we set
for ourselves is that our hardware provides an undiminished PC experience in a new paradigm of mobility. Having
said that though, the lines between what professionals do with their PCs and what consumers do with them are
blurry. Those lines blur even more when the PC is always with you, always usable, and always connected to the
What types of users are you hoping to attract with the Model 02 and how does HDMI fit in with those plans?
The model 02 is primarily targeted to mobile professionals and enterprise business customers. Having a digital
video interface allows us to support higher resolution monitors and projectors (up to 1920 x 1200) for a rich
desktop computing experience as well as for business presentations. (Analog VGA output can be noisy at higher
resolutions and if used over long cables). Anecdotally, many of our business traveling customers have found that,
as hotels around the world migrate to flat panel TVs in their rooms, a simple HDMI to HDMI cable can connect the
model 02 directly to it and create a rich office environment on the go.
Some have claimed that HDMI is too expensive, both in terms of royalties and pin-count. Please comment.
The model 02 is so small, so thin, that a DVI connector is simply bigger than the computer itself. For us, HDMI
was a natural and appropriate solution for digital video output. It has proven to be an important part of our story for
the mobile professional, and as the hotel room example earlier illustrates, it is a story that expands as digital
displays become more ubiquitous.
What do you think are the biggest hurdles that must be overcome before HDMI can broadly penetrate the
PC market? It will be up to PC hardware makers to roll it into their products. For OQO, the decision was driven
by having the smallest form factor in the world, and HDMI being ready as a robust standard. As more OEMs follow
our lead and squeeze the envelope, all connector standards will be pressed to come down in size.
By the way, with the Model 02, you’ve included something called “DisplaySense technology”. Tell us more
about this technology. Is it standards based, or OQO unique? Using DisplaySense, the model 02 stores a user’s
settings for particular display setups at different docking environments, and automatically switches when a user
goes from one to the other. DisplaySense recalls resolution settings, extended desktop configurations, mirroring,
etc. For example, a typical desktop setup has a docking station with one (or two) monitors, a keyboard, mouse, and
other typical PC accessories plugged into it. A user may arrive at his or her desk with the model 02 running, dock it
into the station, and DisplaySense will immediately restore the desktop settings from the last time it was docked
there. Likewise, it would maintain a different set of settings for another setup (a projector in a commonly-used
conference room, for example), and switches to the native display when no external monitor is present.
DisplaySense is one of many OQO-unique features that enhances mobility and ease of use.
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
HDMI-related news
compiled by Mark Fihn
HDMI Developers Conference to be held in Shenzhen
Targeted at CE and PC design engineers and product planners looking for in-depth technical advice and best
practices for implementing HDMI in their upcoming product lines, a one-day conference will be held in Shenzhen,
China, on September 12. The HDMI Developers Conference was prompted by the continued rapid adoption of
HDMI and has been designed to help existing and new CE and PC manufacturers to successfully implement
advanced HDMI features and establish best practices. The conference is being put on in conjunction with the
CVIA, which includes China's largest manufacturers of digital televisions, digital movie/broadcasting, highdefinition optical discs, set-top boxes and information technology equipment and components. Sessions in the
morning will focus on market and business trends pertaining to HDMI, and will feature presentations from
executives from the CVIA, HDMI Licensing, Sino-Market Research, Best Buy and TCL. Afternoon sessions will
focus on technical topics from Agilent Technologies, Digital Content Protection, LLC, Quantum Data, Silicon
Image, Simplay Labs, and Tektronix. Sessions in the afternoon are designed to help manufacturers bring products
to market with the most advanced HDMI features and capabilities possible, including many of the features enabled
by version 1.3 of the HDMI specification. A press reception will be held in the evening of September 11. There is
no cost to attend the conference. http://www.hdmi.org/devcon/
Tektronix releases software for HDMI compliance test
In mid-July, Tektronix announced that its TDSHT3 software has been upgraded to support the HDMI compliance
test specification version 1.3b. The Tektronix TDSHT3 software now supports all of the HDMI compliance test
procedures as per the latest CTS1.3b document. With this upgrade now available, Tektronix offers customers a
complete test suite for performing HDMI 1.3b compliance testing. Tektronix now supports physical layer
compliance test solution per the CTS 1.3b specifications using the real time oscilloscopes, sampling oscilloscopes,
signal generators, differential probes and test fixtures. TDSHT3 is an HDMI compliance test software resident on a
Tektronix oscilloscope controlling the signal generators in a closed loop mechanism to automatically perform the
needed complex cable and sink tests. Pricing for the new TDSHT3 is $5000. For existing TDSHT3 customers, an
upgrade packet is available for $1000. The software is currently available. http://www.tektronix.com
Pace Micro Technology adds Simplay Labs testing for all set-top boxes
Pace Micro Technology recently announced plans to use Simplay Labs to test HDMI and HDCP on all current and
future Pace set-top boxes in the Americas markets. Pace Micro Technology Americas VP-Product Development
Bruce Gureck commented, "As more and more HDMI products are coming to market, manufacturers are now
including multiple HDMI ports on HDTVs and set-top boxes must be able to communicate properly with all of
them." http://www.pacemicro.com
Microsoft confirms Xbox 360 Premium will get HDMI port
In early August, officials from Microsoft confirmed that the company now includes HDMI outputs on the Xbox
360 Premium consoles. HDMI is already included on the Xbox 360 Elite console. Now the port will also appear on
Premium consoles, allowing many more gamers to use a more aesthetic cabling solution while providing more
direct competition to Sony’s PS3.
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August 2007
Toshiba launches two more HDMI-enabled notebook PCs
Toshiba just launched two Qosmio media laptops, both of which come
with HDMI ports. The G40/97D configuration sports a 17-inch (1920 x
1200) display; 2GHz T7300 Core 2 Duo processor; 256MB of nVidia
GeForce 8600M GT graphics, 2GB (up to 4GB supported) system
memory, 320GB of storage capacity (2x 160GB); Gigabit Ethernet; 2megapixel webcam; and an HD-DVD-R drive, plus a pair of digital TV
tuners which enable users to record and watch different TV channels
simultaneously. The HDMI port is v1.3, and Toshiba is featuring CEC
support, allowing the notebook to control a connected REGZA series of
TVs. The G40 is available for about ¥400,000 or about $3,470. A defeatured 15.4-inch version is available for about. ¥400,000
BenQ introduces HDMI-enabled Joybook
BenQ recently launched the Joybook R56, featuring a 15.4-inch widescreen uses
BenQ’s patented UltraVivid technology, for superior display performance that
takes advantage of DBEF (Display Brilliance Enhancement Film) and the world's
best 8 millisecond response times. Moreover, the system comes with discrete
graphics based on the nVidia GeForce 8400M G chip and nVidia PureVideo HD
technology. BenQ also features HDMI providing what BenQ’s promotional
literature says is “the best multimedia experience”. The system also features Intel
Centrino Core2 Duo Processor T7100, 512MB of system memory (up to 2GB, up
to 160MB of storage capacity, and a combo optical drive. http://www.benq.com
Asus comes out with C90S notebook PC with HDMI interface
Asus created the C90S notebook PC, designed specifically to be “completely
upgradeable”. The CPU, graphics card and LCD are all upgradeable features. The
Asus C90S will be sold as a “whitebook machine” allowing customers and resellers
to configure the notebook however they want. The basic specs include support for
the Intel Conroe desktop processor platform, a 15.4-inch TFT LCD, a 2.0megapixel webcam, HDMI, Bluetooth, integrated TV tuner, E-SATA, an 8-in-1
media card reader, 802.11n, a fingerprint reader, 3 USB ports and support for either
HD-DVD or Blu-ray drives. The Asus C90S is available now starting for about
$1,300. http://www.asus.com.tw
OPPO reveals DVD player with 7.1ch audio and 1080p up-conversion via HDMI 1.2a
OPPO Digital announced the DV-980H, offering 7.1-channel audio output and 1080p video up-conversion, with
Dolby Digital Surround EX decoding. OPPO's advanced up-conversion technology allows standard DVDs to look
their best on high definition TVs with 1080p “Full HD” clarity. Priced at $169, the DV-980H is believed to be the
first DVD player with HDMI-only connectivity. The DV-980H is among the very few players available today with
an HDMI 1.2a output, although it does come with a USB 2.0 port to support high-resolution photo slide shows, and
it also supports DivX playback functions. http://www.oppodigital.com.
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August 2007
Sony launches VAIO TP1 Living Room PC
In January, Sony announced their TP1 HTPC and it recently started shipping. Internally, you’ll find a 1.83GHz
Intel Core 2 Duo chip, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 300GB 7,200RPM SATA hard drive, dual-layer DVD writer,
ATSC/NTSC TV tuner, GMA 950 integrated graphics set, and HDMI/DVI/VGA outputs. Moreover, Sony included
a 4-pin FireWire connector, audio in/out, four USB 2.0 ports, Memory Stick/SD slots, 802.11b/g, and Vista Home
Premium as an operating system. System pricing starts at $1,599.99.
Shuttle comes out with XPC barebones PC with HDMI port
Taiwan-based Shuttle Inc. recently announced the launch of its first generation, Digital Visualize Opera (D’VO)
series home entertainment platform – the Shuttle D’VO SG33G5M and top of the range Shuttle D’VO SG33G5M
Deluxe. The Shuttle D’VO series is equipped with the latest Intel G33 Express chipset bringing home entertainment
to reality, compact with everything required for a state of the art home theater environment. Secure HD video
playback with HDMI (HDCP). Versatile Front-panel Display (VFD), a unique feature of the Shuttle D’VO series,
will display the title of the multimedia contents currently being played. http://global.shuttle.com
BTC introduces 24-inch ZEUS 7000 HDMI-based LCD monitor
Korea’s BTC introduced their ZEUS 7000, a 24-inch widescreen display LCD monitor the features HDCPcompliant HDMI/DVI ports. It also comes with VGA, S/PDIF inputs and outputs, dual five-watt stereo speakers,
and picture-in-picture support. The panel boasts a five-millisecond response time, 160-degree viewing angles,
1,000:1 contrast ratio, and 1920x1200 pixels. http://www.btc.co.kr
Recently launched PC devices with HDMI ports include Sony’s TP1 Living Room PC, Shuttle’s XPC
barebones PC, and BTC’s 24-inch ZEUS 7000 LCD monitor
Onkyo to release HD-DVD player
Onkyo announced plans to introduce their DV-HD805 HD-DVD player this fall at a price of $899 in the US. The
DV-HD805 features HDMI version 1.3a and 1080p resolution and can connect with an Onkyo-developed HDMI
version 1.3a A/V receiver to generate high-bit-rate audio streaming, according to their press release. At CES in
January, Toshiba advised that four other makers would introduce HD-DVD hardware, but only Onkyo has unveiled
a player so far. The other three, US-based Bandai Visual, UK-based Meridian Audio, and Taiwan-based Lite-On
IT, have not yet come out with devices. http://www.onkyo.com
Vativ announces single-chip 3-input HDMI 1.3a receiver
In mid-June, Vativ Technologies announced the sample availability of the VTV2313, the company’s nextgeneration HDMI receiver supporting the new features introduced in the HDMI 1.3a specification. In addition to
being pin-compatible with Vativ’s first-generation 3-input HDMI receiver (VTV2310), the new VTV2313 supports
xvYCC and up to 36-bit Deep Color at 1080p and up to 1920x1080 resolutions. Maximum bandwidth supported by
the receiver is 6.75Gbps at 225MHz. Used primarily in high-definition televisions and displays, Vativ’s integrated
3-input, single-output receivers reduce total chip count and cost by eliminating unneeded switches, repeaters and
equalizers inside the TV. Vativ’s proprietary real-time equalization technology enables almost instantaneous ontime signal recovery with any cable. http://www.vativ.com
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August 2007
Accell shows UltraAV HDMI 1.3 high-speed switch
Accell Cable launched their UltraAV 2-port switch that supports a 1440p (2560 x
1440) resolution at a 10.2Gbps (340MHz) high-speed data transfer without the
need of an external power supply. According to company literature:
“The Accell UltraAV HDMI 1.3a 2 to 1 Switch is perfect for use with the
Sony PS3 or any high-definition home theater devices. And since HDMI 1.3a
is backwards compatible with all previous HDMI versions, compatibility is
ensured. Even if you don’t need HDMI 1.3a support today, the switch is
“future-proof” for when you upgrade your system in the future. Don’t miss a
minute of action swapping out cables to your HDTV.”
The device allows users to switch between two video sources using the included
infrared remote or manually using the onboard push-button. For added flexibility
the UltraAV Switch is designed to work with universal remote controls that have
the “learn” feature. The device is priced at $99. http://www.accellcables.com
NXP introduces world’s first quad-input HDMI 1.3 receiver
NXP recently introduced a new HDMI 1.3 receiver chip, the TDA19978HL, which improves the audio and video
performances and lowers the costs of high-definition (HD) audio/video receivers. The device is the industry’s first
HDMI 1.3 receiver with four inputs, eliminating the need for an external HDMI switch. NXP’s new HDMI1.3
receiver was especially designed to improve the quality of audio-video streaming on an HDTV, by combining 12bit Deep Color and Extended Gamut to render rich life-like colors, as well as High Bit Rate (HBR) and Direct
Stream Transport audio formats. The TDA19978 also reduces the overall cost of an HDTV by embedding EDID
memory for each of the four independent HDMI inputs. http://www.nxp.com
IOGEAR releases 4-port HDMI switch
IOGEAR just released the GHDMIAS4 4-port automatic HDMI
switch, which takes four of HDMI inputs and pares them down
to one output. It has automatic sensing to switch to an input
when a new source is turned on, or users can use the remote with
discrete buttons. The switch supports 1080p and HDMI 1.3, is
HDCP-compliant, and ships now for $189.95, including a bonus
6-foot HDMI cable. http://www.iogear.com
Gefen introduces 1:10 HDMI distribution amplifier
In mid-August, Gefen revealed a new rack mountable distribution amplifier that splits the HDMI audio/video signal
and sends it to ten displays, each supporting high definition video to 1080p. Ideal for digital signage, presentation,
education and entertainment applications, the Gefen 1:10 Distribution Amplifier delivers both video and audio
signals for a true HDTV viewing experience. The Gefen 1:10 HDMI Distribution Amplifier works with all HDMI
sources, including games, satellite television systems and HD-DVD players. When combined with a Gefen HDMI
to DVI Audio Adapter, the 1:10 HDMI Distribution Amplifier will support DVI displays, delivering both high
definition video in DVI format with separate digital audio in TOSlink format. Pricing is currently set at $649 and
the device is available immediately. http://www.gefen.com
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Display Standard
August 2007
Gefen supports AACL with high-performance HDMI solutions
Gefen is helping lay some of the foundational digital connections at the Entertainment Technology Center at the
University of Southern California’s Anytime/Anywhere Content Lab (AACL). AACL researchers address technical
challenges presented by digital convergence to advance digital entertainment creation, distribution and
consumption. Gefen is supplying the AACL with a selection of high definition digital video switchers
supplemented by digital cables. These solutions are enabling the Lab to set up a seamless, plug and play integration
of key audio/video and computer systems, adding flexibility and functionality to its consumer-focused
investigations. Gefen’s HDMI and DVI Switchers enable multiple digital video sources to be connected to the same
high definition display, allowing users to “switch” to whatever source they wish to view using an IR remote while
retaining the signal’s pure digital integrity. Switching takes place instantly, enabling an always-on viewing
environment with greater choices and instant audio/video delivery. http://www.gefen.com
Monster partners with Simplay Labs in HDMI educational campaign
Monster Cable announced it has launched a strategic partnership with Simplay Labs to help educate retailers and
consumers on the importance of higher performance standards set for HDMI certification. This partnership will
include an educational initiative, including Monster's support of Simplay Labs in trainings to the sales floor, a new
line of Simplay HD verified HDMI cables from Monster, and a higher performance cable verification program that
is currently in development by Simplay Labs. http://monstercable.com/hdmi
TTL introduces HDMI 1.3 QuadMax automatic switcher
TTL brought out their new automatic HMS-41 QuadMax
switch. Not only is it HDMI 1.3a compliant, but it will
automatically sense, then source the detected live input for
display on the user’s TV. When multiple sources are hot, the
unit will default to a user-defined priority. The HMS-41 includes
a “Simplay HD” certification. The HMS-41 is priced at about
¥60,000. Count those HDMI inputs when purchasing your flat
panel. http://www.total-technologies.com
Total Technologies announces high speed HDMI 1.3b CAT 2 cables
TTL recently announced that it is the first cable company in the world to pass HDMI 1.3b CAT2 testing. TTL’s
7.5-meter “High Speed” HDMI cable passed CAT 2 non-equalized eye diagram testing at 165 MHz as well as CAT
2 equalized eye diagram testing at 340 MHz. This means the cable can handle 1080p signals (including those at
increased color depths and increased refresh rates and at resolutions up to 2560x1600 pixels. TTL’s HDMI cables
incorporate a patented RF-BLOK Shielding Metal Can Design which helps avoid any potential pressure and
temperature damage that can occur during the injection molding process. http://www.total-technologies.com
Accell announces world’s first HDMI 1.3a Category 2 compatible 2-1 switch
Accell announced its new UltraAV 2-1 HDMI 1.3a Category 2 Switch for the A/V home theater market at a price
of $99.99. Accell recognizes that although other companies produce HDMI switches in 2-1 and 4-1 configurations,
not all support both the HDMI 1.3a Category 1 and Category 2 specifications. “A/V devices that support any part of
the HDMI 1.3a Category 2 are starting to emerge, and Accell plans on being the frontrunner in its connectivity,”
stated Tenny Sin, Accell’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Home users expanding their A/V system with
HDMI devices may find their TV lacks enough HDMI inputs, therefore building a system with an HDMI 1.3a
Category 2 Switch provides built-in scalability for the inclusion, presently or in the future, of products that support
features from this specification.” Accell's UltraAV 2-1 Switch supports HDMI 1.3a Category 2 including up to
1440p resolution, 10.2Gbps (340MHz) high-speed data transfer and rich 48-bit deep color. In addition, this ultracompact switch supports Dolby True-HD and DTS-HD audio formats. The switch requires no external power and is
complete with a remote control and an infrared extender. http://www.accellcables.com
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Display Standard
August 2007
RedMere to provide technology for Fairchild Semiconductor’s new HDMI products
RedMere Technology will provide Fairchild Semiconductor will provide “known good die” (KGD) connectivity
products for the HDTV and consumer multi-media markets. Fairchild plans to release a new line of products
starting with HDMI switch and repeater devices incorporating RedMere’s patented MagnifEye technology,
targeting high-volume repeater and multi-port HDMI connectivity solutions for HDTV applications. MagnifEye
technology eliminates the cable-effects of skew, cross-talk and EMI, and significantly improves system reliability.
Fairchild’s first products will feature +/- 1bit skew tolerance, wideband adaptive equalization, integrated DDC
buffer/repeater and selectable output pre-emphasis, and are expected to be released in the fall of 2007. “HDMI
connectivity is expected to be as pervasive as USB connectors, and home theaters are driving this demand. With
multiple HDMI inputs, consumers are able to connect more than one application at a time, such as a digital set-top
box and a game station, connected to their high-definition TV,” Jerry Johnston, Fairchild’s product line director for
Analog Switches. “System designers also find our high-bandwidth HDMI switches easy to use because they can
add a second port to their HDMI products without changing internal aspects of the application, or redesigning for
an extra feature.” http://www.redmere.com http://www.fairchildsemi.com
VESA releases DisplayPort/HDMI interoperability guidelines
In mid-June, the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) announced the release of its DisplayPort
Interoperability Guideline. VESA claims that the document sets guidelines for enabling interoperability between
DisplayPort devices and DVI 1.0/HDMI devices through the use of cable adaptors. The document describes
implementation guidelines for Source and Sink devices that support both DisplayPort 1.1 and DVI 1.0/HDMI
modes of operation (“Dual-mode Devices”); functional definition of pigtail, coupler-type and sink-side cable
adaptors that have a DisplayPort connector on one end and either a DVI 1.0 or HDMI Type A/Type C connector on
the other; and mechanism through which a Dual-mode Device discovers the presence of the cable adaptor. A Dualmode Device Indication icon was designed to be used with the DisplayPort icon to indicate that a device also
supports DVI 1.0 or HDMI in addition to DisplayPort. http://www.displayport.org
Parade Technologies, demonstrates DisplayPort solutions
Parade Technologies announced recently the reference design of its DP501 DisplayPort 1.1 transmitter with an ATI
Radeon graphics processor has successfully completed an interoperability test with DisplayPort receiver from a
third party vendor and Parade’s own DP601. Parade’s DP601, a dual-mode DisplayPort receiver, also has
completed interoperability tests with a number of DisplayPort transmitters from third party vendors including a next
generation ATI Radeon graphics processor with native DisplayPort 1.1 transmitter. http://www.paradetech.com
Intel invests in Parade Technologies
Parade Technologies Ltd., a developer in digital video interface technology, announced the closing of its Series B
financing totaling $14.5 million. AsiaVest Partners led the Series B round. Intel Capital and Legend Capital also
participated. Funds will be used to accelerate the company’s growth strategy, especially the marketing and
development of DisplayPort and HDMI digital video interface technology. http://www.paradetech.com
Agilent Technologies introduces DisplayPort compliance test solution
In mid-August, Agilent Technologies introduced the industry’s first DisplayPort source compliance test solution
that fully implements the tests identified in the DisplayPort physical layer compliance test specification. The
DisplayPort standard defines a high-bandwidth interface for connecting laptops or personal computers with display
monitors or connecting computers with high-definition consumer electronics devices. The Agilent DisplayPort
solution is designed for use by DisplayPort compliance test labs and by engineers designing DisplayPort devices
who want to optimize their devices before they submit them to a DisplayPort compliance test lab for certification.
In addition to its manual and automated DisplayPort physical layer compliance test capability, the solution offers a
rich set of features to assist engineers in debugging and characterizing their DisplayPort designs. Pricing for the
Agilent DisplayPort solution starts at $95,000. It is available now. http://www.agilent.com
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August 2007
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
Display-related standards news
compiled by Phillip Hill and Mark Fihn
FLO testing and certification specifications completed
FLO Series II and FLO Series III Testing Plans were approved by the FLO Forum.
The approval means that a complete set of FLO Series I, Series II and Series III
Testing Specifications is available to the market; with Series I specifications already
published by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) as standards TIA-1102, TIA-1103 and TIA-1104.
FLO Series II (FLO Services Testing) is a suite of application and service-related MediaFLO qualification tests and
their descriptions for standardization. A corresponding service Series FLO Device Qualification System (FDQS)
facilitates execution of tests. FLO Series III (FLO/Non-FLO Concurrent Operation) verifies that MediaFLO
services do not interfere with non-MediaFLO radio-based services and features on the handset. This specification
currently addresses cdma2000 1X, 1xEV-DO a-GPS and Bluetooth test cases. www.floforum.org.
FLO Forum opens FLO standard with repeater specs
On August 21, the FLO Forum announced the completion of the FLO Repeater Minimum Performance
Specification, further opening standardization of FLO technology. The new specification has been submitted to the
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) TR-47.1 subcommittee. Following normal TIA standardization
review and comment procedures, and when approved, the Specification will be published as TIA-1132 Minimum
Performance Specification for Terrestrial Mobile Multimedia Multicast Forward Link Only Repeaters. The
proposed standard specifies a minimum set of test and performance characteristics to ensure that a FLO repeater
can provide service in any network that meets the compatibility requirements previously outlined by the FLO Air
Interface Specification, published as TIA-1099 in July 2006. The standard thus ensures that any FLO repeater is
able to receive and transmit waveforms containing multicast service information that can be received by any FLO
device. The FLO Repeater Minimum Performance Specification was developed and approved by the FLO Forum’s
Test and Certification Committee, comprising FLO Forum members from around the globe. www.floforum.org.
EU Commission favors DVB-H over MediaFLO standard
In calling for a single broadcasting technology standard across Europe, the European Commission recently chose
the DVB-H standard and will add it to its list of standards within August. The news is a blow to Qualcomm’s
competing MediaFLO technology, which the firm was hoping to get licensed in Europe. The decision added to a
particularly hard month for Qualcomm, who also lost court decisions to Broadcom related to patent issues related to
MPEG-4/AVC-H (see article on page 69).The FLO Forum, which was formed to promote MediaFLO technology,
stated that it believes the commission's intention of favoring one particular mobile TV technology for Europe could
stall the advancement of the mobile TV ecosystem. http://www.floforum.org Implementation of DVB-H was
considered a forgone conclusion by most analysts, since much of Europe has already adopted the standard and it is
supported by numerous European heavyweight telecommunication players. Analysts in fact have suggested that the
European decision is likely to boost support for DVB-H in the United States as well.
Sharp files lawsuit against Samsung related to LCDs
A US lawsuit filed by Japan’s Sharp is the latest of a string of unexpected shocks for Samsung Electronics. On
August 6, in a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sharp accused the
South Korean electronics giant of infringing upon five of its patents related to liquid-crystal display technologies.
Sharp is seeking compensation and a sales ban on Samsung products that allegedly infringe upon the patents. Last
month, Samsung turned in its worst quarterly results in four years. But the cyclical LCD panel industry is finally
moving into an upswing.
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Display Standard
August 2007
TÜV recognized as “Notified Body”
TÜV announced that it has been recognized as a Notified Body, able to perform all related
services for EMC Directive 2004/108/EC. The European Commission acknowledged TÜV SÜD
America as a valid organization nominated as a US Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) for the
Electromagnetic Compatibility Sector of the US-EC Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA). A
US CAB is equivalent to an EU Notified Body. This recognition means that TÜV SÜD America
may conduct tests and approve products according to the new European EMC Directive
2004/108/EC, which became effective July 20, 2007. TÜV also holds Competent Body status for all purposes
related to testing and approval of the former EMC Directive, 89/336/EEC. The EMC Directive is applicable to most
electrical and electronic products and is considered to be a “horizontal” standard because it crosses horizontal
markets of electronic products such as information technology equipment, electrical medical devices, appliances,
etc. The EMC Directive covers both emission and immunity requirements and references updated harmonized
standards that are published in the Official Journal of the European Union. http://www.TUVamerica.com
Microsoft submitted HD Photo format to JPEG
According to a July 31 press release, Microsoft submitted Windows Vista's HD Photo file format
to the Joint Photographic Experts Group, known as JPEG, and that the standards body has agreed
to take it on as a work item. If adopted, the photo file format will be officially known as JPEG
XR – short for Extended Range. But that process is likely to take at least a year. "Our goal has
been to develop the ultimate successor to JPEG (define) as the format of choice for all digital
photography [and] we also announced earlier this year that we were committed to standardizing
HD Photo as an open format," said a blog post by Bill Crow, program manager for HD Photo. HD Photo was
designed to provide more efficient compression than JPEG as well as to preserve much more of the original data
captured by a camera's sensors. "HD Photo offers a wide range of pixel formats at 8, 16 or 32 bits per channel
including high dynamic range wide gamut formats using fixed point or floating point representations. HD Photo
offers options that eliminate the quality limitations of the original JPEG format's lone 24-bit pixel values," Crow
added. JPEG is a working group of ISO/IEC, the International Organization for Standardization / International
Electrotechnical Commission, and of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and is responsible for the
JPEG family of imaging standards. In seeking standards status, Microsoft says the technology will be available on a
royalty free basis. http://www.jpeg.org/newsrel19.html
EBU issues technical standard for broadcast monitors
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) issued a new standard for broadcast monitors using
flat panel displays. The standard is called EBU-Tech 3320 and sets out clear requirements for
video monitor makers that are trying to use flat panel displays such as LCDs. In the past, many
of the features of CRTs have been, to some extent, taken for granted, but with the
disappearance of high grade CRT production, a technical solution using LCDs or other
displays has become essential. The document, called “User requirements for Video Monitors in
Television Production” defines Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 monitors. Grade 1 monitors are
for camera control, color grading and quality control and need to be measuring instruments for visual quality. Grade
2 monitors have wider tolerances and can be used in preview, control walls and rooms and in edit suites (as long as
there is no picture quality manipulation). Finally, the Grade 3 monitors are for audio production, dialogue dubbing,
signal presence monitoring and audience displays in studios. The EBU says that Grade 3 monitors are similar to
high end domestic TVs. While Grade 1 monitors have a limited brightness range of 70 to at least 100 cd/m², Grade
2 monitors need 70 to at least 200 cd/m² and Grade 3 up to 400 cd/m² in adverse conditions. The standard also
specifies contrast, black level, gamma (which should be 2.35), including tolerances for the individual colors for
Grade 1, 2 and 3 and gray-scale reproduction tracking. http://www.ebu.ch/en/technical/publications/index.php
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August 2007
JPEG 2000 reports digital cinema successes and proposes standardization of JPEG XR
The Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) is a working group of ISO/IEC, the International
Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission, (ISO/IEC
JTC1/SC29/WG1) and of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T SG16), responsible
for the popular JPEG, JBIG, JPEG-LS, and JPEG 2000 family of imaging standards. The WG1
group meets three times a year, in North America, Europe and Asia. The latest meeting was held July 2-6, 2007, at
EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland, hosted by Swiss National Body with delegates from 14 countries.
The success of JPEG 2000 in Digital Cinema continues to grow as the Digital Cinema Initiatives
(http://www.dcimovies.com) has recently approved the JPEG 2000 based DCI specification 1.1 for distribution of
digital movies to theatres/cinemas worldwide. The strength of Digital Cinema is apparent with nearly 4,000 JPEG
2000 compliant servers deployed and nearly 5,000 systems expected by the end of 2007.
A new work item, JPEG XR, was proposed at the meeting to assemble an architecture for imaging called JPEG
Systems. This is intended to provide harmonization and integration between a wide range of existing and new
image coding schemes, in order to enable the design and delivery of the widest range of imaging applications,
across many platforms and technologies. In order to achieve these goals, the first two parts of the proposed
Standard, under the generic banner of “JPEG Systems” are intended to be: a Technical Report discussing use cases
and technical issues and solutions which should be met by the range of Standards and profiles defined in JPEG
Systems; a proposed new Standard designed explicitly for the next generation of digital cameras, based extensively
on the technology introduced by Microsoft in its Windows Media Format proposals, at present known as HD Photo.
SPEC Graphics Performance Group expands scope under new charter
The Standard Performance Evaluation Corp.’s board of directors has approved a new charter that
expands the scope of its graphics performance characterization group, formerly known as
SPEC/GPC. Under the new charter, the renamed Graphics & Workstation Performance Group
(GWPG) can investigate standardized benchmarking projects in areas such as OpenGL ES,
rendering, digital video and photography, power consumption, and a full range of workstation
applications. Existing project groups operating under the SPEC/GWPG charter are able to pursue a
wider spectrum of benchmarking options. The OpenGL Performance Characterization (SPECopc)
group, now known as SPECgpc (Graphics Performance Characterization), can go beyond OpenGL benchmarks to
address other graphics APIs such as DirectX. The Application Performance Characterization (SPECapc) group
retains its name, but can now develop benchmarks for a broad range of workstation applications, not just those that
are graphics-intensive. http://www.spec.org
New 3D format approved by Ecma International
On June 28, 2007, at its General Assembly meeting in Prien am Chiemsee, in
Germany, the new 4th Edition of the Universal 3D (U3D) File Format (ECMA-363)
was approved. In the new edition, the overall consistency of the format has been
improved, and the free-form curve and surface specification, including the
specification of NURBS, has been added. In addition, the non-normative reference source code, available at
SourceForge.net has been updated accordingly. “The Universal 3D (U3D) File Format Standard (ECMA-363) is a
unique 3D visualization format being an open standard and having an unsurpassed installed 3D reader base due to
the massive deployment of Adobe Reader,” said Lutz Kettner, Director Geometry Product Development, mental
images GmbH, and Co-Editor of Ecma TC43. “3D visualization is finally becoming available to everyone. The
U3D File Format specification and standardization is an ongoing process in which features such as mesh
compression, hierarchical surface descriptions, and generalized shading will be addressed in the near future to
satisfy even the most demanding visualization needs.” http://www.ecma-international.org
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August 2007
Ecma International publishes two optical storage standards
Ecma International has achieved two new standards for dramatically increased
optical storage density – Holographic Information Storage - that break through the
density limits of conventional optical storage by recording through the full depth of
the media instead of recording only on the surface. The new standards approved on
May 2, 2007 and published on June 11, 2007 are: ECMA-377 “Information Interchange on Holographic Versatile
Disc (HVD) Recordable Cartridges – Capacity: 200 Gbytes per Cartridge” and ECMA-378 “Information
Interchange on Read-Only Memory Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD-ROM) – Capacity: 100 Gbytes per disk”.
According to the standards one HVD can store upwards of 200 gigabytes of data, the equivalent of more than 40 of
today’s DVDs. It is expected that future implementations will be able to store more than 1.3 terabytes. Additionally,
unlike optical discs, which record one data bit at a time, HVDs allow over 10 kilobits of data to be written and read
in parallel with a single flash of light – and the recording and reading processes do not require spinning media. Data
transfer rates of up to 20 megabytes per second (far faster than DVDs) are easily achieved with rotating or
translating media. http://www.ecma-international.org
Japan Regional Standards Committee tackles EHS standards
SEMI’s Japan Regional Committee on Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS)
Standards has drafted a proposed safety guideline to comprehensively address EHS
issues in FPD manufacturing. The working document, Doc. #3814G, was prepared
with significant input from Japan, Korea and North America FPD standards volunteers, and leverages many of the
philosophies, approaches and techniques successfully used in the semiconductor industry through the widelyrecognized SEMI S2. The framework for the proposed FPD EHS guideline is the SEMI S2 safety guideline that has
achieved widespread compliance in the semiconductor industry worldwide. One of the driving goals in the
development of SEMI S2 was to create a safety guideline that was performance based to allow for innovations in
design. Rather than dictating what parts manufacturers must use or which circuit designs they must implement, it
would be the performance of the machine that would be addressed. The SEMI S2 guideline defines minimum
performance-based safety requirements that address a number of hazards, including chemical, electrical, fire,
sound, radiation, mechanical, and seismic. The report also includes an ergonomic evaluation. These requirements
are created and periodically updated by industry working committees. Like SEMI S2, a comprehensive FPD EHS
guideline can be expected to address the following areas: product design & electrical safety; risk analysis; industrial
hygiene; and ergonomics. http://www.semi.org
SEMI approves further standards at May meeting
SEMI D50-0707 - Test Method for Surface Hardness of FPD Polarizing Film - was technically approved by the
global Flat Panel Display – Color Filter & Optical Elements Committee. The specification defines the procedural
guideline for measuring the surface hardness of a polarizing film and its materials for FPD. These procedures are
applicable to manufacturing, quality control, and development work. This specification clarifies the differences
when evaluating a polarizing film and its materials, using ISO15184:1998 “Paint and Vanishes – Determination of
Film Hardness by Pencil Test,” the specification defined for determining the hardness of coating films. It
specifically clarifies the load in the test method and evaluation items in the evaluation method.
SEMI D49-0707 - Specification of Single Substrate Orientation for Loading/Unloading Into/From Equipment to
Specify ID Reader Position - is intended to further specify the single substrate ID reader position by specifying
more clearly the orientation of single substrate for loading/unloading indicated with a virtual datum line. For this
purpose, this standard specifies only the orientation of single substrate in loading/unloading into/from AMHS and
equipment and does not specifies the orientation of single substrate inside the equipment.
SEMI D29-1101 (Reapproved 0707) - Test Method for Heat Resistance in Flat Panel Display (FPD) Color Filters is to standardize the method for measurement of heat resistance in color filters used for flat panel displays. This
method is to be used by suppliers and users of color filters to measure quality. http://www.semi.org
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August 2007
USPTO publishes measures to improve patent quality
The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
published in the Federal Register new rules that will allow the agency to continue to make the
patent examination process more effective and efficient by encouraging applicants to use
greater precision in describing the scope of their inventions. The new rules will be effective on
November 1, 2007. The new rules have been modified, relative to the rules that were originally
proposed early last year, in response to the extensive comments the USPTO received from the
public. Under the new rules, applicants may file two new continuing applications and one
request for continued examination as a matter of right. Also, under the new rules, each application may contain up
to 25 claims, with no more than five of them independent claims, without any additional effort on the part of the
applicant. Beyond these thresholds, however, the new rules require applicants to show why an additional
continuation is necessary or to provide supplementary information relevant to the claimed invention to present
additional claims. http://www.USPTO.gov
Open Mobile Video Coalition encourages participation in developing ATSC standard
The Open Mobile Video Coalition (http://www.openmobilevideo.com) issued the
following open letter to companies in the technology industry in an effort to drive
the development of mobile broadcast television.
“The Open Mobile Video Coalition is issuing this open letter to urge
companies in the technology industry interested in introducing new mobile
video capabilities for digital television broadcasting to actively participate in
the inter-industry standardization process for mobile video launched by the Advanced Television Systems
Committee (ATSC). The Open Mobile Video Coalition was formed by Belo Corp., FOX Television
Stations, Gannett Broadcasting, Gray Television, ION Media Networks, the NBC & Telemundo Television
Stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and Tribune Broadcasting Company, which together own and operate
over 280 television stations covering 95 million homes, and has come together specifically to facilitate and
accelerate the development of mobile video in the United States. The Coalition believes that adherence by
the technology industry to the process set forward by the ATSC will result in most timely deployment and
adoption of mobile video.
The Coalition and its members fully support and will participate in the process announced by the ATSC on
April 9, 2007 for the development of an ATSC-M/H standard, a backward compatible mobile and handheld
standard for television broadcasters, including the Request for Proposal (RFP) that was issued on May 21,
2007. Specifically, the Coalition views as critical the ATSC’s RFP requirements that i) candidate
technologies be incorporated into an open standard, with underlying intellectual property made available for
licensing under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms; and ii) candidate technologies be submitted
according to the schedule of the RFP, so that they can be evaluated under an expeditious, consistent and fair
The Coalition believes that one of the major threats to the successful and timely introduction and adoption
of new mobile video products and services is a marketplace “format war” among incompatible approaches.
In broadcasting, the AM Stereo debacle resulted in failure for all interested parties; fragmented approaches
in other products—such as for videocassettes (i.e. VHS vs. Betamax), rewritable DVDs (i.e. DVD-R vs.
DVD+R), and high-definition DVDs (i.e. Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD) — may have significantly delayed or
diminished consumer adoption. As such, the Coalition urges all interested technology companies to
participate in the ATSC process – we believe that reaching a single open standard that fosters healthy
competition and encourages consumer confidence and rapid adoption is ultimately in everyone’s best
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August 2007
Open Mobile Alliance releases globally interoperable mobile TV standard
The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), an international specifications setting body,
announced the public availability of its Mobile Broadcast (BCAST) Version 1.0
Candidate Enabler Release. The specification is an open global standard for
interactive mobile TV as well as on-demand video services, and is adaptable to
any IP-based mobile content delivery technology. Currently, OMA’s BCAST 1.0 can be adapted to broadcast
systems like DVB-H as well as cellular systems like 3GPP MBMS, 3GPP2 BCMCS and mobile unicast streaming
systems. Over 35 companies have actively contributed to OMA’s new specification, setting the global market
requirements of the end result. http://www.openmobilealliance.org/release_program/index.html
CEA publishes digital accessory standards
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)’s Digital Television (DTV) Interface Subcommittee published CEA761-B, DTV Remodulator Specification with Enhanced OSD Capability, and CEA-CEB5-B, Recommended
Practice for DTV Receiver “Monitor” Mode Capability. Together these standards will
enable consumers to easily set-up and control a digital television accessory, like a settop box or digital video recorder (DVR), using their TV screen.
USPTO and the Japan Patent Office launch electronic priority document exchange
The Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark
Office (USPTO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) announced that
they have launched a free service that will allow the two offices to
electronically exchange patent application priority documents and help
further streamline the patent application process. The new service is the result of a 2006 agreement between the
USPTO and the JPO. Priority documents have to be filed when applicants wish to claim an earlier application filing
date in one patent office based on a prior filing in another. Claiming priority is a valuable tool for businesses
wanting to pursue patent rights globally. Under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, a
treaty that provides a number of important rights for innovators, a patent applicant may file an application in one
Paris Convention member country (the priority document), and within 12 months, file corresponding applications in
other member countries, while obtaining the benefit of the first application’s filing date. This 12-month period
allows applicants to make important decisions about where to file subsequent applications to seek protection for
their inventions. Paris Convention filings are a critical component in many applicants’ global business and
patenting strategies and represent a substantial portion of worldwide patent activity. In order to obtain the benefit of
an earlier filing, however, applicants are generally required to file paper copies of the priority document in each of
the later-filing offices at their own expense. The new service will allow the USPTO and JPO, with appropriate
permissions, to obtain electronic copies of priority documents filed with the other office from its electronic records
management system at no cost to the applicant. http://www.uspto.gov/web/forms/index.html#patent
Symmetricom purchases advanced video technologies from Genista
Symmetricom announced the purchase of certain technology assets from Genista Corporation. Demonstrating its
previously announced intention to expand the company’s presence in QoE assurance markets, Symmetricom will
offer CSPs, systems integrators and content providers a broader and seamless set of performance-measurement
tools to monitor the quality of IPTV, TV over IP, Video on Demand and other IP-based multimedia services. This
technology purchase builds upon prior activity by Symmetricom in the QoE assurance marketplace. In January
2007, Symmetricom announced the acquisition of QoSmetrics S.A., now integrated into Symmetricom’s QoE
Assurance Division, which provides QoE solutions for monitoring the performance of triple and quad play services.
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August 2007
German Flat Panel Display Forum elects new Board of Directors
During the General Assembly of the DFF in Frankfurt on June 20, the German Flat Panel Display Forum, a
working group within the German Engineering
Federation (VDMA), elected its new board of
directors. The new board confirmed the two presiding
chairmen, Peter Bullen and Robert Isele, for a second
period in office. Dr. Eric Maiser (VDMA) stepped
down as managing director after seven years. In the
accompanying picture, the DFF member (from left to
right) include: Dr. Juergen Wahl (Optrex Europe
GmbH), Gildas Sorin (Novaled AG), Robert Isele
(BMW Group), Wolfgang Mildner (Poly IC GmbH &
Co. KG), Dr. Susanne Bieller (DFF Secretariat), Peter
Bullen (i-sft GmbH), Dr. Joerg Winkler (Plansee
GmbH) and Dr. Werner Becker (Merck KGaA).
Adobe to support H.264 Codec in Flash Player
On August 20, Adobe Systems announced the latest update for Adobe Flash Player 9 software, code-named
Moviestar, which includes H.264 standard video support – the same standard deployed in Blu-Ray and HD-DVD
high definition video players, as well as hardware accelerated, multi-core enhanced full screen video playback.
These advancements will enable the delivery of HD television quality and premium audio content through the
Adobe Flash Player and will expand rich media Flash experiences on the desktop and H.264 ready consumer
devices. The latest update is available in beta for immediate download http://labs.adobe.com.
USDC initiates CRADA with NIST for display daylight readability measurement
The US Display Consortium (USDC) announced that it has commenced a two-year
Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST) of the US Department of Commerce. The $450,000
program will enable the development of tools and techniques to measure the character contrast
of the many display devices that are used outdoors in numerous applications. Providing a set of
daylight readability measurement procedures would allow for simple, inexpensive testing and validation of display
performance for a wide variety of applications including avionics, mobile devices, hand-held devices, medical
applications, security, and military. Such a ubiquitous impact would greatly serve the display community, enabling
characterization and evaluation of these emerging technologies and applications. The Council for Optical
Radiometric Measurements (CORM) has specifically identified the need for the development of adequate display
metrology, along with many members of the USDC. http://www.usdc.org
2007 World Standards Day paper competition closes August 31
The US Celebration of World Standards Day Planning Committee announced that all interested parties must submit
papers for the annual paper competition by August 31. Papers must be original, unpublished works and address the
theme “Standards and the Global Village”. Sponsored by the Standards Engineering Society
(SES), the competition is open to all US-based organizations and individuals. The 2007
competition invites papers that illustrate ways in which standards developing organizations
have encouraged and created global consensus for the economic and social benefit of the global
village. The winners of the competition will be recognized at a special ceremony during the US
Celebration of World Standards Day exhibition, reception and dinner on October 18. Papers
will be reviewed by a panel of independent judges and approved by the 2007 World Standards
Day Planning Committee. For rules and other information, visit http://www.ses-standards.org
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Display Standard
August 2007
Allion develops CBB Compliance Program
Allion developed compliance tests to help
accommodate Intel’s Common Building Blocks (CBB)
program including products from various suppliers to
be used interchangeably across different notebook
platforms. Suppliers that have had their products tested
against the CBB ingredient specification and passed at
Allion can be located in the specified product ingredient
Allion provides CBB supplier inquiry management, test
problem consultation, detail project management, and
test submission process support. Suppliers that want to
participate in the compliance program can register at
Intel and OLPC efforts join forces
Intel recently joined forces with the not-for-profit One Laptop per Child (OLPC) foundation. In May this year,
Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of OLPC, said that Intel “should be ashamed of itself” for efforts to undermine
his initiative. He accused Intel of selling its own cut-price laptop - the Classmate PC - below cost to drive him out
of markets in the developing world. But as a result of Intel’s supportive efforts, Negroponte recently said: “Intel
joins the OLPC board as a world leader in technology, helping reach the world's children. Collaboration with Intel
means that the maximum number of laptops will reach children.” The new agreement means that Intel will sit
alongside the 11 companies, including Google and Red Hat, which
are partners in the OLPC scheme. It will also join rival chip-maker
AMD, which supplies the processor at the heart of the $100 laptop.
Initially there are no plans to switch the processor to one designed
by Intel. However, the servers used to back-up the XO laptops, as
they are known, will have Intel technology at their core. In
addition, the partnership will have a practical pay off for software
developers because an application developed for the XO laptop
should work on the Classmate and vice versa. Currently both
laptops are being tested in schools around the world. Participating
countries are able to purchase the XO in lots of 250,000. They will
initially cost $176 but the eventual aim is to sell the machine to
governments of developing countries for $100. Intel says it already
has orders for “thousands” of Classmates, which currently cost
over $200. http://laptop.org
Tzero secures HDCP approval from DCP
On August 15, Tzero Technologies announced that its ZeroWire technology has been approved for use with content
protected by HDCP. The technology is available in products for both wireless and coax solutions as an HDMI cable
replacement. Digital Content Protection (DCP LLC), licensor of the HDCP content protection technology
specification, granted Tzero’s ZeroWire authorization as an Approved Retransmission Technology. The ZeroWire
chipset enables service providers to create devices and networks for distributing entertainment content throughout
the entire home using existing coax cable. The chipset also gives consumer electronics manufacturers the ability to
create new classes of wireless video products – HDTVs, digital video recorders and more – that are easier and less
expensive to install. http://www.tzerotech.com
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August 2007
Pulse-LINK seeks damages and injunction against Tzero
Pulse~LINK announced in late June that it has commenced federal litigation against Tzero Technologies, claiming
infringement of Pulse~LINK’s patented UWB communications technologies. In 2005, Pulse~LINK was the first to
announce and demonstrate wireless HDMI using JPEG2000. Pulse~LINK was also the first company to pursue
whole-home HD networking using a combination of wired and wireless UWB. According to Bruce Watkins,
president & COO of Pulse~LINK. “We believe that Tzero's announced UWB-over-coax, wireless HDMI and
similar products that it has developed and have or will introduce into the market directly infringe on a number of
our patents.” Pulse~LINK says that historically the company has taken an openly collaborative stance within the
UWB industry. In 2003, Pulse~LINK was the first to propose a Common Signaling Mode within the IEEE and the
International Telecommunications Union. The Common Signaling Mode is a method that allows differing
technology implementations of UWB to peacefully coexist in an open and diverse UWB technology market.
Pulse~LINK has also previously made written offers to make the Intellectual Property behind Pulse~LINK’s
CWave UWB technology available to collaborative industry standards on a RAND basis. This includes
Pulse~LINK efforts within the IEEE, the UWB Forum, and the 1394 Trade Association. http://www.pulselink.net
LG incorporates DisplayLink for USB Network Display
In mid-July, DisplayLink announced that LG Electronics (LG) launched North America’s first line of USBconnected computer displays based on DisplayLink’s USB 2.0 network display technology. The new FlatronWide
L206WU is a 20-inch monitor (at 1680x1050) that is certified for Windows Vista and feature DisplayLink’s DL160 chip, enabling high-performance HD graphics over a USB 2.0 link. With a multi-port USB hub built into the
display, up to three LG FlatronWide monitors can be daisy chain connected to a PC while consuming only one
USB 2.0 port on the computer. Future improvements will enable up to six monitors to be connected to a single PC
over USB 2.0. The complete DisplayLink solution is comprised of Virtual Graphics Card (VGC) software that runs
on a Windows host PC, and a Hardware Rendering Engine (HRE) inside the DisplayLink chip at the display end.
The VGC software processes a stream of display information using the company’s proprietary adaptive graphics
protocol and transmits it over a USB 2.0, wireless USB, or Wi-Fi link to the DisplayLink chip that reconstructs the
image on the display. http://www.lge.com http://www.displaylink.com
WIPO report shows patent scramble in Asia
Worldwide patent applications are growing at an average rate of 4.7% per year, according to the
2007 edition of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)’s Patent Report. WIPO’s
report looks at 2005 figures, the last year for which complete worldwide statistics are available.
It shows that the number of patents granted has increased at an average annual rate of 3.6%, with
600 000 patents granted in 2005. At the end of 2005, around 5.6 million patents were in force
around the globe. The Republic of Korea and China recorded the highest growth in application
numbers and the northeast Asian region continues to increase its share of worldwide patenting.
Between 1995 and 2005, patent filings by residents doubled in Korea and increased eight fold in China. Recording
an increase of almost a third over 2004, the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) became the world's
third largest recipient of patent filings in 2005. More than three quarters (77%) of all patent applications in 2005
were filed at five offices - the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO),
the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), SIPO and the European Patent Office (EPO). The five offices
accounted for 74% of all patents granted in 2005, the report says. The report reveals an increase in filings in the
electricity and electronics sectors, which accounted for 32% of worldwide filings between 2000 and 2004. The
fastest growing fields in the same period were medical technology (+32.3%), audio-visual technology (+28.3%)
and information technology (+27.7%). http://www.wipo.int
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August 2007
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August 2007
Society for Information Display 2007 Symposium
May 20-25, Long Beach, California
In this second report, Phillip Hill covers presentations from Toshiba Matsushita, US Air Force Research
Laboratory, National Chiao Tung University, Sony, UC Irvine, FDA
P-38: Comparison of the Odiousness by Various False Color Motion Blurs in LCDs
Yuzo Hisatake, Hideki Ito, Masaki Obi, Yasushi Kawata, and Akio Murayama
Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology, Saitama, Japan
Toshiba Matsushita has evaluated the odiousness by
various false color motion blurs in LCDs with respect to
each factor that is generating the blur. In the case of
different color hue blur, the researchers found that the
optimal and allowance levels of odiousness can be
expressed by the average of the perceived blur edge time
(PBET) value.
Motion blurs in LCDs are caused by slow response time of
the liquid crystal and hold-type display characteristics.
Motion Picture Response Time (MPRT) is one of the basic
psychophysical estimation methods, where psychophysical
quantity is estimated by measuring an average width of
blurs. This method comprehensively evaluates the causes
of the blurs. However, the researchers found that
visualization of the blur can be affected not only by the
width but also by the color of the blurs, luminance of the
blur and sharpness of object images. These visualizations
and their odiousness cannot be discriminated by the MPRT
method. For example, a red color, moving object on a green
background is perceived as a no blur, black gradation or
yellow gradation around the object by each of the blur
factors. The yellow gradation blur is caused by most holdtype driving methods, and the black gradation blur caused
by slow response of liquid crystal and hold-type driving.
The results of a subjective evaluation on this issue show
that the yellow gradation blur gave more odiousness than
the black gradation blur whose width is wider than the
yellow gradation blur.
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Display Standard
August 2007
Figure 1 shows the picture that was used to evaluate a
case of another color hue from the object or background.
This picture has a high color contrast ratio for 120
degrees hue-angle in CIE L*a*b* between the object and
the background and high sharpness of the object. Figure 5
(previous page) shows integration of perceived brightness
of each subpixel at the motion edge with transposing a
distance between x1 and x2 position to time. Figure 6
shows perceived images to the eyes of the subjects near
edges of red and green patterns. In Figure 5, the slope
Figure 1: An evaluated picture - maple leaves
of the curves of A1 and C1 are steeper than that of B1,
hence the blur width of A1 and C1 are perceived narrower than that of B1 as shown in Figure 6. So the score of
condition A) and C) were higher than that of condition B).
The researchers assume that this is caused by the effect of the contrast sensitivity of the human eye. For that reason,
the subjects perceived the blur only for the range where the inclination of the brightness curve is rather precipitous.
In this study the color blur PBET value can describe the level of odiousness correctly, rather than the MPRT value.
Even with the same MPRT value, the blur caused by hold-type driving will give higher PBET-value (odiousnessindex) than that by slow liquid crystal response. Therefore, this result suggests that higher frequency or higher
black-insertion ratio is more effective for reducing odiousness to the blur, rather than speeding up response time of
the liquid crystal. Average PBET value to optimal and allowance levels are about 4.15 and 7.00 ms, respectively.
In the future, the researchers will study the cases of different luminance blurs as one of the worst condition for the
odiousness and their optimal and allowance levels by referring the results of conventional blur caused by gradation
of colors or luminances between an object and the background.
P-39: Perceptual Tests of the Temporal Response of a Shuttered LCoS Projector
Marc D. Winterbottom, Craig Eidman, and Byron Pierce, Air Force Research Laboratory, Mesa, Arizona
George A. Geri, Link Simulation and Training, Mesa, Arizona
Perceptual motion blur was studied using imagery presented on an
LCoS projector equipped with a mechanical shutter to reduce pixel
hold-time. Perceptual measures of image blur were obtained with a
simple test stimulus, as well as imagery similar to that used in Air
Force flight simulation and training. Measured pixel hold-time was
found to accurately predict perceived blur.
Sample-and-hold visual displays, such as LCD, LCoS, and DLP
projectors, have typically been unacceptable for Air Force simulation
and training due to their relatively low temporal response. The
results presented here indicate that displays whose hold-times are
reduced to about 4 ms (at half amplitude) would be acceptable for
Figure 1: Normalized temporal luminance
distributions for three of the five hold-times
fast-jet flight simulation, and that even a hold time as high as 6 to 8
tested, and for a CRT projector
ms may be adequate. However, these conclusions must be verified at
higher luminance levels. Also, the simple pixel hold-time
measurements described in the paper can be used to predict moving image blur. Figure 1 shows the normalized
temporal luminance distributions for three of the LCoS hold-times as well as for the CRT projector.
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August 2007
P-40: A Visual Model of Color Break-Up for Design Field-Sequential LCDs
Shu-Ping Yan, Yu-Kuo Cheng, Fang-Cheng Lin, Ching-Ming Wei, Yi-Pai Huang, and Han-Ping D. Shieh
National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan
A model to evaluate the color break-up (CBU) of field-sequential color liquid crystal displays (FSC-LCDs) has
been successfully established. In order to quantify the CBU, “Color Break-Up Angle (CBUA)” was proposed as the
evaluation index. From psychophysical experiments, a CBUA of 0.22° is reported as the averaged threshold value
for indistinguishable color break-up. Consequently, the minimum frame rate could be derived from the model to
suppress CBU in various FSC-LCDs.
A color filter-less LCD with red, green, and blue LEDs as light sources was
developed as the FSC platform. The liquid crystal of optical compensated birefringent
(OCB) mode was utilized due to its fast response times for achieving a color field rate
of 180 Hz. The diagonal size of the LCD is 32 inches with a resolution of 1366x768
pixels, and the LEDs are implemented in a 20x12 array layout. This experimental
FSC-LCD has 86.51 cd/m2 brightness and 100% NTSC color gamut.
CBUA, the angle between the measurement pattern edge and a single frame color
band along the moving direction, was proposed as the visual evaluation index of
CBU, as the schematic plot shows in Figure 1. A simple image with a white rectangle
on a black background was used as the
measurement pattern. The definition of
CBUA is in the equation (on the left), where
T is the size pattern width (mm), D is the
viewing distance (mm), V is the relative moving velocity between the screen and the
eye (mm/s), and F is the frame rate (Hz). By using a
60 Hz frame rate FSC LCD, the parameters T, D, and V,
were examined for quantification. In the measurement
system, a horizontal moving camera (Canon G5)
controlled by an x-y stage was simulated as the human
eyes to record the CBU with speed V. For example, a T =
17 mm white bar was captured as the image with CBU
and is shown in Figure 2.
What is the most efficient frame rate to eliminate color
break-up for FSC-LCDs, the researchers ask. The answer
could be found from their proposed visual model, they
say. Consequently, the minimum frame rate for various
FSC-LCDs to suppress color break-up could be
determined from the model. In a 32-inch FSC-LCD, for
example, without considering the relative head moving
velocity, a 90 Hz frame rate should be the least
requirement. Therefore, the proposed model is not only
for evaluating the performance of CBU but also for
determining a minimum frame rate to eliminate CBU for
Figure 1: Schematic plot
of the definition of CBUA
Figure 2: Experiment result of a captured CBU image by
a horizontally moved camera and analyzed by MATLAB
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4.1: Color Conversion from Film to xvYCC Video Signal
Tatsuhiko Matsumoto, Yutaka Imai, Yoshihide Shimpuku, Takehiro Nakatsue, Shuichi Haga, Hiroaki Eto, Yoshiyuki
Akiyama, Masato Sakurai, Hiroshi Takizuka, Koichiro Kakinuma, and Hideo Morita
Sony Corporation, Tokyo, Japan
The color gamut of xvYCC is wider than that of film. Sony evaluated the color reproduction and developed a new
method of converting the video signal, which reproduced color of a film in xvYCC color space faithfully. Although
recently home theater systems composed of a large flat TV, a DVD player, and 5.1ch audio system are popular,
these systems compress the color gamut of film to the narrow BT.709 color gamut of the conventional signal in a
home theater system. In 2006, the extended color space was defined as IEC 61966-2-4: Extended-gamut YCC color
space for video applications: xvYCC. This standard has the same definition as the conventional video signal for
inside BT.709 gamut and keeps downward compatibility with the conventional video signal. Sony reports in this
paper a new method to convert between the xvYCC video signals and the digitized film signal.
Figure 1 shows the relationship between a negative film and a print film. The density range of the negative film is
about 2, but the density range of the print film is over 3. Figure 2 shows an example of the spectral-dye density
curve of a print film. The researchers determined the film color gamut by varying the density of the print film from
0 to 3, taking the spectra of print film and the light of a film projector. Three-dimensional view of xvYCC and the
film gamut which they simulated are shown in Figure 3. The solid film gamut is involved in the xvYCC. So, film
gamut can be expressed 100% coverage by xvYCC.
Sony aims to reproduce color so that it will be the same whether viewed on a TV screen or the screen in a theater.
This color should include all effects such as a lens of a camera, the effect of a filter, the developing to negative film,
editing, the developing to a print film, and screening. The ASC/DCI Standard Evaluation Material (StEM) movie
clip was provided by DCI and is available in X’Y’Z’ color corrected files. The researchers observed wider colors
than the BT.709 gamut in this clip. They converted this clip to xvYCC, keeping its color gamut. However the
process of getting XYZ values is not established in the actual digital intermediate (DI) process, so they aimed to
produce XYZ values from using the format generally used in the process. They assumed the sensitivities
characteristic of a negative and a print film, referencing the value of standard films, adjusted the exposure timing,
and calculated the exposure density of a print film. The spectrum transmission of a print film was determined by
multiplying the exposure density and the spectral dye density curves. The XYZ values in the screening were
calculated using the spectrum of a print film and the light source of a projector. They found the xvYCC value from
the XYZ values using the equations in IEC61966-2-4. Figure 4 shows a sample of the film data converted to the
xvYCC signal. The negative values of the waveform show colors out of the BT.709 gamut.
Figure 1 (left): Film timing. Figure 2 (middle left): Example of the spectral density of a print film. Lines represent yellow,
magenta, cyan and visually neutral. Figure 3 (middle right): Film and xvYCC gamut. Solid is film gamut, mesh is xvYCC
gamut. Figure 4 (right): Sample of the xvYCC converted data. Top image: Bottom RGB waveform.
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August 2007
4.2: Self-Calibrating Tiled Displays
Ezekiel S. Bhasker and Aditi Majumder
Department of Computer Science, University of California, Irvine, California
This paper presents seamless tiled displays via a completely distributed network of projector-camera systems that
calibrates itself without any user intervention. This makes projection-based tiled displays very easy to deploy and
maintain, the researchers say. The decentralized calibration methodology to achieve this also enables advanced
capabilities like scalability, reconfigurability and fault tolerance.
Large area displays that can provide life-size images at a very high resolution are critical for many applications like
scientific and medical visualization, training and simulation, and entertainment. Displays made by tiling multiple
projectors in a 2D array are the only way to build high-resolution displays that are completely seamless.
Displays made of multiple projectors suffer from two problems: (a) the image is not geometrically matched across
the projector boundaries; and (b) the color and brightness of the image is non-uniform primarily due to two reasons.
First, due to their casual alignment, adjacent projectors overlap in their projection area on the screen, thus those
regions are much brighter. Second, commodity projectors lack sophisticated optics, resulting in the “hot-spot”
effect, that is, 30-40% brightness fall-off from center to fringe.
In the paper, the university introduces a tiled multi-projector display that would be able to calibrate itself, with no
input from the user. It can detect additions, removals, and faults, and recalibrate in response to these events. So, all
the user needs to do is arrange projectors physically and the rest is taken care of by the system. Thus, the projector
becomes almost like a flashlight, letting you move the light around wherever you want it. And a cluster of these
projectors calibrates itself to create a giant high-resolution display without the user worrying about manual set-up
or maintenance.
The researchers report an asynchronous decentralized calibration that takes advantage of decentralized architecture.
This is a SPMD (single program multiple data) algorithm that runs on each plug-and-play projector (PPP) to
achieve calibration with no user intervention. Initially, every unit believes it is alone is the environment and has the
sole responsibility of displaying the data (Figure 1). Then each PPP runs the identical SPMD algorithm consisting
of two steps. First, it identifies its immediate neighbors, the display configuration and its own coordinates in the
display. Finally, it projects an image that is geometrically and photometrically matched with its neighbors to
achieve a seamless display.
Figure 1: Left to right: (a) Initially, every display unit thinks that it is the only display unit present, and is therefore
solely responsible for displaying the whole image. (b) After configuration identification each display unit knows the
display configuration – total number of projectors, and total display dimensions – and their own coordinates in the
array. Thus they know which parts of the display they are responsible for, but still do not know the relative
orientations of their neighbors. So, the image is not seamless. (c) After alignment each display unit matches
geometrically and photometrically with its neighbors to create a seamless display.
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The university team stresses that large visualization systems today are built primarily using very large arrays of
LCD panels. However, the bezels around the panels result in seams that can be distracting and even detrimental in
executing certain tasks due to mangling of text and patterns. But people still tend to stick to LCD panels due to the
relative ease in setting them up. People do not consider a seamless projection based tiled display since installing
and maintaining them is too hard. And of course, the researchers say, the necessity of advanced capabilities like
scalability and reconfigurability is not even evaluated. The proposed PPP will enable next generation super highresolution entirely seamless visualization, training and simulation systems where the number of pixels can be scaled
easily to billions. Thus, this will enable displays that can match the size and resolution of the exponentially growing
size of the data. Common data today like seismic charts, GIS data, genome data, and CAD drawings can easily be
10000x10000 in scale. Projectors today are portable and lightweight, so much
so, they can even fit in the palm of one’s hand (the MERL projector right
weighs 14 ounces and costs $700). So, it is easy to carry a bunch of projectors
in the car enabling portable seamless high-resolution displays via tiling of
these projectors. But, setting these up needs an educated user with technical
expertise on cameras used for display calibration, calibration methods, and
even operating systems and user interfaces.
The proposed projector-camera display unit along with the decentralized architecture and calibration would enable
“pack-and-go” displays where individuals can carry their own high-resolution displays with them and set them up
easily wherever needed in any scale and configuration. Finally, “pack-and-go” displays could spark and foster
novel paradigms of collaboration where each person carries his own projector and when more than one person meet
for collaboration, their respective displays are put together to create a seamless high resolution display. This display
can easily scale as the number of collaborators. More interestingly, such a shared display space that has access to
data from multiple machines might foster new directions of research in user interfaces for data sharing, the
researchers stress.
15.2: Distinguished Paper: Assessment of Temporal Blur-Reduction
Methods Using a Computational Observer that Predicts Human
Hongye Liang, Subok Park, Brandon D. Gallas, Aldo Badano, and Kyle J.
Myers, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, FDA, Maryland, US
The researchers reported on a method to assess the impact of temporal blur
reduction techniques based on measured or modeled device temporal
characteristics with a contrast-sensitive computational observer that predicts
human performance. They applied the method to the comparison of different
devices and temporal blur reduction approaches. A medical image display is the
last step in the imaging chain, but no less important for a radiologist to make
correct diagnostic decisions. High fidelity display of medical imaging helps
make correct diagnoses. Currently, active-matrix LCDs are taking the place of
traditional CRT displays and hard-copy films, and becoming more and more
adopted in medical imaging applications. The team use an LCD temporal
response model based on measurements of temporal response for 256x255 gray
level transitions for typical medical LCDs. Using measured luminance matrices,
they implemented the simulation method by considering all pixel values in an
image, and transforming the next frame into luminance values corresponding to
the actual luminance achieved according to the temporal response of the display.
The simulation allows them to obtain luminance maps corresponding to different
display temporal characteristics and for different rates of stack presentation (i.e.,
Figure 1: Measured transition
times corresponding to different
devices (1 and 5-million pixels) to
simulate the effect of the different
display temporal characteristics
on target detection.
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number of images per second). These patterns are similar to first approximation to the luminance presented to
human observers by monitors. Figure 1 (previous page) shows the luminance after n frames for all 256x255
possible gray-level transitions. Based on preliminary results for the model observer, we found that the slow
temporal response of displays can degrade the performance of observers performing stack-mode readings of
volumetric images by reducing the effective luminance contrast of lesions that appear in a small number of slices.
The results for the model observer will be validated with human studies in a follow up paper. Slow temporal
response of the display device might set limits for the rendering speed of large volumetric image datasets (from CT,
MR, or breast tomosynthesis) read in stack-mode. This method could be used to quantify the effect of different
display temporal characteristics on a variety of visual tasks, the researchers conclude.
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August 2007
KB’s Display Dictionary
by Karlheinz Blankenbach
Dr. Karlheinz Blankenbach from the University of Applied Sciences at Pforzheim,
Department of Electronics & Information Technology, has agreed to serve as our tutor. Dr.
Blankenbach is Chairman of the Electronic Displays Conference, member of the board for
the German Flat Panel Display Forum (DFF), and an active member of several industry
groups, including SID (Society for Information Display), the DPG (German Physical
Society), VDE ITG (Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technology),
SPWG (Standard Panels Working Group), and the German Industrial Foundation.
Basics of Display Metrology
Ambient Light and its Impact on Image Quality (part 2)
After introducing some fundamentals of ambient light measurements, we will focus in this part on the two major
parts of light reflections – the diffuse and the specular component. This means on the other hand, that the haze
component is often not taken into account because it is not so easy to measure. As pointed out in the last part of this
dictionary, the diffuse component is relatively uncritical to obtain while specular (and haze) measurements are very
sensitive to the accuracy of angular geometric conditions.
Diffuse (Lambertian) reflection
An ideal diffuse reflection of light means that the portion of reflected light to a certain direction is independent of
the incident (light source) angle and the observer angle. Another name for that type of reflections is Lambertian.
Standard paper is a simple and useful example for this characteristic of reflection. Applying this to a display, we
assume for it a matte surface.
The figure shows a typical measurement set-up. The reflected
luminance LDiffuse is measured perpendicular to the display in its
center, usually in horizontal arrangement. If the display shows a
certain circular angular dependency, vertical (and other) geometries
should also be evaluated. The typical light source angle θD lies in the
range from 20° to 45°. Large area light source(s) are recommended
but their exit area in relation to the distance to the display must be
low enough to avoid haze or specular reflections captured by the
luminance meter. The illuminance E is acquired by a Lux meter either
in the location where the spot of the luminance meter hits the display
to achieve best results or nearby this location which allows
continuous measurements e.g. when stepping through the electronic
dimming range of the lamp(s).
The theoretical formula for calculating the diffuse luminance LDiffuse (unit cd/m²) from the illuminance E (unit Lux)
is useful either for determination of the reflection coefficient rSystem D. The index “System” expresses that the
display is regarded in a way as it is in its application incl. foils, touch…
(system: “everything” is summarized) and “D” for diffuse reflection
geometry. On the other hand, if the reflection coefficient is known, the
diffuse luminance can be calculated for a given illuminance which allows
some fast and easy calculations (see next part).
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The chart shows typical results for an AMLCD (40° geometry was used):
The diffuse reflected luminance LDiffuse is proportional to the illuminance. Consequently, we can first
obtain a higher precision for the reflection coefficient via regression (brown lines) and second
extrapolating to a higher illuminance than measured where the display could degrade in its optical
parameters because of the heat of the lamp(s).
The reflected luminance depends on the image on the display; here the diffuse reflected luminance for
white is about 1.4 times of the black one. This ratio can be regarded as practically independent from the
illuminance (green curve, right axis).
The formula for the reflection coefficient derives easily from the above formula:
The “original” (left) formula can be simplified to the hands-on formula LDiffuse ≡ fD E with the diffuse “conversion
factor” fD (units are included here). The value of this factor strongly depends on the (surface) characteristics of the
display: a glare-like (mirror-like) display has lower values for fD as an anti-glare type (AG). An AG coating
“spreads” the specular component to a diffuse-like characteristic. The difference between both types can be about a
factor 10 or more. In the following numerical example (values from the chart) an AG coated AMLCD was tested;
the typical range for AG is 0.005 to 0.05.
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Another approach for measuring the diffuse characteristics of a display is using an integrating half sphere
positioned over the display with internal specular free light source(s). This requires significantly more effort than
the presented procedure. However both results are often not directly comparable. So it is necessary to define the
measurement procedure when dealing with ambient light “simulations”.
Specular reflection
As all users of displays have experienced, bright specular
reflections on the screen override all information. For measuring
the specular component, the display (surface) is regarded as a
mirror. From this, the measurement geometry follows as shown in
the figure. A large area light source LS (conditions like for diffuse
measurements) with “S” for specular and the luminance meter
have identical angles θS from perpendicular. This deviation angle
should be small and is typically 10° off normal. Usually, a
horizontal arrangement is used. The observed (measured) specular
reflected luminance LSpecular can be calculated according to the
formula below with ρSystem S as specular reflectance and LSource as
luminance of light source or via rearrangement ρSystem S is obtained:
The luminance of the light source can be measured directly by
pointing with the luminance meter directly into the light source
(linear geometry) or with a mirror placed at the measurement
spot location on the screen (folded geometry).
Another approach for the measurement of light source luminance LSource uses a white
reflectance standard with known reflection coefficient rWRS and an illuminance meter
for E:
As some specifications (see next part) for specular measurements refer to illuminance and to be comparable to the
diffuse interpretation the specular luminance is often measured depended on the illuminance. Such a measurement
result is plotted in the chart.
We obtain similar characteristics like in the
diffuse case; however with other factors. The
chart shows typical results for an AG AMLCD
in 40° geometry:
The specular reflected luminance Specular is
– like for the diffuse component proportional to the illuminance. The
consequences (precision enhanced via
regression, extrapolation to high values)
are the same as for the diffuse geometry.
Instead of 15 cd/m² for the reflected
luminance in the diffuse case for 2,000 lx,
the specular luminance reaches here
4,000 cd/m² (brown lines)!
The reflected luminance does not depend in a reasonable approximation from the image (green curve) on the
display opposite to the diffuse component.
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Combining again the two formulas, we can calculate the specular reflection
coefficient ρSystem S of the display system like for the diffuse component:
Using the measurements from the specular chart, we obtain:
As before, we can us a simple hands-on formula LSpecular ≡ fS E which “converts” illuminance to specular reflected
luminance with a specular conversion factor fS (units are included here). With the figures from the chart we obtain
fS = 2. The specular fs is typically in the range of 0.5 to 5 which is more than two orders of magnitude higher than
the diffuse one. This is compatible with BRFD-measurements, see previous part. So both methods can be used however, the diffuse and specular approach requires less equipment etc. and is suitable for many cases. The BRDF
allows more precise calculations and simulations e.g. with ray tracing methods. The price one has to pay for that is
higher equipment cost and trained people.
When comparing the results of the examples and other measurements as well as visual observations, it is obvious
that under specular conditions nearly no display is readable. One can argue that specular reflections occur always.
Nevertheless, under many illumination conditions, a bright light source is surrounded by a significantly darker
environment. An example is bulbs mounted in the office ceiling: their “direct” luminance is usually orders of
magnitudes higher than their light that is reflected e.g. from the walls. An observer would position the display
and/or his head in a way that specular and large haze reflections from those bulbs are avoided. Therefore, their
contribution to the reflected luminance for the observer is mostly diffuse. The specular luminance from the relative
“dark” surrounding it then falls more or less in the same range as the diffuse component of the bulbs. A luxmeter
mounted on the display surface would measure in this case contributions from the bulbs and all the rest of the room.
This scenario can then be simulated with diffuse measurement geometry.
Summarizing, it is relatively easy to perform measurements via light sources for the diffuse and the specular part of
reflections can often lead to valuable results. Standardized setups and results are presented in the next part on
ambient light and its impact on image quality.
Display Metrology News
compiled by Phillip Hill
Photon Dynamics and Salvador Imaging join forces in imaging markets
Photon Dynamics, a leading global supplier of integrated yield management solutions for the flat panel display
market, and privately held Salvador Imaging, an international supplier of high-performance digital cameras,
announced that Photon Dynamics has acquired all of the outstanding shares of Salvador Imaging in exchange for
approximately $20,000,000, of which $8 million is in cash and the balance in Photon Dynamics common stock.
Salvador Imaging will be operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Photon Dynamics and employees of Salvador
Imaging will become employees of Photon Dynamics. David Gardner, founder and CEO of Salvador Imaging, will
be president of the subsidiary. In April, Photon Dynamics entered into a joint venture agreement with Salvador
Imaging. The joint venture resulted in the formation of Salvador Systems LLC, a Photon Dynamics Company,
which was formed to address low light visible digital imaging applications in the defense and security markets, and
inspection capabilities in industrial applications. Salvador Systems combined the digital imaging core competencies
of both Photon Dynamics and Salvador Imaging in order to provide highly sensitive color and monochrome
cameras that can be used to provide persistent 24-hour surveillance capabilities from full daylight to starlight (night
vision) conditions for the military and security markets. http://www.photondynamics.com
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August 2007
A/V industry specialist Joe Kane presents home theater calibration tool
Joe Kane, whose name became synonymous with home theater calibration upon the creation of the original Video
Essentials 10 years ago, has now created the preeminent audio/video calibration tool: Digital Video Essentials HD
DVD. One side of the disc features both 1080p and 720p test and demonstration
materials, and also introduces 6.1 channel Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Digital
True HD. The second side is presented in Standard Definition, in NTSC or PAL
format. Digital Video Essentials HD DVD was produced in cooperation with
Microsoft Corporation and Deluxe Laboratory, and is available now from DVD
International at a suggested retail price of $34.95. Digital Video Essentials HD
DVD combines both 720p and 1080p VC-1 encoded materials (the first time 720p
has been used in HD DVD), and includes a 720p/60 demonstration. The VC-1 codec
was chosen because it delivers the best looking pictures available in HD DVD.
Critical test materials particular to 720p or 1080p were created in that domain and
have not been converted. The program also includes extensive use of text files to
drive the menu system, as well as test patterns such as Reverse Gray Ramps with
Steps, Shallow Ramps and Colored Ramps which have been properly generated in
HD. In addition, side two of the disc features a standard definition version of Digital
Video Essentials DVD, including an audio/video tutorial for both formats. Other features include: Dual-format HD
DVD/Standard Definition DVD; Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby True HD Calibration content; color filters to assist
in calibration; wide-screen 16x9 in Standard Definition and HD. http://www.videoessentials.com/dvehd/index.html.
NexTech Solutions merges with FAS Technologies
NexTech Solutions, a manufacturer of automated optical inspection systems (AOI) used in the production of flat
panel displays (FPD), semiconductor, and related microelectronics, and FAS Technologies, a developer of the
digital fluid dispense pump and spinless coating technology known as “FAS-Coat” announced a merger between
the two companies on July 18. The merger positions the newly combined company to become a major player in the
testing of flat panel displays and semiconductors. http://www.nxts.com
Richardson Electronics Healthcare shows off latest quality control system
Richardson Electronics Healthcare recently featured its new TekLink Quality Control and Assurance (QC/QA)
Services. Potential customer can see how the on-site technical service provides healthcare facilities with
conformance, calibration, testing and maintenance of medical imaging displays. The TekLink QC/QA service
performs on-site testing, conformance, calibration routines with an NIST-tested photometer, and provides the site
with a report of each display systems’ status. The Richardson team also trains healthcare facility staff to institute
their own customized QC/QA program, based on their department’s or facility’s specific requirements. TekLink
QC/QA is offered in three service levels, based on the total number of workstations, how they are configured and
the frequency of visits required per year. http://www.healthcare.rell.com
Integral Vision brings out photometric light measurement system
Integral Vision announced the inauguration of its LumenEye photometric light measurement system. LumenEye
represents the first of a series of products designed for the flat panel display (FPD) manufacturers to inspect their
FPD products for inherent image retention (image sticking) defects prior to shipment. Image retention is of
considerable importance to manufacturers because if a residual image is able to be detected when an image changes
it will be considered to be of inferior quality by the consumer. The LumenEye is an “out-of-the-box” product
designed for a low skill level user to setup and acquire images from an FPD panel. The unit is capable of operation
in either an office or heated chamber environment to 50°C. The software provided with LumenEye will perform an
evaluation of the panel based on the acquired images to VESA305-2 specification. Integral Vision can also provide
the customer unique image retention analysis as part of its software offering. Custom panel evaluation software is
also available to meet the FPD manufacturer customer test pattern requirements. http://www.iv-usa.com
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Microvision launches multi-spec measurement system
The SS350 Multi-Spec Display Measurement System from Microvision provides the ability to make color, contrast,
luminance, uniformity and gamma measurements at numerous locations in seconds. The measurements are made
with either a standard lens configuration for large screens, or a cosine diffuser option for measuring the projection
engine directly (lux) without the use of a screen. The SS350 system is excellent for production applications and for
any testing where short test duration is crucial. For example, with
only 150 ms switching time between detectors, a 16-point uniformity
test can be performed in just seconds. There is no time wasted
waiting for a positioning system to travel across the screen. These
measurements are all accomplished using a diffraction grating
spectrometer, eliminating filter-matching errors inherent to color
filter measurement systems. Microvision’s multiple detector
configuration also eliminates lens correction problems found in
single lens systems that collect data on the entire display in one
“snapshot”. The system uses the newly developed “multi-spec”
selection process (a single spectrometer optically multiplexed with the outputs of several detectors) to monitor
points on the plane of the projected image. Detectors are mounted on a transparent panel placed in front of the
display or at the focus point of the projection engine. Up to 16 detectors can be used and the detector location can
be quickly and easily changed. A pattern generator is integrated with the SS350 to drive the unit under test and
automatically present the proper test pattern. The SS350 can also be used for multiple panel testing. For example,
two side-by-side projection engines can be set up and alternatively tested, thereby decreasing test time. Similarly,
the same panel may be set up to measure two different sizes of displays. With up to 16 detectors, some can be set
up for large displays while the rest can be set up for smaller. http://www.microvsn.com/
Genoa sues Mitsubishi and Samsung over patent infringement
Genoa Color Technologies has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in The United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York against Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric US Holdings, Inc.,
Mitsubishi Electric and Electronics USA, Inc., Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc, Samsung Electronics
Co., Ltd. and Samsung Electronics America, Inc. The lawsuit concerns the defendants’ infringement of Genoa’s
United States Patent No. 7,113,152 entitled “Device System and Method for Electronic True Color Display”. In its
complaint, Genoa also asserted that Samsung breached a non-disclosure agreement. http://www.genoacolor.com
Glen Spectra updates PR-650 spectroradiometer
For nearly 15 years, the PR-650 SpectraScan from Glen Spectra has been the
most widely used spectroradiometer in the world - the workhorse of the
industry. The new PR-655 replaces the PR-650 with a plethora of
enhancements. This makes spectrally based photometric and colorimetric
measurements even easier. This portable battery powered instrument utilizes
a fast-scanning multi-element detector spectrometer with a spectral resolution
of 3.12 nm per pixel. The system is controlled by a full 56 x 75 mm color
touch screen. Following a measurement, the PR-655 displays data and color
spectral and CIE graphs on the system display. The PR-655 design provides
stand-alone operation - no PC required, even to see the spectrum. The PR655 can be also controlled via the SpectraWin software over the USB or
Bluetooth interface or using text based commands (Remote Mode). Other hardware features include AutoSync for
automatically synchronizing to the source refresh rate ensuring the utmost accuracy, an external trigger port
allowing remote measurement activation from a push button or peripheral device, a Secure Digital (SD) port for
measurement storage, and a long lasting rechargeable lithium-ion battery. http://www.glenspectra.co.uk
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Basler launches Pioneer series
Basler’s Pioneer series entered series production in May 2007 with the first series production batches for the
majority of models in that family. After a zero-series phase and some optimizations in the camera design the
cameras have accomplished key customer tests. The Pioneer family consists of 10 camera models from 640x480 to
5 megapixels in resolution and up to 210 frames per second in speed. They are equipped with Kodak or Sony CCD
image sensors to ensure the best mixture of speed, resolution and
attractive price. All Basler Pioneer cameras feature Basler’s robust and
easy to use GigE Vision compliant interface that has proven its industrial
reliability in the Basler Scout series. GigE Vision based Scout cameras
are now used in nearly all industrial applications and proved well even in
demanding systems with more than 10 cameras running simultaneously.
This technology is also fully integrated into the Pioneer product family.
The following cameras are in fully series production now and can be
ordered and evaluated: The piA640-210gm/gc camera is equipped with
Kodak’s KAI-0340 CCD sensor featuring up to 210 frames per second at
VGA resolution; the piA1000-48gm/gc is equipped with Kodak’s KAI1020 CCD image sensor delivering 48 frames per second at full speed at 1
megapixel (1004x1004 pixels); the piA1600-35gm/gc is based on Kodak’s KAI-2020 CCD image sensor and
delivers 35 frames per second. The resolution of 2 megapixels allows taking big images at very high speed in a very
small footprint of 29 x 44 mm. All image quality parameters for the new Basler series are measured according to
the EMVA1288 standard. This includes measurements for noise, full well capacity, dynamic range, quantum
efficiency, linearity and many others. http://www.basler-vc.com
Image Engineering brings out digital camera test stand
Image Engineering brought out a digital camera test stand (DCTS) “turn key solution” for digital camera tests. The
camera stand is a modified Linhof Digi-Repro which consists of a camera stand on a rail system, a Manfrotto 3 way
head with quick mount and adapter plate and a Kaiser slide-plate. The rail system can be extended using 3m
extension rails to each length required. Typical cameras require a maximum distance of approximately 3m from the
charts. To analyze extreme telephoto lenses it can be necessary to either reduce the chart size or extend the rail
system to e.g. 30m. The basic version of the test stand consists of everything needed to test a camera. The DCTS
includes the required reflective and transparent test charts, the
required analysis software, a camera stand with head and
mounting on a rail system, a mounting for test charts, a
reflective illumination system, an integrating sphere for a very
uniform illumination for transparent charts. The only things the
customer has to provide is a dark room of approximately 4 x 4
m and a Windows computer with peripherals to run the
software and read the data from the camera. Characteristics
which can be measured with the basic version are OECF, white
balancing, dynamic range (related scene contrast), used digital
values, noise, signal to noise ratio, visual noise, resolution with
MTF/SFR (limiting resolution center, corner), sharpness,
distortion, shading/vignetting, chromatic aberration, color
reproduction quality, compression rates, ISO speed (requires additional luminance meter), hot pixels, detailed
macro mode testing (shortest shooting distance, max. scale, distortion). An integrating sphere like the LE6-100
which comes with the test stand is the best light source for this task. The outstanding uniform illumination (>96%),
the spectral distribution of the halogen light and the possibility to dim the light without changing the color
temperature make this light source the ideal one to test cameras. http://www.image-engineering.de
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HDT brings out white balancer system
HDT’s White Balancer System is designed to import the values measured
with the multi-media display tester into the PC so as to adjust the R, G, and B
colors of LED backlights to the desired luminance and chromaticity (white).
The functions are adjustment of white balance, adjustment of luminance and
chromaticity, checking temperature sensor, checking flickers, and checking
contrast. The duration required for adjustment/checking is approximately 20
seconds for adjustment of white balance and luminance/chromaticity
checking, and approximately one minute for automatic adjustment,
“Automatic adjustment” refers to a series of adjustment and testing including
flicker test, white balance, luminance, chromaticity, contrast and visual
inspection. http://www.hdtlcd.com
Tektronix teams up with CESI for new standards lab in China
Tektronix announced a partnership with the China Electronics Standardization Institution (CESI) to set up a joint
lab for advanced research and assessment of digital RF and digital TV standards in China. The new lab will be a
key research facility for the development of China’s new DTV and digital RF standards. Tektronix will provide its
latest enhanced video and RF test instruments including the PQA500 picture quality analyzer, WVR7120 waveform
fraternizers and RSA6100A Real-Time Spectrum Analyzers. CESI is a state-run institution responsible for the
standardization and conformity assessment for the IT industry in China. CESI carries out tests, inspection and
certification of Chinese IT products and related equipment on behalf of the Chinese government. Prior to the
establishment of a joint lab, CESI had chosen Tektronix as the premiere test instrument vendor in the last upgrade
of its IT testing and certification center. http://www.tektronix.com
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E-waste round-up
compiled by Keith Baker with additional material by Phillip Hill
Keith J. Baker is a 2003 graduate of the DisplayMasters program. His background is in
environmental science and science policy, now studying for a PhD at the Institute of Energy
and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University, Leicester, England. He has a keen
interest in the energy efficiency and environmental impact of new technology, particularly
relating to displays. http://www.linkedin.com/in/keithjbaker
The impact of the digital age on UK energy consumption
In the UK domestic energy consumption attributable to household appliances doubled
between 1972 and 2002, and a startling new report by the UK’s Energy Saving Trust (EST)
predicts that this will double again by 2010. The report, “The Rise of the Machines”, also
predicts that by 2010 digital set-top boxes alone will cost UK households £780M a year in
electricity, equivalent to £30 per household. A further impact will come from an increase in the number of light
bulbs in use in UK homes, which is predicted to rise from an average of 23 to over 26 by 2020.
Whilst not quite in the same league as nations like Japan, the British public is famous for their love of gadgets, and
in Europe the UK is leading the switch to digital TV and the expansion of wireless Internet access zones. This
month sees the first analog transmitters being switched off in Cumbria, beginning a process that will end in London
and the South East in 2012. This uptake of digital TV is being mirrored in the uptake of wireless networks. The
ease of connection and flexibility offered by wireless routers means that they are becoming the technology of
choice for connecting to the Internet in many homes, and low or no cost networks are on offer in most educational
establishments, many cafes and bookshops, and even in that traditional refuge from the world, the pub.
All this comes at a cost, in this case one measured in rising energy bills and emissions. Standby consumption is a
major problem. Research conducted in 2001 found that 6-10% of wasted domestic energy is attributable to devices
left on standby, but this could increase dramatically with the coming switchover. At present the UK population
owns around 2.4 TVs per household (60 million in total excluding PCs with TV receivers) of which just under half
are not equipped to receive digital transmissions. The average household still follows the established pattern of a
main TV set in the living room with additional sets in bedrooms and kitchens. When concerns were first raised over
the impact of the switchover on energy consumption the standard rebuttal was that efficiencies would improve and
many secondary TV sets would not be upgraded but instead used for viewing recorded material. However, my own
research, backed by evidence from other studies, suggests that changes in household composition and the increasing
demand for entertainment and access to information mean that most sets will indeed be upgraded and that the
predicted efficiency improvements will not arrive. The latter should come as no surprise to manufacturers of mobile
devices, where any energy saved is invariably used to boost performance or offer new facilities. The EST estimates
that in addition to higher energy bills the cost of upgrading existing TV sets and recording equipment will be £140
per household. However, as reported here last month, evidence from California shows that for many consumers this
is the perfect excuse to splash out on new, bigger and better devices, meaning the UK could soon be facing its own
e-waste tsunami.
Yet there is hope, as the report also concludes that the UK public is becoming more aware of the environmental
impact of their love of technology. 82% of those surveyed said that because of climate change purchasing energy
efficient goods was as important as opting for Fair-Trade products. The signs for the industry and policy makers are
also clear, 76% would change their buying habits if labeling was introduced to highlight products with the greatest
environmental impact, and the same percentage said that such labeling would influence their decision making
“much more” than five years ago. A slightly lower 72% said that they would opt for more energy efficient electrical
products if labeled appropriately and, crucially for the industry, 52% would pay more for them. The most
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August 2007
immediate effects of new labeling schemes are likely to be noticed by the electronics industry as average
replacement periods are much shorter than for white goods and consumption of new TVs, PCs and peripherals
continues to rise.
The EU’s Energy-using Products (EuP) and Integrated Product Policy (IPP) Directives include minimum efficiency
standards and energy labeling in the first wave of initiatives under EuP. Something as simple as mandating the
provision of an off switch on the front of all digital, cable and satellite boxes, recording devices and games consoles
would go some way to reducing standby consumption, as many models still lack this basic energy-saving function.
The issue of consumption by wireless boxes and external modems may be a tougher nut to crack in the age of
always on broadband access, but even here minimum energy efficiency standards could have a measurable impact.
Reducing the need for multiple set top boxes is another tricky problem, as the technology needed to transmit a
digital HDTV signal carrying the full range of channels offered by cable and satellite around an average home does
not yet exist.
Another aspect that EU policy makers should consider is inappropriate use of technology. Some uses of displays
are at best questionable when viewed from an energy efficiency perspective, and top of this list are clock displays
on microwaves and cookers. Previous research by the Environmental Change Unit at Oxford University has shown
that over the course of its lifetime a microwave can consume as much energy from displaying the time as it
consumes for heating food.
However, displays will also have a key role to play in the transition to an energy efficient future. The UK has just
begun a £20 million project to equip thousands of homes with “smart meters” to monitor their energy consumption
and display its cost in real time. 15,000 of these will display consumption on TVs or PCs in the homes, and a
further 8,000 will be given a simpler device with an LCD that clips onto the meter. Input from researchers in human
factors should help determine how and what information these meters display. The government aims to have smart
meters installed in all homes within a decade and in all but the smallest business premises within the next five
years. As of May 2008 all new energy meters must be smart meters.
With much being made of the impact of our use of technology on the environment it is easy to forget that the
solutions to many of our problems will also lie with it. As the author Iain Banks wrote: “We are our technology, we
can’t turn our backs on it.”
Call for entries for Greenpeace survey on green electronics
Greenpeace is conducting a market survey of the most environmentally friendly consumer
electronic products currently on the market. After several “green electronics guide” reports
that rated electronics makers of big brands, and their Greener Apple campaign, Greenpeace is
now looking to evaluate gadgets at the product level. This means that companies large and
small will be evaluated. If companies have a product in the computer, mobile phone, PDA,
MP3 player or games console categories that is less toxic, easier to recycle and more energy
efficient than competitors, Greenpeace would like to hear from them. http://www.greenpeace.org
Apple adopts greener policies
In a major victory for its campaign to green the electronics industry, Greenpeace has been influential in
encouraging Apple to introduce a new set of policies to reduce its environmental impact. In a move that beats Dell
and other manufacturers by a year Apple will phase out brominated fire retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride
(PVC) across its product range by 2008. In addition, Apple introduced a take-back scheme that will ensure that its
products do not end up in the e-waste dumps of the developing world, but Apple is initially introducing the program
in the US.
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WEEE becomes law
July 1st saw the EU-wide implementation of the WEEE Directive, yet there is still some confusion over
compliance. As a result, a group of trade associations, including the UK’s laboratory technology industry trade
body GAMBICA is to set up b2bcompliance (http://www.b2bcompliance.org.uk/). The
organization is not-for-profit, a member of the European WEEE Forum, and has already
attracted around 400 members. It can also offer enrolment in its B2B scheme for those
companies who missed the March 15th deadline. Being not-for-profit and having built a
considerable membership it should be able to offer cheaper recycling options than those run by
single profit-making companies.
ITO? Uh-oh!
A report published in the May 23rd issue of New Scientist indicates that global stocks of ITO are running out fast.
The estimated remaining reserves of indium amount to a mere 6000 tons, this is equivalent to 13 years at current
consumption levels but could be as little as 5-10 years if the rest of the world’s consumption rises to US levels and
if predicted technology advances emerge. World production of indium is 240 tons per year, with none held in
reserve and none of the demand met from recycled or recovered material. The cost per kilogram of ITO has risen
sharply over recent years and is currently around $700/£1400.
EPEAT gets a glowing review
“We were absolutely blown away by the overall environmental benefits. We had not imagined
that there would be so many green products bought in such large quantities, and we were thrilled
to see that in fact many of the greenest products are already some of the most popular products.”
That was the response of Scot Case, EPEAT’s Outreach and Purchaser Relations Manager, to an
interim report from the Green Electronics Council, which developed EPEAT, backed by research
at the University of Kentucky’s Center for Clean Products and Clean Technologies. According to
the report, “The Environmental Benefits of the Purchase or Sale of EPEAT Registered Products in 2006”, the 36
million products sold during the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool’s (EPEAT) first six months
saved 13.7 billion of kilowatt-hours of electricity and prevented the release of 40,000 tons of toxic material into the
environment. Since the report was conducted the number of registered products has risen from 100 to 579. EPEAT
incorporates WEEE, RoHS and the new EnergyStar 4.0. A follow-up study will be carried out at the end of this
year. http://www.epa.gov
EnergyStar 4.0 toughens standards for computers
It’s probably the most recognized energy efficiency label in the world, and now the long-awaited
version 4.0 is in force. The standards came into effect on July 20th and the bar has been raised
considerably. Only the top 25% of computers on the market will gain the award. Under the old
standard there was no limit and 98% of machines passed the criteria. An example of the new
standards is that a standard laptop must draw no more than 14 watts of power when turned on but
idle, models on the market today can use as much as 28 watts when in this mode. Manufacturers
have already submitted around 30 machines for compliance. The EPA estimates that EnergyStar
4.0 will save users $1.8 billion in electric bills during the next five years and prevent greenhouse pollution equal to
the annual emissions of 2.7 million cars. The EPA says that, of the hundreds of computer models on the market,
just 30 meet the new EnergyStar 4.0 standard. To get an Energy Star 4.0 rating, computers must meet these
requirements: internal power supplies must run 80% efficient, a third better than most computers now; a mid-level
powered-on desktop should use less than 65 watts of power, 30 to 40% better than many current desktops; a
standard powered-on laptop should use less than 14 watts of power, half of what some current laptops use;
computers with external power supplies must use an Energy Star rated supply to obtain an Energy Star ranking for
the machine. Hewlett-Packard said it has produced Energy Star 4.0 machines for business customers since
February, but won’t offer the computers on the consumer market just yet because the more energy-efficient
components would make HP products uncompetitive in terms of price. http://www.energystar.gov
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EPA releases report on US electronic waste
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft report that gives a detailed picture of the
current and future state of electronic waste in the United States. The report, “Management of Electronic Waste in
the United States”, provides an updated analysis of how many electronic products, including televisions, personal
computers and peripherals, and cell phones are being recycled or reused, as well as how much is still winding up in
landfills. In summary, although efforts to recycle electronic products have continued to increase, the percentage of
products that are recycled remains stuck at between 15-20% because the number of electronic products that are
available for recycling has continued to grow. Even when electronic products that are placed in storage or reused
are removed from the totals, the EPA estimates that at least 44% of electronic products are still simply disposed of,
mostly in landfills. http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/recycle/ecycling/manage.htm.
LED traffic lights take to Taiwan
Red lights in Taiwan will soon be much greener. By 2011, all traffic lights on the small island republic will be fitted
with efficient LED lights thanks to a NT $229 million ($7 million) project set to begin next year. Almost half of all
traffic lights in Taiwan already use LEDs; the remaining 420,000
traffic lights will be converted over three years, providing an
estimated savings of 85% in power consumption. In addition to
saving greatly on energy costs, LED traffic lights last years (standard
bulbs only last months), remain brighter longer and their higher
contrast levels with sunlight allow them to be viewed from longer
distances. Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs plans to continue
the LED work and change street lamps to efficient bulbs once the
traffic signal project is complete.
EverLED brings out LED-based fluorescent bulbs
The EverLED introduced a lighting solution that brings all the advantages of traditional fluorescent lighting and
integrates non-toxic, sustainable LED technology. Fluorescent tubes are a mainstay of commercial interior design.
They use less energy than standard incandescent light bulb, and are relatively simple and cheap to install. But
despite their efficiency, they are also very toxic, full of heavy metals such as mercury and lead. The EverLED TR
can be fitted on standard fluorescent tube fittings without any additions or changes to the ballasts. The manufacturer
claims that the product has a 10 year lifespan, compared to a 5-7 year lifespan of a standard fluorescent light bulb,
and will bring an energy reduction of about 20% from standard installations. The main model comes in a standard
length of 4 feet, and in the five standard color temperatures. It is pricey, at $150 per tube, more than the standard
fluorescent tube. http://www.everled.com/everled-tr
RPC Photonics develops LED-based luminaires
RPC Photonics is currently working to develop an energy-efficient, ultra-thin LED-based luminaire as part of a
research and development contract awarded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
(NYSERDA). RPC is working with the Lighting Research Center (LRC) of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in
Troy, New York, to develop this luminaire to effectively replace downlights, accent lights, and wall-wash
luminaires that currently use incandescent, halogen, and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) technologies. Luminaires
designed for incandescent, halogen reflector lamps, or CFLs are widely used in many commercial and residential
applications as downlights, accent lights, and wall-washers. These luminaires, and the lamps they house, are
inefficient when compared to LED sources. This new LED luminaire design will allow energy-efficient lighting
and environment-friendly sources to be used in a wider array of applications than is possible with current
technologies. http://www.rpcphotonics.com
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Greenlight Concepts reclaims traffic light lamps
Imagine if sitting at a stoplight created ambiance instead of idle time. This idea, together with the desire to divert
old traffic lamps from landfills, is the vision behind Greenlight Concepts’ beautifully recycled traffic-light lamps.
Crafted from reclaimed traffic lights, these fixtures tap into the waste
stream. Trash became the inspiration for these treasures when architect
Daniel Kriven saw a San Francisco city crew updating old “Walk/Don’t
Walk” signals with LED versions. Kriven tracked down the tossed
materials. “Lamps,” says Lee, “seemed like the logical solution. After
all, we would be re-using the lenses for what they were originally
intended. Of course, we were bringing them up close and personal,
giving them a new sense of scale and appreciation.” Each green, red or
yellow lens has an intricacy that, given its utilitarian origins, is
surprisingly intentional. Sculpted into GLC’s pendant and bucket lamp
designs, the lenses invite you to sit long; a mood far removed from their
original purpose. At $90-299, Greenlight Concepts’ lamps reflect the
reality that it costs less to throw the traffic lights away than reuse them
transformed. http://www.greenlightconcepts.com
NCER announces workshop at E-Scrap 2007
The NCER will host a workshop “Who’s Responsible under Manufacturer Responsibility?” on October 23rd from
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm in Atlanta as part of the pre-conference activities during E-Scrap 2007. With three states –
Maine, Maryland, and Washington – currently placing requirements on manufacturers to finance and implement
electronics recycling laws under a manufacturer responsibility approach and four more states in the pipeline, a
critical question is who can or should be the “manufacturer?” Is it the company who designs the covered
product? Is it the company who assembles the product under contract from the designer? Or is it the company who
owns the rights to the brand that is placed on the product (and what if there are more than one brand placed on the
front)? The National Center for Electronics Recycling will examine the issues of manufacturer definitions, brands,
return share, and market share in a follow-up workshop to last year’s successful pre-E-Scrap workshop on return
share data issues. Participants will hear about original research being conducted by the NCER to track differences
in brand and manufacturer registration across state programs, as well as implications of new legal definitions for
upcoming state programs. Representatives from state agencies will also present details about the progress of
implementing these requirements. Manufacturers will learn about the how differing interpretations of manufacturer
and brand definition impact their obligations in each state. Recyclers will find out how these new requirements
could have an effect on their operations, such as having the ability to perform brand counting or sampling, and
knowing the appropriate “manufacturer” to contact to set up compliance programs. Finally, government
stakeholders will learn the details of brand information, licensing, and definitions that can have implications on
how recycling programs develop. Cost is $75 for non-government attendees and $50 for government attendees, and
includes lunch and workshop materials. Registration is available at http://www.e-scrapnews.com/.
Philips calls for a simple switch to reduce energy consumption
Royal Philips Electronics announced its global asimpleswitch.com consumer campaign showing that solutions for
reducing energy consumption can be simple and actionable without compromising on quality of life. By partnering
with The Alliance for Climate Protection and the global Live Earth concerts on July 7th 2007, Philips aimed to
inspire more than two billion people to take simple steps, such as changing a light bulb, to lead a more energy
efficient life. Part of the campaign is a consumer website www.asimpleswitch.com, launched on July 4 2007.
Visitors to the Live Earth concerts and the Live Earth and MSN websites were invited to record a personal “simple
switch” pledge either online or via SMS. Philips will track these collective pledges to change to energy efficient
lighting and calculate the resulting energy and costs savings on the asimpleswitch.com website.
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The Green Grid announces technology roadmap and key deliverables
The Green Grid, a non-profit consortium dedicated to advancing energy
efficiency in data centers and business computing ecosystems, announced its
technology roadmap and key deliverables for 2007. As part of its technology
roadmap, The Green Grid has announced the following deliverables:
Data Center Standards and Metrics Inventory (Q3’07) – this study will document existing standards and
metrics for energy efficiency, identify coverage gaps and make recommendations for future
The Green Grid Metrics: Describing Data Center Power Efficiency (Q3’07) – this study will be an
update to The Green Grid’s existing study on data center efficiency metrics and will look at workload
classification through a data center segmentation model.
Operationalizing Energy-Efficiency Data Collection (Q4’07) – this study will identify the requirements
for collecting and aggregating data center power consumption data.
Data Center Efficiency Baseline Market Study (Q3’07) – this study on the current state of the industry
will allow The Green Grid to identify key factors driving companies to take action on data center power
consumption and the challenges in doing so. Collecting and analyzing this data will help to provide
companies with a baseline to compare their own initiatives, goals and performance.
Operational Best Practices (Q4’07) – these studies will focus on right-sizing the data center and will
outline best practices in the adoption of virtualization and consolidation technologies.
Database for Data Center Performance (Q4‘07) – The Green Grid will begin development work on a
database focused on data center characteristics and performance schema.
Initial Technology Roadmap (Q4’07) – this roadmap provides an initial assessment of existing and
emerging technologies affecting data center efficiency and performance, taking into consideration both
return on investment and risk to the end user.
Power Distribution Options for the Data Center Study (Q3’07) – this study will look at the qualitative
advantages and disadvantages of data center power distribution configurations.
Cooling Options Study (Q4’07) – this study will focus on the qualitative advantages and disadvantages
of data center cooling architectures.
For the next several months, The Green Grid will focus on data collection through the documentation of
existing standards and the evaluation of metrics; data assessment through a market study of current
efficiency practices; and technology proposals that outline The Green Grid’s recommendations for the future
of energy efficient data centers. http://www.thegreengrid.org
Epson Imaging Devices becomes first LCD manufacturer to eliminate 2-aminoethanol
Epson Imaging Devices Corporation announced that it has eliminated the use of 2-aminoethanol, a chemical
substance covered by the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (“PRTR”), from all of its sites in Japan as of July
2007. Epson Imaging Devices is the first manufacturer in the LCD industry to achieve this. Since 2-aminoethanol
was the Class I Designated Chemical Substance used most, Epson Imaging Devices has been striving since 2003
toward the goal of eliminating this substance from its Japanese sites in fiscal 2007 (April 2007 to March 2008) and
from its manufacturing subsidiary in China, Suzhou Epson Co., Ltd. (SZE), in fiscal 2008. 2-aminoethanol is a
main constituent of a stripping solution used in photolithography, one of the pre-production processes performed in
the manufacture of LCD panels. Epson Imaging Devices successfully eliminated it by switching to a proprietary
alternative chemical while also maintaining quality and reducing costs. This has produced major benefits, with the
amount of the alternative chemical required less than half of the equivalent amount for 2-aminoethanol and the cost
of the alternative also half that of the eliminated substance. The complete elimination of 2-aminoethanol, of which
Epson Imaging Devices used 210 tons in fiscal 2005, has enabled a dramatic reduction in overall use of PRTR
substances. http://www.epson-imaging.com/e/
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Ceravision launches microwave powered light bulb
Ceravision announced that units of its new Continuum 2.4 lighting technology are available for evaluation by lamp
and electronics manufacturers. Continuum 2.4 is a compact electrode-less lamp system, the first commercially
viable bulb to be powered by microwaves. Patented internationally, it provides: a long stable lamp life, high
brightness, brilliant colors, fast turn-on and extraordinary
energy efficiency. Unlike competing environmentally friendly
bulbs, Continuum 2.4 contains no mercury and is also
inexpensive to manufacture using widely available components.
Continuum 2.4 could make a major contribution to the
development of environmentally friendly lighting. Lighting
accounts for more than 20% of all energy usage and carbon
emissions, and of this commercial and industrial lighting
generates a massive 80%. Continuum 2.4 lamps are easily
integrated into mass-market electronics, such as projection
displays. http://www.ceravision.com
Motorola and Nokia earn patents on self-powered displays
Screens that display images and also generate their own power are detailed in two recent patents, reports New
Scientist. One of the display technologies will be suitable for cellphones. The other could lead to self-powered
electronic billboards.
Motorola has been granted a patent (US 7206044) on a liquid crystal display that incorporates a solar
panel. Motorola has developed its solar-powered display to meet the rising power demands of mobile
phones. Lithium-ion batteries have started to struggle to keep up. Manufacturers have tried fitting solar
cells behind phones’ LCD displays. Till now this has not been successful, because the LCD absorbs
most of the incoming light before it can reach the solar cell. The new LCD has color filters made from a
polymer film that reflects only narrow bands of red, blue and green light. This is enough to provide a
color picture, while allowing through enough energy at other wavelengths for the solar cell to generate
power to charge the phone’s battery.
A self-powered billboard appears in a patent application filed by Nokia (US 2007/0080925). In this
device the picture cells of the display perform twin duties: as well as forming the image, they also
generate power. Nokia has built a working 200-pixel-square prototype of its monochrome self-powering
display. The key to this device is the use of titanium dioxide nanoparticles both to generate the image
and to harvest power from light. The cells that make up the display can be switched from a colorless to a
black form by applying a voltage. When the particles are in the colorless state, they generate a voltage
when struck by light, and this can be used to drive a current to charge a battery. To turn the pixel black,
the screen’s control electronics reverse the current and apply a voltage from the battery to the
nanoparticles. Electronic billboards like this will cost businesses nothing to run, Nokia says.
Sony to start taking back old products
Sony will start to take back electronic equipment at 75 recycling stations around the US. The company previously
accepted products for recycling at only a few places. Sony is the first electronics manufacturer to partner with trashhauler Waste Management Inc., which has a network of recycling drop-off centers. The centers will accept any
Sony or Sony Ericsson-branded gadgets free-of-charge, and other brands for a fee. The 75 stations open on
September 15, with 17 stations in California and 19 in Minnesota but none in 32 states. Eight states, including New
York, have only one station each. Sony and Waste Management plan to double the number of drop-off centers
within a year, with the aim of having at least one in every state. Ultimately, the goal is to have a center within 20
miles of 95% of the US population. http://www.sony.com/recycle
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AUO pursues green production and sustainable development
AU Optronics discussed the company’s environmental efforts including the AUO “Green Product Management”
system and “Green Procurement” plans at the 2007 IDMC Conference, held in conjunction with the recent FPD
Expo Taiwan held in Taipei, July 4-6. AUO’s Dr. Chen described how AUO integrated European Union (EU)
Directives on Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS), eco-design of Energy-using Products (EuP), and
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE Directive) fit into the company’s social and environmental
responsibility program. AUO’s Green program has moved from Green Design (WEEE and EuP) to Green
Procurement, and now to Green Production where resource conservation, in addition to regulatory compliance, can
be achieved. The final step in AUO’s vision is for Sustainable Development where economic, environmental and
social objectives can be simultaneously achieved. http://auo.com
Proposed legislation to promote Federal use of Energy Star and FEMP products
The US Department of Energy (DoE) is seeking public comment on proposed regulations intended to promote
federal procurement of energy efficient products. If given the green light, the proposal would establish a reporting
requirement to track agency compliance with the National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NECPA). The act
requires federal agencies to purchase Energy Star and Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) designated
products, which cover everything from lighting and industrial equipment to plumbing and construction products.
The proposed rule would require federal agencies to detail the progress of their implementation efforts in their
annual energy management reports, and to include information about any exceptions that were determined during
the year. The information would be used to help the DoE and EPA determine if revisions to Energy Star or FEMPdesignated products are needed, and to develop practices that facilitate the purchase of energy efficient products.
CIE issues statement about the need for smart lighting
Recognizing that lighting consumes substantial energy, the International Commission on
Illumination (the CIE) at a congress held in Beijing, China July 4-11, called for a worldwide effort
to reduce energy consumed for lighting. This is possible through intelligent use of new technology
and a scientific understanding of the varied human needs for different types of lighting in different
settings. A more efficient use of daylight augmented with the use of more efficient lamps and the latest lighting
technology now enable us to save energy without sacrificing good lighting. For example, the use of high-pressure
mercury lamps for roadway lighting remains widespread in many countries, but these can be replaced by
alternatives that can provide better lighting at half the energy consumptions. According to a CIE statement, lighting
consumes between 5% and 15% of the electricity produced in industrialized countries and up to 86 % in developing
countries, or about 19% of electricity used in the world. As a consequence, CO2 emissions currently related to the
production of electricity for lighting account for 1,775 billion tons per year. http://www.cie.co.at/cie/
Google’s Bill Weihl: “Is Black the New Green?”
Google’s “Green Energy Czar”, Bill Weihl published in early August an interesting commentary to Google’s blog
site entitled “Is Black the New Green?”. In other words, does a black display background save power? Specifically,
Weihl noted:
“Reducing climate change by saving energy is an important effort we should all join, and that's why we're
very glad to see the innovative thinking going into a variety of solutions. One idea, suggested by the site
called "Blackle" is to reduce energy used by monitors by providing search with a black background. We
applaud the spirit of the idea, but our own analysis as well as that of others shows that making the Google
homepage black will not reduce energy consumption. To the contrary, on flat-panel monitors (already
estimated to be 75% of the market); displaying black may actually increase energy usage. Detailed results
from a new study confirm this”.
Weihl went on to claim that what’s running on your PC is of little significance in comparison to how you run the
PC, including utilizing power savings features, turning off monitors when not in use, and buying devices that are
EnergyStar 4.0 compliant. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/is-black-new-green.html
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Qualcomm mired in continuing legal battles
by Aldo Cugnini
Aldo Cugnini is a consultant in the digital television industry. Prior to founding AGC
Systems, he held various technical and management positions at Philips Electronics’
Research and Consumer Electronics Divisions and at interactive television developer ACTV.
He had a leadership role in the development of the ATSC Digital Television System, and was
a key member of the Advanced Television Research Consortium (ATRC) development team.
Mr. Cugnini received his BS and MS degrees from Columbia University and has been
awarded six patents in the fields of digital television and broadcasting. He served on the
board of directors of the Advanced Television Technology Center, and is the author of
numerous technical papers and industry reports, and is a regular contributor to several
trade publications. This article is revised from the Display Daily, published by Insight Media
on August 15. http://www.displaydaily.com
The US federal court in San Diego, California has ruled that Qualcomm Inc. had engaged in aggravated litigation
misconduct and standards abuse with respect to two of the company’s patents that relate to digital video
technology. The court ruled that the handset manufacturer has “waived its rights to enforce all claims of the two
patents and any continuations, continuations-in-part, divisions, reissues or any other derivatives of those patents”.
In plain speak, this means that Qualcomm has essentially lost any rights to enforce the patents 5,452,104 and
5,576,767, which relate to digital video technology, and especially MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression. The court
held that Qualcomm had deliberately concealed the patents from the standard setting body responsible for
developing the H.264 standard, therefore precluding Qualcomm from enforcing the patents. The court also ordered
Qualcomm to pay all of Broadcom’s reasonable attorneys’ fees, court costs, expert witness fees, travel expenses
and any other litigation costs reasonably incurred by Broadcom in defending the patent infringement case that led to
the rulings. In a statement issued last week, Qualcomm said it “respectfully disagrees” with the court’s ruling, and
intends to file an appeal.
Citing the misconduct of Qualcomm’s employees, witnesses and counsel before, during and after trial, the court
found “clear and convincing evidence based on (1) Qualcomm’s bad faith participation in the H.264 standardsetting body, the Joint Video Team; and (2) the litigation misconduct of Qualcomm through its employees, hired
outside witnesses, and trial counsel during discovery, motions practice, trial and post-trial proceedings.”
According to the court, “Qualcomm closely monitored and participated in the development of the H.264 standard,
all the while concealing the existence of at least two patents it believed were likely to be essential to the practice of
the standard, until after the development was completed and the standard was published internationally. Then,
without any prior letter, email, telephone call, or even a smoke signal, let alone attempt to license Broadcom,
Qualcomm filed the instant lawsuit against Broadcom for infringement of the ‘104’ and ‘767’ patents.”
“The court’s findings indicate that this is one of the most serious and egregious cases of standards abuse and
litigation misconduct that our industry has ever witnessed,” said David Rosmann, Broadcom’s VP of Intellectual
Property Litigation. “While we are gratified with the court’s ruling, we are also disappointed that Qualcomm chose
to stoop to such tactics.” Broadcom is pursuing other patent cases against Qualcomm, while the latter had either lost
or withdrawn all patent lawsuits against Broadcom.
Earlier this year, the International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a ruling to ban imports into the US of 3G
handsets containing Qualcomm chips. The Bush administration refused a request by Qualcomm to veto the ruling.
Qualcomm stated that it is working on a technical work-around solution with its customers, mainly Asian handset
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Qualcomm said in a statement that it still maintains that Broadcom’s patents are not valid. And it said it is still
working on an appeal and stay request with the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the appeals court
seldom overturns ITC decisions, and there seem to be few other avenues open for Qualcomm, according to Lyle
Vander Schaaf, a former ITC lawyer, as quoted in the Financial Times. “Options for Qualcomm, other than
settlement [with Broadcom], are going away,” he said.
Because of the potential rat’s nest of licensing agreements covering these technologies, many companies holding
MPEG-related intellectual property have opted to work with the “one-stop” licensing organization MPEG-LA.
Interestingly, according to information available from MPEG-LA, Qualcomm is not one of their signatories.
Companies participating in standards development are required to disclose all patents that may be pertinent to the
standards. If the court decision is upheld on appeal, this would represent a serious breach of “standards ethics” and
trial conduct, and will send a strong signal to patent trolls everywhere that “patent ambush” will not be tolerated.
What will this mean to Qualcomm? First, the news was greeted with a decline in the company’s stock. And,
depending on their legal “war chest”, Qualcomm may decide to continue the fight, but this may be a case of
diminishing returns. If the company has in fact has lost the ability to defend these patents, and has technical workarounds for the banned chips, it will have no inherent advantage with this intellectual property, either as a
competitive feature or as a blocking technology. Thus, these specific units will succumb to the commodity nature of
the business. On Monday, Qualcomm’s head lawyer resigned, apparently a casualty of the recent string of legal
setbacks for the company. Lou Lupin, 52, had led efforts to build and defend the company’s business of licensing
rights to its patented technology to other companies. Carol Lam, one of eight federal prosecutors fired by the Bush
administration this year, was named his interim replacement. There comes a point where a company needs to reevaluate its strategic balance between innovation, competitive blocking, and royalty development. It looks like that
time has come.
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August 2007
The home network/entertainment connection is… easy
by Andy Marken
Andy Marken is president of Marken Communications in Santa Clara, California. He has
been involved in the video/illustration content and storage industry for more than 20 years.
Years ago, he was instrumental in helping Philips introduce CD technology to the US. He
has helped launch and educate the market regarding DVD-R and DVD-RAM. Today he is
working to launch the blue laser technologies – Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Andy has also been
instrumental in supporting a wide range of video and content firms including Sigma
Designs, Dazzle, Pinnacle Systems, FAST, InterVideo, Ulead, and other firms in the
software and hardware industries. He can be reached at http://www.markencom.com.
“Hey Bill, look, do me a favor; give him a chance. He came in here with a little piece of
information. I know you worked with him before and had a little trouble, but don’t get off
on the wrong foot, if you have problems, come to me with them, I'll handle it.”
– Walt Simonson, The French Connection, 1971
Even though there is entertainment everywhere – on your TV, on your PC, on your smartphone – people still go to
movies. It’s escape from reality. There’s always a happy ending or at least good triumphs over evil. The same is
true when Jobs, Gates/Ballmer, Otellini and others take the stage. 80% of the time the demos work… flawlessly.
The other 20% of the time? Guys who set up the demos didn’t want to work there anyway!
We always wanted the same for our modest home. But unlike the movie version of a home PC/entertainment
solution it doesn’t just suddenly appear…it evolves. It’s a waste of hard earned dollars for every computer user in
the house to have his/her own printer… their own Internet connection. Home networks have gotten easier over the
years. We still have some wires running along the baseboard but the wireless hub finally set us free. Kids can work
in their room, by the pool, wherever. Of course we don’t talk anymore. We e-mail (that’s old-fashioned but we’ve
mastered it), text, IM. The kids abandon the TV. Don’t need it. Everything is on the Web.
YouTube, MySpace, Yahoo whatever… they all have
news, information, entertainment, movie clips, music
and yes, commercials. Even though the audience is the
younger crowd (below 30), the market is expanding
because of the variety of stuff you can find.
Doesn’t take long to find that you’ve got to add more
hardware. You download everything – just in case. A
cute dog trick here. A great music video there. Sports
highlights. On The Lot and American Inventor shows.
Before long you’re out of space and need more flash,
more CDs/DVDs, bigger HDDs “And by the time it gets
down to nickel bags, it will be worth at least thirty-two
million.” – Sal Boca. Breaking the individual storage
upgrade habit is pretty easy and damn cheap!
Web-ready – If you wonder why our son spends even his
spare time on the computer it is because as far as he is
concerned it’s where all the best entertainment lives.
Music, videos, TV, movie clips, almost anything/everything
you can imagine is vying for eyeballs on the web.
Illustration – New York Times
For us the logic was upgrading one of the PCs
(logically ours) and adding a network attached storage device. With a 1TB NAS you swear to gawd you can control
the world. After all our first HD was 5 MB and we had no idea how we would fill it. Today with Vista bloat
(Leopard isn’t a lot better); the world is at your fingertips. Tellywood is firmly convincing the law that with all that
power, all that capacity, all that sneaky will you’re going to spend 80% of your time stealing their stuff. Or as Sal
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Boca warned… “I'm telling you, they'll split if we don't move! This guy's got 'em like that; he's everything they say
he is!” Not on our systems. Not on most folks storage devices.
Shared content – once the family moves beyond individual PCs to
networked system with Internet connection, the next phase is to
centralize content – photos, music and video – so everyone on the
network can entertain him/herself when they want, how they want.
The web-enabled generation (24 and younger)
expects to find all of their content available to them
at the click of a mouse. Their monitors are their first
port of call for movie clips, dumb/dumber videos,
TV shows and more.
Anyone with a lick of sense and even a modicum of research in their neighborhood would find that most
people who grab and store information and content on their computer hard drive don’t spend the time, effort
and money to steal and store movies. They are far more interested in themselves and personalized content –
great photos, great music, great personal videos.
Unless you’re a Doom9er Tellywood’s “prize jewels” are way down on your priority list of important stuff you
have on your system. Yeah we know. Doesn’t stop them from acting like Walt Simonson… “Buddy, here's the
warrant. The court order's in there for the wiretap, the judge gave you sixty days on it. Tell Doyle that Mulderig
and Klein will sit in for the Feds”.
The home computer network has become “almost” plug ’n play. All you need is a good friend or neighbor who
happens to be very technically inclined! He plugs… you play. Unfortunately when it comes to the home
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entertainment network, we believed Otellini at IDF (Intel Developers Forum) two years ago. Believed Gates at
CES. All we wanted to do is get in on the fun, the action. You know: stream videos; download videos; share videos;
record TV on the PC; watch videos on portables – phone, PMP, whatever; grab a couple of good movies on the PC.
Nothing much. Just all the neat things they did so easily!
You can complain about blue differences holding back brilliant home movie viewing but it’s a street punk
compared to home entertainment network turf wars. Every acronym group has the right answer.
Our home solution wasn’t installed… it evolved! Only in the movies and Home Theater and Architectural Digest
do people build their entertainment around an automated, controlled-environment room! TV is in one room. Stereo
is in another. PCs are everywhere. Bringing them together to talk/play is… fun.
First generation was to use Pinnacle’s ShowCenter – it seemed like a great alternative to MS “sure fire” Media
Center enabled PCs that folks wanted you to buy. After a little effort it worked OK. A lot better than an earlier
attempt to connect our PC to a big screen LCD using the DVI outputs and connecting to the HDMI inputs on the
panel. Display resolution configuration is so much fun. But the ShowCenter did allow us to move content (photos
and video) from one PC to another and even to the big screen. Even got to master the PVR and timeshift
shows…now all we need is viewing time.
Once you’ve done that you’ll want to placeshift
shows and events. Back to the big box store for a
WiFi solution that handles both standard and HD
content. Between the techie friend and techie son
we were able to figure out how to use PCTV To
Go HD Wireless and even configure our
notebook so we could use it on the road. Of
course kids have everyone else’s content –
music, video – on their smartphone and PMP in
no time. Our home media network “almost”
looks like the stuff Gates, Jobs, Otellini talk
about… almost.
Can mere mortals install these things? Following
the “easy to install” instructions ain’t that easy!
But selling the dream? Goldmine! That’s where
the new generation service guy comes in. We
know folks who tried it with their cable guy.
Bust. We know people who tried it with their
Most consumers have moved from information and
phone person. Hello?? That’s why PC/CE
entertainment islands – PC, PC network, TV, portable device
network installation/service contracts are going
– to a connected/shared environment that enables them to
to be huge!! All of the parts for the home
themselves individually and as a family when and
computer and entertainment network are out
where it is convenient.
there. The challenge for most consumers is
getting the pieces to work and play together. Until the industry has true tinker toy plug and play solutions, there will
be a ready market for installation and service support by integration/implementation experts.
We’ll attend the next keynote and press presentation and get excited. We’ll also walk behind the stage and look at
the poor techies sweating bullets and crossing their fingers. If content doesn’t fly everywhere? There are always
support jobs in New Delhi! You’ll buy the new sweets the boys are pushing. Don’t worry…the service guy will
show up.
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August 2007
A-VSB – Advanced-Vestigial Side-Band
Part 2 - the implementation
by Rodolfo La Maestra
Rodolfo La Maestra is the senior technical director of the HDTV Magazine. Rodolfo
participated in the HDTV vision since the late 1980s when HDTV was first proposed as an
analog system. Rodolfo considers himself an educator, not a journalist, transferring
knowledge, research, and experience. In addition to his annual HDTV Technology
Review, he has authored a variety of tutorials and educative articles for HDTV Magazine,
DVDetc, and HDTVetc magazines. This article is the second segment of a three part series
about A-VSB, a DTV broadcast system for mobile devices proposed to the ATSC a couple
of years ago.
In the first article, I covered the details of how this mobile DTV system works, the
requirements, and some potential effects on HDTV channels if not used with quality of
terrestrial broadcast in mind.
A private conference with Samsung: In April 2007, I privately discussed with Mr. John Godfrey, VP of
government and public affairs for Samsung Information Systems America, to confirm some of the technical aspects
of AVSB. I started by sharing my concern about AVSB implementation for mobile devices sharing the bandwidth
of HDTV channels within the 6MHz allocation, which has the potential to degrade its quality. John said that
Samsung loves HDTV, they want 1080p, they want quality, and they want the HD to look great in their HDTV.
Many consider 15-16 Mbps acceptable quality for HD, and out of the total 19Mbps there would be enough left for
mobile programming if sharing the same 6MHz channel allocation.
The turbo power: As mentioned above, at CES 2007, the A-VSB system was demoed using a bandwidth of 4
times the video signal requirements to demonstrate that it works. The system was able to provide an image of ¼
VGA quality (320x240 resolution) using H.264 codec and encoding the video and audio at about 500 kbps.
Multiply that x 4 to get the size of the turbo stream. That application would be useful for screens up to 12-13 inches
for automobile use. At NAB 2007, Samsung showed a successful reception even when using only half of that rate,
meaning using a total bandwidth that was twice the required by the video/audio itself for the requirements of the
turbo system to facilitate the lock of the receiving device into the signal.
The SRS system: In addition to the turbo system there is a SRS system that uses a tracking signal that requires
2.89 Mbps at its maximum rate. SRS is in use all the time and improves the reception of all services, terrestrial
OTA DTV using 8VSB and mobile DTV using the turbo system of A-VSB.
Using both: The turbo and the SRS are needed together in order to get mobile reception, but one could run SRS
and no turbo to just improve the resistance to dynamic interference echoes on stationary and low speed portable
reception applications, such as cars driving by the house, or staying in a café with people walking around. Using
turbo at half-load (half video/half overhead) added to SRS would still leave about 15-16 Mbps for the main
terrestrial HD channel within the 6 MHz slot. However, using a 6MHz channel slot for the simultaneous
transmission of HD, SD, and A-VSB mobile is considered a challenge and a risk to the quality of the HD subchannel.
Borrowing bandwidth from other stations: Another alternative is to transmit mobile programming using another
station within the same market, which is very common in the US, and would avoid taking Mbps out of the main HD
channel. For example, many NBC stations are in markets where there is a Telemundo station; Telemundo does not
have significant HD programming, if any, and do not use all of the 6MHz allocated bandwidth, so Telemundo could
dedicate some of the unused bandwidth for the purpose of supporting the mobile service of another station, such as
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August 2007
NBC within the same market. There are also independent stations that are not own by the network stations but they
could reach agreements to perform a mobile broadcast service similar to the above.
When looking around the United States, after analog broadcast is discontinued in Feb 2009, there will be a
repacking of the digital stations on the channels 2 to 51, which is almost 50 channels (1 channel is left out in the
middle). There will be a total bandwidth of 50 x 6MHz channels to work with, not all of them support each city but
supposing that half of them are used, there will be a total bandwidth of about 25 x 6MHz channels to work with on
each city.
In the view of Samsung, there are not 25 channels worth of HD broadcast programming in the US, “we are a long
way from that,” John said. So there is plenty of bandwidth for all of the HD programming to be transmitted at its
full HD quality, and there is still bandwidth to perform a role of mobile distribution of services that could be
transmitted using other frequencies in the same market.
As the Telemundo example above, if in one market there were a station that only transmits their programming in
SD, the station would have most of the 6MHz channel allocation available, and could be divided into several multiturbo streams for mobile services of 5 or 6 network stations (NBC, CBS, etc).
From the beginning the system will have the built-in ability to send to the receiver the encoding rates of the
transmitting station, so the broadcaster can change the encoding rate and the receiver would automatically adjust to
it; there is nothing to be done by the consumer regarding software upgrades on the receivers.
The audio system for AVSB: The audio system to be implemented with A-VSB has not been decided yet. We
discussed about using Dolby Digital Plus, which was approved by the ATSC a few years ago as an alternative
standard for DTV audio, and claims to offer 50% bandwidth savings over the current Dolby Digital standard used
for DTV. I mentioned to John my conversations with Craig Eggers from Dolby to make them both aware that there
could be an opportunity for both efforts to work together.
SFN tower system: The Single Frequency Network (SFN) towers infrastructure is another system in addition to the
turbo an SRS to facilitate DTV reception; SFN does not use any bandwidth of the broadcast channel, and has a
partner company, Rohde & Schwarz. Today there is not a system in the US that has been widely deployed, there are
a couple of experimental deployments, the FCC has not issued rules and is not the standard practice to have
multiple towers transmitting on the same frequency.
Because the multiple transmitters are not perfectly synchronized with each other transmitting exactly the same thing
at the same time, produces terrible ghost effects on receivers in that market. It is very hard for the receiver to deal
with that, so there is a need to synchronize the transmissions. Rohde & Schwarz noticed that with A-VSB there
was a need to find a way to make the data frames deterministic so they would start and stop at a specified point,
which is not the case of the underline ATSC standard.
Samsung introduced a deterministic element to the data frames so that a reference sequence could be inserted and
the error coding updated in real time without upsetting legacy receivers. Combined with GPS time to synchronize
the multiple transmitters, the SFN part of A-VSB is able to distribute the same programming to all the different
transmitters; along with the programming a little code is inserted to indicate when to start transmitting so each
independent site thru its GPS clock would be synchronized. Even legacy TVs in the area of service will get a better
picture because the multiple transmitters would help receivers located in difficult reception spots (such as behind a
mountain) lock better into the broadcasted channel. For NAB, Samsung obtained an experimental license from the
FCC, to demonstrate with three low power transmitters, one in the convention center and two nearby and will
operate in SFN.
Stay tuned for the next edition of the Display Standard for Rodolfo’s impact analysis about overusing A-VSB.
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SID ICDM activity
by Joe Miseli
Joe Miseli has been with Sun Microsystems since 1986. He is a senior staff engineer in
analog engineering, dealing with audio, video, RF, and specializing in displays. He was
responsible for engineering the first LCD display products for Sun and was involved in a
number of notable display developments with regard to Sun monitors, which contributed
the display industry. He is a member of SMPTE and voting member for Sun for VESA. He
is a founding member of the FPDM group within VESA and was chairman of the FPDM
group when it departed from VESA. Now he is chairman of the SID ICDM, the evolution
of the FPDM group. He has written a number of publications and has about 12 patents.
FPDM2 (Flat Panel Display Measurements standard, version 2) is a best-selling
standard from VESA. For $40, you get a hard-bound version of the FPDM2, which
defines display measurements for the industry. The only problem is that there has been
no update to it (except for a Motion Artifacts partial update) since its release in 2001.
Now, the team that wrote the FPDM, FPDM2, and the FPDM Update for Motion
Artifacts is preparing for the next display measurement standard document, to replace the FPDM2 and become
what was expected as the FPDM3. The FPDM team is no longer engaged with VESA as of April, 2007, and is now
the ICDM (International Committee for Display Metrology). Instead of being part of VESA, the ICDM is now part
of SID. This transmigration to SID brings many advantages in terms of availability of participation from those wellversed in display evaluation to help develop the ICDM display measurement standard.
Now, instead of having participation only from the VESA membership, which has limited involvement from those
who evaluate displays, the ICDM has the participation of many world experts in metrology and related fields, as
found in the SID membership, even though SID membership is not a requirement for participation. Many who
could not have participated under the VESA membership and limited guest participation rules now are involved in
the ICDM. In addition, ICDM has participation from representatives of a number of world standards organizations,
such as SID, CIE, SEMI, IEC, ISO, SAE, TCO, SMPTE, and VESA, and there is cooperative affiliation in
discussion with some of them. The participation consists also of members of many key disciplines and industries
vital to building, evaluating, qualifying, and specifying displays. Now the ICDM begins its activities to produce the
industry-definitive measurement standard.
Recent ICDM activities:
A two day meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, especially for the European ICDM community members,
on August 6 and 7, 2007.
An ongoing round robin test for motion blur is nearing conclusion.
o One LCD is passed around to and from companies who can make motion blur measurements.
o Measurement conditions (pattern, levels, speed, number of test cases, etc.) are specified.
o Any methods can be used. This is a test to determine what methods are valid to evaluate motion
blur. It is to help determine what motion blur really is, and how to evaluate it. Based upon the
results, the methods and what can and cannot be used can be put into the ICDM Motion Blur
evaluation section of Motion Artifacts.
o 15 companies are in participation.
A new round robin test for reflection is about to begin.
o A reflection sample is being made by NIST.
o The sample will be for specular, haze, and Lambertian reflection will be passed around to
participating ICDM members.
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o To validate the method which we will use in the ICDM publication, not to validate the labs doing
the testing.
o Participants to test with their equipment, but as per the method defined in the ICDM standard.
o 8 companies are in participation at this time.
Future plans include a meeting in the US by the end of the year, and exploration of meetings in Japan,
Korea, and Taiwan for ICDM members in those areas.
Measurements: Like the FPDM, the ICDM display measurement standard will
have many and diverse measurements for display evaluation. The goal will be to
address every measurement/evaluation need of displays, and to make it as display
technology independent as possible. It will leverage the work done on the FPDM,
but expand upon it, correct errors, make it more unified with terminology of other
standards, bring it up to date to reflect the needs of newer and/or more advanced
displays and their higher performance characteristics, and incorporate applicable
works of other standards as is needed. When the FPDM was first written, for
example, luminance levels of 200 were considered high, and contrasts of but a few
hundred were the maximum that could be expected. Today, we often see
luminances over 500 and contrasts specified as 100,000 or more.
Example 1 of Measurement Issues of the ICDM: Response Time: Here is a sample of measurement items to be
addressed in the ICDM display measurement standard. For the category of temporal response of displays, response
time is particularly problematic and often confusing.
There are many types of response times, most notably with LCDs. There is confusion over how to measure and
evaluate them, and drive signal processing (as well as other effects) contribute to making them have response time
electro-optical curves which are not easy to numerically evaluate.
When we have overshoot, undershoot, inter-transition non-linearities, noise, ripple, long settling time, etc., response
time measurements may become ambiguous at best, and inaccurate or meaningless at worst. For almost any type of
response time, such items are often not well handled and can both make measurements difficult and prone to errors.
These are the types of items to be addressed and discussed in the ICDM display measurement standard.
Some examples of response time definitions.
The standard definition for response time is the on + off time of a display measured from the 10% to
90% levels. On + off by definition limits the tested levels for response time to black and white only,
even though they many not be the worst cases for response time.
Gray-to-gray response time (also called GTG or G2G) is the time of a gray level to change to another
gray level. (Black and white are also considered to be gray levels.) Note that this metric is single sided,
in that it only accounts for transitions from one level to another, unlike the standard response time which
was the cycle of changing from one level (black) to the other (white) and back again. It might halve the
time of the standard response time.
There are a great deal of opinions about the right way to measure, specify, and come up with a unified
concept of what gray-to-gray response time means. For instance, for 8-bit/color displays, there are 256
gray levels. Measurement of all instances of level change (which means from one level to a second level
as well as from the second level to the first one) produces a total of 256 times 256, minus 256 levels to
measure, or 65,280 possible gray level combinations. That involves a lot of work and takes much time to
measure. If we did measure all of those levels, how would we determine the response time? Would it be
the worst case, the average, the max-min/(some number), or some other statistical analysis method?
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Some people have suggested using a smaller number of samples, and then performing some statistical
method to come up with a single number. What happens if we do sample a small number of gray levels,
and then a severe worst case is not among the levels sampled? Of course, display manufacturers and
display purchasers have different options about this. This is but one example of many items to be
considered and reconciled for a definitive standard intent to cover all needed measurement items.
This metric is assumed to be measured from the 10% to 90% levels, but it is not a standardized test and
people could identify it at any level if it best suited their purposes. It needs standardization which has
not been established.
Gray-to-gray response time does not even touch upon what differences might take place for the response
times between colors. Temporal color analysis opens up the possibility of greater complexity in the
analysis of the display.
Response time of a change in level also has latency. From the time a signal is received in the display to
direct it to change levels, there is electrical processing time before a pixel actually begins to change.
This could range from incidental transmitted signals with minor circuit processing to frame-time delays
by intermediate frame buffers. When we measure 10% to 90% levels, this latency time is ignored. For
some applications, it is very important, such as for rapid user input as might be found in gaming. Total
response time with latency could make a display have a response time of one or more frame rates
(example = 16.7 ms) added to the base response time.
Temporal manipulation of display, which can be used to change the appearance of effective response
times, is in need of standard methods to evaluate and specify it. Examples for LCDs are blinking or
pulse-width modulated backlights, increased frame rates, and scanning backlights.
Impulse response time is also a consideration to investigate for standardization. Response time (as per
marketing) may be any type of response time, which gives the lowest numbers. Since gray-to-gray is
single-sided (from one level to another) and regular response time is dual-sided (from black-to-white-toblack), gray-to-gray often produces a better number than response time, and is often used for the
marketing statement of response time for a display. Unfortunately, many times when response time is
stated for a display, the type of response time or conditions for it are not given.
When we have overshoot, undershoot, inter-transition non-linearities, noise, ripple, long settling time,
etc., response time measurements may become ambiguous at best, and inaccurate or meaningless at
worst. For almost any type of response time, such items are often not well handled and can both make
measurements difficult and prone to errors. These are the types of items to be addressed and discussed in
the ICDM display measurement standard.
As the ICDM display measurement standard evolves, other concerns or inputs of any of the members
will be addressed and considered for inclusion in the document. This could even include input from
others such as yourselves, or input to the ICDM wiki page (not yet activated).
We should also point out that many of the response time methods, considerations, and concerns either
apply or are related to motion artifacts evaluation, most notably for motion blur.
Example 2 of Measurement Issues of the ICDM: Residual Image: Another temporal response item is Residual
Image, which is often called any of a number of names, including also Image Sticking, Latent Image, Image
Retention, or Burn-in. The first problem with this is the name. With so many terms by which it is referenced, it can
be confused, especially since some of the terms also apply to other temporal phenomena of displays. For instance,
we could have latent image from a phosphor which has a long decay time. That is totally different.
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
In addition, some of the items do not equate. Burn-in is really destructive mechanism of a physical component of a
display, such as phosphor used for producing the image, which has been degraded, possibly even burned away.
This cannot occur in an LCD, which has no phosphor. For an LCD, the phenomenon that might give the appearance
of burn-in, is rather a cumulative electrical charge which can be accumulated on areas of the display. For the
phosphor-based display, the burn-in may be permanent. For the LCD, it is likely reversible. It is not a burned-in
part of the image, but is a residue of it. Hence, the term Residual Image or Image Retention.
Conclusion: These are examples of many items to be addressed in the ICDM display measurement standard.
Readers are invited to provide input to the ICDM before the items to be standardized are finalized in the ICDM
document, and any and all feedback is welcome.
The financial standard…
WitsView’s Market Confidence Index (MCI)
WitsView Technology Corporation, a Taiwan-based LCD Research Institution, routinely publishes a fascinating
peak into the health of the TFT LCD market and has graciously given us permission to occasionally reprint their
Market Confidence Index (MCI) as part of the Display Standard.
WitsView’s commentary: “The MCI index
declined sharply last week, where it plummeted
681 points, down from 7436.7 to 6755.7. The
good piece of news was the fact that the market
fundamentals underpinning the TFT LCD
industry remained strong, as panel prices for all
three major applications are expected to
experience minimal fluctuations. The MCI
index was mainly impacted by the sub-prime
mortgage financial crisis. In recent weeks, the
crisis has been taking its toll on major
worldwide markets. However, as the US made
the decision to cut its interest rates last Friday
from 6.25% to 5.75%, it should help alleviate
current market worries that have been spreading
around the globe. Likewise, things should begin
to look up again for the LCD sector”.
The MCI is an indicator tailored for the TFT
LCD industry. In the past, marketers tend to use
Source: WitsView
the mainstream panel prices to diagnose the
health of the TFT LCD industry and predict its market trend. However, as the application sizes vary and market
focus changes all the time, it is never easy to find an appropriate tool to judge the market climate. In view of this,
WitsView develops MCI, aimed to become a mutual-language among industry participants for effective
communication on industry outlook and market trend.
MCI is NOT an underlying index traded in any market; those who use MCI as their trading benchmark should judge with their discretion and take the full
responsibility for any loss that incurs. WitsView and Veritas et Visus hereby expressly disclaim all warranties of originality or accuracy.
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
The Last Word: Where to participate?
by Karl Best
Karl F. Best is director of strategic consulting at Kavi Corporation where he advises
standards organizations and industry consortia on organizational policies, technical
process, and other best practices. Karl has been involved with the development of
structured information systems, and a participant in and leader of various international
standards activities, for over fifteen years. He has organized and spoken at numerous
industry conferences and events related to structured information standards. This article
was first published on August 15, 2007 at the Kavi Standards Blog: www.kavi.com/blog
Let’s say that your company, or perhaps you as an individual, has a burning desire to get
involved in standards work. (You wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t interested
in the topic.) Given the large number of standards organizations that you could
potentially get involved with, which one(s) should you join? You can’t join them all; first
of all the financial costs would be enormous, but in particular you only get the benefits of joining when you also
dedicate some of your time and effort in participating, and the amount of your available time is finite.
Before going any further, the most important question to ask yourself is why you want to participate. As a wise VP
of standards told me many years ago, you don’t “do” standards; you participate in standards activities because there
are specific benefits that you hope to gain in exchange for the financial and time costs of participating. You use
participation in standards organizations to achieve a goal of or provide benefits to the company. Standards work is a
tool, a means to an end.
So the first criteria in selecting a standards organization is deciding which organization(s) will help the
company achieve a specific goal or gain the most benefit. Is the organization doing work that, once
completed and adopted, will benefit the company? Is the organization’s topic or technology, and the
work being done, applicable to the company’s products, and would it affect the company’s revenue
stream? Will this technology be important to the market or industry? Does the company hope to steer or
otherwise affect the direction of the technology in its favor, or does it simply want to keep up with what
is being done in hopes of being an early implementer, or keeping track of its competitors?
Does the standards organization follow the generally accepted principals of transparency, openness,
impartiality, effectiveness, relevance, consensus, due process, timely, and balance? Is the organization
recognized or accredited by national or international standards bodies?
Is the organization open to new members? Does it encourage participation of new members? Is it easy to
join? Are the dues a reasonable amount? What benefits does the organization provide to its members
with regards to publicity and exposure? What level of infrastructure and staffing support does it
Does the organization have a complete and fair Intellectual Property Rights policy? Does it have a wellstructured committee process? What other organizational policies and procedures are in place?
How is the organization governed? Do members set the technical and strategic direction and agenda of
the organization’s activities? How are board directors selected? Are governing positions bought or
Is the organization going to take advantage of the technical expertise of the employees that the member
company sends to participate, or is the set of technical experts a closed group with everyone else
relegated to being reviewers?
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
August 2007
What activities does the organization pursue in order to promote the adoption of the completed work?
Does the organization sponsor educational forums and seminars? Is conformance and certification part
of the organization’s agenda? What about promotional and marketing activities?
There are no right answers to any of the above questions. With the large number of standards organizations in
existence there is a wide variety of operating policies and practices. The prospective member should research
questions such as those above and come to its own conclusion whether the organization is the right one in which to
participate and to invest its time and resources in.
Display Industry Calendar
A much more complete version of this calendar is located at: http://www.veritasetvisus.com/industry_calendar.htm.
Please notify [email protected] to have your future events included in the listing.
August 2007
August 26-30
Optics & Photonics
San Diego, California
August 27
2007 IMID Business Forum
Daegu, Korea
August 27-31
IMID 2007
Daegu, Korea
August 28-31
Display Metrology Short Course
Boulder, Colorado
August 31 September 5
IFA 2007
Berlin, Germany
September 2007
September 3-7
Prague, Czech
September 3-8
Ferroelectric Liquid Crystals
Sapporo, Japan
September 4-6
2007 FPD Education Forum
Seoul, Korea
September 5-9
CEDIA Expo 2007
Denver, Colorado
September 6-7
Flexible and Stretchable Electronics Workshop
Leuven, Belgium
September 6-7
2007 China International FPD Conference
Shanghai, China
September 6-7
Commercializing Printed RFID
Chicago, Illinois
September 6-11
IBC 2007
September 9-12
London, England
September 10-11
Europe Workshop on Manufacturing LEDs for
Lighting and Displays
Berlin, Germany
September 10-11
Printed Electronics Asia
Tokyo, Japan
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
September 10-14
Foundation in Displays
Dundee, Scotland
September 11
Workshop on Dynamic 3D Imaging
Heidelberg, Germany
September 12-14
Semicon Taiwan, 2007
Taipei, Taiwan
September 13
Printing Manufacturing for Reel-to-Reel
Kettering, England
September 14-16
Taitronics India 2007
Chennai, India
September 16-20
Organic Materials and Devices for Displays and
Energy Conversion
San Francisco,
September 17-20
Moscow, Russia
September 18-19
3D Workshop
San Francisco,
September 18-19
Global Biometrics Summit
Brussels, Belgium
September 18-19
RFID Europe
Cambridge, England
September 21
FPD Components & Materials Seminar
Tokyo, Japan
September 24-26
Organic Electronics Conference
Frankfurt, Germany
September 24-28
Liquid Crystal Displays
Oxford, England
August 2007
October 2007
October 1-4
European Conference on Organic Electronics &
Related Phenomena
Varenna, Italy
October 1-5
International Topical Meeting on Optics of
Liquid Crystals
Puebla, Mexico
October 2-3
3D Insiders' Summit
Boulder, Colorado
October 2-3
Mobile Displays 2007
San Diego, California
October 2-6
CEATAC Japan 2007
Tokyo, Japan
October 2-7
CeBIT Bilisim EurAsia
Istanbul, Turkey
October 3-4
Displays Technology South
Reading, England
October 7-10
AIMCAL Fall Technical Conference
Scottsdale, Arizona
October 8-9
Printed RFID US
Chicago, Illinois
October 9-11
SEMICON Europa 2007
Stuttgart, Germany
October 9-13
Taipei Int'l Electronics Autumn Show
Taipei, Taiwan
October 9-13
Korea Electronics Show
Seoul, Korea
Veritas et Visus
Display Standard
October 10
Novel Light Sources
Bletchley Park,
October 10-11
International Symposium on Environmental
Standards for Electronic Products
Ottawa, Ontario
October 10-11
HDTV Conference 2007
Los Angeles,
October 10-12
IEEE Tabletop Workshop
Newport, Rhode Island
October 10-13
CeBIT Asia
Shanghai, China
October 11-12
Vehicles and Photons 2007
Dearborn, Michigan
October 13-16
Hong Kong Electronics Fair Autumn
Hong Kong, China
October 13-16
ElectronicAsia 2007
Hong Kong, China
October 15-18
Orlando, Florida
October 15-19
CEA Technology & Standards Forum
San Diego, California
October 16
Enabling Technologies with Atomic Layer
Daresbury, England
October 17-18
Photonex 2007
Stoneleigh Park,
October 17-19
Printable Electronics & Displays Conference &
San Francisco,
October 17-20
SMAU 2007
Milan, Italy
October 18
Displaybank FPD Conference Taiwan
Taipei, Taiwan
October 22-25
CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment
San Francisco,
October 22-26
Display Measurement; Physical and Human
Dundee, Scotland
October 23-25
SATIS 2007
Paris, France
October 23-25
Display Applications Conference
San Francisco,
October 24-26
Worship Facilities Conference & Expo
Atlanta, Georgia
October 24-26
LEDs 2007
San Diego, California
October 24-26
FPD International
Yokohama, Japan
October 24-27
SMPTE Technical Conference & Exhibition
Brooklyn, New York
October 25-27
Mac Live Expo
London, England
October 29-30
Plastic Electronics
Frankfurt, Germany
October 29 November 1
Digital Hollywood Fall
Los Angeles,
August 2007