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2D/3D video conversion IC targets portable apps

Posted: 16 Dec 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:video conversion IC  portable devices  3D 

Risky 3D business
Dialog�s foray into 2D-to-3D conversion is not without risk. A number of chip companies are focused on delivering on-the-fly 3D conversion for large-screen TVs, but Dialog�s CEO said the company is betting that the buzz around 3D will �move from home TV to handheld devices in 2011.�

It�s a calculated gamble; Nintendo, for one, plans a big push in mobile 3D early next year with its 3DS handheld, which will feature a 3D screen and camera. With no all-in-one 3D chip solution optimised for handhelds available on the market, Dialog�s conversion chip (which integrates full parallax barrier control, pixel formatter and driver) could stand out, positioning the German company to ride the crest of the expected 3D wave for handheld game machines, smart phones and tablets.

Dialog�s DA8223 has a hardwired, dedicated architecture that puts no extra load on the host application processor and requires no external memory, Bagherli said. Describing the DA8223 as an accelerator, he said the chip can be plugged into existing portable devices, �retrofitting them relatively easily.�

The DA8223 converts 2D still images or video frames into a �depth map� that separates picture elements into foreground and background pixels. It then renders each original 2D pixel in real-time using two pixels (one for each eye). The DA8223 uses the depth map to determine the degree of separation, or shift, between each pixel; the greater the shift, the deeper the 3D effect.

Dialog�s engineering team designed the DA8223 for displays that use parallax barriers to enable glasses-free 3D viewing. The parallax barrier method uses an additional LCD display to create small slits that block the light between each eye. Because it can be switched off, it can enable both 2D and 3D image display.

The industry has seen 3D mobile phone attempts go nowhere in the past, but the climate has changed, according to Bagherli.

For one, the industry has made heavy investment in recent years in parallax barriers, he said.

Real-time 2D-to-3D conversion will also mitigate the lack of 3D content, but the key to successful 3D mobile devices will be glasses-free viewing, Bagherli believes.

The DA8223 provides standard RGB 24bit bus I/O supporting up to 1,024 x 600 screen resolution and a fully configurable dual parallax barrier controller with an integrated charge pump that drives portrait and landscape modes. Dialog said the chip will work with any display equipped with a parallax barrier filter.

Junko Yoshida
EE Times

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