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Video Displays

For me, the most exciting video demonstration at CES was of the Sage FLI2200, an integrated circuit that implements Faroudja's line-doubling and line-deinterlacing technology in a chip available for $29 in quantities of 10,000. Dr. Nikhil Balram (right), managing director of the division that designed the chip, enthusiastically explained its advantages and talked to myself and Philip Brandes for a long while. The FLI2200 does 3-2 pulldown film deinterlacing, detecting film sources automatically and performing inverse telecine deinterlacing. It will also detect video sources, and perform motion-detection line-doubling for video sources.

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Additionally, for video line-doubling, the FLI2200 incorporates something Faroudja calls Diagonal Decorrelation Deinterlacing (DCDi) which interpolates along curves in a piecewise linear fashion. Normal interpolators will interpolate across different scanlines, rendering diagonal lines with jagged edges. DCDi detects edges, and interpolates along the edges, rendering diagonal lines smoothly. They had a demo running comparing a loop of a the American flag waving in the wind via a DVD player with a Genesis line-doubling chipset, and a new Philips player with DCDi and it was very apparent how good DCDi is, or conversely, how bad the Genesis chipset is. The film/video detection is done on a pixel-by-pixel basis, so it should be able to deal with difficult sources like films with bad edits, or mixed video/film sources. The chipset does not depend at all on the DVD flags to detect film or interlaced sources. The FLI2200 is compatible with NTSC and PAL.

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Sage (which is now Faroudja's parent company) had two sample implementations of the FLI2200, one for digital TVs that accept analog inputs and output analog signals (right), and another for DVD players that accept digital video inputs, and output progressive analog signals (below right). The chipset is designed for price-sensitive applications, needing almost no additional support circuitry in its smallest configuration and only 4Mb of SDRAM (synchronous clocked DRAM) in its fullest configuration, and yet delivers Faroudja quality video deinterlacing. Click for a Larger Version

Dr. Balram told me how they retrofitted progressive video in a normal DVD player in a few hours for another vendor by adding their DVD progressive scan card. This could be an interesting, and very cheap, upgrade for many DVD owners. And if copy protection weren't such an important issue, many DVD players should have well-defined ports that present their digital video signals so that we could plug in progressive scan cards that could be upgraded as the technology improves.

This is very exciting technology, and I look forward to the day when DVD players and digital televisions are available with DCDi, which should be easy to spot because they will all sport a DCDi sticker. []

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Show report last updated: 23rd April 2001. 276 original images on-line.


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