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Marvell Qdeo Video Processing Expands

Santa Clara, Calif. — The Marvell Communications and Consumer Business Group is now offering manufacturers of consumer video products a low-cost, video-enhancing chipset that it bills as a best-of-breed video solution among a field of popular, competitive approaches ranging from Faroudja’s DCDi to Silcon Optix’s Realta HQV.

In fact, Nikhil Balram, Marvel’s digital entertainment business unit general manager and VP, helped to develop many of those rival technologies through his former roles working with the military display systems that evolved into some competitive video processing systems and as Faroudja’s former advanced technology VP.

Marvell’s Qdeo 88DE2710 video-processing chipset, available today, incorporates a set of video-enhancement tools the company calls “Quiet Video,” to clean up images and present a more natural picture in both native HD and up-converted video material. The company is now offering the  chipset to manufacturers of digital TVs, and source components including DVD and Blu-ray Disc recorders and players, digital video recorders and various set-top boxes.

The technology is said to remove most common picture artifacts from a wide range of source material and resolution levels, to deliver “a quiet and immersive viewing experience,” regardless of whether the image originated on film or video, or has high or low levels of compression.

The system will automatically identify and adjust images from a “much wider variety of sources than there has ever been in the past,” Balram said. “This will handle everything from very low resolution content like YouTube and iTunes all the way up to 1080p and beyond.

“When we set out to develop the system, we felt we needed to come up with a set of video-processing technologies that could adapt itself to this swath of sources,” he added.

The timing of introduction is perfect, he said.

“As displays get higher resolution and bigger and bigger, it means that the threshold of visibility of artifacts gets lower and lower,” Balram said. “You don’t have to have a Ph.D. in video processing to be able to tell that something is wrong with the scene.”

What many competitive video processing systems lack today is true adaptivity, according to Balram, which gave Qdeo its mission.

“The way many of the algorithms are designed, they can cause harm to the image if applied to good content, so therefore they are turned off in default mode for good content, and the user has to decide from a menu of features what he or she needs to treat any noise,” Balram said.

Qdeo 88DE2710 chipset treats video in three processes, the first removes noise (analog or digital), the second transforms and scales the resolution levels and the third adds image enrichment, with detail, texture, contrast and color to arrive at a natural looking picture.

In addition to offering fully automatic adaptivity to picture conditions through a “Qdeo Mode,” the system offers advanced users the opportunity to customize picture settings to their tastes through a “user mode.”

One of the first customers for the chipset was LG, which placed Qdeo technology in its favorably reviewed SuperBlu combination Blu-ray/HD DVD player. It is also included in Pioneer’s flagship Elite SC-09TX A/V receiver, and the Meridian iRIS HD video dock.

“We first launched this as a post-processing solution in so-called step-up products to create an awareness of our technology and branding. We will follow up very soon with a system-on-a-chip solution so consumers can get these benefits at mainstream prices,” Balram said.

Without naming specific items, Balram said Qdeo video processing will start to emerge in products priced at under $300 starting later in the year.

“That’s the name of the game. We are in the business of bringing premium technology to the mainstream consumer. We understand that you start at the high end, you prove it and then you bring it down to the mainstream,” Balram said.