Darbee, EE Demo Depth Cue Processing

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— Darbee Vision and Entertainment Experience (EE) used the recent CEDIA Expo to demonstrate new 3D processing systems that combine their individual technologies to produce 2D HD images with 3D-like depth cues and color enhancement.

The two sister companies have combined their respective set-top boxes — Darbee’s containing its Visual Presence IP core and EE’s offering its TruVue eeColor processor with added color enhancement — to create images with an enhanced look of depth without the need to wear 3D glasses of any kind.

The EE device uses a 3D color table to independently choose what the correct color should be for each pixel in real time. Using visual models and full, three-dimensional color processing, the system improves the contrast, brightness and color of any television or projector without changing the artistic look of the media or memory colors like flesh tones and blue skies.

A plug-and-play unit with a simple remote control lets the user choose the most pleasing viewing experience for any video display device or any home theater system, anywhere in the house, said David Monks, EE business development director.

The Darbee system takes a single image and mathematically synthesizes a double (left and right) image, offering the effect of a double drop shadow around objects without introducing annoying artifacts, explained Paul Darby, Darbee Visual Presence CEO and founder, and one-time founder of Universal Remote.

The system is said to improve images by using digital logic to process an image in the same way a human brain does and then adds these results back into the original image, the company said.

Depth cues are inserted to create images that seem to pop off the screen to create an immersive visual experience with 2D material.

Darby said his company is now working to take the technology to market in three directions: the first is as an IP block that will be placed into other manufacturers’ chips; the second is to develop its own FPTA chips that can be placed in a device manufacturers’ components; and the third is to put the technology into a set-top box that can be attached to legacy TV systems.

The two sister companies’ boxes, which are separate now, will soon be integrated into a single device.

Because the depth-cue technology affects the pixels, Darby said, the imagery could be applied at any point in the life of the image from inside the camera, during transport over cable or satellite or in the display.

“The display is really the sweet spot because it’s the end of the chain,” Darby explained. “We create extra information, up to 15x larger. So you really want to get to the point where the signal is uncompressed.”

Darbee processing surpasses HD 1080p/60 resolution, the company said. The technology does not require a full-frame buffer, runs at pixel-clock rates and utilizes all-integer arithmetic. The processing is local, modifying the image luminance on a per-pixel basis with no effect on grain, noise or pre-existing sharpening.

Darby explained that the eeColor system then enhances the chroma in the image to round out the presentation.

The companies said the system was designed not to impact the artistic goal of the director. Rather, the new processing advances gives them greater control over creating the final look of the production.

Darby said that while the system gives a 3D look to 2D material, it was not intended to compete against today’s 3D display systems. Instead, he said, the system can be applied to native 3D material to enhance the visual impact even further.

Darby said in several months he expects each company to deliver its image enhancement solution in separate set-top boxes. Both systems will be combined in a third integrated box.

Work is also progressing on a chip that can be integrated into television sets.

Enhanced Entertainment will serve as the U.S. distributor for both companies’ products, while Darbee will distribute both companies’ products in Asia.


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