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Television Media Technology

Sony Develops TVs That Zoom in for True Close-ups 275

Posted by samzenpus
from the examine-her-on-the-cellular-level dept.
prakslash writes "Sony has unveiled version 2 of its 'Digital Reality Creation' technology that allows viewers to pan around a TV image and then zoom in. Unlike the current TVs that simply scale the image, Sony's technology does 'true' zooming by digitally enhancing the signal to communicate gloss, depth and texture.
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Sony Develops TVs That Zoom in for True Close-ups

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:53PM (#10197701)

    digitally enhancing the signal to communicate gloss, depth and texture

    Ya know, I was going to make the obvious joke, then I realized that what I'm thinking about, I actually *don't* want to zoom in on. Some things are best left to the imagination, lest you see the reality (and the bumps and blisters and pimples). Ewww.

    So, umh, this would be cool for zooming in on puppies and stuff. Yeah.

  • by millisa (151093) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:54PM (#10197711)
    If only this was around for a certain Australian beauty queens strut down the catwalk last week. *sigh* Pan Baby! [mikeportnoy.com]
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:55PM (#10197720)
    I refuse to accept "digital zoom" as being any better than just putting a magnifying glass next to the same old low res image.

    Come on, it's trying to create data that just plain isn't coming from the original source, therefore it's nothing but guess and check logic. Sure it my smooth out what it thinks is a rough edge... but that's still only guessing and making up detail that just wasn't there.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:00AM (#10197759)
      Dude, don't you watch any of those crime dramas? Digital zoom is the greatest thing since sliced bread. With digital zoom and special software you can enhance a single pixel into the killers face!
      • by EvilCabbage (589836) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @01:28AM (#10198118) Homepage
        With digital zoom and special software you can enhance a single pixel into the killers face!

        I can see the "CSI" episode now...
        Ditzy cop: "Here's that footage you wanted enhanced sir, I ran it through our SomethingAwful lab guys!"
        Police Chief: "Put out an APB on this Admiral Ackbah character..."

        etc...etc...etc...
      • Well it's actually 3D digital zoom. Not only can you see the faces closer, but most movies allow a complete 360 degree head rotation. Not to mention every police station database has all the criminal's info like full names and addresses. Yet they can never arrest them.

      • Digital zoom is the greatest thing since sliced bread D'you know what I've never understood? What's so great about sliced bread? People always say stuff like 'She thinks she's the greatest thing since sliced bread...' You can't seriously tell me that when sliced bread first came out, everyone gasped, stopped what they were doing and exclaimed "Bread you don't have to slice for yourself?! This'll save so much time, minutes even!!"
      • Obligatory ST ref:
        "Enhance...enhance...enhance...enhance"
    • by fajaboard (795317) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:03AM (#10197784)
      If you are familiar with any image processing algorithms then you might find digital zooming easier to swallow. There is a lot of mathematics and statistics involved.

      In fact, it may not only smooth out but actually create rough edges not in the original. Think of the case recently where the girl was kidnapped and the FBI enhanced the kidnapper's image from the crappy surveliance tape.

      The article doesn't specify if it zooms a frozen screen (like a paused image) or during a sequence. Either way it could use past information from previous image frames to enhance the result.

      Its one of those things that you need to actually see to believe the hype.

      • by timmi (769795)
        I have read about something that allows several "Noisy" Frames to be cleared up into a single clearer one. I believe it was used to read a license plate seen by an ATM camera.

        I think I read about it in Popular Science or Popular Mechanics (Not sure though)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2004 @01:38AM (#10198159)
        Specifically, look at http://www.sigcom.net/PDF/SIGCOMTPS.pdf [sigcom.net], http://www.ece.gatech.edu/research/labs/MCCL/pubs/ dwnlds/YucelITVT02.pdf [gatech.edu], or any google search for subpixel video image enhancement.

        The basic idea is to use statistical methods over a series of slightly "jittered" video frames to create a high resolution or high quality still image. When an image in front of the camera is shifted by a non integer number of pixels, the images are lined up exactly with each other so that the edges of pixels overlap each other. Taking the average of these sup-pixel overlapped images at a higher resolution yields a higher quality image than the simple mosaic or blur you would get by scaling or interpolation. If the physical shape and response function of individual camera "pixels" is known, even more accuracy can be contained. The method can probably even be applied to rotating or enlarging/shrinking images of objects as well, but with more complex mathematical models for the motion and camera viewing transformation

        A generic system as described in the article probably uses the frequency information about the image to construct the textures, but it wouldn't be difficult (but processor intensive) to track translational sub-pixel movement of objects and apply the above process to increase the resolution. MPEG already takes advantage of the fact that more compression for fast changes in an image are unlikely to be noticed, so it wouldn't have to improve the moving parts, just the 8x8 blocks that have B frames, since they are relatively unchanging. I bet they will even get a patent on the process, despite the fact that it's been published and I can think up most of the rest within a few minutes...

        • I remember reading an article that flies can actually see better than their multi-faceted eyes would theoretically permit, because of a similar effect. They take time into account and interpollate in the time-space domain.
        • The first PDF is a salesy thing about stabilization and low-light enhancement by some government contractor for security videos.

          The second one looks real, and very good. They even talk about interpolating using the MPEG DCT information, rather than just decompressing the frames then applying standard algorithms. But when you look at the screen shots, it is very very unimpressive. Frankly, I can't see a pixel of difference between their super-resolution version and the original frame. There's no way a c
    • by catwh0re (540371) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:16AM (#10197853)
      I think the idea is that on devices which can rec'v HD signal there is alot of image lost in the down scaling process. I'm guessing here, that the sony chip would allow you to "zoom" back to the source resolution. Anything more than that and you're playing the marketing game of something out of nothing.

      Reminds me people that try to add quality to their 96kbps mp3 collection by upsampling them to 256, or recording radio then upsampling that.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:27AM (#10197911)
      I refuse to accept "digital zoom" as being any better than just putting a magnifying glass next to the same old low res image.

      Well, it is better because in the digital domain it is possible to do a lot of operations more complex than just a magnification. A lot of these operations get lumped in to the "digital zoom" name.


      Come on, it's trying to create data that just plain isn't coming from the original source, therefore

      This is somewhat true but not completely. What you're forgetting is that the human visual apparatus is part of the complete system and can't be left out. Our vision system is good at detecting certain features at certain resolutions, and not so good at others. Some image processing algorithms might just "make up stuff". This too, is not necessarily bad if it can give a pleasing effect to the eye. Especially if there is a high degree of likelihood that what it is making up is an accurate representation of what actually existed before it was lost by the original signal recording.

      Manytimes however, the enhancement consists of emphasizing certain things in the time or frequency domain that really do exist in the original signal but our vision does not detect because of the relationship to other nearby features. Image enhancement is not necessarily making things up. It is just using known facts about the human visual system to selectively bring out certain features that might be missed with our brain's stock detection circuitry.

      What is funny about a lot of "anti digital effects" people is that they think they are automatically getting better results by having say a 48-bit scanner vs a 30-bit one because there is more information, nevermind that the lower bits are completely overwhelmed by noise and shitty A-D conversion path.

      In your defense, the posting sounds very stupid and marketing influenced (redundant, I know) Calling something like this true zoom, even with the single quotes is very disingenous.
    • Come on, it's trying to create data that just plain isn't coming from the original source, therefore it's nothing but guess and check logic.

      This would be true -- if we were talking about images of purely random white noise. However, most pictures of the real world aren't completely random, because real objects are relatively smooth and continuous. Just like any kind of interpolation, we can improve on chance by making reasonable assumptions about the underlying structure of what we're sampling.

      If you w
    • Your premise is correct, but your conclusion is wrong.

      No one can create information that does not exist. However, a television screen cannot display all of the information contained in the signal and even if it could, you would not perceive it all anyway.

      For example, small variations in contrast can be amplified, false color can make clear what the mind would miss, sharpening (even over-sharpening) can show you detail that your (and everyone else's) pathetic visual perception can not possibly see otherwis
    • Doesn't the brain do this to some extent?
    • The point which seems to be missed in most of the replies I've read so far is that this is a feature for widescreen TVs, which have an aspect ratio of 19:6. Standard NTSC is a 4:3 ratio. When you view NTSC on a widescreen TV, you have black bars on the sides of the picture.

      Most widescreen TVs provide several options for making a 4:3 image fill up a 16:9 screen (i.e. getting rid of the black bars). You can stretch (distort) the picture, or you can zoom in and crop some of the picture. What Sony has don

  • OK (Score:5, Funny)

    by pHatidic (163975) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:56PM (#10197721)
    Wow and I thought FCC regulations were the only thing to come out of Janet Jackson's boobies. It goes to show that pornography still provides the incentive for innovation for all major developing technologies. It's actually a little known fact that the people offering the incentives for new space elevator technology are only doing so in hopes of losing their virginity in it one day.
  • PVR (Score:3, Interesting)

    by luugi (150586) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:56PM (#10197725)
    Should be cool but a DVR is a must to take advantage of this feature.
    • Re:PVR (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:59PM (#10197753)
      Yet all DVRs on the market currently use MPEG compression to put more data on the HD at the expense of video quality... so, they're not even storing all the video in that came from the original TV station feed to begin with. I'm not quite sure what Sony's magic tech will do when asked to zoom in on an MPEG artifact...
      • ...and digital PVRs simply record the exact MPEG2 stream sent from the TV station, no additional processing is involved. And at high bitrates you would be hard pushed to identify MPEG2 artifacts in any case (try zooming on on a well authored DVD and identify the artifacts).

        This argument about "lossy compression" comes up again and again. You could say that everything is "compressed" from the original reality; it's a matter of whether you do stupid compression (drop the sampling rate) or intelligent compres
  • 'True Zoom' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RobPiano (471698) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:56PM (#10197727)
    True zoom is a bit of a stretch.. The only way you could have a true zoom is if you have a higher resolution digital image to look at, or an analog image... This produce creates sophisticated, but generated results. There is nothing true about it.

    Regardless, this is one of those features that "sounds nice", but I think its the company telling the consumer what to want rather than vice versa. Never once have I wanted to zoom in on a modern or high def television image.
    • Never once have I wanted to zoom in on a modern or high def television image.

      Well, except for last year's Super Bowl halftime show...

    • by captnitro (160231) *
      You're right; the image [nwsource.com] in the article should be captioned "scientist demonstrates zooming by enhancing zebra ass, finds fleas". Astounding! Quick, somebody get me $1000, I need a Sony HDTV or my perception of the world will crumble.
    • A poster above pointed out that it could concievably use information from multiple frames to enhance the picture. Consolidating information from multiple frames into one with sophisticated matching algorithms could concievably result in an output image with more real detail than any single image from the input set, but it would only work in cases where roughly the same picture is in many frames (which is true most of the time for most video, but not always). Plus to do it right would require more processi
  • by Steve G Swine (49788) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:56PM (#10197728) Journal
    Glad we'll finally be able to clear that Kennedy thing up.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Plus, we'll finally be able to tell if she was wearing any nickers in Basic Instinct, without wearing out that section of the tape.
  • by randomized (132106) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:56PM (#10197730)
    real zoom requires additional information, ie higher resolution than tv is capable of displaying. all attempts at "simulation" of higher resolution will result in digital zoom artifacts, that we all are familiar with.

    unless tv has lower resolution than broadcast quality this is as fake as 200X DIGITAL ZOOM.
    • That pixel! I want to look at THAT PIXEL!
    • I'd have to agree here. But then again the tv might sell. People are suckers for numbers, thats why last years 330x Digital Zoom camcorders now say 990x.

      At 990x you're looking at less than one pixel, but a salesman last month was toating it as "the best zoom you can get."

    • unless tv has lower resolution than broadcast quality

      All consumer TV's have lower resolution than broadcast quality. If you buy a really expensive NTSC TV, it might be able to resolve 600 lines. The NTSC signal is comprised of 720 lines.

      In HD, it's even more drastic. A really expensive HD set might resolve 800 lines of a 1,920-line picture.

      A broadcast monitor that can resolve 1,000 lines costs $40,000.
      • by damiangerous (218679) <1ndt7174ekq80001@sneakemail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2004 @02:16AM (#10198303)
        All consumer TV's have lower resolution than broadcast quality. If you buy a really expensive NTSC TV, it might be able to resolve 600 lines. The NTSC signal is comprised of 720 lines.

        Where did you ever get that idea? If that were true broadcast TVs and DVD would look exactly the same. I mean if broadcast TV is already better than a TV could support, how could DVDs possibly improve the picture? I would think anyone who has ever watched a DVD on their television has already empirically proved your statement incorrect.

        In fact, broadcast TV is a far lower resolution than your TV can support (525 scanlines, of which 480 is picutre information, of which 330 is the theoretical max that will be displayed). Rather than try to explain it myself, some very good technical explanations of how it all works can be found here [aol.com] and here [doom9.org].

        • It's a little thing called interlacing. Broadcast video is always interlaced, which is far inferior to progressive content, as found on DVDs. Also, the shape of the pixels on DVDs can be 16x9 instead of 4x3, which allows for widescreen content at DVD resolutions, without wasting bandwidth on the black bars. When you master DVDs, you always have to be careful to stay within the Title-safe area when making menus (losing about 10-20% of the picture on all sides), as the space outside of that (even though it's
        • Where did you ever get that idea? If that were true broadcast TVs and DVD would look exactly the same. I mean if broadcast TV is already better than a TV could support, how could DVDs possibly improve the picture? I would think anyone who has ever watched a DVD on their television has already empirically proved your statement incorrect.

          What are you smoking, DVDs don't come close to broadcast signal quality, which is still the stardard television displays are built too. DVDs were created to do away with VC
      • Broadcast = professional grade = expensive (for many reasons). $4000 will get you a real, no shit, 1920x1080 big screen HDTV. It really has 1920 horizontal resolution, and it's big enough you can really see it.

        For that matter $500 will get you a 22" computer monitor that will do 2048x1536 and will easily pull 1920x1280, even at a high refresh. It's not all that large, but it is beyond what HDTV needs by far.
  • yay, more hype (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SpookyFish (195418) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:57PM (#10197737)

    Come on. "true zoom" requires data that simply isn't there in a TV signal.

    Sure, an HD signal can be zoomed and interpolated to some extent, but call it "creation" or not, there is only so much info that can be "guessed".
  • Porn Jokes Aside (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Metallic Matty (579124) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:57PM (#10197739)
    This is kind of a cool feature, for various reasons. I think some of the most obvious uses that come to mind (besides naughty zoom-ins,) include sports events (hey, that WAS on the line,) and anything where you might be trying to get a particular detail out of a scene. (Such as, in "The Fellowship of the Ring," there's a truck driving around in background during one scene.)

    And before it gets said, I know that has been removed. Its just an example.
  • marketing hype (Score:2, Informative)

    by updog (608318)
    Please, there's only so much you can do with "digital enhancement". If you don't have the bits of resolution in the first place, I don't care what technology you are using, you're not going to create something from nothing.
    • True, but it may be possible to be "not too bad". Witness the current crop of cameras (still and video). The digital zoom, while visibly not as good as the optical zoom...it can be 'not too bad'.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:01AM (#10197769)
    my 4 year old dvd player has 16x zoom. big deal. used it once.
  • by phreakv6 (760152) <phreakv6&gmail,com> on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:03AM (#10197774) Homepage
    for those of u wondering which one of Sony's model would come out with this technology.. its SONY WEGA series.. check out the official press release [sony.net]
  • by HonkyLips (654494) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:04AM (#10197790)
    There's already at least 12 algorithms around for scaling up an image:

    http://www.digitalanarchy.com/toolbox/toolbox_re si zer.html

    I'm guessing that Sony have simply come up with another one. Regardless of what they claim, you can't "zoom in" on an image with a fixed resolution, you're always going to be using some type of interpolation and this will introduce digital artefacts.
    • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@pitabre ... g ['s.o' in gap]> on Thursday September 09, 2004 @01:36AM (#10198150) Homepage
      No, but with video, you have a hell of a lot more information. If they are doing any kind of statistical relationships using more than one frame of the video, they have a LOT more information to work with. A few comparative algorithms, and as things move through lower resolution areas, you can actually get a high resolution picture because of the data that is contained in aggregate.
      That's a hell of a processor they have if it can do that, though.
    • It doesn't include a truncated sinc function or polyphase filter (as far as I could tell)... what's the point? I mean, we already know how to "do it right".

      What you really need is an MPEG/JPEG deblocker, THEN you resize the image. Duurrrr.

      I mean, I'd pay $180 if it took the EXIF information from the picture, derived information about the CCD layout and lens/aperature settings, and information about the artifacts introduced by the particular quanitization that occured during JPEG compression -- to create
  • by Clown Jizz (766585) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:06AM (#10197801)
    Though it's easy enough to decry digital zoom as a gimmick, and in most cases it probably is, there are some (admittedly, highly specialized) implementations that produce really great results. Look at HQ4x ( http://www.hiend3d.com/hq4x.html )and its associated projects. It's primarily for images which don't breach 256 colors, of course, and it works best on simple shapes, but it's realtime, and it looks fantastic.
    • by grammar fascist (239789) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @01:41AM (#10198175) Homepage
      I figured I'd post my own results here.

      It's true that digital zoom can't replace information that was lost due to scaling and sampling. It's possible to get something reasonably close, though. There are a bunch of algorithms available for photographs, but their biggest problem seems to be execution time. It's not pretty.

      Here's mine [byu.edu]. Please be kind to the server...

      I've gotten better-looking results since I put that together but I haven't had time to put them up yet. The slowest part of my algorithm requires solving a nonlinear system of nine equations for the least sum squared error per pixel. That's orders of magnitude slower than bicubic interpolation (which is standard).

      I don't know which interpolation algorithms are used for so-called digital zoom. Is there someone in the industry here that knows?
      • Nice results. Is there any change of seeing a OSS version of your algorithm in the near future. I could easily see this becoming part of image magick or a gimp plugin. Maybe even mencoder for non realtime scaling.
        • Sure! I've considered it for the name recognition value. :) I'd want to get permission from my graduate advisor, of course. If there's a problem, it would be the possibility of patenting it and selling it. If that happened, I'd definitely fight for making it royalty-free for free software use or something...

          I've still got to speed it up considerably before it'll be good for that, though. I believe I can at least get it faster than most of the other stuff that's out there.

          /me goes back to slaving over hot

    • I thought I'd seen this technique before, and upon reading to the end of the page I was reminded where: zsnes. Video game emulation. Of course, when you're stretching a 320x288 image to 1024x768 on a 15" or larger screen, you need as much enhancement as you can get. Anyone who hasn't seen this in action should check it out, it is pretty damn cool.
    • I mean think: MPEG compression works by looking for similarities and differences inter-frame. The same could theoritically be applied to zoom. Have a zoom look X frames ahead and behind and use information from the other frames to guess more accurately at the missing data in the current frame.

      However even just a simple bicubic filter works pretty well, and works on all images. It looks much better than just making the pixels larger, and at up to about 200% isn't all that noticable and is even acceptable at
  • lemme guess (Score:3, Funny)

    by jjeffries (17675) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:07AM (#10197805)
    It operates via voice commands and goes CLICK-CLICK-CLICK when it's zooming?
  • Uh-oh (Score:3, Funny)

    by d2_m_viant (811261) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:10AM (#10197823)
    Hmmm, I'll have to try that one with my girlfriend when she catches me watching the pr0n...

    ...but honey! They just digitally enhanced the signal to communicate gloss, depth and texture...i'm just evaluating this in the name of technology! Honest!
  • by Fex303 (557896) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:10AM (#10197826)
    The new Sony's will feature magic Hand-Wavey Technology(TM) to suck information that wasn't in the orginal signal into your TV from outer space.

    It's not zoom, it's digital enhancement. Which is what zoom is. But this is different. Yeah, right.

    More marketing BS.

    • The new Sony's will feature magic Hand-Wavey Technology(TM) to suck information that wasn't in the orginal signal into your TV from outer space.

      Must be from the same R&D lab that brought us their new Walkman that somehow stores 13,000 songs on a 20GB drive when an iPod can only fit 5,000 on the same. Seriously, Sony is working their way into a real credibility problem when it comes to marketing their technology.

      • Must be from the same R&D lab that brought us their new Walkman that somehow stores 13,000 songs on a 20GB drive when an iPod can only fit 5,000 on the same.

        Claiming that the iPod can fit 5,000 songs is 20GB is equally misleading. The 20GB iPod can store rougly 20GB of data. Depending on how much compression you use, you can get much more, or much less than 5,000 files on an iPod.

        ATRAC LP4 can probably fit around 13,000 songs in that much space. Sounds like crap but it will fit. Likewise, I could

  • Only one use (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nickgrieve (87668)
    I can only think of one genre of movies that this would be used for...
  • by jorgef (10617) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:11AM (#10197830)
    Remember Deckard's Sony photo machine?
    It's like that?
  • Unlike the current TVs that simply scale the image, Sony's technology does 'true' zooming by digitally enhancing the signal to communicate gloss, depth and texture.

    READ: Zooms image and antialiases the hell out of it. Same effect as crossing your eyes and sticking your nose to the screen, but now available from the remote control!
  • by zarthrag (650912) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:13AM (#10197839)
    ...Sci-fi's that use arbitrary plot fixes on photos that lack the resolution they need by using a computer to "zoom in and enhance" the image. Sometimes it's so ridiculous that I wanna belch. The only way this could truely be accurate is if the TV signal carries more data (for example, zooming on a 1080i HD signal). But HD has yet to approach critical mass...ugh.
  • I don't know, it's probably just me, but I don't think adding a "feature" like this to a tv set should be a cause for worldwide hype in a normal world.

    I mean zooming an image is no rocket science (and in this case is probably no good either). Recognizing public demand for such a function in the case of tv's and adding it could be good for businness. But hyping such a function this much... it's just a nobrainer.

    But then again, the hype around these new functions and revolutionary enhancements :P are (I h
    • by rebelcool (247749) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:50AM (#10197993)
      I mean zooming an image is no rocket science

      Yeah, its way harder. At least high quality image interpolation is. Theres been decades of research into it and dozens of different methods have been the topic of phd papers. Lots of high end math and very complex algorithms.

      Ever printed a photo on an inkjet printer? You're seeing a pretty strenuous use of interpolation algorithms there. A typical resolution image coming off of a digital camera only prints at maybe 2 or 3 inches across at the resolution a typical printer operates. So if say, you want an 8x10, your printing software does some serious interpolating.

      And not all printing software is equal, either. The algorithm makes all the difference. Its why you can get a so-so large image out of photoshop's print facilities (that uses bicubic) and a noticably better one from QImage (at the moment, pyramid)
      • by melted (227442)
        All you ever see there is bicubic interpolation which they teach you how to do in the first few weeks of any computational mathematics class. No smoke, no mirrors, no nothing. Just a stupid-simple interpolation algorithm.
      • by hung_himself (774451) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @04:06AM (#10198610)
        A typical resolution image coming off of a digital camera only prints at maybe 2 or 3 inches across at the resolution a typical (inkjet) printer operates.

        Not true, because inkjet "resolutions" are really dot densities and not resolution (resolution would be how many distinct dots can you print per inch.) That's why laser printers with nominally "lower resolution" output crisper text. Also the dot density is for a single colour - complex hues such as skin tones have to be simulated by digital halftoning (essentially multiple dots forming larger colour pixels) techniques which reduce the effective resolution several fold depending on the colour being simulated and the accuracy desired. That's why continous tone printers such as dye subs with nominally "lower resolution" can give much sharper colour prints.

        Software would have a major effect on the quality of colour prints from inkjets but that would mostly be from how the halftoning was done rather than the interpolation per se...
  • by Effugas (2378) * on Thursday September 09, 2004 @12:32AM (#10197931) Homepage
    It's superresolution!

    There's actually a whole host of algorithms that go well beyond the junk they throw at us for "digital zoom". The two most applicable algorithms for this particular problem -- increasing the resolution of video above and beyond the source data available in a particular frame -- are temporal integration (collecting data across multiple frames) and superresolution by example (automatically associating and recalling high resolution imagery when a low resolution equivalent is shown). Some example code:

    Temporal Integration: ALE [dyndns.org]
    Superresolution by Example: Image Analogies [nyu.edu] -- not automated, but remains one of the cooler pieces of code ever shown at SIGGRAPH.

    From the article, I'm guessing it's another ALE style stacker. They probably needed to write one for their cameras anyway.

    --Dan
  • for Sony to utilize the Extreme Close Up Technology(tm) that Wayne and Garth pioneered on Wayne's World?

    JM

  • True? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by venomkid (624425)
    you gotta love any article where the word True is in quotes.
  • Another method to show Comcast exactly how CRAPPY their cable TV really is. I'm glad I switched to satellite. It's so much better.

    Who needs this stuff? I have these features on a couple DVD players, and I've never used it. Pause, stop, fast forward. That's it. Tell Sony to put a fast forward (through commercials), and then I'll be interested.
  • Using heuristics to assume material and interpolate between known data does not a true zoom make.
  • by dthree (458263) <chaoslite@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday September 09, 2004 @01:25AM (#10198108) Homepage
    I don't see any (ahem) reason to use this feature. The killer app for resolution-upsampling, or whatever, is front-projection TVs! Instead of optically zooming up your image to full wall-size, complete with pixels larger than lego bricks, use this technology to zoom the signal up to the native resolution of a hi-res LCD projector. (or highest res available if its a CRT)
  • by utexaspunk (527541) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @01:41AM (#10198178)
    This may be useful for helping (pardon the pun) smooth the transition to HDTV. Right now most of our cable channels are not HD, and the difference between the HD and regular digital TV channels is quite stark. On a large screen, regular digtal TV becomes almost unbearable once you get used to HD. But more importantly, perhaps many people are uninterested in buying an HDTV because they know how little content is available and realize that most TV is going to look just as crappy anyway. This could be a good marketing point for Sony- a processor that helps non-HD TV look better on your big-screen TV.
  • Isn't this the sort of thing that causes nightmares in the minds of TV show makeup persons? I know HDTV caused many a sleepless night, but seriously... Maybe next they'll implement real-time airbrushing and iBotox.
  • With all the high resolution HDTVs out there why doesn't Sony just "zoom" all standard definition content so that it can display pixel for pixel on an HDTV? If the hype is real it would seem like an obvious application.
  • Will it find guns if you zoom in on the shadows?
  • by GreatDrok (684119) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @02:35AM (#10198355) Journal
    I remember seeing a demonstration about 12 years ago where Prof Barnsley showed how his fractal compression method could take a low resolution image (in this case a parrot) and encode it as a fractal. He showed how simply zooming the original resulted in the usual blocky image but when you zoomed the encoded image it still appeared sharp(ish). He zoomed into the parrot's eye which in the original was made up of four pixels and the fractal image still showed a round pupil although it did look a bit out of focus.

    Another demo I saw on the British show "Tomorrow's World" showed how you could zoom in on a photo that had a fence and the fractal image showed the fence details that were again not visible in the original.

    There was of course talk of using this sort of tech to do video upsampling for projection. Given the performance I saw I see no reason why a standard DVD couldn't have been cranked up to twice the resolution and look substantially clearer. Of course, the downside of fractal compression was that it took huge (at the time) amounts of computing power to compress, and bugger all the uncompress. These days I expect it is trivial.
  • Fractal expansion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DMUTPeregrine (612791) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @02:52AM (#10198405) Journal
    could it be some sort of fractal expansion? Probably too cpu intensive. eg... http://www.lizardtech.com/solutions/gf/
  • by tod_miller (792541) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @03:15AM (#10198464) Journal
    As anyone dabbling in image processing knows. Given any image information, you cannot add entropy to an image with certainty that it is correct.

    However they label thier zooming, if they are introducing information into the image then you have a false image.

    However, like the DivX 'warmth' plugin, randomised information can give us perceptual detail that is interpretted by our visual system to 'look right'

    Otherwise all are doing is zooming with subpixel antialiasing.

    In this day and age I think the signal is digital, so how is any modification of the original signal enhancing?

    Now enhancing is a very broad word, but to me this article is a marketting trip to consumer land, nothing new here, move along.
  • Poor article text (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @05:25AM (#10198789) Journal
    Sony Develops TVs That Zoom in for True Close-ups

    No, they've developed a new version of a chip.

    They don't even know when they'll start developing "TVs that zoom in for true close-ups".

    Unlike the current TVs that simply scale the image, Sony's technology does 'true' zooming by digitally enhancing the signal to communicate gloss, depth and texture.

    Using which definition of "true"?

  • 1/ original video signal is sent using FIF (Fractal Image Format) compression, high qaulity zoom possible, by definition much of the original signal is dropped during "normal" playback.

    2/ original video signal is sent using much higher resolution, high quality zoom for a couple of steps possible, by definition much of the original signal is dropped during normal playback

    3/ original video signal is send using display resolution, iterpolation of several frames used to generate extra data, modest zoom possib
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @06:39AM (#10199004) Homepage
    Assuming it works perfectly, what this system has to do is make an artificially-intelligent guess as to what the low-resolution picture is showing, synthesize a high-res version of its guess, and show you that. Your brain can do the same thing, but you're aware of some effort and stress in the process (and you're also aware of uncertainty).

    What will happen when you know that a friend of yours is sitting in the stadium at a football game that you're watching at home and you zoom in on a couple of pinkish pixels that represent the place where you know he is sitting? Whose face will it display when you zoom in? A generic anime-like face? Your friend's face? What?

    When it guesses wrong, the mistakes it makes will be dillies.

    The article said it showed that a dark spot in the river was a hippopotamus. How did it know? Did it have a database that said "this film takes place in a locale where dark spots in the river are probably hippopotami?" Or when you zoom in on dark spots in other bodies of water, will it deduce and render a hippopotamus, too? Hippopotami in the Okeefenokee swamp? In the Hudson river? In Walden Pond?

    As with colorized films, the effect will be exciting for about a week. Then your brain will catch on that it is being cheated, and the zoomed in images will look clear and sharp yet, subtlely, unsatisfying, because it is showing only what the brain already knows is there... or fake, stereotyped detail that will look phony once you catch on to its characteristic "look." Finally, the only fun in the system will be deliberately zooming in on things you know it will make mistakes on to see the comic effect.

  • This is ~30 frames per second enhancement. Think of it this way you have ~30 frames of data for each second. They may be using the informational differences between each frame to build the image.

    They may also be able to associate a now low resolution spot in the current frame with the large high resolution image x number of frames ago.

  • Oh yeah baby, look at the stripes on that zebra's ass! Woohoo!

    Cool tech and all that, but I found the picture on the link to be especially amusing.

    Maybe it's just me, hmm.

  • Hollywood generally doesn't like when end-users prefer edited content.

    http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2004-05 -0 5-clearplay-main_x.htm

    I can easily imagine a director complaining that allowing the user to zoom a movie would change his picture and ruin the film.
  • There goes my excuse to yell at the TV whenever Captain Picard says "magnify and enhance"!

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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