||The present invention relates to method for processing video data for display and a device thereof.
The present invention relates to a method for processing video data for display on a display device having a plurality of luminous elements by applying a dithering function to at least a part of the video data to refine the grey scale portrayal of video pictures of the video data. Furthermore, the present invention relates to a corresponding device for processing video data including dithering means.
A PDP (Plasma Display Panel) utilizes a matrix array of discharge cells, which can only be WON", or '"OFF". Unlike a CRT or LCD in which grey levels are expressed by analogue control of the light emission, a PDP controls the grey level by modulating the number of light pulses per frame (sustain pulses). This time-modulation will be integrated by the eye over a period corresponding to the eye time response. Since the video amplitude is portrayed by the number of light pulses, occurring at a given frequency, more amplitude means more light pulses and thus more "ON" time. For this reason,-this kind of modulation is also known as PWM, pulse width modulation.
This PWM is responsible for one of the PDP image quality problems: the poor grey scale portrayal quality, especially in the darker regions of the picture. This is due to the fact, that displayed luminance is linear to the number of pulses, but the eye response and sensitivity to noise is not linear. In darker areas the eye is more sensitive than in brighter areas. This means that even though modern PDPs can display ca. 255 discrete video levels, quantization error will be quite noticeable in the darker areas.
As mentioned before, a PDF uses PWM (pulse width modulation) to generate the different shades of grey. Contrarily to CRTs where luminance is approximately quadratic to applied cathode voltage, luminance is linear to the number of discharge impulses. Therefore an approximately digital quadratic gamma function has to be applied to video before the PWM.
Due to this gamma function, for smaller video levels, many input levels are mapped to the same output level. In other words, for darker areas, the output number of quantization bits is smaller than the input number, in particular for values smaller than 16 (when working with 8 bit for video input) that are all mapped to 0. This also counts for four bit resolution which is actually unacceptable for video.
One known solution to improve the quality of the displayed pictures is to artificially increase the number of displayed video levels by using dithering. Dithering is a known technique for avoiding to loose amplitude resolution bits due to truncation. However, this technique only works if the required resolution is available before the truncation step. Usually this is the case in most applications, since the video data after a gamma operation used for pre-correction of the video signal has 16-bit resolution. Dithering can bring back as many bits as those lost by truncation in principle. However, the dithering noise frequency decreases, and therefore becomes more noticeable, with the number of dithered bits.
The concept of dithering shall be explained by the following example. A quantization step of 1 shall be reduced by dith-eriftg. The dithering technique uses the temporal integration property of the human eye. The quantization step may be reduced to 0,5 by using 1-bit dithering. Accordingly, half of the; time within the time response of the human eye there is displayed the value 1 and half of the time there is dis-
played the value 0. As a result the eye sees the value 0,5. Optionally, the quantization steps may be reduced to 0,25. Such dithering requires two bits. For obtaining the value 0,25 a quarter of the time the value 1 is shown and three quarters of the time the value 0. For obtaining the value 0,5 two quarters of the time the value 1 and two quarters of the time the value 0 is shown. Similarly, the value 0,75 may be generated. In the same manner quantization steps of 0,125 may be obtained by using 3-bit dithering. This means that 1 bit of dithering corresponds to multiply the number of available output levels by 2, 2 bits of dithering multiply by 4, and 3 bits of dithering multiply by 8 the number of output levels. A minimum of 3 bits of dithering may be required to give to the grey scale portrayal a 'CRT' look.
Proposed dithering methods in the literature (like error diffusion) were mainly developed to improve quality of still images (fax application and newspaper photo portrayal). Results obtained are therefore not optimal for PDPs.
The dithering most adapted to POP until now is the Cell-Baaed Dithering, described in the European patent application EP-A-1 136 974 and Multi-Mask dithering described in the European patent application with the filing number 01 250 199.5, which improves grey scale portrayal but adds high frequency low amplitude dithering noise. It is expressively referred to both documents.
Cell-based dithering adds a temporal dithering pattern that is defined for every panel cell and not for every panel pixel as shown in Fig. 1. A panel pixel is composed of three cells: red, green and blue cell. This has the advantage of rendering the dithering noise finer and thus less noticeable to the human viewer.
Because the dithering pattern is defined cell-wise, it is not possible to use techniques like error-diffusion, in order to avoid colouring of the picture when one cell would diffuse in the contiguous cell of a different colour. Instead of using error diffusion, a static 3-dimensional dithering pattern is proposed.
This static 3-diraentional dithering is based on a spatial (2 dimensions x and y) and temporal (third dimension t) integration of the eye. For the following explanations, the matrix dithering can be represented as a function with three variables:
q> (x,y,t) , q> (x,y,t) are periodic) . Now, depending on the number of bits to be rebuilt, the period of these three phases can change. For each frame, each function q> (x,y, t) represents a (2-dimensional) pattern of dithering.
Figure 2 illustrates the 3-dimensional matrix concept. The values displayed on the picture slightly change for each plasma cell in the vertical and horizontal directions. In addition, the value also changes for each frame. In the example of figure 2, for the frame displayed at time t0 the following dithering values are given:
q> (Xo+l,y0+lft0)=A q> (X0,y0+l,t0)=B
One frame later, at time t0+l the dithering values are:
cp :(x0+l,y0+l,t04-l)=B cp (Xo,y0+l,t0+l)=A
The spatial resolution of the eye is good enough to be able to see a fixed static pattern A, B, A, B but if a third dimension, namely the time, is added in the form of an alternating function, then the eye will be only able to see the average value of each cell.
The case of a cell located at the position (x0,y0) shall be considered. The value of this cell will change from frame to frame as following 9 (x0,y0,t0)=A/ 9 (x0,y0,t0+l)=B, 9 (x0,y0,t0+2)=A and so on.
The eye time response of several milliseconds (temporal integration) can be then represented by the following formula:
1 '"M7" Eye(x0,y0)=— £lp(x0,y0,t) which, in the present example, leads
It should be noted that the proposed pattern, when integrated over time, always gives the same value for all panel cells. If this would not be the case, under some circumstances, some cells might acquire an amplitude offset to othjer cells, which would correspond to an undesirable fixed spurious static pattern.
While displaying moving objects on the plasma screen, the human eye will follow the objects and no more integrates the same cell of the plasma (PDF) over the time. In that case, the third dimension will no more work perfectly and a dithering pattern can be seen.
In; order to better understand this problem, the following example of a movement F = (l;0) shall be looked at, which represents a motion in x-direction of one pixel per frame as shown in Fig. 3. In that case, the eye will look at (x0,y0) at time t0 and then it will follow the movement to pixel (Xo+l,y0) at time t0+l and so on. In that case, the cell seen by the eye will be defined as following:
Eye = ~(g>(x0,y0,t0}^q>(x0 +I,y0,t0 +\)+... + q>(x0 +T,y0,t0 which corresponds to
In that case, the third dimension aspect of the dithering will not work correctly and only the spatial dithering will be available. Such an effect will make the dithering more or less visible depending on the movement. The dithering pattern is no longer hidden by the spatial and temporal eye integration . Especially, for some motions, an awkward pattern can appear. The same kind of problem can also appear for the same reason when the picture to be displayed already includes a dithering. This is the case for some PC applications. Then the two ditherings can interfere with each other and also produce a strong fixed pattern.
In !view of that, it is the object of the present invention to ^provide a method and a device with an improved dithering function.
According to the present invention this object is solved by a method for processing video data for display on a display deviice having a plurality of luminous elements including the steps of applying a dithering function to at least one part of isaid video data to refine the grey scale portrayal of video pictures of said video data, providing a modulation function being non-peridodical and changing the phase or amplitude of said dithering function in accordance with said
modulation function when applying said dithering function to said at least one part of said video data.
Furthermore, according to the present invention there is provided a device for processing video data for display on a display device having a plurality of luminous elements including dithering means for applying a dithering function to at least one part of said video data to refine the grey scile portrayal of video pictures of said video data, wherein said dithering means includes modulation means for modulating the phase or amplitude of the dithering function with a modulation function being non-periodical.
inventive modulation function enables a dithering which is 'less perceptible for viewers when static or moving pic-tuies are presented. The reason for this is, that the human eyf will not integrate periodical .patterns of the dithering furtction which would be visible.
Advantageously, the modulation function includes a random function. Such random function causes a dithering pattern to appear non-periodically. This means, that at a given time a ditihering pattern appears by chance so that the viewer will noti percept an awkward pattern.
4 dithering function may include two spatial dimensions beside the temporal dimension given by -the modulation function. Such structure enables an advanced matrix dithering.
Advantageously, the dithering function is a 1-, 2-, 3-andj/or 4 -bit dithering function. The number of bits used de-penjds on the processing capability. In general, 3-bit dithering is enough, so that most of the quantization noise is not visible.
As! already mentioned, a pre-correction by the quadratic gaijnma function should be performed before the dithering process. Thus, also the quantization errors produced by the gamma function correction are reduced with the help of dith ering.
temporal component of the dithering function may be introduced by controlling the dithering in the rhythm of picture frames. Thus, no additional synchronisation has to be provided .
Th4 dithering according to the present invention may be ba4ed on a Cell-based and/or Multi-Mask dithering, which consists in adding a dithering signal that is defined for every plasma cell and not for every pixel. In addition, such a Withering may further be optimized for each video level. Thjjs makes the dithering noise finer and less noticeable to the! human viewer. .
An iadaptation of the dithering pattern to the movement of the: picture in order to suppress the dithering structure ap-peajring for specific movement may be obtained by using a mo-tioin estimator to change the phase or other parameters of thai dithering function for each cell. In that case, even if thei eye is following the movement, the quality of the dith-eriing will stay constant and a pattern of dithering in case of jmotion will be suppressed. Furthermore, this invention canj be combined with any kind of matrix dithering.
Exejnplary embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the! drawings and are explained in more detail in the following! description. In the drawings:
Figure 1 shows the principle of the pixel-based dithering and cell based dithering;
Figure 2 illustrates the concept of 3-dimensional matrix dithering;
Figure 3 shows the principle of eye integration for a mov-; ing picture, when 3-dimensional matrix dithering ' is applied; and
Figure 4 shows a block diagram of a hardware implementation I for the algorithm according to the present invention .
Th& following embodiment aims at eliminating the dithering patjtern appearing with the cell-based dithering during move-merit in order to only have advantages compared to Error-Diffusion. This will be achieved by using a random sequence of |dithering patterns instead of a predetermined one like in thej prior art. Owing to this principle the overall picture quajlity is the same for static and moving pictures.
Matjrix dithering with random pattern-sequence
Thej problem with the fixed matrix dithering is due to its
structure, which is totally definite. In order to avoid such projblems, the dithering must be less foreseeable and its strjucture more complicated. To obtain this result, the pat-terjn of dithering to be applied to the picture may be ran-domjly alternated in order to achieve a matrix dithering ran-
doraj pattern-sequence. This can be done by using a random function t-> p(t) in place of t. The new dithering function wilfl be defined by: p(x,y,p(t)). Consequently, a dithering
value p(x,y,p(i)) is assigned to each 3-dimensional vector (x,y,t).
This can be illustrated by means of an example:
q^,y,t) = (x + y + t) modulo 2. Furthermore, according to Fig. 3 it
is|assumed that A=0 and B=l to generate a level of 0.5.
If|there is no motion, the eye will see for a given pixel, a
temporal sequence of 0 and 1. And if there is a motion of 1 pij|:el/frame for example, the eye will continuously see de-peiiding on the pixel either 0 or 1 as already explained pre-vi4usly.
According to a preferred embodiment a random function p whilch takes the following values for t=t0.. tas ...: P(tfi,f>(ti):;p(tx)... = 1,1,0,1,0,0,1,04,1,0,0,0,1,0,0,1,1,1,0,0,0,1,1... is used. Since
thejre are only two different dithering patterns, the random
\generator generates the values 0 and 1.
If jthere is no motion, the eye will see the se-
quejnce: 1,1,04,0,0,1,044,0,0,0,1,0,0,14,1,0,0,0,1,1 (or the inverse one de-
peri^iing on the pixel: 0,04,04,1,0,1,0,0,1,1,1,04,1,0,0,0,144,0,0).
However, if there is a motion of 1 pixel/frame for example,
theJ eye will see the resulting sequence:
1,0,01,0,044,14,0,0,1,0,0,04,1,044,04,1,0 (or the inverse one depending on
thej pixel: 0,144,1,0,0,0,0,1,1,0444,0,0,1,0,04,0,0,1). The resulting se-
quejnce is obtained by taking the first value of the random
function, the second value of the inverse random function,
third value of the random function and so on.
Thej sequence will look similarily for any motion. It will always have the same characteristics as the original se-queface of dithering.
Thej temporal frequency of dithering for a motion of 1 pix^l/frame will not be as high as for static pictures, so that lower frequencies will appear. This means that the
dithering will be more perceptible. But the dithering will stjill work correctly, and there will be no difference be-twieen the quality of dithering on a static and on a moving picture.In comparison with standard cell-based dithering, static pictures look noisier, but it is quite better for most moving pictures.
Optionally, a motion detector or estimator can be employed to] decide whether the random dithering has to be used in-st^ad of the standard dithering. The random dithering should
be|used for moving pictures, the standard one for static
Preferably 3-bit dithering is implemented so that up to 8 frames are used for dithering. If the number of frames used fot dithering is increased, the frequency of the dithering mi^ht be too low, and so flicker will appear. Mainly 3-bit ditfhering is rendered with a 8-frames cycle and a 2D spatial component. In this case the random generator generates the values 0 to 7, since eight dithering patterns are used.
Figure 3 illustrates a possible implementation for the algo-ritjhm. RGB input pictures indicated by the signals RO, GO
anc| Bo are forwarded to a gamma function block 10. It can corisist of a look up table (LUT) or it can be formed by a mathematical function. The outputs RI, GI and BI of the gamma function block 10 are forwarded to a dithering block 12 which takes into account the pixel position and a random valjue p given by a random generator 13 for the computation of i the dithering value according to the above equation. The random generator 13 optionally receives an input from a mo-
tioin detector 14. The input signal serves for activating the
,1 ranjdom generator 13. If it is not activated, the random gen-
erafcor just increments the value of p in order to alternate the! dithering pattern in the same order as for standard cell-based dithering. The motion detector 14 can take the
whble picture or predetermined parts of the picture transmitted in the signals RO, GO, BO as basis for forming the i-pujt signal for the random generator 13 in order to make the dithering more adaptable to the different types of pictures.
video signals Rlf GI, BI subjected to the dithering in th£ dithering block 12 are output as signals R2, G2, B2 and arfe forwarded to a sub-field coding unit 16 which performs sup-field coding under the control of the control unit 18. Thfe plasma control unit 18 provides the code for the sub-fiild coding unit 16.
j As |to the sub-field coding it is expressively referred to
th$ already mentioned European patent application EP-A-1 136 97
sub-field signals for each colour output from the sub-ficsld coding unit 16 are indicated by reference signs SFR, SFfl, SFB. For plasma display panel addressing, these sub-field code words for one line are all collected in order to create a Single very long code word which can be used for the likewise PDF addressing. This is carried out in a serial to parallel conversion unit 20 which is itself controlled by th«i plasma control unit 18.
Furthermore, the control unit 18 generates all scan and sus-
ta|n pulses for PDF control. It receives horizontal and ver-tidal synchronizing signals for reference timing.
In jthe present embodiment the use of a motion estimator is redommended, however, such a motion estimator or detector caflj be used for other skills like false contour compensa-tidn, sharpness improvement and phosphor lag reduction. In this case since the same motion vectors can be reused the extjra costs are limited.
Motion compensated dithering is applicable to all colour cell based displays (for instance colour LCDs) where the number of resolution bits is limited.
The present invention brings the advantage of suppressing the visible pattern of classical matrix dithering in case of applications with moving pictures and static pictures.
1. Method for processing video data for display on a display device
having a plurality of luminous elements characterized by
applying a gamma function to at least one part of said video data and then applying a dithering function to said video data to refine the grey scale portrayal of video pictures of said video data,
providing a modulation function being non-periodical and
changing the phase or amplitude of said dithering function in accordance with said modulation function when applying said dithering function to said at least one part of said video data.
2. Method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the modulation function has a random function.
3. Method as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein said dithering function has two spatial dimensions beside a temporal dimension given by a modulation function.
4. Method as claimed in one of the claims 1 to 3, wherein said dithering function is a 1-, 2-, 3- and/or 4-bit dithering function.
5. Device for processing video data for display on a display device having a plurality of luminous elements having
gamma means (10) for applying a gamma function to at least one part of said video data and dithering means (12) for applying a dithering function to said video data to refine grey scale portrayal of video pictures of said video data,
characterized in that
said dithering means (12) operate after said gamma means (10), and
said dithering means (12) has modulation means for modulating the phase or amplitude of the dithering function with a modulation function being non-periodical.
6. Device as claimed in claim 5, wherein said modulation function is
provided by a random generator (13) connected to said dithering
7. Device as claimed in claim 5 or 6, wherein the dithering function has two spatial dimensions beside the temporary dimension obtained by the modulation function.
8. Device as claimed in one of the claims 5 to 7, wherein the dithering function is a 1-, 2-, 3- and/or 4-bit dithering function.