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Sony Develops TVs That Zoom in for True Close-ups

samzenpus posted about 10 years ago | from the examine-her-on-the-cellular-level dept.

Television 275

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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Sometimes, you don't want to see the gloss. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sometimes, you don't want to see the gloss. (2, Informative)

PacoTaco (577292) | about 10 years ago | (#10197858)

Reminds me of a Slate article [] from a while back.

GMAIL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10198121)

NEXT 3 people to email dbushea @ gmail . com get an invite

Cue the pr0n jokes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197704)

in three... two... one...

obligatory joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197707)

Cool, wish I had this during the last SuperBowl!

Re:obligatory joke (3, Funny)

strike2867 (658030) | about 10 years ago | (#10198005)

That's disgusting, shes like a hundred.

and i was like (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197708)

nut-uh girlfriend, don't go there!

your welcome (0, Redundant)

flacco (324089) | about 10 years ago | (#10197710)

another technological innovation brought to you by pr0n.

About a week too late! (4, Funny)

millisa (151093) | about 10 years ago | (#10197711)

If only this was around for a certain Australian beauty queens strut down the catwalk last week. *sigh* Pan Baby! []

Re:About a week too late! (-1, Redundant)

soyuz_2 (810631) | about 10 years ago | (#10198123)

Portnoy - the ricer of the drummer world... :P I was at a DT concert in Oslo (six degrees tour), got his drumstick when he did his bounce-the-stick-off-the-drum-into-the-audience trick... Bastard hit me in the head.. :|

Why? (1)

mlk (18543) | about 10 years ago | (#10197714)

Other than for porn?
Which you can't get good porn on telly anyway.

Re:Why? (0, Troll)

The Islamic Fundamen (728413) | about 10 years ago | (#10197724)

But A matrix like camera spin, while zooming up on an orgasm would be awsome. Just think of all the masterbation possibilitys!

Re:Why? (0, Offtopic)

The Islamic Fundamen (728413) | about 10 years ago | (#10197757)

Oh, Why did I get a -1 for that?

Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (5, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#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!

Re:Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197898)

With digital zoom and special software you can enhance a single pixel into the killers face!

Oh, now I can see the bastard [] who killed *BSD!

Re:Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (4, Funny)

EvilCabbage (589836) | about 10 years ago | (#10198118)

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..."


Re:Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (5, Informative)

fajaboard (795317) | about 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (2, Informative)

timmi (769795) | about 10 years ago | (#10197942)

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)

Re:Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (4, Insightful)

rebelcool (247749) | about 10 years ago | (#10198027)

All electronic cameras have fixed noise patterns. They vary from camera to camera usually, but with several frames and now commonly available software, you can detect the pattern, clean it up, and interpolate the data from where it was with a good deal of precision.

Re:Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (1)

d474 (695126) | about 10 years ago | (#10198167)

Cool, so now I can solve crimes with my HDTV!

Everyone come over to my house and we can zoom in on the bullets to see which direction they really came from during the JFK/Zapruder films.


Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197962)

Whenever you see a link to "free flatscreens" or "free ipods" in someone's sig, you can bet your ass it is a pyramid scheme. And as we all know, wherever there is a pyramid scheme in progress, there is a LOT of people getting ripped off.


Digital11 (152445) | about 10 years ago | (#10198022)

Which is exactly why my iPod is in shipping right now. Read it and weep. [] Its not a scam, really.

FYI, the link in my sig is for a friend who needs referrals, I've already got all of mine.


Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10198043)

The thing with pyramid schemes is that some people do win out. As the scheme progresses, the number of people profiting will be a small portion of the actual participants

yeah it's just securities fraud (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10198077)


Re:Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10198159)

Specifically, look at [] , dwnlds/YucelITVT02.pdf [] , 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...

Re:Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (4, Interesting)

catwh0re (540371) | about 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Digital Zoom is a MYTH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10198165)

Not entirely, Last week i found a Gimp plugin, which ENHANCES unfocused pictures reallly well. Haven't tried it on my own pictures but the examples are promising...

OK (5, Funny)

pHatidic (163975) | about 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197778)

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.

I'd mod that Flamebait... But it's just so.. damn.. Funny!

Who knows, are the girls easier on the moon?

Re:OK (0)

Pfhorrest (545131) | about 10 years ago | (#10197960)

"Who knows, are the girls easier on the moon?"

No idea, but there's certain to be fewer heavy chicks around!

Re:OK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197973)

You just know everyone here would like to know what it's like to screw in zero gravity.

Of course, there are plenty who would like to know what it's like just to screw...

PVR (2, Interesting)

luugi (150586) | about 10 years ago | (#10197725)

Should be cool but a DVR is a must to take advantage of this feature.

Re:PVR (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#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...

'True Zoom' (5, Insightful)

RobPiano (471698) | about 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:'True Zoom' (1)

josh3736 (745265) | about 10 years ago | (#10197794)

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...

Re:'True Zoom' (1, Funny)

captnitro (160231) | about 10 years ago | (#10197814)

You're right; the image [] 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.

Grassy knoll, anyone? (4, Funny)

Steve G Swine (49788) | about 10 years ago | (#10197728)

Glad we'll finally be able to clear that Kennedy thing up.

Re:Grassy knoll, anyone? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197792)

Forget Kennedy. How about something really important, like zooming in on the bigfoot film [] !

Re:Grassy knoll, anyone? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197821)

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.

Re:Grassy knoll, anyone? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197859)

dude, get the dvd

digital zoom vs real zoom (5, Informative)

randomized (132106) | about 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:200X digital zoom (1, Funny)

Bastian (66383) | about 10 years ago | (#10197841)

That pixel! I want to look at THAT PIXEL!

Re:digital zoom vs real zoom (2, Insightful)

Stubtify (610318) | about 10 years ago | (#10197908)

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."

Re:digital zoom vs real zoom (2, Informative)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | about 10 years ago | (#10198020)

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.

Re:digital zoom vs real zoom (0, Offtopic)

arekusu (159916) | about 10 years ago | (#10198067)

A 23" LCD [] that can resolve 1920x1200 costs $2000.

can you imagine... (0, Redundant)

BigDave81 (790327) | about 10 years ago | (#10197735)

The implications this will have on pr0n. The $ shot baby!!!

yay, more hype (4, Insightful)

SpookyFish (195418) | about 10 years ago | (#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 (2, Interesting)

Metallic Matty (579124) | about 10 years ago | (#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.

like in the movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197740)

Sony must have taken the technology from the movies/cop shows where they get grany black and white vision from a crappy camera and can suddnely sit in front of a magic computer and zoom in to see the color of the cotton of criminals top shirt button?

Re:like in the movies (1)

cujo_1111 (627504) | about 10 years ago | (#10197777)

Is Sony in partnership with Jerry Bruckheimer and his crappy CSI show?

Re:like in the movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197956)

Is Sony in partnership with Jerry Bruckheimer and his crappy CSI show?

CSI sucks.

Sorry, I am replying to this just to add that.
It seems like like-minded individuals are way too far between.

Jerry Bruckheimer sucks too. All his movies and shows are EXACTLY the fucking same. He is like the Ace of Base of the small and large screen.

Pan? Gloss? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197741)

This truly is the best of all possible worlds.

marketing hype (2, Informative)

updog (608318) | about 10 years ago | (#10197744)

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.

Re:marketing hype (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 10 years ago | (#10197912)

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 can be 'not too bad'.

Oh, come on! (1)

djkoolaide (729441) | about 10 years ago | (#10197748)

Where was this when Janet's nip-slip happened? :P

Re:Oh, come on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197882)

Probably in QA.. :P

Next feature (1)

Izanagi (466436) | about 10 years ago | (#10197751)

Thats nice and all, but I'll holdout for built in photochopping tools.

still lossy? (1)

1337 Twinkie (795608) | about 10 years ago | (#10197754)

"Digitally enhancing"- hmm... that seems like it would still degrade the picture quality somewhat. Whenever you extrapolate image data it should reduce the acuracy of the image.

4 year old dvd player (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197769)

my 4 year old dvd player has 16x zoom. big deal. used it once.

Creating meaningful data out ofnothing (-1, Redundant)

The Optimizer (14168) | about 10 years ago | (#10197770)

Yea, right. I've seen this claim before enough times. You just can't create meaningful image data out of thin air. If it is not there to begin with, you're just making a (educated) guess.

"communicate gloss, depth and texture." -- sounds like a nice big filter kernel. Yawn. Next.

Re:Creating meaningful data out ofnothing (1)

Kogase (811902) | about 10 years ago | (#10197856)

You are not creating data out of thin air... it is being created based on preexisting data, by an (usually) expertly designed procedure. As to whether or not it is meaningful in the long run, I can attest to the meaningfulness of almost all still images and moving images (how about DVD's played at any high desktop resolution) that I have seen expanded.

Re:Creating meaningful data out ofnothing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197889)

It doesn't matter how many experts worked on the filter, the output *can't* have more information in it than the input. Either the zoom image conveys the same information that was in the un-zoomed image, or they're making stuff up to fill in the gaps.

official press release (5, Informative)

phreakv6 (760152) | about 10 years ago | (#10197774)

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 []

Just another algorithm..... (5, Informative)

HonkyLips (654494) | about 10 years ago | (#10197790)

There's already at least 12 algorithms around for scaling up an image: 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.

Re:Just another algorithm..... (4, Interesting)

PitaBred (632671) | about 10 years ago | (#10198150)

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.

Interpolation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197793)

It's just regular digital zoom via interpolation. You can't just "zoom" in on something if there is no more data to zoom into! It would only be possible if the current picture was merely part of a higher resolution picture, hence more data to see.

Good existing zoom implementations (5, Informative)

Clown Jizz (766585) | about 10 years ago | (#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 ( )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.

Re:Good existing zoom implementations (5, Interesting)

grammar fascist (239789) | about 10 years ago | (#10198175)

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 [] . 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?

Re:Good existing zoom implementations (2, Informative)

syukton (256348) | about 10 years ago | (#10198177)

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.

lemme guess (3, Funny)

jjeffries (17675) | about 10 years ago | (#10197805)

It operates via voice commands and goes CLICK-CLICK-CLICK when it's zooming?

Assuming this is more than just hype (2)

calculadoru (760076) | about 10 years ago | (#10197810)

Stop thinking of pr0n for a second, as difficult as that may be for some, and try to think of another good use for this: sports. A particularly tricky off-side situation in a football match (alright, soccer...) or tennis or whatever. Then again, what am I saying - this is cool simply because it exists.

Re:Assuming this is more than just hype (1)

Clark_Griswold (692490) | about 10 years ago | (#10197978)

The only _real_ sport this would be good for is Foxy Boxing!

- sarcastic signature making fun of sarcastic signatures that make fun of sarcastic signatures in a feeble attempt to be funny (or ironic, or both, or a combination of neither.)

Uh-oh (3, Funny)

d2_m_viant (811261) | about 10 years ago | (#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!

I can see the ads now... (5, Funny)

Fex303 (557896) | about 10 years ago | (#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.

No way (0)

themoodykid (261964) | about 10 years ago | (#10197886)

If Sony were smart, they'd hire the X10 guys to do the advertising for this zoom feature!!

Only one use (2, Insightful)

nickgrieve (87668) | about 10 years ago | (#10197829)

I can only think of one genre of movies that this would be used for...

Like Blade Runner (4, Funny)

jorgef (10617) | about 10 years ago | (#10197830)

Remember Deckard's Sony photo machine?
It's like that?

Explanation of technology (2, Insightful)

xsupergr0verx (758121) | about 10 years ago | (#10197833)

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!

I've always hated... (5, Insightful)

zarthrag (650912) | about 10 years ago | (#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.

And you can read license plates too... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197850)

When you zoom in, I wonder if it makes that cool DIT-DIT-DI-DI-di-di-di-di-di- sound effect?

New models in Japan (1)

Choron (88276) | about 10 years ago | (#10197867)

I'm not sure if they're the same model they talk about in the article but the ads for the latest Sony models here in Japan mention a memory stick port in front of the TV that lets you record programs that let you watch them on your cellphone for instance.
You can bet they record it in some crippled format (don't expect it to be XVid), but it's cool feature to watch stuff in the train anyway (Japanese usually have very long commute times, unlike US'ers).

Wait a minute... (0)

iamdrscience (541136) | about 10 years ago | (#10197891)

Wait a minute... What's that?

Television, enhance image! Enhance. Enhance.

My God.

Duh (0)

eamonman (567383) | about 10 years ago | (#10197905)

Don't you know, the highly advanced Japanese TV broadcasting system already telecasts at a very high resolution, one that is dependent upon cultural, economic, and nerd factors:

TV Resolution = [1920 1440] * Dollar/Yen*100 * Import Racers (in the US)/Stock Car Racers (in Japan) * # of (PS2+GC)/Xboxes sold globally

So you see, unless Bill Gates really improves his image in the streets of Shinjuku, or a NASCAR Japan series takes off in Japan, there's plenty of resolution for their zoom-in technology to use!

Translation: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10197927)

It uses interpolation rather than just pixel duplication / binning.

yet another invention of the (not so ?) obvious (2, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | about 10 years ago | (#10197929)

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 hope) probably not targeted to people who understand the techniques laying behind.

One thing to add from the image procssing guy's side: for normal pal-resolution tv sets a certain amount of everyday zooming wouldn't show that much zooming error as e.g. a plasma screen would. Just try grabbing a lowres low-bitrate video (lets say quarter pal res + ~500kbit mpeg4) and play it full screen on a 50cm tv set (many artifacts are smoothed out) and some 100cm digital (where they all remain visible).

But I still don't like the hype around it. It's like when MS said DB-based file system is coming in '06 and that will be so great and cool and all. When we first heard them we just looked at each other and wondered: with all their research facilities behind their backs, how come in some cases they all lurk so behind ? Another example would be using neural networks for learning and adapting applications. Anybody moving around in scientific research can come around many dozens of applications and research fields using them every year. Still, most of everyday people don't have a clue what that is and they all get easily caught into the hype tides.

Well, scientific research and company policies are not so close to each other as one would guess :D

Re:yet another invention of the (not so ?) obvious (4, Informative)

rebelcool (247749) | about 10 years ago | (#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)

Re:yet another invention of the (not so ?) obvious (1)

sexecutioner (597887) | about 10 years ago | (#10198117)

You mention plasma screens and it has spawned some drivel from me: I've always thought that the resolution of the screen must be many many times more than the TV signal.

So instead of some stupid zoom feature, why can't a plasma TV have multiple tuners inside so you can watch 4,5 or more channels at once side by side, each displaying at its native resolution.

I know some TVs have "picture in picture" but seriously, with the resolution available on these large screens you should be able to watch at least 8 channels simultaneously.

And that would be cool (even useful?).

It's a bird, it's a plane... (4, Informative)

Effugas (2378) | about 10 years ago | (#10197931)

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 []
Superresolution by Example: Image Analogies [] -- 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.


Re:It's a bird, it's a plane... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10198024)

An explanation of how time-integration superresolution can reconstruct more detail than any single frame: imagine the camera moves slightly from one frame to the next, by half a pixel. The new intensity of each pixel is not exactly the average of the intensities of the two original pixels it was between, unless the left and right halves of each original pixel contributed equally to its total intensity. Thus, the new pixel has a little more information about the intensity at a location between the two original pixels, and by repeating this frame-by-frame, you can extract a genuinely higher resolution image. You're not constructing information out of nowhere; you're using the information in a series of frames to build a single frame that has more information than any individual frame in the composite.

Example-based superresolution is a little dodgier. What it does is construct a statistical model from high-resolution images of similar subjects. Then when presented with a new image, it uses this statistical model to "fill in the blanks" with statistically-plausible details. That probably wouldn't hold up as forensics in a court of law, because you're filling in the details with information not present in the actual image -- it comes from training images which are supposedly "similar to" what was present but not visible in the actual source. But it has its uses: suppose you train the algorithm with a bunch of text in various fonts. Then you can use it to zoom in on small and unclear text, and because alphabetic characters are all pretty much the same, it does a good job of reconstructing what the original letters probably looked like.

Re:It's a bird, it's a plane... (1)

Effugas (2378) | about 10 years ago | (#10198041)


With regards to your first description, you are describing a temporal mechanism informally referred to as "drizzling". This method was pioneered by NASA for astronomical imagery. While this is one way to merge several images, it's by no means the only way. Among other things, it does require a rather cooperative camera operator -- not TV. Many webcams will stack photos and average them in an attempt to eliminate high frequency noise, which quite arguably reduces true resolution below the simple bounding box. Then there are the algorithms that do stacking with warping, i.e. they attempt to allow stacking despite areas of the images changing or the camera moving. Long story short -- more than one way to integrate lots of images, and ALE supports more than a few of them.

I hadn't considered the forensic implications of example-based superresolution. One could argue that as long as the network hadn't been trained with any particular bias (say, a large number of face components for a hazy blob off a bank camera) if the objective reassembly looked like the defendent, that should be taken into account. Interesting thinking.


Re:It's a bird, it's a plane... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10198082)

I don't have it with me (would have to look it up tomorrow), but I read a paper on Citeseer about Bayesian superresolution methods that work decently even with stills from a handheld digital camera being jittered around; I guess that would fall into your "warping" category. It's definitely better than simple stacking (Bretthorst's book has an good treatment of how stacking loses lots of information).

Why did it take so long . . . (2, Funny)

LazloTheDog (39236) | about 10 years ago | (#10198011)

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


True? (2, Insightful)

venomkid (624425) | about 10 years ago | (#10198025)

you gotta love any article where the word True is in quotes.

Sure... just what Comcast needs... (1)

bs_02_06_02 (670476) | about 10 years ago | (#10198098)

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.

Not a true zoom. (1)

Sludge (1234) | about 10 years ago | (#10198099)

Using heuristics to assume material and interpolate between known data does not a true zoom make.

Totally missing the point! (2, Insightful)

dthree (458263) | about 10 years ago | (#10198108)

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)

When will it be available? (1)

Dr Cool (671556) | about 10 years ago | (#10198127)

From the article:
...unclear when the zoom function would be available on TV sets.
Perhaps it would be clearer if they used their digital enhancement technology?
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