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A UHD 2/3-inch CMOS imager with Dynamic Pixel Management - an Enabler for New Format Flexibility


Presented to the SMPTE 2016 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition

The broadcast market currently faces changes which are very challenging for imaging solutions; the change from HD to UHD, and the introduction of HDR. In phases of change, more flexible solutions are needed. The Dynamic Pixel Management (DPM) technology already available in some FT-CCDs offered a unique solution for lossless switching between 4:3/16:9 aspect ratios, as well as between all the different HD formats, including 2.37:1 widescreen.Smaller UHD pixels do not offer the same performance as larger HD pixels and, until now, CMOS imagers have not allowed the pixel size to be changed. This is a real limitation for anyone who needs to produce in UHD as well as in HD. The new CMOS-based XensiumHAWK imagers with DPMUltra technology offer a solution to select the pixel size for native UHD or native HD, to deliver UHD or HD performance with no compromise. This paper explains the background and the development of the new flexible pixel size technology.

Introduction

Whenever a format or imaging technology changes, it is necessary to have flexible solutions. It was so when the aspect ratio of the SD images was slowly shifting from 4:3 to 16:9 and also when production formats were changing from SD to HD in the various 1.5G and 3G formats.

For the first topic, standard definition CCD imagers with 4:3 / 16:9 format switching was required, and two different solutions were offered for that:
Only the second solution offered the same pixel count and same angle of view in both formats. When both aspect ratios were used in productions, this "lossless" format switching was seen as a unique advantage.

In a very similar way, the dynamic pixel management (DPM) available in some of the HD FT (frame transfer) CCD imagers offered "lossless" format-switching between 1080p, 1080i and 720p.

For many years, DPM technology offered very flexible solutions, addressing challenges caused by changing requirements for the format support of cameras. Today we are in another period of change:
As before, there will be a requirement for quite some time for realizing productions in the current (HD) formats, as well as in the next generation formats, and in many cases it will not be known what exactly will be needed at which time. What to do to be best prepared for these challenges, is using a technology allowing production in all the different current formats, as well as in all the known future formats, in the best possible way. This means that it is time for another DPM imager.


- Klaus & Peter

Further Reading:


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