Ultra HD 4K videos can be a sight to behold, but they come at two costs — price and power. With the reduction of cost associated with 4K screens inevitable, Japan’s Kogakuin University and Fujitsu are working to reduce the power consumed during 4K output.
The university and electronics maker have worked together to develop new software that can upscale video playback on smartphones to a resolution of 3,840×2,160 pixels, commonly referred to as 4K. The new technology can diplay Ultra HD at a highly stable 30 fps without increasing the typical power consumption of a smartphone. Kogakuin University has also confirmed that it is possible to increase video frame rate to a more fluid 60 fps.
At the moment, Sony’s Xperia z5 Premium is the only handset on the market that sports a 4K screen, though this is sure to change as Ultra HD screens become less costly. However, displaying content in the cutting edge resolution is extremely draining to battery life, so the Z5 Premium is designed to only output in 4K during media playback, and not during usual browsing. This new software could circumvent one of the considerable negatives to Ultra HD viewing, even if there are still doubts as to the benefit of 4K screens on smartphones.
Kogakuin began researching the processing method back in 2012, and it’s since been implemented with Keisoku Giken’s FE super-resolution units, which convert video captured by professional-grade cameras into 4K. Fujitsu has helped improve and simplify the technology, which can now be applied in real-time using smartphone software without the need for additional hardware.
With 4K technology still in its early adoptive stages, a push is needed to bring the new display format into the mainstream.Lower prices and new visual advances that improve the depth and colour range of the images they output are making 4K TVs more viable. Meanwhile, the innovations by Fujitsu and Kogakuin University could represent the simplest and cheapest way to bring the tech to smaller devices.
Smartphones are also just one application for the new technology. There are hopes that other uses, such as surveillance and medical imagery, might later be developed. Kogakuin University has been approached for this technology from international companies, but unfortunately, due to intellectual property management, its currently only being applied within Japan.