With the introduction of the new P5 engine Philips TV believes you should look again at picture processing. Danny Tack, Philips TV PQ guru, reveals the what & why. Better not Less Processing is the key to the optimum TV picture quality It’s amazing to consider what a central role TV plays in all of our lives and yet no two viewing experiences are ever really the same. We each have our own viewing rooms and equipment combinations. We all have different priorities over whether we prefer sport to movies or drama to music - and each presents different issues for the set to handle and process. We also each have a different quantity and combination of individual sources that can vary dramatically in quality both over time and from installation to installation. And we each have our own preferences in terms of how we want our images to look, by source and by content type. As an electrical appliance, there are also regulatory standards that may have an impact on how processing is applied in your set. TV manufacturers have to allow for all of these many parameters within their picture processing engine and then attempt to ensure whatever your viewing circumstances your set always produces the optimum image quality. Picture processing has been around since the days of the CRT and sometimes with mixed results. Partly because of this legacy the temptation is often to immediately switch off all processing but I’d like to argue the case that the massive increase in both processing power and the sophistication of modern processing engines should encourage you reject a one-size-fits-all approach to your TV viewing. In fact, you should be aware that some level of processing is always activated in your set, in order to ensure that the input signal is ‘matched’ to your display and that you have a stable, reliable, consistent result. At Philips TV we now introducing our most powerful and sophisticated, proprietary, processing engine - the P5 which can be found in our new mid and high-end sets, including the new flagship 9002 OLED TV. We have managed to implement P5 as a single chip installation compared to our previous three chip offering and in the process we have significantly improved all five pillars of what constitutes the final quality of the image you see: Source quality, Colour, Contrast, Sharpness and Motion. At the basic level, P5 can improve quality issues within the source such as noise or MPEG artefacts. We can also enhance non 4k sources to produce near 4K HDR performance. But P5 can also optimise the source, colour, motion, contrast and sharpness within a high quality 4K. I will discuss the impact of each of the above in a series of updates I will post to this thread. Different features work at different levels, some will impact on the overall picture while others will work at a local level within the image but importantly without compromising other parts of the picture. But in short, while it is perfectly reasonable to start from a position of minimal processing, something we allow ourselves via our movie mode and our ISF Day and Night pre-sets – equally I would ask that you try each of the features I will describe below and judge for yourselves having seen them in action. We will be holding a four-way OLED shoot-out in early November in London – details of which you can find elsewhere on AV Forums - and we intend to demonstrate the full processing suite from each manufacturer as part of that test. We will also be organising a PQ podcast with AV Forums in which I will attempt to answer any of the questions you ask. Pillar 1 – Source Perfection. We will now attempt to examine each of the pillars in isolation but in reality they will all interact and the quality of that interaction will also have a significant impact on the final image. Modern TV’s have an almost unlimited range of sources - provided in an equally wide range of quality - to process and ensure each are perfectly displayed upon the 4K screen. The almost constant increase in screen size and resolution has also increased the importance of having top quality source optimisation within the picture processing engine. By having the one dedicated chip – rather than multi-chip processing - the P5 processing engine can operate faster than its predecessor. An additional benefit of a single chip is that P5 can now ensure all process are managed in the optimal order, something incredibly difficult to control when processing is divided across different chips. The slide above shows the number of processes that a P5 will apply to a signal. You will also notice pretty much throughout the P5’s processes the presence of meters. The number and accuracy of these meters is absolutely vital to the end result and is one of the key factors distinguishing one manufacturers picture quality from another. We will now concentrate on three key P5 processes for optimising the source: Advanced Digital Noise Reduction, MPEG Artefact Reduction and Smart Bit Enhancement. When dealing with noise in a signal, noise reduction systems will prioritise noise over other factors within the image allowing them to reduce its impact but at the expense of the local smearing and blurring. Philips Advanced Noise Reduction system has both spatial and temporal noise reduction working in combination with better motion detection which allows the system to remove more noise but without smearing or blurring. Most Digital sources and digital transmissions tend to surfer from some form of MPEG artefacts. Many artefact reduction systems will again focus just on the MPEG artefacts, cleaning the picture but also reducing sharpness. The MPEG artefact reduction system with the P5 engine has the power to utilise additional meters and detectors capable of both more precisely locating the artefacts within the image and defining how bad is the scale of the problem. P5 delivers a picture free from artefacts but with sharpness and detail preserved. The Smart Bit Enhancement system corrects for the quantization artefacts created by the low bit rate of many streaming codecs and distribution system and by digital compression, scalable video coding and limited range scaling. P5 Smart Bit Enhancement extends the normal 8 bit video to near 14 bit precision locally within the image removing banding but without removing detail elsewhere in the picture. By providing a clean, noise and artefact free but sharp images, P5 can offer more effective processing for sharpness, colour, contrast and motion later in the chain.