4K Video Design Trends

By Mark Bingeman | Jul 30, 2013

The new 4K video resolution presents a multitude of opportunities for companies looking to capitalize on the improved video quality for their products. As with any new technology, getting products to market quickly is critical. Nuvation has completed many electronic design services projects using 4K and there are a few common themes we're seeing.

Common 4K Design Trends

Upscaling from 2K

A number of Blu-Ray players and other media servers currently upscale 2K content for 4K displays. When it comes to 2K-for-4K upscaling, not all products are created equally. In the near-term there is a market opportunity for higher quality 2K- to-4K upscaling. While there are a few Blu-Ray players on the market with custom ASICs for 2K-to-4K upscaling, there is also a good opportunity for FPGA-based upscaling solutions. Algorithms can be refined over time and updates pushed out to the end users.

Image Storage and Distribution

4K resolution has 4x the number of pixels as compared with 2K video. Therefore, image storage and distribution will require 4x the storage capacity and 4x the bandwidth for frame buffers and distribution systems. The recent release of the H.265 standard will help reduce the impact of the higher 4K resolution. The H.265 standard aims to increase the compression ratio by 2x, while maintaining the same perceptual video quality. Software- based, and FPGA SoC-based implementations should play a large part in the rollout of this new standard until the standard and the products are stable enough to transition to an ASIC implementation.

Video Processing

The 4K format also has implications for video processing. The higher resolution has a higher pixel clock rate which necessitates mobile casino a change in video processing pipeline architecture. Video processing will need to transition to a multiple-pixels-per-clock architecture. While most video processing algorithms can easily adapt to processing multiple pixels in parallel, some algorithms will need to be refactored or adapted to accommodate the change in video pipeline architecture. This parallel architecture can be accommodated well in FPGA based implementations. There are also opportunities for multi-core DSP devices to divide the frame area between cores to accommodate the higher resolution and bandwidth.


Nuvation has extensive experience in FPGA, hardware, and software-based 2K video systems and 4K video processing. Our past projects span across several markets including broadcast, medical imaging and military aerospace applications. Contact Nuvation for more information on how we can accelerate the time to market for 4K video designs, and all of your products.