Enabling next level user experience with a state-of-the-art display solution from Arm

The content that we see every day on our smartphones is becoming increasingly complex, and the ability to view it in all environments, indoors and out, can be a challenge. From VR games to HDR video playback, the quality display of content is vital in delivering a superior user experience. After all, mobile display technologies and the visual experience are now a major selling point for new devices, and we’re seeing a number of trends that are driving innovation in this space:

Virtual reality

Virtual Reality

VR headsets require displays that are close to the eyes, so in order to maintain the perceived quality of these images, we need more pixels in the same area. In addition, higher frame rates up to 120 frames per second (fps) are needed to reduce the overall latency and achieve lower persistence on LCD VR panels. The unprecedented upside to pixel throughput is an order of magnitude higher than for non-VR applications, resulting in a significant increase in design complexity and system bandwidth. This represents a major challenge to the power and area budgets for mobile devices.

High Dynamic Range

High Dynamic Range

HDR is an essential step in improved picture fidelity, providing a more realistic feel to images with better color and brightness capabilities, and a more realistic user experience. The demands of viewing HDR content on both HDR and SDR displays create a major challenge for the display sub-system due to the different capabilities of panels at the end of the display pipeline.

Multi-window

Multi-window

Multi-window mode, previously the preserve of desktop, allows multiple activities to be seen on the screen, all at the same time. The windows are resizable and reconfigurable depending on limitations defined by both the app and system controls. In terms of system design, enabling multi-window functionality is not trivial. The enhanced Android Window Composition capabilities of a premium display solution allow users to multi-task on their mobile device with the same efficiency we see on desktop.

Panel variety

Panel Variety

The variety of panels and interfaces that need to be supported by display technology continues to grow, particularly as we see more complex content emerging and optimized functionality between the application processor and the panel’s display driver interconnect. From HDR to SDR, if media is able to display the vibrant color and crisp images we expect, the display pipeline must output the content to the correct performance capabilities of the panel, and also do so intelligently to avoid wasted bandwidth.

Arm has a rich history with display that starts with the acquisition of what is now our Display IP back in 2013, followed by the first Display Processor launched shortly afterwards. In 2016 we released the Arm Mali-DP650 and acquired Apical, adding Assertive Display to our portfolio. The challenges represented by VR, HDR, and multi-window required a new approach, so we’ve created a new architecture, Komeda, to address this evolution. Komeda is the foundation for our new, truly integrated display solution comprised of the Mali-D71, CoreLink MMU-600, and Assertive Display 5.

Mali-D71: 4K120 Performance Guaranteed for VR

Mali-D71: 4K120 Performance Guaranteed for VR

Premium mobile display requirements are on the rise. 4K+ resolutions and higher frame rates are creating system performance issues, requiring a strong need for an optimized display processor. Meet the Mali-D71, the first Mali-DPU that supports the transition of display processors from a commodity to one that delivers significant competitive advantages to device manufacturers, including:

  • 30% system power savings; Mali-D71 reduces GPU workloads by performing composition, rotation, high-quality scaling, and other imaging processing in fixed function hardware. This happens at the final stage of the pipeline, before sending the final output to the screen, meaning the GPU doesn’t have to be involved at all.
  • 2x area efficiency; Mali-D71 achieves improved performance in the same area, compared to our previous generation Mali-DP650. When driving a single display, it can re-use the resources of a secondary display, resulting in more full frame layers being processed – doubling the performance
  • 4x latency tolerance; Mali-D71 can sustain up to 4x the delay on the system bus for the same throughput, compared to previous generation Mali-DP650, thanks to significant optimizations in the memory subsystem. This is significant for high performance display processing where 4K frames must be fed to the output at up to 120 fps. The display processor needs to optimize the time it has on the system bus by prefetching pixels in the microseconds when the display is blank so that its buffers are always full of content.
  • 2x pixel throughput; While operating in a new side-by-side mode, the Mali-D71 can achieve unprecedented 2x pixel throughput, delivering premium VR 4K120 performance, all within a very low power envelope.

Read Mali-D71 and the Next Generation Display Solution for more technical details on the Mali-D71.

Arm CoreLink MMU-600: Secure, Efficient Data Flow

Ultimately, these new mobile display challenges are really about data management. Arm has focused on tightly integrating a specialized rendered version of CoreLink MMU-600 with the Mali-D71. This coupling leads to a 55% area saving for the combined solution and a 50% latency improvement by hiding MMU latency from the real-time path. CoreLink MMU-600 also solves another real and necessary problem: secure content protection for your premium media.

Read CoreLink MMU-600 saves $1Billion in premium content protection systems for more technical details on the CoreLink MMU-600.

Assertive Display 5: A High-Quality HDR Viewing Experience in All Light Conditions

Since its launch, Assertive Display has been widely adopted, shipping in over 1 billion premium devices because of its unique ability to closely reflect human visual perception on a mobile display. Assertive Display 5 builds on its predecessor’s sunlight visibility improvements, offering HDR management for display pipelines, improved color and gamut management, and enhanced power savings.  

Assertive Display 5 can present the HDR content (HDR10 or HLG) to any characteristic of display (any dynamic range and gamut), delivering an HDR experience even on an SDR display. Ambient light compensation is even more important for HDR content since it will have more valuable information in dark parts. Assertive Display’s advanced features enable users to see the real details in an image, just as they were intended.

Assertive Display’s advanced features enable users to see the real details in an image, just as they were intended

Read Assertive Display 5: a stunning HDR experience for more technical details on Assertive Display 5.

These three components work together to enable Arm partners and OEMs to deliver an innovative solution that addresses today’s display technology disruptors. With the Arm Display Solution, display IP now delivers a real competitive advantage for device manufactures by improving user experience, reducing power, and increasing battery life. The launch today represents Arm’s commitment to delivering the best VR and HDR experiences possible and we look forward to continuing our leadership in the ongoing innovation for display technologies.

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Graphics & Multimedia blog