Apple Patent For Making Your LCD TV an Even Better Digital Photo Frame

Apple claims that their TV work is just a hobby, but that doesn't mean they don't innovate for the living room. A newly published patent outlines an LCD TV that has separate modes for video and still photos.

Apple is into the idea of users sharing photos—the gorgeous stacks interface that was given top billing at the iPad launch event made that clear. Now they're thinking about how to make sharing photos easier from the couch.

Their patent describes a display with two distinct modes: a "'streaming' display mode" for video and a "frame-buffered" display mode for better quality still images. Patently Apple gets into the nitty gritty:

Embodiments of the present disclosure provide a system with a display that may operate in at least two display modes: a "frame-buffered" display mode, such as CPU-style interface, and a "streaming" display mode," such as an RGB-style interface. In the "frame-buffered" display mode, the processor writes image data to a frame memory of the driver IC [integrated circuit] as the image changes, and the driver IC periodically refreshes the display panel from the frame memory. In this method, the processor may reduce processing overhead by writing new image data to the driver IC frame memory only when some portion of the image changes. ...

In the "streaming" display mode, the processor writes a continuous stream of image data to the driver IC, and the driver IC may process and route the streaming image data to the display panel without storing the data in a frame memory. In this method, the processor does not write to frame memory and, therefore, no memory addressing information may be included in the data stream. Using this technique, the processing overhead involved in writing data to the driver IC memory may be reduced.

Sounds awfully complicated for a hobby!

While one method is typically predetermined to be used instead of the other, dynamically switching between both could lessen power usage for the display. Does more efficient photo display make an Apple TV any less stupid of an idea? [PatentlyApple]