Fine Pitch and HDR

LED technologies are changing rapidly. If you look back at what was called Fine Pitch 5 years ago and what we are talking about today, there is a significant change: Pitches are falling below 1.0mm and screen sizes of 4K and beyond are becoming more common in the market.

Background of the image: © Pasko Maksim – Adobe Stock

Illustration zur ISE 2020


If LED displays were cars, the demands on research and development would look like squeezing out more horsepower with less gasoline. Under the hood, this market development is driving significant changes in LED display technology.

More pixels mean a higher data rate for the source of image/video information from the display controller to the LED driver chips. If you want to support HDR for consumer (HDR10, HDR+, Dolby Vision) or HDR for DCI cinema, you need to use more bits per color, which again increases the data rate. Not to forget the 3D requirements, i.e. the transmission of stereo images, which again doubles the data rate. If you add up all these requirements, you get a total bandwidth of 40 Gbps to support 4K in HDR and 3D. To put it more simply, you need at least 40 times CAT cable connections at 1 Gbps to run this on existing Gigabit Ethernet-based controllers between the display controller and the LED modules, continuing the on-screen cabling.

S[quadrat] changes this by increasing the data rate per connection. New and upcoming LED and controller products use 10 Gbps links on fiber and 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps links on SATA cables or wireless connections. SATA is well established in IT technology up to 6 Gbps and provides reliable intra-module connectivity. To reduce the amount of cabling required, we offer the option of using the WL60 product range to create a short-range wireless connection between two modules.

By using this high-speed technology, we significantly reduce the number of connections between controller and display to 4 fiber optic connections for the above example, or to 8 connections if ring redundancy is supported. Using the 2.5 or 5Gbis/s connection vertically in the LED display column, we route individual links through columns with full screen height, avoiding intermediate connection attachments. This lowers installation costs and improves stability by reducing the number of contacts for the entire system. When the customer chooses the WL60 options, there is no need for on-site data cabling to install the system, only the modules need to be stacked.

Upgrading all system connections to higher bit rates helps reduce cabling and installation costs while increasing system reliability. Today’s FPGAs with integrated high-speed SerDes interfaces support this approach at low cost per bit/s. My team is happy to bring this milestone technology to the market and the benefits to our customers.

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