Apple patent application reveals television with superior picture quality via advanced backlighting

“Apple has explored building displays with dynamic backlight adaptation for better picture quality, particularly when watching letterboxed widescreen movies on a high-definition screen,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“The concept was revealed this week in a new Apple patent application discovered by AppleInsider,” Hughes reports. “The filing, entitled “Dynamic Backlight Adaptation for Black Bars with Subtitles,” focuses on improving picture quality when watching letterboxed content, like Hollywood movies, on an LCD display.”

Hughes reports, “The application was filed just months ago, in September of 2011, and comes as rumors of a full-fledged Apple television set continue to build. One report this week claimed that Apple design chief Jonathan Ive has a 50-inch prototype set located in his secure work studio at the company’s corporate headquarters.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Design-wise, I’m picturing a very black exterior with a very black screen when off, completely flush with a narrow bezel. Then, with this advanced backlighting, when you’re watching a letterbox show (or the odd 4:3) the parts of the screen that are “off” will blend completely perfectly with the bezel.

    That would kick ass, to say nothing of the interface that will be beautiful.

    My wife’s going to kill me if they release this . . .

    1. And…

      Automatic light sensing dimming.

      (they’re waiting to debut apps to put them on the real TV.
      Like Siri on the 4S only, apps will be TV only.

      iOS multitasking
      including email & safari. Your show will pause while
      you do other things.

      iAds to the next level.
      The goal will be to completely remove ads from the
      midst of the viewing experience.

      Siri, too, of course.

      iCloud, too, of course.

      A social network tie-in (not the movie) for real-tim sharing.

      FaceTime HD, of course.

      Not an OSX experience, though. Definitely iOS. Possibly iOS 6.

      Screen Mirroring, though, and possibly from a Mac, too.

      Smart PowerSaving.

      Instant On. Possibly even activated by voice.

      This will be killer for high end hotels, for the elderly, for… anyone. It’s the home hub, the main screen. Apple will certainly want to dominate the heart of the home.

      1. No iOS multitasking, email or Safari. There’s no good input device for it, and people have shown they really don’t want it on their TV.

        However, it will support AirPlay, so you could send your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch display to the iTV.

    2. Nope. There has to be somewhere for an Apple logo to be seen. Putting it on the back will be useless, because most TVs are hung on a wall these days (or at least pushed up against one).

      I’m thinking more like an iMac, with a strip at the bottom to show a metallic Apple logo. Of course, the TV will display a very cool Apple logo animation whenever it is turned on or off.

  2. The other thing people are missing is the possibility of the iTV also containing iTunes and a 2TB hard drive, so that your entire movie and music collection could be stored on the iTV.

    That automatically plugs your music into your home theater surround sound system, and may even permit music to be played on the patio speakers while a movie is watched inside, using your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch to interact with whatever feature you are using.

    BTW, how about an iPod touch as a remote control, as in each iTV comes with one? Maybe only 4GB because it won’t need the storage space.

  3. If Apple goes from 1024×768 pixels on the iPad 2 to 2048×1536 pixels on the iPad 3, then this same “dynamic backlight adaptation” technology would also be useful on the iPad to watch 1080p (1920×1200) HD movies. It could also be applied to other Apple displays. I don’t believe that this is slam dunk evidence of an upcoming TV product.

  4. Sounds like an HDR (high dynamic range) monitor with an added circuit for different “zones” on the screen. Perhaps even “smart” captions that will dim with darker scenes.

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