4K Video Upscaling Format Conversion


Intel’s 4K Video Upscaling Format Conversion reference design performs upscaling up to 4K resolutions by taking in a 1080p video format over a 3G-SDI interface, upscaling it to 4K x 2K resolution, and sending the output over four 3G-SDI interfaces. You can leverage this reference design to help you jump start your system development.




  • Takes a 1080p video input over a 3G-SDI interface and outputs over four 3G-SDI interfaces. This feature is supported by the SDI MegaCore® function.
  • Offers polyphase multi-tap video scaling and upscales the input to Quad Full High Definition (QFHD).
  • Splits video lines across four video pipelines, each capable of processing 1080p video.
  • Uses less than 50 percent of a Stratix® IV GX FPGA, providing ample headroom for other video functionalities and interfaces.
  • Provides an easy migration path to any of Intel’s device families.
  • Leverages Intel’s Video and Image Processing (VIP) Suite components and peripherals.


How does this reference design work?


The reference design, shown in Figure 1, consists of four video pipelines, each capable of processing 1080p video. The 4K upscaling process is split across the four video pipelines. Extra video processing pipelines can be added to process higher resolutions with the only limit being the FPGA size and available DDR3 memory bandwidth.


Each video pipeline is configurable and consists of a chain of processing functions. Using standard Avalon® Streaming interfaces, any number of processing functions can be connected together using our SOPC Builder system tool.

Figure 1. 4K Video Format Conversion Reference Design Block Diagram

4kvideo format conversion reference design

What is 4K resolution?

4K resolution refers to a group of resolutions that have approximately 4,000 horizontal pixels. In digital cinema, a typical resolution is 4096 x 2160. In computer graphics, the QFHD resolution is 3840 x 2160. FPGAs can easily handle the processing requirements of 4K video which are about four times the processing capability of 1080p video.

4K resolution is becoming the next major enhancement in video because of its benefits in picture clarity and realism. Many leading projector, broadcast, and camera manufacturers are either already shipping 4K-enabled systems or will do so by the end of 2011.


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