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CES 2012: Mid-Wire HDMI Accessory Greatly Improves Hi-Def Video

InformationWeek catches up with DarbeeVision to get a look at "the Darblet." With one HDMI input and one HDMI output, the Darblet is an amazingly simple piece of hardware that significantly enhances the quality of the HD video being passed through it.

While the CES 2012 show floor was covered 3D video technologies designed to take high definition TV to the next level, DarbeeVision was in town to show an incredibly simple $249 device that significantly enhances the HD video from any HDMI source (cable boxes, game consoles, Apple TV, etc.)

Called the "Darblet," installation of the device is easy. Just unplug the HDMI cable from the back of an HD display and plug it into one side of the Darblet. Then, run another HDMI cable from the other side of the Darblet to the HD display.

It's usually difficult to demonstrate differences in image quality when pointing a video camera at a TV or HD display. But as can be seen in the embedded video, the difference in quality between the two modes (with and without the Darblet) is unmistakable.

In the video, DarbeeVision CEO Paul Darbee explains why an innovation like the Darblet couldn't have come much sooner than now. Darbee had the idea 40 years ago, but had to wait for the video signal to "go digital" in a way that high performance, low cost silicon could act on that signal and manipulate its bits in real time. Digital video itself may not be new. But it wasn't until now that affordable chips could handle the real-time processing.

The image improvement works equally well on movie content as it does on video games. In situations where the Darblet over-corrects images to the point that it does more harm than good (something we witnessed during the interview), users can dial down the Darblet's "strength."

Darbee's eventual goal is to license the technology to TV and set top box manufacturers so that an in-line device like the Darblet isn't required and the volume of "installations" greatly reduces the cost to end-users.

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