Apple may not be actively pursuing a foothold in the HDTV market outside of its Apple TV set-top box, but it doesn't mean the company isn't still considering how to improve on HDTV technology. According to Patently Apple, Apple has received a patent for a new HDTV technology that would make the large screens function as digital photo frames.
HDTVs can already show still images through any digital camera or portable device with a suitable video connection, but Patently Apple explains that the screens' standard display modes aren't ideal for showing pictures. According to the site, HDTVs run in a "streaming" display mode, that constantly sends new display information to the screen without buffering or storing it, or just buffering very little. While it's the best approach for constantly moving pictures (like any video media), a "frame buffering" mode would only send new image information from the display processor to the screen when the picture changes, reducing processing overhead.
I'm not entirely sure how that would improve the experience, but as HDTVs get more and more online media features, any design choice that helps free up processing power could help. Like so many Apple patents, this is just a concept the company has defined and secured, and we probably won't see it in any product in the near future.
— Will Greenwald
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