All you need to know about MEMC

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All you need to know about MEMC

All you need to know about MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation)

When it comes to smartphones, the camera capability is a crucial aspect that is compared between brands. However, in recent years, another area where manufacturers have been competing is in the display department. The display of a phone is now more significant than ever, thanks to a move from LCDs to AMOLED panels, special circuits that upscale SDR to HDR, and screens with fast refresh rates.

The OnePlus 8 Pro, like the Galaxy S20 series and the OPPO Find X2, will boast a 120Hz refresh rate. The OnePlus 7 Pro, which boasts a 90Hz refresh rate, has a greater refresh rate than this.

While having a display with a higher refresh rate gives users a whole new experience, there isn’t much content that takes advantage of this new feature on your phone because most films you view are at 24 or 30 frames per second. OnePlus has come up with a solution to the lack of content problem, however it is not unique.

MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation)

MEMC is a TV feature that is infamously known as the “Soap opera effect” because it makes anything you’re watching look like a soap opera. It’s known as motion smoothing on some TVs, and it works by artificially adding frames to a film with a low frame rate to give it a higher frame rate and a smooth effect. The feature is demonstrated in the video below.

As you can see in the video above, when the function is enabled, the clips play significantly smoother than when it is off. When MEMC is on, however, the amount of detail is low when playback is set to slow motion.

However, it has drawbacks, and many film directors are opposed to seeing a film with the feature switched on.

MEMC in phones

OnePlus CEO and founder Pete Lau said in January that the company has developed a unique MEMC chip that can “push conventional 30fps video to 120fps, so the video can take use of our 120Hz Fluid Display.”

The MEMC chip will be included in the OnePlus 8 Pro because it has a 120Hz Fluid Display. The OnePlus 8 sports a 90Hz display but isn’t expected to include the CPU.

The OnePlus 8 isn’t the first device to include a MEMC processor. It was first presented to phones in 2018 by Black Shark, and the Black Shark 3 flagship now contains a new version called MEMC 2.0. The OPPO Find X2 Pro has a comparable technology, but it’s named the “O1 Ultra Vision Engine,” and it features a feature called Motion Clear that allows you to upscale 30fps content to 60fps or 120fps.

Prior to the release of the aforementioned phones, MediaTek processors released as far back as 2015 (for example, the Helio X10) have come with a feature called Clear Motion that does the same job as a MEMC chip.

The MEMC chip will be included in the OnePlus 8 Pro because it has a 120Hz Fluid Display. The OnePlus 8 sports a 90Hz display but isn’t expected to include the CPU.

To transcode material from a lower frame rate to a higher frame rate, OnePlus’ MEMC processor will use a feature called High Frame 2.0. YouTube, Netflix, Hotstar, MXPlayer, VLC, Prime Video, and even your phone’s Gallery app are among the apps that are supported, according to the company.

OnePlus is not limiting the feature to just video players and streaming apps but also includes games such as Vain Glory. At launch, the feature will work with a total of 12 video players and streaming apps and 12 games. More apps and games are expected to be added in the future.

Disadvantages of MEMC in phones

We feel the main and only drawback will be a drop in battery life. High Frame 2.0 is likely to drain your battery even faster, similar to how using your phone at the highest refresh rate affects battery life.

OnePlus hasn’t mentioned anything about it yet, and it’s possible that they’ve found a solution to reduce battery drain, but it’ll still be there. However, we expect a mechanism to disable the feature in order to save battery life or if you don’t like it in the first place.

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