Rumors of an Apple television in the works have been circulating with increasing frequency since the release of the Steve Jobs biography, wherein Jobs told Isaacson that he had “finally cracked” the secret to a fully-integrated TV set.

Giving credence to the rumors, a recent US patent filing show that Apple has been exploring TV displays that feature advanced dynamic backlighting to improve picture quality. The patent application, entitled “Dynamic Backlight Adaptation for Black Bars with Subtitles,” has a focus on image quality for letterboxed content, such as DVD or Blu-Ray movies that are delivered in wide-screen format.

The technology, if implemented, is set to improve the ability of LCD displays to display blacks on the screen, thereby improving the overall image quality.

“Many video images are encoded with black bars, e.g., non-picture portions of the video images…These non-picture portions complicate the analysis of the brightness of the video images, and therefore can create problems when determining the trade-off between the brightness of the video signals and the intensity setting of the light source. Moreover, these non-picture portions can also produce visual artifacts, which can degrade the overall user experience.”

Thus far, Apple TV rumors have included suggestions of voice and movement-based controls, three screen sizes ranging from 32 – 55 inches and a display panel manufactured by Japanese electronics company Sharp.

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