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1. (WO2007011769) VIDEO IMAGE PROCESSING WITH UTILITY PROCESSING STAGE
Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A digital video signal processing system, comprising:
a first image processing stage including a pixel data output providing pixel data and a tag data output providing tag data, the tag data including information that is different than the pixel data, the first stage being adapted to process pixel data in a first process;
a first stage controller to initiate operation of the first processing stage;
a second image processing stage including a pixel data output for providing pixel data and a tag data output for providing tag data, the second stage being adapted to process pixel data provided by the first stage in a second process;
a second stage controller to initiate operation of the second processing stage;
a third image processing stage including a pixel data output for providing pixel data and a tag data output for providing tag data; and
a third stage controller coupled to the third stage, the third stage controller being operable for selectively activating the third stage.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the third stage is adapted to render on screen displays.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the first stage controller is configured to store a time to output pixel data and based on the time selectively instructing the third stage controller to activate the third stage.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the first stage controller is configured to communicate with the first stage and, based on a communication from the first processing stage, is adapted to instruct the third stage controller to activate the third stage.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein the communication is stored in tag data.

6. The system of claim 4, wherein the communication instructs the third processing stage controller to initiate a third process in the third stage that is the same as the first process.

7. The system of claim 6, wherein the communication instructs the third processing stage controller to initiate the third process to process a subset of the data provided to the first stage.

8. The system of claim 7, wherein the third processing stage is adapted to provide data to be used by the second stage in the second process.

9. The system of claim 6, wherein the communication instructs the third processing stage controller to initiate the third process to process a subset of the data output from the first stage.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the third processing stage is adapted to provide data to be used by the second stage in the second process.

11. The system of claim 4, wherein the communication instructs the third processing stage controller to initiate a process that is different than the first process.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the communication instructs the third processing stage controller to initiate the third process to process a subset of the data provided to the first stage.

13. The system of claim 11, wherein the communication instructs the third processing stage controller to initiate the third process to process a subset of the data output from the first stage.

14. The system of claim 1, wherein the third stage controller downloads an instruction set to the third stage.

15. The system of claim 1, wherein the third stage controller is adapted to store a time to output pixel data, and wherein the third stage controller selectively activates additional processing stages when the third stage will not complete processing by the time to output pixel.

16. The system of claim 1, wherein the first stage controller is adapted to call the third processing stage if a group of pixels in the first stage requires a greater number of cycles than allotted to process the group of pixels.

17. The system of claim 16, wherein the first stage controller bases a determination of the number of processing cycles on the tag data.

18. The system of claim 16, wherein the first stage controller predicts the number of cycles for processing a group of pixels.

19. The system of claim 18, wherein the first stage controller predicts based on the tag data.

20. The system of claim 1, wherein the tag data includes a tag associated with each pixel.

21. The system of claim 20, wherein each tag is multi-bit.

22. The system of claim 21, wherein the first stage controller sends an address for the pixel data to be processed by the third stage to the third stage controller.

23. The system of claim 22, wherein the first stage controller sends an address for process instructions to be used by the third stage to the third stage controller.

24. A digital video signal processing system, comprising:
a plurality of N image processing stages including a pixel data output providing pixel data and a tag data output providing tag data, the tag data including information that is different than the pixel data, the stages being serially connected together;
a further image processing stage including a pixel data input for receiving pixel data, a pixel data output providing pixel data and a tag data output providing tag data; and a stage controller coupled to the further stage, the stage controller being operable for selectively activating the further image processing stage.

25. The system of claim 24, wherein the further stage includes a tag data input for receiving tag data.

26. The system of claim 24, wherein the stage controller is configured to selectively insert the further processing stage intermediate two adjacent ones of the N stages.

27. The system of claim 24, wherein the stage controller selectively inserts the further stage intermediate an adjacent pair of N stages such that the further stage receives pixel data from the first of the pair of N stages and outputs pixel data to the second of the pair of N stages.

28. The system of claim 27, wherein the further stage outputs tag data to the second stage.

29. The system of claim 28, wherein the further stage receives tag data from the first stage.

30. The system of claim 29, wherein each of the N stages includes a controller.

31. A method of processing a digital video signal, comprising:
outputting processed pixel data from a first stage;
controlling the first stage with a first controller;
receiving processed pixel data in a second stage;
controlling the second stage with a second controller;
selectively providing pixel data to a third stage;
controlling the third stage with a third controller by the third controller receiving a process request from one of the first controller and the second controller such that the third stage activated.

32. The method of claim 31, wherein controlling the third state includes receiving in the third controller an instruction indicating the process to be performed by the third stage.

33. The method of claim 32, wherein controlling the third stage includes activating an instruction set for the process to be performed by the third stage.

34. The method of claim 33, wherein activating an instruction set includes downloading the instruction set from the third controller to the third stage.

35. The method of claim 33, wherein activating an instruction set includes downloading the instruction set from a memory to the third controller.

36. The method of claim 33, wherein activating an instruction set includes downloading the instruction set from a memory directly to the third stage.

37. The method of claim 32, wherein controlling the third stage includes outputting processed pixel data and tag data from the third stage.

38. The method of claim 31, wherein controlling the first stage with a first controller includes outputting an error code from the first stage to the first controller and sending an activation code from the first controller to the third controller.

39. The method of claim 38, wherein receiving processed pixel data in the second stage includes receiving pixel data processed by both the first stage and the third stage.

40. The method of claim 39, wherein receiving processed pixel data in the second stage includes receiving tag data in the second stage.

41. The method of claim 40, wherein receiving tag data in the second stage includes receiving tag data produced by at least one of the first stage and the third stage.