MediaTek MT9638 smart TV chip promises to bring 4K, AI chops

There are dozens of smart or Internet-connected TVs around that bring smartphone-like conveniences to living rooms. Unlike smartphones, most smart TV manufacturers focus on talking about software platforms, image and audio enhancement technologies, or AI-powered feats. All of these are, of course, made possible by a processor hiding deep inside the TV and MediaTek is making sure that everyone knows that its new MT9638 chip will be powering some of the 4K smart TVs that may be gracing your house in the near future.

In terms of specs, the MediaTek MT9638 has four ARM Cortex-A55 CPU cores and a Mali-G52 GPU. It supports a variety of video and audio technologies, from HDR10+ to Dolby Vision and Atmos. It also supports 4K resolutions, upscaling images and video up to 4K60 if needed, and integrates Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Motion Estimation and Motion Compensation (MEMC) for smoother graphics, especially in games.

MediaTek, however, wants to highlight the AI capabilities of the chip thanks to its custom built-in AI Processing Unit or APU. AI is often used in TVs these days for intelligent enhancement of audio and pictures, like AI-based scaling. MediaTek boasts that the APU is capable of real-time content and scene recognition for adjusting picture settings, like color saturation and brightness, on the fly.

These AI-based features are no longer enough for smart TVs these days either. Most such products connect with some smart assistants or smart home platforms and the MT9638 can integrate those voice assistants directly, at least if the manufacturer wants to. It can support up to four far-field mics for always-on voice recognition for wake-up phrases.

Many of these features, however, do depend on their integration with the rest of the TV hardware which, in turn, depends on manufacturers picking up this new MediTek MT9638 chip. MediaTek does boast that it has shipped over two billion of its smart TV chips, powering TVs from global manufacturers. Given how those manufacturers tend to stay silent on that particular spec, however, it might hard to tell which ones those are.