Better, more affordable 4K home projectors coming thanks to new Texas Instruments chipset technology

by on February 19, 2016

Stephan Jukic – February 19, 2016

Texas Instruments has debuted a new 4K DLP UHD chipset that enables companies like Digital Projection, Christie, SIM2, Panasonic and others to deliver affordable and high quality 4K projectors down the road.

For those of you who are very serious fans of the home theater experience, it’s widely recognized that while 4K Ultra HD TVs have their impressive advantages and technologies, the sheer viewing space offered by a projector is hard to beat as eye candy, and if it also happens to be a 4K projector, all the better overall.

Quite simply, 4K projectors for the home or office provide a truly stellar level of viewing quality and it’s worth considering. However, they’re not exactly either cheap or plentiful, with the first being caused largely by the second.

Up to now, only a small few companies make what could by any measure be considered 4K projectors, consisting mainly of Sony, JVC and Christie. However, out of these, the only maker to offer true 4K projection technology that’s actually aimed at home theater is Sony, and with that kind of highly limited competition, there’s certainly little in the way of market pressure for price-clipping innovation and consequently lower retail prices.

This might however be changing soon. Texas Instruments recently announced that it is releasing a new 4K DLP chip, which will allow home theater fans to eventually have access to a much wider range of 4K projector brands and 4K projector manufacturers to have a much easier task of developing such products.

During the time the new chip from Texas Instruments has been under development, many projector manufacturers which could have developed more 4K products gave up a head start to niche market leader Sony with its true 4K projectors for the home and office, and to a lesser extent to Epson, with its “4K Enhancement” projectors (not true 4K, more like upscaling) or JVC with its own “e-shift” version of 4K upscaling. In other words, the overall product selection for 4K projectors has been oddly limited.

Now, the new 1.4 inch DLP 4K Ultra HD chipset from Texas Instruments offers up some excellent switching speeds and advanced image processing technology for more affordable 4K UHD image rendering. The chip also allows projectors which use it to achieve light outputs of as many as 5000 lumens, which is indeed excellent for movie watching use.

greater 4K projector brightness increases contrast and viewing realism

greater 4K projector brightness increases contrast and viewing realism

And manufacturers definitely seem to be interested. At CES 2016 in January, Optoma, one of these manufacturers, unveiled what it called their “world’s first single-chip DLP projector”, which the company claims is capable of producing outstanding ultra HD image quality. On the other hand, Panasonic also recently announced their own PT-RZ570U single-chip DLP projector, which is capable of a superb 5000 lumens of brightness and is designed with the commercial animation market in mind.

What really makes the new TI chipset so great is the capacity it supposedly has to “make 4K great” according to a Texas Instruments representative. The chipset provides 8.8 million pixels on a screen, offers up excellent pixel alignment and delivers some excellent ANSI contrast levels. In other words, this new 4-million mirror chipset from Texas Instruments is a supposed 4x improvement over that JVC, Epson and even Sony offer to their customers. Texas Instruments seems to be very confident about the quality of their new 4K projection technology, claiming that is uses their special “Tip & Roll Pixel” design, which is also used in some pico projectors today.

Texas Instruments has been waiting on a release of the chipset due partly to a lack of 4K content, something which is definitely changing in 2016 and partly due to a lack of concrete standards for 4K, which are now also in place via HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 in particular. The company wants their chipset to be a volume product and that requires content popularity and standardized technologies.

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