Digital Projection is well known for high-end DLP projectors, and it has several new models at this year’s CEDIA. But perhaps more significant is the Digital Projection Radiance LED, a tiled microLED display reminiscent of the Sony CLEDIS and Samsung Cinema Screen.
As many readers probably know, each pixel of a microLED display is a trio of tiny red, green, and blue LEDs, sort of like the Jumbotron found at many sports stadiums. But the LEDs in a Jumbotron are much larger than the microLEDs used in such displays suitable for watching movies in a commercial cinema or home theater.
The Digital Projection Radiance LED consists of modular tiles measuring 24″x13.5″ (16:9). The tiles can be combined to form a screen of virtually any size. Currently, tiles are available with a pixel pitch (the distance between pixels) of 2.5, 1.9, and 1.5 millimeters, and they have a peak brightness of 1000 nits. Tiles with a pixel pitch of 1.2 mm are not far behind, and they’ll have a peak brightness of 900 nits.
A Radiance LED system includes a processor that controls all the tiles and allows calibration of the entire display. Each tile consists of four replaceable panels, and Digital Projection can even replace individual LEDs. If a panel or tile needs to be replaced, the entire display must be recalibrated to maintain consistency across the screen. All systems come with a few extra tiles for quick replacement if needed.
Each tile consists of four microLED panels that can be easily replaced. In fact, all servicing is done from the front of the screen.
Signals are fed to the display via HDMI 2.0 to the processor. The system does not yet support high dynamic range, but that is definitely on the product-development roadmap.
There were two Radiance LED displays in the Digital Projection booth at CEDIA. A 16:9 screen measuring 137″ diagonally consisted of tiles with 1.5 mm pixel pitch, and it was mostly showing several images of various sizes as seen in the photo above. The cost of that system is about $135,000. Also in the booth was an “infinity wall” measuring 18′ wide and 3.5′ high. In that case, the tiles had a pixel pitch of 1.9 mm.
Both looked excellent, with rich colors, sharp detail, bright highlights, and super-deep blacks, thanks to the fact that the brightness of the LEDs is controlled independently. I could see the pixels when I got right up to the screen, but at a normal viewing distance, they blended into a smooth, seamless image.
The Digital Projection Radiance LED Video Wall at CEDIA 2017.
I’ve heard it said that microLED displays could eventually replace projection systems with much higher peak brightness and much deeper blacks. I think that is entirely possible, but not for a long time. Still, I find it very interesting that a projector stalwart like Digital Projection is getting into the microLED game. Apparently, the company sees the writing on the wall and wants to hedge its bets sooner than later.