Most companies keep their CEDIA announcements under tight wraps until the show starts, but Italian projector maker SIM2 has decided to let its cat out of the bag a bit early. The company is announcing the Nero 4, a 4K/UHD, single-chip DLP projector based on the DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) chip introduced that Texas Instruments introduced at last year's CEDIA Expo.
As you may recall, the new DMD has 4.15 million micromirrors that are arranged in a 16:9 aspect ratio, which means a pixel array of about 2716x1527. (TI did not provide exact numbers, but the math doesn't lie.) That's not true UHD, but because the switching speed of those micromirrors is measured in microseconds—as opposed to milliseconds for LCD and LCoS—each one can reproduce two completely independent pixels by quickly shifting back and forth by half a pixel diagonally.
If this seems familiar, it is—anyone remember wobulation? That was a similar technique used by Hewlett-Packard in its rear-projection DLP TVs to achieve 1080p resolution when the DMD chips couldn't. More recently, JVC and Epson have applied a similar approach—JVC calls it eShift, while Epson calls it 4K Enhancement—to allow 1080p imaging chips to simulate 4K/UHD.
But these techniques don't actually reach 4K/UHD resolution. They double the number of effective pixels from 2 million to 4 million, though JVC and Epson argue that the visible difference between their images and true 4K/UHD is inconsequential. By contrast, the new DMD doubles its native pixel count of 4 million to 8 million, more closely matching the 4K/UHD spec.
SIM2 also touts the quality of its all-glass lens, which is critical for achieving true 4K/UHD resolution on the screen. For example, the lens exhibits a resolution of 93 line pairs/millimeter, which corresponds to the actual size of the micromirrors—each micromirror measures 5.4 microns, so each pair of alternating lines spans 10.8 microns. This is equivalent to 93 line pairs per millimeter, so the image on the screen includes all the available resolution from the DMD. Also, the optical system is telecentric, which allows a wider range of horizontal and vertical lens shift than lesser systems.
Dealers will be able to place orders for the Nero 4 starting September 15, and delivery is expected during November. No pricing was included in the press release, but I'm sure it won't be inexpensive. I certainly plan to check it out at CEDIA, so stay tuned for more.
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