Originally Posted by antialiased
I've been keeping my eye on the new 4k DLPs coming out and have noticed really abysmal native contrast ratios (<2000:1) and people on this forum calling a 2000:1 native (on/off) contrast "good" for a DLP projector. Since I had a Mitsubishi five years ago that had (apparently) much better native contrast (Mitsubishi DLPs were variously measured around that time between 3500:1 and 14000:1), I'm curious: What gives?
The way I figure it, there are only three options:
- The way they are being tested changed;
- Somehow the pixel shifting (4k) destroys contrast;
- The panels perform worse than 5 year old TI DMD3s;
- or (my guess) with auto iris/dimming becoming ubiquitous, the manufacturers have less incentive to care about native contrast.
Since I am just finishing up the brickwork for my home theater addition, I'm looking to upgrade to 4k. If anyone can explain why contrast has (seemingly) gotten worse in the DLP sphere, I would greatly appreciate it.
Before someone points out the obvious: Yes, LCoS is king of contrast and blacks, no need to point it out, but for my needs the size and weight put those behemoths out of the running.
I think your last point is more on target.
While many people on this forum are very excited about native contrast, the sales figures do not support that this is a significant concern of the mainstream buying public either in projectors or TVs. Lower native contrast display technologies continue to be the sales leaders - by a wide margin - in both sectors. If a good dynamic contrast system can convince the buyer of pretty good blacks even if not the best, then the need for higher native contrast is deemed not as necessary.
One way we know that this is a large contributor is that there are ways to increase native contrast such as optimizing the lightpath for contrast, including a manual iris or smaller fixed aperture, etc, can greatly increase contrast. But not a single mainstream 4K DLP unit has done this so far, mainly because the dynamic contrast has been satisfactory for most - as evidenced by sales.
The other aspect is HDR, where you'd want maximum brightness in most cases. Using a fixed aperture or even manual iris to increase contrast will work against your max brightness and impact for HDR, even though it may increase your SDR performance (you aren't going to be manually fiddling with an iris in the middle of a movie).
Finally, TI was forced into this position of developing DMDs with a bit less contrast as as they could not sit idly by and watch the 4K market pass them by. They have been very successful with their ultra sharp 4K UHD DMDs which - while not native 4k are perceptually on par with native 4K projectors in real world video content - and many products upon which these based went on to become top sellers as 1080p projectors become less desirable; thus, clearly this was the correct business move. And, as a result to make this business move TI were forced to increase the density of their DMD, which in turn appears to reduce contrast; the 1.38" DMD which doesn't have reduced density requires very large and expensive optics.
So at this point it is basically up to the projector designers to come up with designs that both increase contrast without reducing potential for max brightness for HDR when called for - dynamic contrast systems are a great way to do this.
It is also worth keeping in mind, while DLP is not the leader in home theater native contrast, it is the leader in solid state lightsource technology, which is becoming a "must have" for people looking to ditch legacy lamp projectors more and more. DLP is the only place you can get 4K UHD Laser/LED under $25000, and in fact you can get 4K UHD Laser for around $3500-$4000 now with DLP. As Philips tweaks HLD LED for the 0.47" DMDs, that number will likely fall to $2500-$3000 in the near future for a 4K UHD LED projector. Or alternatively, you could spend $25,000 for the 4K UHD Sony Laser