Native 4K vs. Temporal Shift/Remapping Technologies [V4K™]
We’ve enjoyed some recent discussions about the key differences when using 4K native panels verses our advanced 4K temporal re-mapping technology – aka ‘e-shift’ or ‘V4K’. Both are valid ways to display standard definition, high def and Ultra HD/4K content. Let’s take a closer look…
Native 4K solutions have been around for years, and until recently were only used on very large Cineplex screens [40-feet or larger]. The chip sets here are [typically] at 4096 x 2160 and solved a real problem: With 2K digital cinema projectors, if one sits very close to the screen, the pixel “gate” and structure could be seen. Here is TI’s DLP® cinema chipset family and some of their recommended screen sizes:
For most home theater enthusiasts, there really isn’t a practical benefit to having “more pixels” – if you can’t see the pixels now from a 1080p light engine, you won’t see them either on an Ultra HD/4K solution.
However, we are starting a transition to Ultra HD content – i.e., improved source material – and the impressive benefits there will not necessarily be found in resolution, but in a greatly expanded color space, high dynamic range [HDR] imaging capabilities and more.
Great, you say… but weren’t we talking about pixels? It’s easy to understand how a native Ultra HD flat panel or projector will display UHD content: the original source [at 3840 x 2160] will be rendered pixel-for-pixel on an appropriate Ultra HD display. SD and HD content is up-converted to appropriately fill the 3840 x 2160 display. No problem there… but there is another way, and it’s the remarkable 4K ‘e-shift’ technology [now in its third generation] that can ACCEPT AND CORRECTLY DISPLAY 4K CONTENT, as well.
This technology takes advanced of ultra-fast processing [refresh rates], plus our eye/brain’s “persistence of vision” [or lack thereof]. We experience this on a daily basis – when watching movies, television programs and more. Still images are rapidly flashed to our eyes, and we “merge” those images with our brain in a seamless fashion. To put it another way, we enjoy the illusion of “moving pictures” when it truth, 24 still images per second are flashed to our eyes/brain.
Well, what if that “image flashing” could occur at 120 times per second, with ultra fast re-mapping so that we can properly display Ultra HD/4K content – and do it with lower resolution imaging panels?
In the Gen3 e-shift light engine, a native 4K source is presented to the projector. A frame-by-frame analysis begins and this process continues/repeats 120 times a second. The original content is “broken apart” and re-mapped to two “sub-frames”, which are then rendered by the D-ILA imaging panels. Some pretty sophisticated algorithms are then employed to merge the two sub frames back into a cogent whole. The end result – the original 4K content is properly displayed, and when viewed at normal seating distances the result is often deemed identical to a native 4K imaging platform!
I think it’s important to understand that our SDC-10XP, 12 and 15/15XP render SD, HD and 4K content with image fidelity that rivals – some say surpasses – most competitive projector offerings. Our native black levels are superior, there are virtually NO VISIBLE PIXELS in the temporal remapping technologies, our color management tools are extensive, our white field uniformity with the matched D-ILA panels is excellent, and much more.
Bottom line – this is a terrific technology and one that will render 4K images with breathtaking reality!