Dots Enough Already?

Okay; first we had standard definition TV which we will imprecisely assume has 640 by 480 pixels in the image (because that’s close enough for our purposes here). Then HDTV came along with 720p (1,280 by 720 pixels) and 1080i/1080p (1,920 by 1,080 pixels) resolutions. Movie theaters need even higher resolution, and so the standard for digital cinema was “2K” resolution – 2,048 by 1,080 — but is rapidly moving to “4K” which has 4,096 by 2,160 pixels. If you’re keeping score, that’s more than the number of pixels on four 1080p displays.

The new Super Hi-Vision LCOS projector from JVC won't win many style points, but it puts out an enormous number of pixels to create an incredibly detailed image.

Enter the new Super Hi-Vision D-ILA projector from JVC. D-ILA is the company’s version of LCOS technology, and it uses three separate imagers to create images with a resolution of 7,680 by 4,320 pixels. Yes, that’s the equivalent of 16 individual 1080p screens tiled in a four-by-four matrix. The projector is capable of creating these images 60 times per second (60 Hz) with 36 bit color depth which requires a throughput of nearly 10 Gigabytes (GB) per second. This requires 16 coax cable connections, but JVC has developed its own interface that uses four separate fiber optic channels. All projector controls are handled through a network connection.

You probably won’t want to put this in your living room, however. It comes with a 3,000 watt lamp (that’s equivalent to 50 60-watt lightbulbs; do you have 50 lightbulbs in your entire house?) that pumps out a 10,000 lumen image. Oh, and it requires 200 volts AC, so you can’t just plug it into the nearest outlet.

This is probably the future for digital cinema, though there is a lot of infrastructure that will have to be developed before this will be a practical solution on a widescale basis. The movie theaters are going to have to keep one step ahead of what people can get in the comfort of their own living room, however, so higher resolution is one of the frontiers that could provide a useful advantage.