Texas Instruments Boosts DLP Color Processing

Anaheim, CA -- Texas Instruments' BrilliantColor technology, a formerly high-end color processing technology for DLP-based projectors and displays, will be available in mainstream projectors by the end of the year, the company announced Tuesday at the InfoComm conference and trade show here. (DLP stands for Digital Light Processing, also invented by the company.) Six projector models with BrilliantColor were announced at the show--including units from Mitsubishi and Optoma--with more than 70 projectors expected to ship with the technology by December 2007.

According to Texas Instruments, its new BrilliantColor-equipped DDP2230 chip set can produce a wider color palette by blending up to six different colors instead of three. The chip set uses a six-segment color wheel to reproduce images, with cyan, magenta, and yellow segments in addition to the standard red, green, and blue.

Texas Instruments first introduced BrilliantColor two years ago; the color processing technology later debuted in DLP televisions and in expensive home theater projectors. Now the algorithms are being incorporated across chip sets aimed at mainstream use.

"We're constantly improving our capability to produce the chips," says Peter F. van Kessel, Texas Instruments' general manager for DLP products. "We're taking advantage of the latest chip-making technologies to take the complex BrilliantColor algorithms and cram them into a very cost-effective chip. This allows us to increase capability without increasing cost. And it allows BrilliantColor to be used in value projection products. It's going to show up everywhere, from the value $699 projector all the way up to the most capable high-performance, high-brightness single-chip models."

In addition to improving the color processing algorithms behind BrilliantColor, Texas Instruments has improved color quality in other ways as well. "We've worked with the lamp manufacturers to develop variable illumination. This lamp pulsing technology allows us to apply boost to the lamp power, and in particular, boost colors. For example, we can boost the yellows or reds, to make those colors more vivid," explains van Kessel. "The six colors allow you to make much more effective use of lamp spectrum, and the lamp pulsing technique allows us to recover some of the brightness we normally would give up. We can get a brighter color and achieve a better color performance without sacrificing the brightness."

A version of the new chip will be able to produce native WXGA, 1280-by-800-pixel-resolution images. Wide-screen imaging technology is slowly starting to trickle down into data projectors, a category that's been slow to follow notebook manufacturers' lead in the progression to wide screens.

Format War Redux

The market for front projector technologies is about evenly split between Texas Instruments' DLP approach and the rival 3LCD technology. The improved BrilliantColor technology could give DLP projectors an edge over similarly configured 3LCD models. Texas Instruments and 3LCD are continually trying to one-up each other in an effort to gain market dominance; among their proponents, discussions of the two technologies often verge on the religious.

If you want to buy a projector with BrilliantColor, do your research: Not all DLP projectors will integrate the new Texas Instruments chip set just yet. Ultimately, says van Kessel, "Our goal is to have BrilliantColor capability for all of our chip sets. That's not the situation today. But within the next year, that's something that should be reachable."

This story, "Texas Instruments Boosts DLP Color Processing" was originally published by PCWorld.

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