Next generation of projectors will be lighter, brighter, smaller, cheaper
Dallas, Texas – 21st of May 2001: Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE: TXN) has announced several new products in support of its goal to extend the leadership enjoyed by DLP™ technology in enabling projector manufacturers to design and develop the world’s smallest and brightest projectors with the best image quality. The products are:
· New versions of the Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) which is at the heart of DLP™ technology,
· The DDP1000 DMD Controller, which handles digital information
· The DAD1000 Waveform Generator which handles analog functions, and
· DLP Composer™ software development tool.
The DDP1000 and DAD1000 are ASICs which leverage TI’s leadership in designing and manufacturing mixed signal processing products, in which analog and digital processing are integrated into a single package. The three new devices will be available to TI OEMs for limited production as a Component Set beginning late this year. The DLP Composer™ software tool suite is in beta test now and will be released in support of product designs early this summer.
“These exciting announcements are further evidence of our commitment to positioning DLP technology as the technology of choice for projector manufacturers,” said Dennis Fritsche, Product Manager for Business Products at TI’s DLP™ Products division. “At Infocomm next month, we expect visitors to be amazed that DLP technology has enabled yet another significant advance in projector design, allowing solutions to be developed that weigh 30% less than today’s lightest projectors – which are also uniquely enabled by DLP technology.”
New Digital Micromirror Device (DMD)
Two new DMDs will be available – an XGA device measuring 0.7 inches diagonal and an SVGA device measuring 0.55 inches diagonal. Both devices are built on a new 200mm wafer fabrication production line designed specifically to increase performance of the devices and to increase device output at lower cost.
Higher light output, higher contrast, and higher image quality are provided by these new DMDs.
Higher light output is achieved by tilting the micromirrors at twelve degrees, rather than the previous ten degrees. As a result, depending on lamp and optical design, an increase in brightness of up to 20% is possible.
Higher contrast is attained by a new fabrication process which significantly reduces the impact of ‘stray’ light, with the result that contrast – a key contributor to image quality, especially in video applications – is increased by up to 50%.
Higher image quality is achieved by providing a higher speed interface between the DMD and the DDP1000 ASIC, allowing data to be passed to the DMD more frequently. The end result is even better image quality and fewer color wheel artifacts.
A new DMD Controller, the DDP1000 is designed to bring out all of the attributes of the new DMDs. Furthermore, the DDP1000 integrates the function of several separate devices to reduce size, increase performance, and decrease time to market. The DDP1000 comprises 1.4 million gates compared with the 0.4 million gates of the DPF2A ASIC which it replaces. Combined within the DDP1000 ASIC are the functions previously provided by the DPF2A ASIC, an external microcontroller and an FPGA. In addition, the DDP1000 allows the number of external memory devices to be reduced from four to one. The DDP1000 is specifically designed to support the latest-generation DMD design, providing support for a higher speed interface which reduces DMD load time by over 40%. This, together with other proprietary TI algorithms improvements, results in significant improvements in image quality.
The DAD1000 ASIC provides, in a single integrated circuit, all of the critical drive signals required to control the DMD micromirrors. The device provides a high level of integration, including the generation of all voltages needed to control the DMD. It includes functionality previously supported by no fewer than 61 individual devices: the resulting reduction in component count enables projector manufacturers to design and manufacture smaller printed circuit boards, reduces the overall size and weight of the complete assembly, reduces cost and increases reliability.
DLP Composer™ Suite
The DLP Composer™ suite is a software tool designed to allow projector manufacturers to bring new products to the market more quickly by reducing the development cycle. It comprises a set of modeling tools and algorithms previously used internally by TI, thus empowering projector manufacturers with resources previously not available to them. Examples of the functionality included within the DLP Composer™ software suite are a Color Manager Tool – designed to allow manufacturers to model the impact on color space of various combinations of lamps, optics and color wheels – together with a tool enabling the selection of appropriate DLP™ gray scale PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) sequences, and a tool to generate ASIC runtime parameters for color wheel motor control, DMD formatting and control, gamma curve generation and other ASIC options.
Until now, all of these processes have had to be developed and implemented individually by each manufacturer, increasing development costs and extending time-to-market.
The Projector Market
According to Stanford Resources Inc., an iSuppli Company, the overall projection market will double in size by 2006. The market for so-called microportable projectors – those weighing 5lbs or less – is expected to grow even more rapidly, while Stanford Resources believes that the market for projectors weighing 3lbs or less will grow from shipments of 30,000 units in 2000 to 1.2 million units in 2006. Today, almost all projectors weighing less than 5lbs – and all projectors weighing less than 3lbs – are enabled by DLP™ technology.
Today, TI supplies DLP™ subsystems to more than thirty of the world's top projector manufacturers, who then design, manufacture and market projectors based on DLP™ technology. There are now over fifty products based on DLP™ technology in the market. Since early 1996, over 750,000 DLP™ subsystems have been shipped. Over the past four years, DLP™ technology-based projectors have consistently won some of the audio-visual industry’s most prestigious awards, including, in June 1998, an Emmy Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
At the heart of TI's Digital Light Processing™ technology is the Digital Micromirror Device optical semiconductor chip. The DMD switch has an array of up to 1,310,000 hinged, microscopic mirrors which operate as optical switches to create a high resolution, full color image.
Texas Instruments Incorporated is the world leader in digital signal processing and analog technologies, the semiconductor engines of the Internet age. The company’s businesses also include sensors and controls, and educational and productivity solutions. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has manufacturing or sales operations in more than 25 countries.
Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN. More information is located on the World Wide Web at http://www.ti.com
Digital Light Processing, DLP, DLP Composer and DLP Cinema are trademarks of Texas Instruments. All other products and names may or may not be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
Illustrative images for this story may be found at http://www.dlp.com/dlp/resources/resources.asp
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