The ongoing rollout of 1080p native-resolution displays--you know, the ones that should be able to deliver every detail of the highest-resolution HDTV format, 1080i--has finally come to DLP-based home-theater projectors. Competing projection technologies SXRD and D-ILA, both variants of LCoS, have had 1080p projectors on the market for awhile, but with DLP's entry the number of 1080p models and manufacturers will increase dramatically. Whether any can challenge Sony's is an open question.
One of the first 1080p DLPs to be available is the Optoma HD81 ($10,000, due in June or July). This two-piece projector/processor system employs a new Texas Instruments 1080p chipset that supposedly delivers better color and does away with the "wobulation" used in rear-projection DLPs like the HP MD6580n, employing 1920x1080 actual mirrors.
The press release on Optoma's new top-of-the-line projector also boasts of an improved contrast ratio of 6,000:1, along with a new color wheel, 10-bit color processing, a Gennum VXP scalar, and a galaxy of adjustments that include five-step brightness control and a "studio grade" color-management system. The company is also touting the projector's quieter operation. As a two-piece system, the HD81 houses all of the input connectors in a separate processor box that connects to the projector via a digital cable that can be as much as 100 feet long. Among the processor's many connections are a trio of HDMI inputs that are, according to the company's rep, compatible with 1080p sources.
Texas Instruments' press release, for its part, mentioned a number of other front-projector manufacturers that would be producing 1080p DLP-based projectors this year, including Marantz, Projectiondesign, Runco, Sharp, and Sim2.