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Marantz Unveils 1st 1,080p DLP Front Projector

New York — Marantz last week became the first to market a high-definition DLP front projector using Texas Instruments’ new native 1,920 by 1,080p Digital Micromirror Device (DMD).

Model VP-11S1, which carries a $19,999 suggested retail, will be distributed throughout Marantz’s 500 dealer network, according to Dan Miller, Marantz video product manager. It will be added to the company’s current front-projector models.

The unit will accept and display full 1,080p signals, and will up-convert all other video formats using a next-generation Gennum Visual Excellence Processing (VXP) video processor.

Prior 1,080p DLP applications have relied on special image processing techniques to create 1,920 by 1,080p resolution. The new TI processor was said to be the first that will natively display full 1,080p (at 24 fps and 60 fps) signals.

“It was mission critical to us at Marantz to only build products that will resonate with the most fastidious and meticulous videophiles,” said Bill Lee, Marantz, Snell and Escient sales and marketing senior VP, in explaining the company’s decision to be first to market with a native 1,080p DLP front projector.

The projector uses a single TI DarkChip III .95 1,080p DMD containing over 2 million individual hinged micro mirrors. Color is handled using an improved three-primary color wheel that spins at an ultra-high rate, exceeding 10,000rpms. The color wheel system, which is powered by a new Quiet Fluid Dymanic Bearing motor borrowed from hard drive technology, is said to reduce or eliminate visible rainbow patterns seen in motion scenes on some other color-wheel-equipped products, Miller said.

The DMD is controlled by TI’s newly developed DDP3021 dual drivers, which are used in parallel to provide precise control over the mirrors while enabling 12-bit gamma processing. This is said to produce image gradations that are four times richer than previous systems.

Meanwhile, the Gennum VXP processor used in the VP-11S1 performs de-interlacing, scaling, noise reduction, detail enhancement and color correction and is the first consumer application of the same processor used in two out of three commercial cinema projector lines, according to Gennum representative Don Shaw.

The unit’s contrast ratio is listed at 6,500:1 and brightness is rated at between 600 to 700 lumens.

Inputs include dual HDMI, HD component video, S-video, composite video and analog RGB. Also included is an RS-232 serial control port for integrated operation in custom installations.

The projector has a vertical lens shift that allows for placement at locations well above the top of the screen.

The company said it will introduce later in the year a second version of the VP-S1 featuring a long-throw lens.