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Sim2, Dolby Team On LCD TV

New York — Sim2 used a lifestyle showcase for its C3X 1080 high-performance DLP projector here Thursday night to announce that it has agreed to work with Dolby Laboratories to develop prototype high-dynamic-range LED-backlit LCD TVs using Dolby’s local dimming technology.

Sim2 said it plans to start by developing a 46-inch LED prototype panel and to study the possibility of bringing the technology into the market by the third quarter of 2008. Model specifics have not been determined.

Sim2 COO Alan Roser said that although the company has been known primarily as a manufacturer of high-performance home theater projectors, it introduced LCD flat-panel displays 2.5 years ago, “which at that time were very much on the cutting edge of the technology.”

“We try to bring the latest technologies to market a good six to nine months ahead of the competition,” said Roser. “So we’re very excited about this new association with Dolby, because their high dynamic range LED backlighting system gives us the ability to offer the customer something that is different from the competition.”

Dolby first announced its local dimming technology at last fall’s CEATEC Show in Japan, and billed Sim2 Thursday as its first implementation partner “that we’ve announced,” according to Bharath Rajagopalan, Dolby image technologies business line director.

Dolby’s high-dynamic range LED, LCD systems use two approaches which Dolby is calling Dolby Vision and Dolby Contrast. Both integrate LED lighting arrays with drivers and algorithms to enable manufacturers to produce LCDs with both the highest-possible brightness and black levels, areas that tend to impede each other using alternative backlighting approaches.

Dolby’s system is said to produce deep blacks with a high degree of visible detail within those dark areas, while optimizing color.

Dolby said its technologies were designed to leave implementation partners with a wide range of options to develop differentiated performance levels.

During the event Thursday Sim2 invited members of the press to view its projectors in a contemporary Euro-design living space in the Soho showroom of Vivendum, a high-end Italian home furnishings company.

The showcase, which it called “Glamour of Technology,” highlighted the C3X 1080 three-chip 1080p DLP projector, which was formally unveiled last September at CEDIA Expo. The projector is one of the first to use Texas Instruments’ DarkChip 4 DLP IC technology to integrate high contrast performance and 1080p resolution. DarkChip 4 helps the three 0.95-inch Digital Micromirror Devices achieve a combination of high contrast, color, brightness and resolution, Sim2 said.

“Sim2 has a rich history of providing high- performance, beautifully styled home theater solutions,” said Maurizio Cini, Sim2 Multimedia president. “The C3X 1080 represents the pinnacle of performance and design — we call it the ‘Glamour of Technology’.”

“Our goal [with the showcase] is to make designers and architects aware that they don’t have to be afraid of big screen systems. They don’t have to be that big panel plasma. With this sort of set up you just switch the projector off and you get the room back,” said Roser.

The C3X 1080 measures 17 inches square and weighs 22 pounds. It is housed in a high-gloss sculpted industrial design cabinet created by Giorgio Revoldini.

The three-chip C3X 1080, which is available at a $29,995 suggested retail, uses all-glass optics in Sim2’s Alphapath light engine, and a 10-bit 24 fps video processing system. The unit’s contrast ratio is said to be 10,000:1.

The projector also includes newly developed, advanced color-management software that enables installers and calibrators to match each projector to its home theater environment, with adjustments for color and white-point coordinates and gamma correction.

Inputs include two HDMI, RGB, component-video, S-video and composite-video.

Both RS-232 serial and USB ports are included for control and firmware communications.