TI leaping into 4K fray

Cinemark inks for Texas Instruments platform

Texas Instruments has announced that its “next generation technology platform” for digital projection will include a 4K option, providing four times as many pixels as standard 2K projectors, and it has already lined up exhibitor Cinemark to buy its 4K tech.

The platform will be available by year’s end, with 4K to follow some time in 2010, depending on how quickly projector makers include it in their designs.

Alan Stock, CEO of 2,700-screen Cinemark, said TI’s DLP platform will be “our exclusive platform of choice for 4K deployments.”

TI does not manufacture projectors under its own name but licenses its DLP tech to Barco, Christie Digital and NEC. All become potential competitors for Sony Electronics, which has had the 4K d-cinema market to itself.

“When DLP cinema decided to do 4K, I think the reaction has been ‘Wow, that’s great, because we wanted DLP and now we have the option,’ ” said Nancy Fares, business manager for DLP Cinema Products Group.

Sony has pacted with AMC and Regal to outfit their screens with 4K projectors (Daily Variety, March 30). Sony has been a proponent of 4K filmmaking and projection at the studio and corporate levels, as has Warner Bros. Paramount has also released pictures in 4K.

Gary Johns, VP at Sony’s Digital Cinema Systems division, said, “We feel 4K is the right resolution for this industry, and if TI has decided to endorse that resolution, we’re happy they agree.”

TI says its platform will improve color on DLP-based projectors and make them bright enough to show 3-D on 75-foot-wide screens.

Fares said the 4K DLP chip will be the same size as the standard 2K DLP chip already in use, which should make it easier for projector makers to adopt the higher-resolution standard.