Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Shape Of Things To Come

If history is to repeat itself, then this TV might just be a clue to the future of home entertainment. Back in the early 1990's, Phillips released a 1.78:1 TV in a time when all other TVs were 1.33:1. At the time there was no programing to support the new wider screens, but in a short time, HDTV and DVD became standards that allowed the user to benefit from the wider displays.

The LCD TV shown above is the new Phillips display known as Cinema 21:9. A Standard HDTV uses a pixel array of 1920 x 1080. This new type of ultra wide display uses a pixel array of 2560 x 1080. What this means is that new programing in the form of packaged media will be released to allow a true 1:1 pixel mapping. So what does this mean for 16:9 displays?

In keeping with the idea of "backward compatibility", new source formats will have a 16:9 feature as well as the new 21:9 option. The 16:9 option would reformat the material back to the same standards we have now for our 16:9 displays where a film in Scope would once again be presented as a letter boxed image. However, at full resolution, the image would contain 2560 x 1080 Vs the current 1920 x 810 letter boxed image where the remaining 270 lines make up the black bars [top and bottom] we have now. The ultimate system would allow us to have 1080 vertical resolution for all programs.

So what about projectors and CIH? Well this might just be exactly what we have been waiting for. If the new 21:9 player is set to 21:9, the image should be a matrix of 1920 x 1080 with the geometry appearing to be horizontally squeezed. This means that we do not have to "scale" the image for CIH as it will be done at the source level. Whilst we won't get to use the full 2560 pixels width, we will have 1:1 pixel mapping for our 1920 x 1080 panels. This means that our images will be true anamorphic and anamorphic lenses will be needed if full rez of the new formats are to be used on 16:9 projectors.

The future is looking promisingly w i d e ...


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