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Martin Dew

HTF News Editor
HW Reviewer
Nov 1, 2017
United Kingdom
Real Name
Martin Dew
Sorry for coming late to the party, but I fretted over this issue 4 years ago when I was planning my 4K/3D upgrade. The solution presented itself in a projector that is, to this day unique in its ability to handle all aspect ratios in the best possible way. Barco Balder Cinemascope.
Barco made a deal with Texas Instruments to produce a DLP 5K+ scope shaped chip. The scope shaped chip delivers 4K 16x9 material to the 16x9 central portion of the chip, but when the projector detects wider content...1.85 on up, it used the unique wide pixel array to carry the added scope content. This results in not only a brighter images, but more pixels actually projecting the image! The quality improvement can be dramatized by thinking of a photo with a fixed resolution appearing in a newspaper vs a magazine. The resolution enhancement is not from the original photo, but the dots of resolution in the printing process.
The Barco has some quirks in the auto detect feature for aspect settings especially when viewing commercial TV, but it can be defeated and switched to manual when you start to get vertigo from the rapid varying aspects of ads and content.
The Barco is also expensive, but outperforms and eliminates the need of an anamorphic lens by actually adding more pixels as needed rather than manipulating a fixed 16x9 chip. With the various aspect ratios produced by the size of the chip itself, DLP is a necessity. Other chip sets technologies would develop burn in using various aspect settings. DLP has zero burn in issues. The bottom line is, all imagery is constant height/constant vertical resolution. The wider the image, the more horizontal pixels are displayed to provide ever increasing quality to the more impressive scope formats.
Yes, Barco has been experimenting with native scope chips for some years and they're impressive pieces of kit. I was hoping to see similar technologies trickle down into more affordable lines, but presumably it doesn't have a wide enough market potential.

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