Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New Projectors From Hitachi Designed To Work In Bright Environments

We've all used projectors before, or at least been in a situation where we were watching something on a projector screen.  And we know that almost every single situation that calls for a projector also calls for the lights in the room to be turned down or off and for any other external light sources, like sunlight through a window, to be blocked as well. This is primarily due to the fact that projectors aren't quite the same as televisions or computer monitors. They are not bright enough to deliver the same picture quality that other screens can, so other lights need to be eliminated for full picture quality and brightness. However, Hitachi is set to change all of this as the company recently announced that it has developed projector technology that makes video display clearly in brightly lit rooms.

The processing hardware that Hitachi is using is just under 2 square centimeters, which means that the technology itself is capable of enhancing video in everything from security cameras and vehicle camera systems to pocket projectors and home theater projectors. What this technology does is improve the visibility of the projected images without using more light. In addition to that, this technology will also be incorporated into projectors that Hitachi will be launching in the United States and Europe this spring.

Hitachi's approach is focusing more on video processing, which means that instead of processing the entire image as a whole, it analyzes individual characteristics and enhances whatever is necessary. According to Spokesman at Hitachi's Research and Development Headquarters Masayuki Yoshida, "Most manufacturers simply increase the power source for the light projection to improve visibility. Hitachi's technology does not change the power of the light, but it won't make dark regions of an image completely black or lighter regions washed out."

Researchers at Hitachi have developed an algorithm that is based on a model of how the human eye and brain perceive colors and light. This algorithm, known as the Retinex Theory, processes brightness, resolution and color composition while making individual adjustments for each of these factors. As a result, projectors see the enhancement of dark areas in a video without affecting brighter ones, while object outlines are better defined so they appear more distinct. What's more is that the researchers at Hitachi have also optimized the algorithm's processing sequence, allowing it to be efficient enough for commercial applications. Hitachi also developed compact logic circuits that are capable of performing real-time processing at 60 frames per second (fps) for still images and 1920x1200 pixel high-resolution video.

Hitachi Maxwell plans on releasing a total of seven projector models in the United States and Europe, all of which contain the enhancement technology. Hitachi made note to report that all seven of the projectors will feature lumen ratings of 2,700 to 3,600 and will also come with two HDMI digital inputs, allowing you to connect a variety of devices to them. "In recent years, the performance of various display devices has been improved, but it is not sufficient in comparison with the dynamic range of the human eye yet," said another Spokesman for Hitachi, Tomoko Sato. Soto added, "Therefore, visibility enhancement by image compensation has been very desirable. In order to support such needs, Hitachi has developed this technology."

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