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Author Topic: Sony GLV technology ... anyone knows why it's not here yet?
Julio Roberto
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 938
From: Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Registered: Oct 2008


 - posted 12-14-2008 01:32 AM      Profile for Julio Roberto     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I always thought that the only worthy competitor to TI DLP techonology for movie theaters would be the GLV technology that Sony bought a few years back.

They have succesfully demonstrated it several years ago.

http://www.sony.net/Products/SC-HP/cx_news/vol40/pdf/sideview40.pdf

And although their implementation light sources (lasers) would be expensive by today's standards, it's not completely out of the question if they wanted to pawn the world-wide digital cinema industry and adjusted mass production for that.

It has enough cost advantages to compete with 2K DLP at $100k plus $1k/year lamp cost. Of course, Sony selling a Liquid on Silicon light valve (as they are doing today) is far more profitable for them, but nowhere would theaters flock to such a technology at similar price points as the competition and the only advantage being the added resolution (but with its own set of shortcomings). As a result, I don't spect Sony's current offering to overtake digital cinema [Wink]

At $100k a pop I say they could (low) mass produce 1 or 2 hundred thousand units of GVL based projectors and just wipe out the theater projector business.

Anyone knows what's holding this technology back? I've been scratching my head over it for a while and can not figure it out.

For $100k they could easily produce a 2K or 4K (basically same cost due to the way the system works) with the advantages of very little heat, low electricity cost, rasonably bright images. The disadvantage would be laser replacement costs, but considering how long they last and the price of xenon lamps, this would also be within reason when sold by the high tens of thousands units. Plus traditional projectors really only have an expected lifetime of 10 years before they become obsolete/too expensive to maintain realistically.

After all, Evans and Sutherland, who licensed the technology for the simulation and planetarium markets, have been sucessfully selling theirs.

http://www.es.com/products/digital_theater/digistar3-laser.asp

http://www.es.com/products/displays/ESLaser/

http://www.es.com/products/displays/ESLaser/resources/ESLP_Datasheet.pdf

They seem to have managed decent contrast, and sufficient laser production has also been attained with reasonable life expectancy. Electricity costs savings can be significant as are heat (air conditioning, forced ventilation, etc) issues. Brightness is still a bit low, but then again their design is not geared towards brightness as it's more optimized for huge dome screens etc. In another words: that's not a "normal" video projector optimized for theater use. Sony (world's largest laser manufacturer) could probably do it much better, efficient and cheaply.

So what is the problem?

Anybody knows?

I know that the laser safety is a problem, as theater designs must make absolutely sure that the projected light can never, under any circunstances (accidental or not), shine upon the audience, which could be a problem for some theaters, but not really for the manufacturer, so I don't see this as the show-stopper.

Is this just another attempt to milk customers on purpose with first generation products that will be obsolete whenever they feel like it or is there a real technical issue (like with JVC ILA technology) that I'm unaware of that makes GLV a bad apple?

The only problem I can see is that DLP or LCOS projectors can be made for really (really) low costs if they wanted and GLV would always be much more expensive (comparatively). But the market doesn't have a $20k DLP digital cinema projector yet, so GLV can compete today. And even then, a 4K $100k GLV could perhaps compete with a $20k 2K DLP or a $20k 4K LCOS. Maybe.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16657
From: Music City
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 12-14-2008 08:42 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
GLV is nothing new. There is a Salt Lake City company that builds very high end flight simulator projectors using the technology. They also market a series of planetarium projectors that utilize GLV technology.

Mark

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16657
From: Music City
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 12-15-2008 11:14 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Julio... I shoulda posted this link the other day. E&S has a laser based projector using GLV technology that can produce 32 million pixels with a 12 bit color depth! Thats a few more pixels than the roughly 2.2 million pixels on a 2K DLP chip!!

Evans & Sutherland

Mark

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Julio Roberto
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 938
From: Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Registered: Oct 2008


 - posted 12-16-2008 02:18 AM      Profile for Julio Roberto     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Julio... I shoulda posted this link the other day. E&S has a laser based projector using GLV technology that can produce 32 million pixels with a 12 bit color depth! Thats a few more pixels than the roughly 2.2 million pixels on a 2K DLP chip!!

Mark,

Somehow I have the feeling you didn't quite bother to read my whole post.

Give it a second look to see what I mean.

[Wink] [Smile]

But thnx for the replies nonetheless!!!

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16657
From: Music City
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 12-16-2008 11:00 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I absolutely read your post. I think that Evans & Sutherland are miles ahead of Sony as far as use of GLV technology goes... E&S has been building projection gear with it for far longer than Sony has. Most of what E&S builds goes into fighter jet and Airline flight simulators. They also do planetariums as a spin off of the technology they have developed. They are a small company but doing big things. I doubt they could manufacture enough quantity for the entertainment field.

The whole idea of anything Sony would be difficult at best to pull off here after the SDDS debacle... no one trusts them and no one will for a very long time to come. The Sony imageing chips will also never be able to take the heat they will be under to light up a very large screen. Heat has always been the number one issue... and the 10 bit color capability is also not very good.

The other thing is that you can't buy a 2K DLP machine for 20K nor does it cost any where near 100K to install a compete 2K digital system... at least here in the States.

Mark

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4441
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 12-17-2008 09:05 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
. . . . . because they're S O N Y? (September of Next Year) (vaporware) Louis

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Julio Roberto
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 938
From: Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Registered: Oct 2008


 - posted 12-18-2008 07:15 PM      Profile for Julio Roberto     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
OK Mark,

I only thought that maybe you didn't notice the many links to Evan and Sutherland's projectors in my first post and how I mentioned that E&S had been using the technology successfully for a long time in the simulation and planetarium markets, like you later "repeat".

Indeed little E&S seem to have put more effort into getting viable GLV stuff out there than Sony, who should've had an easier time doing so.

Incidently, Sony's SXRD has also been doing really well in the planetarium and simulation businesses:

skyscan

I guess since the GLV technology is actually not theirs (it's Silicon Light's), and Sony was already heavy into SXRD, they decided to just "drop it" after licensing it for $$$ reasons.

It's the only thing that would make sense, unless the whole laser public safety issue is a bigger deal that I'm guessing or Sony lacked technology/manufacturing of suitable lasers themselves, but this wouldn't seem to be the case.

What I meant is that LIST prices for some DC projectors (ie. SONY) can be around $100k (actually, $75k to be more realistic), while DLP/SRX projectors have very low bills of material (that could, if wanted, put a projector in the market for $20k).

On the other hand, GLV would always have a much higher bill of material, and would never be able to compete pricewise with DLP or LCoS (SXRD).

I agree with Sony's 4K projectors going to have problems with high light levels. Samething happened to JVC ILA's technology and they pretty much had to drop it for very high light levels. It was either that or using huge chips with associate costs, specially on huge diameter lenses.

Even inorganic LC cells can only take so much energy before they start breaking down. That's why I think GLV, a totally metallic reflective technology, exactly like TI DLP but with nothing but advantages (except for higher cost) that also happens to be very power-efficient, is a win-win-win situation for theathers, with the only drawback of using lasers as light source and that safe lasers of enough brightness are not a commodity (yet) for very high (say 12k lumens and above) projectors, which would be ideal for digital cinema.

As a plus, light coming from lasers is already polarized, so very little light loss using a system like Real-3D with it. 2D and 3D polarized projection would virtually be of the same brightness on the screen.

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