When 4K is REALLY 3K?

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When 4K is REALLY 3K?

Guest writer: Claver Harper from Network Audio Visual

Much of the content people are watching on their new 4K projector is not really 4K. Here’s how you can provide the 4K movie experience for your customers. We also explain why this occurs.

Over 75% of Blu-Rays and the new 4K UHD discs are letterboxed to maintain the ultra-wide aspect ratio.

This results in only 70% of the resolution and brightness being utilised!

A typical example of a letterbox image as seen through a 16:9 native projector


The letterbox movie image is not 4K but is actually 3K from the 16:9 image area. When we then try to utilise cinema zoom (popular on many of the cheap consumer projectors) these figures deteriorate even further.

Now the image, that is less than 70% of its brightness, is being zoomed to fill a 2:35 image area that is almost 60% larger than its previous format.  You don’t need to be a genius to realise that this means massive brightness loss with substandard performance.  This results in the customer not getting the 4K cinema experience they are expecting!

What a letterbox images looks like in a 2.35:1 (or Cinemascope) screen


The Solution to this 4K issue

One such solution to this issue is provided with the new Prismasonic 4K compliant cylindrical lenses.  These cylindrical lenses utilise the best German optics to deliver 2:35 images in full resolution and full brightness.

The use of an anamorphic lens restores the maximum resolution of the projector with full brightness and almost zero chromatic aberration, colour fringing or light loss.  Prismasonic’s anamorphic lenses add true 4K performance.  They also provide superior image quality to “lens zoom” that is as clear as day, providing a true 4K 2.35 image solution … just what the customer wanted all along.

Available from Prismasonic, a cylindrical lens is one of the best solutions to this problem

Once a customer is aware of the resolution and brightness missing when using simple lens zoom, this product is something that customers will want.  Anamorphic lenses are easy to install and deliver the wow factor when teamed with the correct screen.

For someone who has such a projector or is looking to purchase one, this is the best solution to achieve real true 4K.


Even better, a native cinemascope projector

Alternatively, there is the option of a native 4K projector.  These projectors have a chipset which is actually in a true cinemascope / anamorphic ratio.  This way you do not require the use of an external lens or a cinema zoom function.  This saves space, looks much neater and reduces installation time. It will also result in the purest 4K anamorphic image possible.

Barco Residential offers a full range of native 2.35:1 projectors…currently the only ones on the market to do this


These chips are true 2.35:1 ratio and means that there is no loss of anything in the picture outcome.  In fact, as a result, the resolution is actually much higher than your standard 16:9 4K chip.

The only brand that provides such projectors at this time is Barco Residential.  Along with providing cinemascope native projectors, they also are all high-quality laser-based for maximum light and contrast.

The Barco Residential manufactured projectors are of the highest quality build overall.  They only use the highest quality components to achieve the best image from the chassis right to the lens. As is with a digital camera, the lens is often one of the most important elements.

Here Barco Residential produces their lenses in-house to the highest quality possible.  Pretty much they produce all elements in-house except the DLP chipset.  This results in a far better-engineered, designed and ultimate functioning projector.

Afterall, the level of resolution is only one part of the total picture.  Many other facets make up the final image quality.


Why compromise?

So, why would anyone spend tens of thousands of dollars on a 4K cinema that doesn’t reproduce a 4K viewing experience? Now you no longer have to settle for second best.


This guest article was written by Claver Harper from Network Audio Visual.  Images supplied by Network Audio Visual



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