UPDATE: These projectors are actually part of Christie’s Pro AV series; intended for business and large screen applications, not for the cinema. Don Shaw, Christie’s Senior Director of Product Management, explains:
These are not cinema projectors… they are actually intended for our ProAV markets.
With that said, they have similar light engines and optical characteristics as a cinema projector, but totally different electronics that are not compatible with cinema security protocols and movie playback equipment.
As a stretch, you may be able to use them in film post-production, but only for unencrypted content; perhaps for reviewing dailies and for DI processing.
So although 4K HFR in the the movie theater is still beyond the horizon for now it’s encouraging that projector light engines, optics, and data storage / transfer are good to go in terms of 4K HFR. Now we just need to wait for exhibitors and motion picture engineers to provide updated theatrical distribution protocols and infrastructure.
“Christie is the only manufacturer providing full 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution at 60 Hz and the reliability and image clarity of 3-chip DLP® all in one package. Both projectors are a quantum leap forward in video image processing and a breakthrough in high frame rate and high resolution video projection,” said Mike Garrido, senior product manager, Business Products, Christie.
The projectors, which replace the Christie D4K25 and D4K35, are available now for pre-order. They are priced at $125,000 for the 25,000-lumen DK2560 and $161,000 for the 35,000-lumen D4K3560, according to Engadget.
It’s great that Christie has pushed the boundaries with these projectors, but this announcement may be only one piece of the puzzle that has to be completed before we get to watch even 4K 2D movies at 48 or 60 fps. Christie Senior Director of Product Management Don Shaw told me back in January that the infrastructure for handling such high bandwidth doesn’t yet exist, and may not arrive for quite a while:
“A 4K HFR [3D] projector would require up to 4X the input bandwidth of our current cinema projectors (up to 120 fps total)… this would be a forklift upgrade (i.e. new projector) and the reality is that none of the current cinema infrastructure (IMBs, servers, routers, content delivery systems, etc) can handle this bandwidth. It will be a long time before we see 4K HFR in theaters and we currently have no plans for building such a projector for general Cinema usage.”
Maybe things have changed since January? At least, maybe infrastructure capable of feeding a single 60 hz 4K projector now exists. If this is the case, I’d imagine a theater could achieve 4K HFR 3D by having two of everything (server, IMB, etc). Such a setup would be quite expensive, but wouldn’t it be cool if a few select cinemas show The Desolation of Smaug in glorious 4K 48 fps 3D?